24 January 2021

Guitar played by rock star Prince could sell for £80,000

24 January 2021

A living room devoted to the late Prince is about to lose its star exhibit when a guitar played by the rock star goes up for auction.

The guitar, a Fender Gemini II acoustic, which was played by Prince on his Diamonds And Pearls album, has been housed in a living room alongside items of Prince’s clothing and other memorabilia.

But now the guitar, owned by two brothers from Frome, Somerset, who are devoted Prince fans, could sell for as much as £80,000.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs with Prince's Fender Gemini II guitar (Gardiner Houlgate/PA).

The brothers, who wish to remain anonymous, are selling the guitar because their plans to share ownership have been disrupted by the younger brother moving to Spain.

Speaking from his new home, the younger brother said: “In the six months since we bought the guitar, it’s been displayed in my brother’s living room – in what we call his Prince corner.

“Lots of our friends have seen it but we’ve not let anyone play it. But now I’ve moved to Spain, it’s not practical for us to share the guitar so we’ve decided to put it up for sale.”

The brothers acquired the guitar from American music producer Sylvia Massy, who engineered Prince’s 1991 album Diamonds And Pearls.

Massy had brought a selection of expensive guitars in a West Hollywood studio for Prince to use but he selected Massy’s own guitar, an old Fender Gemini II, which retailed around £150 new.

Prince used the guitar on a selection of tracks on the album, most notably Walk Don’t Walk.

The story of how Prince selected Sylvia Massy’s old guitar and used it on the album is the stuff of music industry legend

The guitar is being sold by specialist music auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate in Wiltshire on March 10.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “The story of how Prince selected Sylvia Massy’s old guitar and used it on the album is the stuff of music industry legend.

“What no one knew was that the guitar has been sitting in a living room in Frome since last year. You couldn’t make it up.

“While these guitars are relatively cheap to buy new, interest in Prince from both collectors and fans is very high.

“We’re certainly expecting lots of interest from America but frankly we could have a buyer from virtually anywhere in the world. Lockdown has also increased interest in music instrument sales.”

The brothers, Prince fans for more than 30 years and frequent attendees at his live shows, were hit hard by Prince’s death in 2016.

The younger brother said: “It was like losing a member of our family. My brother still struggles to listen to Purple Rain.

“So, when we got the guitar it was amazing. We owned something that Prince had played and touched.

“You could even see strumming marks made by his plectrum on the black pick guard.”

Diamonds And Pearls reached number 2 in the UK albums chart and went triple platinum.

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