Dylan's 'going electric' tour Telecaster sells for $490,000

Update: A 1965 Fender Telecaster owned by The Band’s Robbie Robertson sold for $490,000 at a mammoth two-day auction of musical gear and memorabilia this weekend. 

The historic guitar was played by Bob Dylan on his “going electric” 1966 tour. Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm and George Harrison also played it in anger and over the years it featured on numerous notable recordings and performances, from Dylan’s Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat to The Band’s legendary set at Woodstock. You can read more about this highly-desirable instrument in our original report, below.

Also under the hammer was George Harrison’s first electric guitar, a Hofner Club 40, which sold for an eye-watering $430,000. Harrison played the small blonde with black body binding single-cutaway hollow body instrument in the early days of The Beatles when they performed as The Quarrymen.

Our original report: It's fair to say that sections of Bob Dylan's fan base were less than enthralled when the folk star "went electric" in the mid 1960s. 

So tumultuous a turning point was the now-legendary Newport Folk Festival performance, in fact, that the Stratocaster played on that occasion sold for $965,000 in 2013.

Now, the 1965 Fender Telecaster that Dylan played on seminal album Blonde on Blonde and his first full electric tour the following year is up for sale as part of auction house Julien's latest "Music Icons" blowout, with an estimated final value of $400,000 to $600,000.

The highly desirable Tele also saw heavy service with Robbie Robertson on tracks like Up On Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Robertson was, of course, a member of Dylan's backing group The Hawks on his '66 roadshow, before that band became The Band.

(Image credit: Julien's)

Robertson says "This guitar has been on the front lines of so many phenomenal events, I gaze at it with amazement." It was also played extensively by other music legends including Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Levon Helm, defining the sound of some of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.

In 1970, Robertson stripped the original black finish back to bare wood, and he says that other modifications, most notably the Bigsby vibrato, "seemed to give it a new life, along with a different creative surge." 

For more details on this and several other starry lots, head over to Julien's Music Icons site now.

(Image credit: Alice Ochs / Getty)

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