Skip to main content

Guitars played by Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Ace Frehley go up for auction

(from left) guitars played by Ace Frehley, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix
(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock And Roll)

Auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll is set to put a number of electric guitars – including instruments played by Ace Frehley, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix – under the auction block. 

Also on offer is a guitar... neck, that was destroyed – along with the guitar it was once part of – by Kurt Cobain during a Nirvana show in 1990. 

We'll take you through all three of those star-affiliated guitars – and the star-affiliated guitar neck – below, starting with a red Hamer prototype used by George Harrison. 

Now, the quiet Beatle is – to put it mildly – not typically associated with Hamers. However, Gotta Have Rock and Roll says (opens in new tab), he found himself in need of one during the fall 1987 recording session for the extended mix of his chart-topping hit, Got My Mind Set on You.

Harrison is said to have arrived at the brief session – which took place at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles – without a guitar. Strangely, neither the studio nor Harrison's producer – and future Traveling Wilburys bandmate – Jeff Lynne ended up having one either, prompting the studio's staff technician, Jeffrey Gilbert, to offer Harrison his Hamer prototype.

Harrison did indeed use the Hamer (serial number 1-4192) for the solo, and, as a thank-you, went on to sign the back of the guitar before giving it back to Gilbert.

Valued (opens in new tab) at $100,000 - $150,000, with a minimum bid of $60,000, the guitar comes with a letter of authenticity from Gilbert, a letter from Bill Bottrell – who engineered the session – corroborating the story, a letter from Frank Caiazzo (an expert (opens in new tab) at authenticating Beatles autographs) and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity.

Bidding for the guitar will close Friday, August 19.

Next up is an Olympic white 1969 Fender Stratocaster, said (opens in new tab) to have been once owned and played by the one and only Jimi Hendrix.

Boasting an alder body and a maple neck – with no skunk stripe – and fingerboard, and three original single-coil pickups, the guitar comes with a black hardshell case. 

In terms of provenance, the guitar comes (opens in new tab) with a 2006 notarized letter from TaharQa Z. Aleem – a close friend of Hendrix's and a frequent collaborator – stating that the guitar once belonged to Hendrix, and a 2005 notarized letter from Paul Caruso (another friend of Hendrix's) confirming that the Strat belonged to the guitar hero, and that he saw it at the Record Plant Studios in New York in March 1970.

The vintage Strat also comes with a photo of Caruso with the guitar and seven photos of Emmaretta Marks (who sang backing vocals on a number of Hendrix recordings) holding the guitar, plus a Gotta Have Rock and Roll Certificate of Authenticity.

The guitar is valued at $150,000 - $200,000, with a minimum bid of $100,000. Bidding for the guitar will also close August 19.

Next up is a Steve Carr-designed UFO "Rocket Shooter" guitar used extensively onstage by former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley.

According to Gotta Have Rock and Roll, the Rocket Shooter (opens in new tab) was used by Frehley consistently during Kiss's hugely successful reunion and subsequent "farewell" tours in the late '90s and early oughts, and still features the original rear headstock harness that held the guitar's rocket firework mechanism.

Said to be in "great working condition," the guitar comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Frehley to the auction house's unnamed consignor, plus matching shipping documentation from Frehley to the consignor, and is valued at $150,000 - $200,000, with a minimum bid of $100,000. 

As is the case for other guitars in this group, bidding for the Steve Carr Ace Frehley UFO Rocket Shooter closes on August 19. 

A Steve Carr-designed Ace Frehley UFO Rocket Shooter guitar

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

Finally, there's the neck of a guitar that was smashed by Kurt Cobain at a Nirvana show on February 14, 1990, at the Kennel Club in San Francisco, California.

The unfortunate guitar in question, from the looks of the neck – which has a Fernandes-branded backplate – was a sort of FrankenStang, if you will, with a Mustang-style body finished in surf green that sported a custom-made pickguard, with a picture of Jesus on the front.

The smashed neck from one of Kurt Cobain's guitars

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

Following the show in which the guitar was climactically destroyed, a fan is said (opens in new tab) to have grabbed the body, before being informed by Nirvana's crew that Cobain wanted to use the battered body to build a new guitar. The fan was then given the guitar's neck, which was hastily autographed by Cobain with his initials.

The neck – which is valued at $75,000 - $100,000, and has a minimum bid of $50,000 – comes with a letter of provenance and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. Bidding for it closes on August 19.

The smashed neck from one of Kurt Cobain's guitars

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

For more info on the sale of these and other prominent guitars and rock memorabilia, visit Gotta Have Rock and Roll's website (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. 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.