Keith Richards’ 1952 Gibson SJ Southern Jumbo acoustic - an instrument the guitarist reportedly shot in a fit of rage - is going under the hammer later today via GottaHaveRockAndRoll.com.
The story of the bullet holes dates back to an occasion on the band’s 1995 tour that Richards’ found Ronnie Wood jamming on the instrument.
“Richards asked where Wood got the guitar from, and Wood said he borrowed it from Mick Jagger,” reads the listing statement. “Richards was so mad that they took his guitar that he grabbed it, sandwiched it between two pillows, took out a gun and shot it. The guitar not only still has the hole, but also has remnants from one of the foam pillows used to silence it.”
Images from the auction illustrate the bullet holes in the front and back of the instrument, as well as wear around the upper side of the soundhole.
The vintage acoustic in sunburst finish is reported to have been used during The Rolling Stones’ 1995 gigs (in particular, the small club shows that fed into that year’s Stripped album).
The instrument had a special place during the set of the Stripped shows as it was Richards’ favored guitar for the track Shine A Light – a song that had been released on Exile On Main Street but never performed live before that tour.
The listing includes a book of images, measurements, and unique markings used to identify the instrument and prove its provenance.
Other items up for sale at GHRAR include a Jimmy Page-played 1971 Fender Stratocaster, Ace Frehley's heavily modified double-cut 1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, several Eddie Van Halen-played guitars and amps, plus the Fender Stratocaster Prince smashed in his My Name Is Prince music video.
That said, Richards' old Gibson nonetheless represents a pretty unique opportunity. As the auction page notes: “Fair condition; body has a bullet-hole, guitar is still playable.”
The auction will open at 9am ET on August 8, 2021. Head to GottaHaveRockAndRoll.com for more information.