At once guitar hero and guitar anti-hero, John Abercrombie (1944-2017) was hard to pin down. Unlike most whose musical identity is tied to a specific make and model (Jimi Hendrix and his Fender Stratocaster, or Bill Monroe and his Gibson F-5), his was more fluid, constantly evolving; swapping this for that, pick for thumb, guitar synth for electric mandolin, etc. It is for this reason, perhaps, that when in 2003 a house fire decimated his collection, John rebuilt with instruments from across four continents. The collection now comes to auction as part of the November 9-19 Fine Musical Instruments auction.
Highlighted by important celebrity memorabilia, the collection includes Buddy Cage’s custom Emmons pedal steel (Lot 1245), a pair of speaker cabinets from the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound (Lot 1246), and Eric Dolphy’s Selmer alto saxophone (Lot 1247). Additionally, a rare violin by Jacob Fendt (Lot 1202), silver-mounted violin bow by Victor Fetique (Lot 1099), and early clavichord by John Challis (Lot 1071) round out the sale of 275 lots.
Listen to some of the guitars played below by guitarist Colin Sapp, Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music.
Lot 1248: Brian Moore Custom Shop DC/1 Electric Guitar, c. 2001
Lot 1249: Brian Moore Custom Shop Signature Model Electric Guitar, 2004
Lot 1266: James L. Mapson Jazz Standard Electric Archtop Guitar, 2000
Lot 1267: Ric McCurdy Albion Electric Guitar, c. 2013
Lot 1268: Ric McCurdy Mercury Electric Archtop Guitar, c. 2004
Lot 1269: Sadowsky Semi-Hollow Prototype Electric Guitar, 2006
Lot 1270: Sadowsky Paulownia T-Style Electric Guitar, 2010
Lot 1271: Sadowsky S-Style Electric Guitar, 1994
Lot 1272: Soulezza Signature Model Headless Electric Guitar
Lot 1273: Stefan Schottmueller Television Electric Guitar, 2007
Consider Reading: Perfection in an American Archtop Guitar