Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman’s colossal Steel Wheels bass amp rig goes up for auction

(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Julien’s Auctions has partnered with MusiCares for a charity auction to provide aid to artists and music community professionals devastated by coronavirus.

The auction house has called on artists, celebrities and other public figures to help support these efforts by donating items and memorabilia from their life and career.

Leading the charge is former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman, who launched the initiative by offering the complete custom Mesa Boogie bass amp rig used for the band’s 1989 – 1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle World Tour.

The rig is being sold at no reserve with a pre-auction estimate at $200,000 - $300,000 and has been appraised at $2 million USD.

It includes a Mesa Boogie Road Ready 118 speaker cabinet loaded with an 18-inch Electro-Voice speaker, a Mesa Boogie Road Ready 1516 speaker cabinet with one 15-inch speaker, one 10-inch speaker and two six-inch speakers, a Mesa Boogie Road Ready 1516 speaker cabinet with one 15-inch speaker, one 10-inch speaker and two six-inch speakers and a Mesa Boogie Bass 400 Bass Head rack mounted in a Mesa Boogie SUS-3 Super Shockmount System case and Mesa Boogie Strategy 400 Stereo Slave Head.

(Image credit: Amy Sancetta/AP Shutterstock)

“Having myself been in quarantine for the past ten weeks, I can really feel for my fellow musicians and artists who are suffering from the impact of the pandemic,” Wyman said.

“When MusiCares reached out to me about providing something for their COVID-19 Relief Fund, I decided to help by offering my original bass rig that I used on the Steel Wheels US Tour of 1989, which I consider to be an important part of the Stones and music’s history.

“Nothing would please me more than to know that the proceeds from the sale of this, will go to support my fellow musicians during this time of need, and to also know that my bass rig will find a new home where it will be appreciated for years to come."

Additional artists who have committed to donating items include Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Tony Iommi, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Billie Eilish, Blake Shelton, Brandon Flowers, Cher, Dave Gahan, Hans Zimmer and more.

Designated lots will share proceeds with MusiCares and the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund, including items signed by artists who have played Opry shows without an audience in attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Charity Auction takes place September 16 in Beverly Hills and online at Julien’s Auctions (opens in new tab).

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.