16 Most Expensive Guitars of All Time

Which are the 16 most expensive guitars of all time?

Music is a crucial form of self-expression. And, none other musical instrument than the guitar has set a pivotal moment in the music industry.

Of course, there are numerous beautiful instruments played universally to compose organic pieces, but nothing beats guitar as the pioneer and the most significant musical instrument from history to today’s century.

Well, guitar lovers, how much do you pay to buy your favorite instrument?

The price of the instruments depends on their origin, design, craftsmanship, models, materials used, and varies in shapes and sizes.

Other than that, the price of the guitar also depends on various factors.

The deluxe price of the guitar worthy of six digits also depends on the value it holds as a treasured instrument owned by the epic guitarists in music history, the records they created, the concerts they performed, and the impact they left in this universe through their musical piece.

Read more to learn about such 16 most expensive guitars of all time, which are highly-acclaimed instruments played by legendary rock and roll guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour.

Quick Overview

Guitar Model Past Owners Auctioned Price
16. Kramer “Frankenstrat” Replica Eddie Van Halen $231,250
15. 1939 Martin Acoustic Eric Clapton $791,500
14. 1964 Gibson ES-335 Eric Clapton $847,500
13. Tiger Guitar Jerry Garcia $957,500
12. Blackie Strat Eric Clapton $959,500
11. Newport Strat Bob Dylan $965,500
10. 1959 Les Paul Keith Richard $1 million
9. 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer $1.1 million
8. Custom Washburn Hawk Bob Marley $1.2 million
7. Wolf Guitar Jerry Garcia $1.9 million
6. Woodstock Strat Jimi Hendrix $2 million
5. 1959 Les Paul Peter Greene & Gary Moore $2 million
4. Gibson J-160E Acoustic-Electric John Lennon $2.4 million
3. Charity Fender Stratocaster $2.7 million
2. Black Stratocaster David Gilmour $3.9 million
1. Unplugged Guitar Kurt Cobain $6 million

Most Expensive Guitars

The details and information has been compiled through reliable sites on the web, including LoudWire, and Fender.

16. Eddie Van Halen’s Kramer “Frankenstrat” Replica- $231,250

An American rock band, Van Halen’s genius guitarist, Eddie Van Halen’s custom-made signature guitar, Kramer Frankenstrat Replica, is the world’s 16 most expensive guitars of all time.

Julien’s Auction sold the instrument at a staggering price of $231,250 after the death of Eddie in October 2020.

Eddie-Van-Halen-Kramer-Frankestrat
Eddie Van Halen Kramer Frankestrat (Source: teahub.io)

Especially, the Stratocaster comprises a mix of outlined paintings of red, black, and white color stripes with a maple neck and fretboard, chrome hardware, six strings, and a Floyd Rose tremolo.

Further, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed this significant Frankenstrat during the “ Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll” exhibition in April 2019.

15. Eric Clapton’s 1939 Martin Acoustic- $791,500

An illustrious English blues-rock guitarist, Eric Clapton’s 1939 Martin Acoustic is one of the world’s 16 most expensive guitars of all time.

Eric-Clapton-1939-Martin-Acoustic
Eric Clapton 1939 Martin Acoustic (Source: Metropolitan Museum of Arts)

Clapton played this guitar to compose most of his notable music, which includes the 17- song acoustic set for MTV Unplugged, a slower version of his rock anthem Layla, Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight, and many others.

Likewise, the instrument is one of Martin’s 113 Pre-World War II 000-42 short-scale guitars with a 14- fret neck.

Further, the acoustic guitar auctioned at a staggering price of $791,500 at Christie’s for the funding of Crossroads charity, making it the second-most expensive acoustic guitar during that period.

In addition, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum displayed this historic guitar for several decades.

14. Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335- $847,500

Eric Clapton’s other popular collection, a 1964 Gibson Electric Series 335, is one of the world’s 16 most expensive guitars of all time.

Eric-Clapton-1964-Gibson-ES-335
Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES 335 (Source: Ground Guitar)

Clapton played his cherry red guitar mostly during his solo performances and associated acts with numerous rock bands, including Yardbirds, Blind Faith, and many others.

In addition, Eric used the guitar extensively during his 1994-1995 Blues Tour.

Moreover, the instrument was sold at a staggering price of $847,500 at Christie’s during the Crossroads charity auction.

13. Jerry Garcia’s Tiger Guitar- $957,500

A renowned American guitarist of the 50s, Jerry Garcia’s Tiger guitar is one of the world’s 16 most expensive guitars of all time.

Jerry-Garcia-Tiger-Guitar
Jerry Garcia Tiger Guitar (Source: Pinterest)

Garcia’s guitar technician, Douglas Irwin, designed the Tiger Guitar featuring numerous types of heavy woods and solid brass binding and a tiger sketch on its body.

Likewise, Garcia played his beloved Tiger from 1979 to 1989.

Moreover, he lastly played the Tiger on his final concert as a Grateful Dead’s guitarist on July 19, 1995.

According to San Francisco Chronicle, the instrument sold at an auction for $957,500 in 2002.

12. Eric Clapton’s Blackie Strat- $959,500

Senior Master Builder J.W. Black customized the personal guitar of Eric Clapton, featuring a fancy ash body, abalone dot position inlays, gold hardware, maple tops, and white pickguards.

At first, Eric debuted his hybrid instrument, Blackie, on January 13, 1973, at a Rainbow concert held in Pete Townshend.

Eric-Clapton-Blackie-Strat
Eric Clapton Blackie Strat (Source: Pinterest)

Later, Clapton played the guitar to record his notable solos like Cocaine, I Shot the Sheriff, Lay Down Shally, and numerous live versions of Layla.

Moreover, a drug rehabilitation center, CrossRoads Centre, auctioned the Blackie for a charity at a whopping price of $959,500.

11. Bob Dylan’s Newport Strat- $965,500

Bob Dylan’s Newport Stratocaster is one of the world’s 16 most expensive guitars of all time.

Bob-Dylan-Newport-Strat
Dylan’s Newport Strat (Source: NPR)

Dylan performed his first electric gig with his 64 Fender sunburst Stratocaster in the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.

Moreover, Dylan’s historic performance in the Newport Festival paved an illustrious path towards the development of folk music for the first time.

Some of the notable songs played by Dylan with his Stratocaster include Maggie’s Farm, Like a Rolling Stone, and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.

Further, Christie’s Auction in Manhattan sold the guitar at a whopping price of $965,500 in 2013.

10. Keith Richard’s 1959 Les Paul- $1 million

Keith Richard’s 1959 Les Paul Standard is the tenth most expensive guitar of all time.

Keith-Richard-Les-Paul
Richard’s Les Paul (Source: Ground Guitar)

Moreover, The Rolling Stone’s illustrious guitarist, Keith Richard, played his late 50s acclaimed Les Paul guitar during The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

Further, an auction once sold this guitar at a whopping price of $1 million.

9. 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer- $1.1 million

Gibson’s first production from the rare Korina woods, the 1958 Korina Explorer, is the ninth most expensive guitar of all time.

1958-Gibson-Korina-Explorer
1958 Gibson Korina Explorer (Source: met museum)

Gibson manufactured only 10 Korina guitars, which are predicted to be safe in the hands of the world’s greatest rock artists.

Moreover, London’s Denmark Street Guitars auctioned the Korina at a staggering price of $1.1 million in 2016.

8. Bob Marley’s Custom Washburn Hawk- $1.2 million

The world’s renowned reggae musician, Bob Marley, received the Washburn Hawk as a valuable gift from his guitar technician, Gary Clausen.

Bob-Marley-Custom-Washburn-Hawk
Bob Marley Custom Washburn Hawk (Source: Pinterest)

According to Jamaican Observer, the guitar auctioned at a whopping $1.2 million a few years ago.

7. Jerry Garcia’s Wolf Guitar- $1.9 million

The Grateful Dead’s lead guitarist, Jerry Garcia, played this iconic guitar for composing psychedelic rock music.

Moreover, the genius guitar designer Doug Irwin created the Wolf guitar after the completion of Garcia’s Tiger guitar.

Jerry-Garcia-Wolf-Guitar
Jerry Garcia Wolf Guitar (Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Similarly, this guitar comprises a wild and complex body inlay with a wolf portrayed on it.

According to Rolling Stones, the “Wolf” guitar auctioned at a staggering $1.9 million in 2017.

6. Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Strat- $2 million

Hendrix played the white enigmatic Stratocaster during the opening of the Woodstock festival.

Jimi-Hendrix-Woodstock-Strat
Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Strat (Source: Cesco’s Corner)

Renowned as one of the most iconic guitars ever in rock history, Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum treasures this instrument currently.

Previously, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen purchased the guitar for a whopping $2 million.

5. Peter Green and Gary Moore’s 1959 Les Paul- $2 million

Formerly owned by the Fleetwood Mac founder, Peter Green, and later by Irish guitarist, Gary Moore, the 1959 Gibson Les Paul is the world’s fifth most expensive guitar of all time.

Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
Peter Green and Gary Moore 1959 Les Paul (Source: Sweet Water)

Currently, Metallica’s guitarist, Kirk Hammet, owns the guitar.

Further, the price of the Gibson Les Paul is a staggering $2 million.

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4. John Lennon’s Gibson J-16oE Acoustic- Electric- $2.4 million

Gibson J-160E is one of the most significant guitars in rock history, which Lennon played while composing the band’s notable songs like She Loves You and I Want to Hold You.

During the 1963 concert at Finsbury Park Astoria Theater in London, the band mistakenly lost Lennon’s signature guitar.

Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
John Lennon Gibson J 160E (Source: Wikipedia)

Later, the guitar ended up in San Diego’s guitar shop. A man named Tommy Pressley bought it and eventually sold it to his friend, John McCaw.

After some years, McCaw, with the help of Beatles Gear author, Andy Babuik verified the instrument as Beatle’s authentic guitar.

Further, Julie Auctions sold this beautiful acoustic-electric guitar at a staggering $2.4 million.

3. “Reach Out to Asia” Charity Fender Stratocaster- $2.7 million

In 2005, a non-profit organization, Reach Out to Asia, formed a charity following the catastrophic Indian Ocean Earthquake and tsunami that occurred in 2004.

Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
Reach Out to Asia Charity Fender Stratocaster (Source: Design Limited Edition)

In addition, Qatar auctioned the guitar for the cause and sold it for a whopping $2.7 million.

Besides, several epic rock guitarists like Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, and Bryan Adams signed the guitar.

2. David Gilmour’s Black Strat- $3.9 Million

The signature guitar of the progressive rock band, Pink Floyd’s Black Strat, played by the iconic guitarist, David Gilmour is the highly acclaimed guitar of all time.

At first, Gilmour played the Black Strat during the 1970 Bath Festival of the Blues and Progressive Music.

Similarly, Gilmour recorded the band’s epic album with his Black Strat which includes Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.

Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
David Gilmour Black Strat (Source: Pinterest)

According to CNN, Gilmour’s Black Strat sold for almost $4 million in the USA just two years ago.

Moreover, Gilmour auctioned the Black Strat along with his other 126 guitar collections for funding the movement of climate change.

Throughout the auction, Gilmour gathered total capital of $21 million for the cause.

1. Kurt Cobain’s “Unplugged” Guitar- $6 Million

The late grunge icon from Nirvana, lefty Kurt Cobain’s unplugged guitar, is the world’s top expensive guitars of all time.

Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
Kurt Cobain Acoustic Guitar (Source: Indulge New- Indian Express)

Cobain played the acoustic-electronic 1959 Martin D-18E model of guitar in Nirvana’s historic live performance on the MTV Unplugged right before his tragic death.

Also, Kurt recorded several notable songs of the band with the instrument, including Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come as You Are, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Lithium, and many more.

Moreover, Julie auctioned the guitar at the price of a staggering $6.01 million in June 2020.

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