Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour is auctioning off more than 120 of his iconic guitars to raise money for charity.
The David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction takes place at Christie’s in New York on Thursday 20th June 2019 and boasts a veritable smorgasbord of Fender Broadcasters, Esquires, Telecasters and Stratocasters David has played with Pink Floyd and as a solo artist over the decades.
Undoubtedly the standout instrument at the auction is David’s fabled 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster, which is known simply as The Black Strat.
Bought in 1970 at Manny’s on West 48th Street in New York, the modified guitar was used on Pink Floyd albums ‘Meddle’, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Animals’ and ‘The Wall’.
David performed his legendary ‘Comfortably Numb’ solo on The Black Strat, and also used it on his own studio albums ‘David Gilmour’ (1978), ‘About Face’ (1984), ‘On an Island’ (2006) and ‘Rattle that Lock’ (2015).
Also the subject of a book written by David’s guitar technician Phil Taylor, The Black Strat is estimated to fetch $100,000 to $150,000 (£75,900 to £113,870) under the hammer.
Billed by Christie’s as ‘the largest and most comprehensive sale of guitars ever offered at auction’, all proceeds from The David Gilmour Guitar Collection sale will go directly to UK and global charities.
“The money will be going to the larger needs of famine relief, homelessness and displacement of people throughout the world,” David tells Rolling Stone. “We are going to work on the best way and the best balance of making what this raises do as much good on this planet as it can.”
In a statement to Christie’s, David said: “Many of the guitars in this sale are guitars that have given me a tune. So, a lot of them have earned their keep, you might say.
“These guitars have given so much to me, and it’s time for them to move on to other people who hopefully will find joy, and perhaps create something new.”
Other guitars up for sale include David’s 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001 (estimate: £75,900 to £113,870) that was used on Another Brick in the Wall (Parts 2 and 3), amongst other songs.
A rare Gretsch White Penguin 6134 is also predicted to fetch £75,900 to £113,870, a 1957 ‘Ex-Homer Hayes’ Stratocaster with gold-plated hardware and finished in the rare custom colour of Lake Placid Blue is listed at £45,500 to £68,290, while a 1955 Gibson Les Paul has an estimated price tag of £22,760 to £37,940.
Ahead of the sale in June, the full collection will go on display in London at Christie’s King Street from 27th to 31st March. Highlights will go on view in Los Angeles in May before the New York sale preview in June.
A close-up of David Gilmour’s Black Strat © Getty
Commented on whether he’s sad to say goodbye to his Black Strat, David said: “You know something? For me, I can let go of it. It’s going to bring a lot of people to have a look at this sale, and it’s going to do that job.
“It’s a lovely guitar. It has been on pretty much all the Pink Floyd albums through the Seventies. It’s on Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall. I did my “Comfortably Numb” solo on it. The notes for the beginning of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” fell out of it one day. It’s on so much stuff, but Fender have made replica ones that they sell, and I have two or three of those that are absolutely perfect. One of those might be my future guitar of choice or even, horror of horror, maybe I’ll even change the colour.”
Asked by Rolling Stone if sees the auction as closing a chapter on Pink Floyd, David responded: “I don’t think I do that. I will obviously be sad to be losing some of these instruments, but I will also be slightly relieved at losing the weight of having all these instruments and not knowing what is going to happen to them or where they’re going to go. I want them to move on. I’ve been their custodian for a number of years and now it’s someone else’s turn to have them and use them, to create with them.”