Personally-owned Electric XII 12-String authenticated by Fender and singer/songwriter
Bob Dylan’s personally-owned 1965 Fender Electric XII twelve-string electric guitar, which he played during sessions for his seventh LP album Blonde on Blonde, may rewrite music history when it crosses the auction block this Saturday, March 16th at Heritage Auctions.
Aficionados consider Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde as “rock’s first great double album” and two songs from the sessions are included on Rolling Stone Magazine’s prestigious “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
“During those initial sessions in late 1965, Dylan played a host of Fenders, including a Stratocaster and a Fender Electric XII,” states Garry Shrum, Director of Music Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions. “While many of the guitars are recognized as production models, his Electric XII is an incredibly rare specimen.”
The 1966 masterpiece achieved double-platinum status, and due to its combination of grand, driving music and poetic lyrics with a modernist literary slant, Blonde on Blonde is often cited as one of the greatest – and most important – albums in the history of popular music.
The historically important Fender (serial number L72261) was used during the initial writing and recording sessions that took place in New York during October 1965 after Dylan’s first electric tour. As this particular guitar was designed in 1965 with folk and rock artists in mind, naturally the Fender Company personally gave one to Dylan.
It features a combination of the sunburst finish with original pearloid guard and amplifier-style knobs. Only a handful of these specific instruments were ever produced due to the pick guard being quickly changed to the common tortoiseshell pick guard. Featuring a pearloid guard and amplifier-style knobs, the guitar is made with an alder body, rosewood fingerboard, no neck stamp and includes the original black tolex case with a green paint stencil across the top reading “Property of Ashes & Sand Inc.” – which is the name of Dylan’s original touring company.
This legendary guitar can be seen being held by Bob Dylan in several photos from the period, and includes a signed letter of authenticity Jody Carver, former Fender Liaison and employee in various roles from 1949 through the mid-1970s.
Carver worked closely with Leo Fender and worked in sales, product development and public relations. The letter reads, in part, “Due to my knowledge of musicians and studios in the Northeast, I was Fender’s first choice for supplying artists … I have inspected the 1965 Fender Electric XII … serial no L72261, and can confirm (Due to the unique wood grain figuring at the end of the fingerboard) that this was the instrument given to Bob Dylan by the Fender company, and is the one that can be seen on the Bob Dylan sessions in Columbia Studios attended by myself and my nephew Artie Martello in 1965.”
In addition to the rock-solid provenance, a signed letter from Dylan’s management confirming this is the exact guitar he owned and used for the Blonde on Blonde sessions, accompanies the guitar.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
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Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.