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A 1990 Gretsch White Falcon used by Dave Grohl in the Monkey Wrench video is going up for auction

The 1990 Gretsch White Falcon formerly owned by Pat Smear
(Image credit: Gardiner Houlgate)

A Gretsch White Falcon that was previously owned by Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear and used by Dave Grohl in the video for the band’s 1997 single Monkey Wrench is up for sale via auction.

The classic hollowbody electric guitar was built in 1990 in Japan before Pat Smear acquired it around 1996. The Foo Fighters and former Germs guitarist quickly put it to good use in early 1997 during sessions for The Colour and the Shape, his first record with the band. It also saw extensive use on tour in the late-’90s.

Smear reportedly requested that his tech Earnie Bailey make several modifications to the guitar, most notably swapping out a Bigsby vibrato for a ‘Cadillac style’ tailpiece and incorporating feedback limiting measures, including pillow stuffing and black velvet over the f-holes.

In addition, Smear had the selector switch swapped out in favor of a rotary dial, which replaced the master volume.

The listing page states that Pat Smear sold his White Falcon as part of a larger clear-out (via eBay) in the early 2000s and the original note of provenance from the guitarist is included in the sale. 

“I had to have a White Falcon after seeing the great Matthew Ashman use one with Bow Wow Wow in 1981,” reads Smear’s note. 

“The guitar looked amazing but the early ones were super rare and expensive and the '70s models had all that extra crap like dampeners and stereo switches. When the '90s reissues came out I could finally get one without worrying about banging around some overpriced museum piece on the road... or so I thought. 

The 1990 Gretsch White Falcon formerly owned by Pat Smear

(Image credit: Gardiner Houlgate)

“It instantly became one of my favourites, getting special treatment (note the 'Stays on the bus' sticker on the case) and was usually the one to pull out to play in hotel rooms and show off to visiting friends. 

“Earnie made modifications while on tour, eventually creating my ultimate Falcon (as seen in the Monkey Wrench video). I played this guitar on several Foo Fighters tours and on The Colour and The Shape album. It was also used by Harlow on their Harlow Land album.” 

The note is then signed: “Enjoy! Pat Smear, 2002”. 

The 1990 Gretsch White Falcon formerly owned by Pat Smear

The sale includes photos of Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Drew Barrymore and film director David Markey playing the guitar (Image credit: Gardiner Houlgate)

The instrument is up for sale via UK auction house Gardiner Houlgate and carries an estimate of £15,000-30,000 (approx. $12,495-25,360). Bidding is now open with the auction set to end on September 8. 

For more information, head to Guitar Auctions at Gardiner Houlgate (opens in new tab).

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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.