Bob Dylan's 1965 Fender XII 12-string goes up for auction

Bob Dylan
(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

A Fender Electric XII 12-string guitar, which was personally owned and played by Bob Dylan, has gone up for sale at online auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

The model in question was designed in 1965 and given to the singer-songwriter to play during recordings at New York's Colombia Studio A that year, including Highway 61 Revisited and early sessions for Blonde on Blonde, before the album's production moved to Nashville in February 1966.

A handful of available photographs show Dylan wielding the rare 12-string guitar, which is one of “only a handful” ever produced, due to the pearloid pickguard being changed to a tortoiseshell on later models.

The guitar is listed alongside a letter of authenticity from Jody Carver, who previously served as Fender Liaison to artists, as well as a signed letter of provenance from Dylan’s management confirming that this was the model used in the New York Blonde on Blonde sessions.

Carver’s letter reads, “I have inspected the 1965 Electric XII… serial no L72261, and can confirm (due to the unique wood grain figuring at the end of the fingerboard) that this was the instrument given to Bob Dylan by the Fender company.

“[This] is the one that can be seen on the Bob Dylan sessions in Columbia Studios attended by myself and my nephew Artie Martell in 1965,” Carver continues.

Two other letters of authenticity, one from George Gruhn and one from Clive Brown, are included in the listing, as is a Dylan-owned leather guitar strap and the original Ashes & Ashes touring case.

Dylan’s 12-string model features an alder body and a rosewood fretboard, as well as a sunburst finish, pearloid pickguard and amplifier-style knobs.

The "iconic landmark piece of American culture" is estimated to sell on Gotta Have Rock and Roll for between $350,000 and $500,000.

To find out more, head over to Gotta Have Rock and Roll (opens in new tab).

Bob Dylan’s Fender XII string is one of several iconic guitars currently being auctioned off by Gotta Have Rock and Roll, with three Eddie Van Halen-played guitars – including his 1986 Kramer Custom – and Kirk Hammett’s Ouija Board ESP also listed.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.