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Neal Schon to auction off 112 electric and acoustic guitars, including his Don’t Stop Believin' 1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe

Neal Schon has announced that 112 electric guitars and acoustic guitars from his extensive collection are about to hit the block in a mammoth online auction, which is set to see the sale of his prized six-string possessions.

Of the event, which is being held by Heritage Auctions, Schon said, “These are guitars I’ve been collecting for a very long time and it’s time to let go of some of my collection to make room for new arrivals.”

Chief among the dizzying array of instruments on offer is the guitar used by the Journey guitarist on the band's 1981 album Escape, and the one that became synonymous with the group's mega-hit, Don’t Stop Believin' – a black 1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe.

The iconic axe can also be heard on a number of other famous Journey tracks, including Stone In Love and Who’s Crying Now?, and was wielded during the band’s The Escape Tour in the early ‘80s. 

“This has got quite a story,” said Schon of the LP. “It’s got some snap to it, and with the Floyd Rose, this guitar just sings like crazy.”

Lining up alongside the Don't Stop Believin' Les Paul is an instrument of equal sentimental value – Schon’s 1974 Guild F-50R, which he used to write Wheel in the Sky and Patiently in a Denver hotel room with the band's first lead vocalist Steve Perry.

Used extensively throughout the 1978 album Infinity, Schon described the Guild as his “room warm-up guitar”, and recalled, “It holds history, and it’s on a lot of famous songs.”

As would be expected with an auction of this size, the list of highlights is pretty exhaustive. As well as the Schon-specific models revered for their musical significance are a series of six-strings sought-after for their historical importance.

Two holy grail Sunburst 1959 Gibson Les Paul models are on the roster, as is a white 1961 Gibson SG Custom with Sideways Vibrola tailpiece. In the Fender department, the auction will include a 1951 Telecaster, as well as a host of ‘60s-era Strats in a range of colorways.

There are a number of eye-catching show-stoppers in the collection as well, with Schon’s 2005 PRS Dragon double-neck guitar certainly a standout model. Another double-neck, a 1960 Gibson EDS-1275, is also included in the catalog.

A smattering of unique guitars are also set to be auctioned off, including a 1987 Schon Pearl White Prototype, 1986 Schon NS6 and 1967 Coral Vincent Bell.

“I don’t think there’s any one guitar that defines me – I define myself,” offered Schon when asked about the auction. “It comes from your fingers. It’s in between your fingers and whatever amp you’re plugging into and how you have that guitar set and your own picking style.

“57 years now. That’s how long I’ve been playing,” he continued. “It’s crazy, man. I mean, I should be so much better! All these guitars have a story, a history.”

Bidding is set to begin next Monday (July 12). To browse the mammoth collection, head over to Heritage Auctions (opens in new tab).

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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.