I was just scanning some recent guitar auctions, as I am wont to do, and I saw something super cool at a Guernsey’s auction from February 27: Tony Mottola’s 1952 7-string, 24-fret Gibson Custom Super 400CES. Mottola was a legendary session musician who played with Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. He also played in the Doc Severinson Orchestra on The Tonight Show. This guitar has a carved spruce top with maple back and sides, and custom P90 pickups with seven pole pieces. It was offered for auction with its original hard case and a copy of the production ledger for March 1992. The serial number is A 9934. What an amazing piece of history. Following are some more guitars – including instruments belonging to Eddie Van Halen and Richie Sambora – but first here are some more pics of the 7-string:
There was some other neat stuff in the auction too. Here are some of them:
An early 1930s guitar believed to be a prototype of the Rickenbacker ‘Frying Pan,’ the first production electric guitar model ever. It had been in one family since the 1940s, and is reported to have been a prototype: the owner provided an affidavit stating that her grandfather was a friend of Adolf Rickenbacher who give the guitar to his pal in the 40s. A Rickenbacker authority has examined the instrument and says there is no evidence to support a connection to Rickenbacker but notes that it appears to be of the period and a very early example of an electric guitar.
A 1966-67 Fender Stratocaster belonging to Stevie Ray Vaughan, serial number 191460. There are a bunch of stickers on this one, including one which still reads the word ‘Cobras.’ Stevie played with Paul Ray and the Cobras from 1975-77, and you can see him with what appears to be this guitar in this pic:
Check out this beautiful red Fender James Burton Telecaster signed by James Burton himself on the lower bout. Burton is, of course, the guitar legend who played with Elvis Presley and Rick Nelson, and he has had a number of great Telecaster models over the years.
This 1981 Les Paul Custom belonged to John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, and it has some pretty neat features including extreme wear on the neck and what appears to be a Strat-style tummy cut. See?
Here are a few of your rarer Ibanez Jems: the venerable ‘Loch Ness Green’ JEM777 LNG and a JEM77 BFP (Blue Floral Print). Hell yeah.
This was the flagship Jem model in 1987, and Steve Vai sold all 777 of them. This is #40 of 777. And folks who own them don’t tend to sell them very often. Note the original palm rest over the Ibanez Edge vibrato. Cool.
And although there’s a Premium series version of this guitar available now, this is one of the originals. The finish is created with a paper print of a floral pattern glued to the body and headstock and then clear coated, in contrast to the original floral Jems which were made using curtain material to match the drapes at Steves’ parents’ place.
Here’s a Gibson Historic Collection Flying V ’59 Korina was played extensively by Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi between 2002 and 2005. It has a one-piece Korina neck with a thin profile, and the pickups are hot ’57 reissue PAF humbuckers with outputs of 7.97k and 7.73k. Richie has inscribed the guitar with “Richie Sambora “05” / Everyday Video / Bounce Tour / S.N.L. “05”.
This Marilyn Monroe guitar was carved by Stan Farr from cherry wood for Rock ‘n’ Wood in Chicago, 1979. It’s rocking a pair of DiMarzio humbuckers on the front, but despite all the very interesting things on Marilyn’s front there’s something very cool around her back as well:
Yep, she has signatures on her back from a few dozen legends inlcluding Frank and Dweezil Zappa, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx, Keith Richards, Angus Young, Rick Neilsen, Johnnie Winter, Alice Cooper, Paul Reed Smith, Billy Idol. But even cooler is…
Holy crap, it’s Eddie Van Halen’s striped Charvel. From the looks of it this dates from around the time Charvel was making Eddie Van Halen guitars when they really shouldn’t have. According to the auction listing, “Apparently Van Halen personally ordered five guitars made by Charvel/Jackson in April 1982 before the cease and desist order was filed, or Grover Jackson gave the guitars to Van Halen as a peace offering. This instrument was one of those Charvel guitars.”