“Being close to him is like approaching a source of spiritual energy. I gave him my guitar as a sign of respect”: B.B. King once gifted one of his Gibson Lucille guitars to the Pope – now it’s up for sale

BB King performs on stage at Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey, United States, January 2 1997
(Image credit: Mark Weiss/Getty Images)

In 1997, B.B. King gifted one of his “Lucille” guitars to Pope John Paul II. 27 years later, this guitar is now up for auction.

“Lucille” is the umbrella name B.B. King gave to his guitars. This particular “Lucille” is a Gibson-made version of the original. 

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Janelle Borg

Janelle is a staff writer at GuitarWorld.com. After a long stint in classical music, Janelle discovered the joys of playing guitar in dingy venues at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Janelle has written extensively about the intersection of music and technology, and how this is shaping the future of the music industry. She also had the pleasure of interviewing Dream Wife, K.Flay, Yīn Yīn, and Black Honey, among others. When she's not writing, you'll find her creating layers of delicious audio lasagna with her art-rock/psych-punk band ĠENN.