By Christopher Scapelliti
Last week, we reported on a Maton Mastersound electric guitar that George Harrison played briefly in the summer of 1963. The guitar sold for $485,000 at Julien’s Music Icons auction last Friday, May 15, a surprising amount of money for a guitar that Harrison never owned and only used at about a dozen Beatles gigs when they were coming up the charts in England.
Lost in that story was news of another guitar that sold at the same auction: a circa-1962 Gibson SG that Eric Clapton once owned but never really played. Kind of the reverse of the Harrison guitar, come to think of it .
The quick story on the SG is that Clapton purchased it in the late Sixties as a replacement for the psychedelic-finished “Fool” 1964 SG he’d used in Cream. (He’d passed the Fool on to Jackie Lomax, or possibly to George Harrison, who then passed it to Lomax). Unfortunately, by the time Clapton bought the 1962 SG, he was well into Fender Strats and was unable to rekindle his interest in the Gibson. He especially disliked the tremolo unit on this particular model.
Julien’s, perhaps recognizing that the guitar had mostly collected dust in Clapton’s collection, wisely set the bar low for the guitar. It was expected to fetch just $30,000 to $40,000, and it did not disappoint. The winning bid was $38,400.
The guitar had previously been auctioned off by Christie’s in the Eric Clapton Guitars in Aid of the Crossroads Centre auction on June 24, 1999. It brought $34,500 at that sale, considerably higher than its $5,000-to-$7,000 estimate for the auction. Judging by the results of last week’s auction, someone paid too much for the guitar in 1999. But at least the money went to a good cause.