In December, Julien’s will hold a massive auction of instruments and memorabilia from the collection of late ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill.
Though it contains a number of notable mementos from Hill's 50+-year tenure with the Little Ol' Band From Texas, the collection's most significant highlight is the fur-covered Dean Zelinsky bass guitar that Hill used in ZZ Top's Legs music video.
Appearing alongside an identical fur-covered electric guitar Zelinsky made for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, the bass and its six-string counterpart were both attached to rigs worn by Hill and Gibbons that allowed the instruments to spin. The end result helped make the Legs video one of the most iconic of the '80s.
Hill's Explorer-style bass and Gibbons' guitar sprung from a 3 a.m. phone call made by the latter to Zelinsky while ZZ Top were on tour. At the end of the call, Zelinsky recalled in a blog post, Gibbons told the luthier, “I’m sending you some sheepskins I purchased while in Scotland, I want you to put them on some guitars.
“Weeks later, the sheepskins showed up and I got to work,” Zelinsky recounted. “I made a matching pair – a Dean Z guitar and bass – painted them white including the fingerboards, painted the Eliminator logo down the necks, and applied the sheepskins... I remember we were still gluing the fur on the tuning keys when the FedEx driver showed up to pick up the guitars. He waited while we boxed them up – they had to make it to the video shoot the very next day.”
Hill's Legs Dean Zelinsky bass is valued at $80,000 - $120,000.
The auction of Hill's collection will run from December 7 to December 9, with a portion of the proceeds going to MusiCares.
The sale also includes Hill's beloved, road-worn 1953 Fender Precision bass. Used by the bassist extensively on the road, the instrument appears on the cover of ZZ Top's 1975 Fandango! LP, and is also valued at $80,000 - $120,000.
For more info, visit Julien's Auctions.