John McVie’s iconic ‘Rumours’ bass to go under the hammer in star-studded Fleetwood Mac auction

Singer Stevie Nicks and bass player John McVie of the rock group "Fleetwood Mac" perform onstage in May 1977 in Oakland, California
(Image credit: Photo by Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

A collection of Fleetwood Mac memorabilia is expected to fetch thousands when it goes under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Fleetwood Mac: Property from the Lives and Careers of Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood is a two day auction, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit MusiCares, a leading music industry charity.

One of the most prized offerings is a custom Alembic Series I bass used by John McVie on ‘The Chain,’ and several other tracks from the Rumours album. 

John McVie's Alembic Series I

John McVie’s custom Alembic Series I with a ‘continuously fretted’ stainless steel fingerboard. (Image credit: Julien's Auction)

“In 1976 I got a call at Alembic from John McVie of Fleetwood Mac,” the late master luthier Rick Turner told BP when we interviewed him in 2018. “The band was at the Record Plant in Sausalito to record their second album, to be known as Rumours, and John invited me down to check the setup on his early Alembic. 

Vinyl album jacket of the re-issue of Fleetwood Mac's, Rumours.

(Image credit: Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

John started buying Alembic basses that I’d bring to the studio, and they included the very first carbon fiber necked instrument, a short-scale bass in the shape now made famous by Stanley Clarke, and a long-scale fretless with a stainless steel fingerboard, which can be heard on ‘The Chain’. It’s the one used in the bass intro to the song outro — bum, ba ba bum ba ba ba ba ba booooommmmm before Lindsey’s screaming Strat comes in.”

Fleetwood Mac fans can also bid on a 1962 Fender Bass VI gifted by Peter Green, a 1953 Gibson EB1, a fretless Fender Precision from 1970 and a Kramer that was used for the 'Little Lies' music video in 1987.

To find out more about the sale visit Julien's Auction (opens in new tab)

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Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.