Keith Richards-played 1957 Gibson Les Paul Mickey Baker Deluxe, traded to Gram Parsons, goes under the hammer

Keith Richards and Gibson Les Paul
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images / Gotta Have Rock And Roll)

A 1957 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Mickey Baker electric guitar owned and played by Rolling Stone icon Keith Richards has gone up for auction at Gotta Have Rock And Roll.

Estimated to sell for $200,000, the axe was initially owned by Richards, who then traded it to fellow guitar legend Gram Parsons in return for a flame-top alternative Les Paul. Parsons, who held onto the six-string for many years, then passed it on to a childhood friend, Alan Knight.

The Les Paul in question is, more specifically, a Mickey Baker custom model, and was built for the pioneering jazz/blues/rock ‘n’ roll guitarist – who was one half of Mickey and Sylvia – in 1957.

Keith Richards Gibson Les Paul

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock And Roll)

As the story goes, Richards and Baker were close friends, and would often trade guitars during their jam sessions. After receiving the Mickey Baker from Richards – serial number 7-4033 – Parsons gave it to Knight, who often attended the pair’s impromptu jam sessions.

Knight’s family then sold the guitar to Carlton Music Center, Winter Haven, in 1972 after he had left it there following a flying visit. Alan recognized the guitar upon visiting the music store and re-purchased the instrument, adding it to his collection.

According to Gotta Have Rock And Roll, the guitar – which had a brief stint at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – has been wholly unrestored, and is estimated to be "90% original with only a few minor changes."

On the subject of appointments, the Mickey Baker models – now a rare breed in the guitar world – were equipped with a fairly unorthodox spec sheet. As demonstrated by Music Is Win’s Tyler Larson, the triple humbucker-equipped guitar ditches the pickup switch in favor of a master tone knob, which can be used to blend voices together.

Further, the guitar only features three control knobs – a trio of independent pickup-specific volume knobs.

The Gotta Have Rock And Roll listing also makes mention of We Buy Guitars’ Richie Feldman, who is said to have examined the guitar and labeled it as one of only a handful of 1957 Mickey Baker models known to exist.

Bidding commenced on December 1, and is set to continue until December 10.

To find out more, head over to Gotta Have Rock And Roll.

It’s not the only high-profile instrument that the online auctioneer has under the hammer. Last week, a Stevie Ray Vaughan-played Fender Elite Stratocaster that had been purchased by Mark Tremonti went up for auction, and is estimated to sell for $150,000.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.