Next month, an extraordinary opportunity awaits music enthusiasts and collectors, as two iconic guitars—once strummed by legendary musicians Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain—will be up for auction, with estimated values ranging from $1 million to $2 million.
Eric Clapton’s guitar, affectionately named the “Fool,” boasts a vibrant, psychedelic design featuring a depiction of a nude angel on a cloud. This artistic masterpiece was first wielded by the rock ‘n’ roll icon during Cream’s United States tour in the 1960s. Notably, George Harrison of The Beatles presented the guitar to Clapton around 1965 as a replacement for Clapton’s stolen Les Paul Standard. Cream’s manager, Robert Stigwood, enlisted the talents of Dutch artists Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma, collectively known as “the Fool,” to breathe new life into the instrument. The artists meticulously sanded, primed, and adorned the guitar with oil-based enamel paints, creating the vibrant and culturally significant design.
Beyond its artistic significance, the “Fool” guitar held immense musical importance, serving as a cornerstone in Clapton’s quest to perfect his signature sound, known as the “woman tone.” In a 1967 interview with Beat Instrumental magazine, Clapton described this unique sound as “sweet” and likened it to a “human voice.” The guitar’s rich history and distinctive qualities make it a remarkable piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.
Kurt Cobain’s guitar, affectionately known as “Skystang I,” is a left-handed Fender Mustang in a captivating light blue hue. Cobain wielded this electric guitar throughout Nirvana’s In Utero tour in 1993 and 1994, including the band’s final public performance in March 1994. Traces of its former owner remain, including the black tape Cobain affixed over the Fender logo, which was emblematic of his aversion to corporate sponsorship and branding.
Notably, another guitar owned by Cobain, a 1959 Martin D-18E model, set the world record for the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, fetching more than $6 million in 2020.
The highly anticipated auction is scheduled to take place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville between November 16 and 18. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be allocated to the mental health initiative “Kicking the Stigma.”
In addition to “Skystang I,” the auction will feature an array of Kurt Cobain’s personal belongings, including a pair of Levi’s jeans and cassette tapes adorned with his handwritten notes. In total, the auction will present over 1,000 rock ‘n’ roll artifacts, including Elvis Presley’s 1977 Lincoln Continental, Dolly Parton’s custom-made capes, and even Paul McCartney’s 1972 tour bus, offering music history enthusiasts a unique opportunity to own a piece of rock ‘n’ roll legend.