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A vintage Gretsch Tennessean used by The Monkees is headed to the auction block

A vintage Gretsch Tennessean signed by all four members of the Monkees
(Image credit: Historics Auctioneers)

A vintage Gretsch Tennessean electric guitar that saw use in the original Monkees TV series is set to be auctioned in the UK this weekend (May 21).

The instrument was originally owned by Michael Nesmith and made appearances both onstage with the band and in the TV show. It was then presented to Gary Arnold, then the Vice President of Best Buy, in appreciation of his company’s role as sponsor of the band’s 1986 reunion shows.

It is signed by all four members of the band, including Nesmith, and has an estimated value of £18,000 to £22,000 (approx. $22,500 - $27,500). 

Historics Auctioneers usually handles classic car sales, but says the instrument came to the market after the current owner heard they were selling a 1966 Pontiac GTO Monkee-mobile that was also used in the Monkees TV show. The auctioneer has described (opens in new tab) the guitar as “a true piece of music history."

A vintage Gretsch Tennessean signed by all four members of the Monkees

A vintage Gretsch Tennessean signed by all four members of the Monkees (Image credit: Historics Auctioneers)

Within The Monkees, Michael Nesmith in particular was fond of Gretsch guitars.

Both with The Monkees and during his solo career, Nesmith often played Gretsch 6075 and 6076 12-string guitars that the company had made for him, along with (opens in new tab) a sunburst Viking model and the company's Monkees signature guitar

In a 2013 interview with Guitar World, Nesmith – in his typically self-effacing manner – discussed his and the Monkees' long-standing relationship with Gretsch, saying, "Gretsch has been supportive and very helpful, although the Monkees' television status has always kept the interest of instrument makers down regarding me. I also am not a very good player, so I don't get the same attention as more accomplished players." 

If you’re interested in the sale of the vintage guitar, head to Historics Auctioneers (opens in new tab).

A previous version of this story stated, in error, that the guitar on sale was a Gretsch Country Gentleman model. 

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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