Randy Rhoads’ prototype Jackson RR3, once lost for 25 years, goes up for auction

Randy Rhoads’ prototype Jackson RR3, which was lost for 25 years after it was mistakenly sold to the public, has gone up for auction.

The axe was one of four custom electric guitars that Rhoads had commissioned California luthier Grover Jackson to build, and features a number of ahead-of-its-time appointments cherry picked by the Ozzy Osbourne guitarist himself.

It followed the RR1 and RR2, both of which Rhoads played and critiqued for improvements, though the RR3 was still being built by Jackson at the time of the guitarist’s death in March 1982. 

Jackson put the guitar, along with an additional RR4, away for safekeeping, but brought them both out for a NAMM show in the early '80s. The RR3 was accidentally sold to the public at the event, and subsequently went missing.

After its sale, the guitar was snapped up by Rhoads mega-fan Sean Clegg, who came across the axe when a young player took it into his shop when he was just 17 years old.

As Clegg explains, “When it first came into the shop, the guy opened the case [and said], ‘I got this from Grover’s NAMM show accidentally, he sold it to me.’ I was shaking.

“I knew I had to have that guitar. I was the Randy guy in town, right?” he continued. “That’s how I acquired it, but it was never really meant to go out in public.”

After purchasing the RR3, Clegg “played it without telling anybody” about it, fearing he would get robbed or strong-armed by jealous guitar fans. “It was considered the lost Randy Rhoads guitar for 25 years. It’s the most special Jackson, aside from the ones he played,” Clegg added. 

Clegg originally showcased his prized possession in the April 2007 issue of Guitar World, and at the time said, “I felt like a warrior who found his magic sword. It was my dream axe.”

In terms of specs, the RR3 was tweaked to rectify the grievances Rhoads had with the first two models, namely the fretboard length and body shape. As such, it features a neck-through-body construction, an ebony 'board and an accentuated upper bout.

Jackson RR3 electric guitar

The Jackson RR3 in the April '07 issue of Guitar World (Image credit: Analogr)

It also comes equipped with Seymour Duncan humbuckers, an angled headstock and a graphite nut, as well as custom brass hardware complementing the bright white finish.

“It just wants to be played,” Clegg continued. “This guitar is part of my soul. I’ve been playing it for 35 years. Whoever gets it is going to be one lucky S.O.B., if I may.”

Currently, the highest bid sits at $52,500. 

For more information, or to place a bid, head over to Analogr.

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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.