PHOTO: Patrick Riviere | Getty Images
One of Prince’s uniquely shaped Cloud guitars will go on the auction block on June 24 at Heritage Auctions.
The bright yellow guitar is one of several Cloud guitars the guitarist owned and performed with. According to his former tech, it’s the main guitar that the artist used for many recordings, videos and performances from the late Eighties through early Nineties. The Cloud guitars were created by luthier Andy Beech, who built 27 of them for Prince by hand in a number of different colored finishes.
The guitar’s owner, Richard Leece, purchased it just over one year ago. The instrument will hit the auction block a little over two months after Prince’s death on April 21.
“I’ve been a Prince fan since I was a little kid, and that guitar always stuck out to me because it was super cool and stylish,” Leece, says. “Unfortunately, as morbid as it is, when people pass, their items become more valuable. I think something as valuable as this could be is risky to continue to have in my possession.”
The guitar has been authenticated by Prince’s former guitar tech, Zeke Clark, who notes that the instrument was Prince’s main guitar and was in most of his videos and on tours and albums from 1988 to 1994. “In 1994 he broke the neck of this guitar at a French T.V. show,” Clark writes. “After returning to U.S.A. I repaired neck & installed the first Floyd Rose set up Prince ever played.”
The guitar was eventually replaced by the Symbol guitar, which Beech also created, but Prince also requested another batch of Cloud guitars from the luthier. “After the [S]ymbol guitar he wanted 24 additional [C]cloud guitars made to be sold at his outlet store,” Clark says.
This Cloud guitar has a serial number of P.M. 16644. According to Clark it is the second Cloud guitar built for Prince. “P.M. 16643 was the 1st,” he notes.
Other Prince items up for auction in Beverly Hills include record sales awards and an original demo tape featuring the songs “Just as Long as We’re Together,” “My Love Is Forever” and “Jelly Jam.”
The guitar carries an opening bid of $30,000 and comes with the original case and a selection of Prince’s picks. Given the guitar’s prominence in his career, it should fetch a high price. Another of Prince’s yellow Cloud guitars sold on Reverb for $49,000 on April 25, and a Prince-owned white Cloud guitar was also listed on Reverb recently for $15,900. That guitar was owned by a Paisley Park production assistant who acquired it from Prince in 2004. The guitar had been in storage, and the seller was doubtful that Prince had ever played it.
One of Prince’s other yellow Cloud guitars is on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington.
For more information about the auction, visit Heritage Auctions.
In the video below, Beech talks about building guitars for Prince.