A unique guitar owned by the late pop legend Prince is heading for sale at Heritage Auctions.
The bright yellow ‘Cloud’ guitar was Prince’s favourite instrument for years, and is expected to sell for more than $30,000 when it hits the block in Dallas next month.
The guitar is one of the first major pieces of Prince memorabilia to be offered for sale, following the star’s untimely death at his Paisley park home in Minnesota on April 21, 2016.
"It’s interesting to realize that Prince personally designed and commissioned this piece of art and it carries hallmarks of his famous ‘Love Symbol’, which he would adopt as his name during a famous contract dispute with Warner Bros. in the early 1990s," said Garry Shrum, Director of Music Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions. "One glimpse and you have no doubt that this is Prince’s guitar."
Prince played the distinctive custom-built guitar extensively in the studio on stage and from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, during his legendary live shows which would often last for hours.
inished in bright yellow with gold-tone hardware, the guitar was built to Prince’s exact specifications and includes Schaller tuners, a Floyd Rose Original tremolo (with bar), an EMG humbucker bridge pickup, a single coil neck pickup, one volume knob, one tone knob, a three-way switch, nut, and truss rod cover.
It comes complete with a letter of provenance from Prince’s long-time guitar technician Zeke Clark, who writes:
"This Yellow Cloud guitar was Prince’s main guitar and used in most of his early videos and touring performances & album recordings. In 1994 he broke the neck of this guitar at a French T.V. show. After returning to [United States], I repaired neck and installed the first Floyd Rose set up Prince ever played … [a]nd then used in recording more albums, up until the symbol guitar was born."
"Prince was rarely photographed without an electric guitar strapped to his body," said Shrum. "As celebrity stage-used instruments go, this piece is as unique as Beethoven’s piano or John Coltrane’s saxophone."
The auction will also offer Prince fans the chance to get their hands on an early demo tape dating from 1976-77, featuring three songs recorded before the Purple One signed his first contract. ‘Just as Long as We’re Together’ and ‘My Love Is Forever’ were later re-recorded for Prince’s 1978 debut album For You, while the third ‘Jelly Jam’ which was later reworked into part of ‘Just as Long…’. The reel-to-reel tape, bearing a label hand-written by Prince himself, is valued at $2,000+.
Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment Signature Auction takes place in Dallas on June 24-25.