Radiohead, Rush, Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney and U2 auctioning off guitars for charity

Electric guitar
(Image credit: Van Eaton Galleries)

Electric guitars and acoustic guitars owned and played by the members of Radiohead, Rush, Pearl Jam, The Beatles and U2 are set to go up for auction in a Music Rising charity event.

Hosted by Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles, the auction has been organized by The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin, who have assembled a star-studded selection of unique Gibsons, Fenders, Martins and more.

Names involved in the event include, of course, The Edge, as well as Ed O’Brien, Slash, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Lzzy Hale, Tom Morello, Noel Gallagher, Joan Jett, Bono, Adam Clayton and Paul Stanley.

Joining them are Flea, Johnny Marr, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Ronnie Wood, Chris Martin, Alex Lifeson and many more, with band-signed instruments arriving from Green Day and Kings Of Leon.

The event – officially dubbed Guitars Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising – will be in support of musicians of the Gulf South who have been devastated by Hurricane Ida and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights in the collection – and trust us, there are a few – include Lzzy Hale’s signed Epiphone Explorer signature prototype, used extensively during Halestrom’s 2019 tour, and The Edge’s Custom Fender Stratocaster, which featured during U2’s live performances of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Bad in 2017-19.

Elsewhere, the auction features Ed O’Brien’s Fender EOB Stratocaster – used heavily on the last Radiohead tour in 2016-2018 – as well as Paul Stanley’s one-of-a-king stage-used Ibanez Custom Shop and Johnny Marr’s studio-played Limited Fender Jaguar.

And, at risk of getting carried away with the embarrassment of riches on display, final mentions go to Paul McCartney’s tour- and studio-played Yamaha BB-1200 bass, Lenny Kravitz’s Gibson Custom Shop Flying V and Eddie Vedder’s concert-smashed Fender Telecaster.

Electric guitars and acoustic guitars

(Image credit: Van Eaton Galleries)

Writing in a foreword in the auction’s catalog, The Edge and Ezrin said, “Today we are faced with the ongoing financial impacts to our entire industry of the pandemic. When it struck, musicians and crew members across the world quickly saw the cancellation of tours, club performances, recording sessions and music festivals.

“Guitar Icons will take us back to our roots to help musicians of the NOLA region weather this storm until they are able to regain their livelihoods,” they added. “The proceeds from this auction will go directly to those musicians and crews as cash payments that will hopefully help them get back on their feet.”

To find out more, head over to Van Eaton Galleries (opens in new tab).

In other auction-related news, Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominos Martin D-45 sold for a staggering $625,000 at Julien's Auction's Icons & Idols event, which also featured instruments from David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen.

While none of those instruments broke any records, you can find out which bank-breaking instruments are currently in the record books in our guide of the 10 most expensive guitars ever sold at auction.

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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.