Is Alex Lifeson planning to auction off his guitar collection?

Alex Lifeson of Rush performs in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 16, 2015 in Austin, Texas.
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

We’ve recently seen some pretty amazing guitar auctions for charity from the likes of David Gilmour and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman.

And maybe one day we’ll be able to add Rush electric guitar legend Alex Lifeson to the list.

In a new interview with Make Weird Music, Lifeson said, "I would keep a handful of instruments, but I'd love to sell my collection for some charities that I'm involved with"

He continued, "In fact, what I'd like to do sometime in the near-future is to sell my collection. I think that would be really a great way for these fabulous instruments that have been so sweet and dear to me to carry on and do something very powerful and positive for the world. So that's something that I've been exploring in fact in the last few days."

Regarding his personal collection, Lifeson revealed that he has picked up some nice vintage pieces in the past few years.

"I was never a collector in the early days. I regret that because in the ‘70s I would have had greater access to a larger number of vintage instruments that weren't particularly vintage at the time, like older Les Pauls from the ‘50s and particularly from 1960," he said.

"So I never kind of took advantage of that. I always believed that guitar is what you do with it and it doesn't really matter. So most of my guitars from back then are vintage now only because I'm this old and they are old as well.

"But in the last seven or eight years, I did start to vary my collection a little bit and got a couple of older vintage guitars, some Gretsches, a '57 Les Paul Goldtop, and as I said, the 335, a couple of those actually, a few from that era.

As for his favorite writing guitar? Surprisingly, it’s not a Gibson, but rather a '58 Reissue Telecaster [this is actually most likely a '52 Reissue, as previously identified by Lifeson tech Scott Appleton].

“I bought it in the early ‘80s,” Lifeson said. “I traded an SG that I wasn't crazy about at the time, and I traded it in for this guitar at a music shop that we used to deal with. And I'll tell you, I've probably written 80% of our music on that guitar. It's so comfortable to work on.

"I took all the finish off the neck so it's just bare wood and it feels great – I love the sound of it, my hands just feel so comfortable on that guitar. And for writing, that was really the one for me that was the kind of the standard writing guitar.

"And of course, I used it a lot on records, but typically back then, it was a Les Paul on the left and the Tele on the right or some sort of combination like that. I had lots of guitars and they're my tools, and I use them and I know them. But there's nothing that I feel like I miss that one, or an amp, or anything like that, really." 

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.