The Gotta Have Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction Winter 2021
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2021
Rolling Stones legendary guitarist Keith Richards owned and played 1957 Mickey Baker model Gibson Les Paul Custom electric guitar that he traded to his close friend, another guitar legend, Gram Parsons. With only a handful of Mickey Baker model guitars known to exist, this unrestored, original guitar itself is not only extremely rare, but it also has an incredible history that transcends the stage and goes into the family basement, where two guitar heroes hung-out and jammed, traded stories and riffs, and eventually this guitar.

The guitar, which resided for a time at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (paperwork included), comes from the collection of brothers Doug and Alan Knight, long-time close friends of Gram Parsons, who grew up with Gram. Alan was especially close to Gram as he spent many days and nights hanging out with Gram at his home in Winter Haven, Florida, and experienced first-hand the tumultuous life of Gram’s family. It was after graduating in 1965 that Gram left for California and his story with the Byrds began. One night when Parsons was playing with the Byrds they opened up for the Rolling Stones, and Gram took off with Keith Richards, leaving Roger Guinn in the lurch. Parsons' relationship with the Byrds was stormy and did not end well, but his friendship with Keith Richards was a profound kinship born out of their love of playing guitar. Chris Hillman has confirmed that Gram played the guitar on the Byrds album ""Sweetheart of the Rodeo".

Even after finding success in California, with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram was always drawn back to his home, and Keith would visit him there, to hang out and play. Gram also had other visitors such as Chris Hillman and John Phillips. Keith came so often that Alan and Doug's mother would refer to him as “Charles Manson” because he always showed up scruffy and disheveled. Alan would often tag along with Keith and Gram and hang out with them. Keith and Gram would jam, and hang, and jam some more – always playing, and trading guitars as they played. It was during this time that Keith traded Gram his black 1957 Gibson Deluxe guitar, with serial #7-4033 for Gram’s 1959 Les Paul guitar.

Gram Parsons died tragically of a Morphine overdose in September 1973. A personal tragedy for his family and friends, and a tragedy to the world of rock and roll who would not hear him play live again and would be denied what would have surely been an extensive career filled with incredible music. The last time Alan saw Gram was on a weekend in the summer of 1973, just prior to his death, but he already had the guitar in his possession. Parsons had left the guitar at home after one of his visits, and it had been sold by his family to the local guitar shop by 1972. When visiting the guitar shop, the Carlton Music Center in Winter Haven, in January 1972, Doug purchased this guitar because the guitar shop knew it was Gram's and when he brought it home, Alan recognzed it as Keith's guitar that he traded to Gram.

The guitar has remained in Alan and Doug Knight’s possession since that time, almost 50 years, except for a stint at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from November 2002 to May 2003. According to Richie Feldman of We Buy Guitars, who examined the guitar fully, the guitar is only one of a handful of 1957 Mickey Baker’s known to exist, and he himself, who has seen and examined more guitars than anyone else in his industry, said it is only one of two that he has ever seen. The guitar is 90% original with only a few minor changes. The guitar will come with a full condition report from Gotta Have Rock and Roll.com based on the examination by Richie Friedman. The guitar also comes with the original loan agreement with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as a detailed letter of provenance from Doug Knight. Alan will also provide a letter discussing the guitar and his recent phone conversation with Keith after a Rolling Stones concert in Florida when Keith confirmed that the guitar first belonged to him and that he traded it to Gram for Gram's 1959 Les Paul (Keith spoke to him on the phone when he found out that Alan wasn't able to attend the concert and use his backstage passes). A Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity will also accompany the guitar. To learn more and see the guitar in action, you can view Music is Win’s Tyler Larson’s YouTube video in which he talks about and plays this extraordinary guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnQEHUSyNjw. For further information please contact us at info@gottahaverockandroll.com or at 212-750-7900/800-950-1202.
Keith Richards Owned and Played 1957 Mickey Baker Model Gibson Les Paul Custom Guitar Traded To Gram Parsons
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Minimum Bid: $200,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $300,000
Estimate: $300,000 - $400,000
Number of Bids:3
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