Prince’s electric guitar to go under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions

/ 05:20 PM May 07, 2020
Prince, guitar

The blue electric Cloud guitar custom made for Prince. Image: Courtesy of Julien’s Auction via AFP Relaxnews

More than 700 memorabilia and artifacts from various musicians will be offered during the Julien’s Auctions annual “Music Icons” event, which is scheduled for June 19 to 20 in Beverly Hills and online.

Among the most coveted items is a blue electric “Cloud” guitar adorned with Prince’s love symbols on the neck and gold hardware, custom made for the late musician in 1984.


The instrument made an appearance in the 1984 film “Purple Rain”, in which Prince made his acting debut by playing the semi-autobiographical character of The Kid.

According to Prince’s estate, the superstar first came across the model for the Cloud while browsing in a guitar shop with his childhood friend and first bassist, André Cymone, in the late 1970s.


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Of all the instruments that Prince played throughout his career, the iconic Cloud Guitar has one of the most alluring and mysterious backstories. 🔸 The Cloud first entered the public’s consciousness as the object of The Kid’s affection in Purple Rain, and the way Prince’s character in the film pines after the distinctive satin curves of the guitar as it sits in a display window speaks to just how mesmerized he was by this instrument. 🔸 Prince first came across the model for the Cloud while browsing in a guitar shop with his childhood friend and first bassist, André Cymone, in the late 1970s when Prince was at the very beginning of his solo career. The two musicians were intrigued by the custom bass guitar with hand-carved curves and swirls, which resembled a classical instrument more than one you would see in the hands of a rock or funk musician. 🔸 In 1983, when it came time for Prince to choose an instrument to play in his first film, he brought the Cloud bass to a young Minneapolis luthier named Dave Rusan, who worked at Prince’s favorite local guitar shop, Knut Koupee Music. Recreating the bass as a prop to use in the film took months, and only four copies of the original white Cloud Guitar were made by Rusan — but his Cloud Guitars laid the groundwork for one of the most intriguing stage instruments of the 1980s. 🔸 Dave Rusan understood the significance of a well-crafted guitar to an artist like Prince. “It’s so much more than just part of a costume. It’s a means of expression, power, identity,” he told Premier Guitar. 🔸 Prince had the Cloud Guitar remade many times throughout his career in different colors and finishes, and the instrument re-emerged at several key points in his artistic evolution. Prince would call on the company @schecterguitarsofficial to repair his Clouds and manufacture new replicas for his use, including a run that was sold to fans on Prince’s HitnRun Tour. 🔸 In recent years, the Schecter replicas of the iconic Cloud Guitar have only been available to purchase in-person at Paisley Park. But starting today, players around the world can purchase these exclusive, authentic Cloud Guitars from the Official Prince Store.

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While the instrument on offer no longer has strings, it is accompanied by a Calzone purple guitar road case and a printout from Paisley Park of the list of Cloud guitars made for Prince.

The iconic guitar is now expected to sell for between $100,000 and $200,000, with Julien’s Auctions describing it as “one of the most important guitars from the early years of Prince’s career ever to come to auction.”


Also on offer in “Music Icons” are a two-piece purple suit custom made for Prince in the late 1990s by Dominic Serio (estimated between $15,000 and $20,000); as well as a 14-carat white gold “NPG” pendant with 75 round diamonds (estimated between $30,000 and $50,000).

Elsewhere, Julien’s Auctions will offer a rare page of handwritten working lyrics for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” from the Beatles’ 11th studio album “Abbey Road”.

The manuscript was written in 1968 by Paul McCartney on a sheet of “Apple Corps Limited, 3 Savile Row”-headed stationery, providing insight into the multiple stages of development of the Beatles song.

The page of lyrics is expected to draw between $200,000 and $300,000 — an estimate far from the $910,000 fetched last April by a sheet of paper bearing Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to “Hey Jude” at Julien’s Auctions.

“Julien’s Auctions is proud to present these important artifacts, all of which occupy an unparalleled place in music history and pop culture,” Darren Julien, president and CEO of the auction house, said of the forthcoming “Music Icons” sale in a statement.

Highlights of the auction are scheduled to be exhibited from June 15 through 19 at Julien’s Auctions’ galleries in Beverly Hills, California, although it is still uncertain whether lockdown restrictions will be eased in the state by then. RGA


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