Don McLean's Vincent Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar is going up for auction

Don McLean plays the 1969 Martin 00-21 on which he wrote the song Vincent
(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

The acoustic guitar that singer/songwriter Don McLean used to write Vincent, one of his biggest hits, is set to go up for auction.

The guitar in question, a 1969 Martin 00-21, was also used to record a number of other songs (Til Tomorrow, Winterwood, Empty Chairs, Sister Fatima, and The Grave) for McLean's most successful album, 1971's chart-topping American Pie. It's set to go under the hammer via Julien's Auctions (opens in new tab).

To answer the next question you probably have, no, this is not the guitar McLean used on the song American Pie. According to Julien's (opens in new tab), that distinction belongs to one of the artist's equally beloved Martin D-28s.

McLean, Julien's reports (opens in new tab), purchased a pair of Martin 00-21s in 1969. He retrofitted the one that's going up for auction with Schaller tuners, and ended up selling the other shortly after.

Said to be in "good condition with scrapes and scratches and signs of a re-glued bridge," the guitar features a solid spruce top, and rosewood back, sides, and bridge. It also sports a 12-fret mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard sporting dot inlays, and a slotted headstock with the aforementioned Schaller strip tuners.

The 00-21 will be sold with its original faux snakeskin hard case, and with pages from American Troubadour (McLean's 2012 autobiography) depicting him with the instrument.

Notably, McLean's handwritten and annotated working lyrics for Vincent are also going up for auction on Julien's (opens in new tab) at the same time.

The current high bid, as of press time, for Don McLean's Vincent Martin 00-21 is $90,000. The guitar's estimated value, meanwhile, is $200,000 – $400,000. It will go up for sale – along with a wide variety of other items from McLean's personal collection – from November 11 through November 13 online, and at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City.

A portion of the proceeds from the funds raised by the sale of the guitar – and other items in McLean's collection – will go to (opens in new tab) the Don McLean Foundation, which contributes funds to underserved college students, homeless shelters and food banks in the state of Maine and throughout the country, and Kicking The Stigma, Indianapolis Colts CEO Jim Irsay’s national initiative to raise awareness about mental health issues, and remove the stigma around them.

For more info on the guitar, visit Julien's (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.