Neal Schon has sent some of his most-famous acoustic and electric guitars off to auction, including the 1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe that he recorded Journey mega-hit Don't Stop Believin‘ on, and a pair of quite immaculate looking 1959 Les Paul Standards.
The auction, which is being hosted by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, is a cornucopia of vintage guitar delights, with a 1960 Gibson ES-355, a Butterscotch Blonde Fender Telecaster from 1953, Goldtops from '55... It just goes on and on.
But Journey fans will be particularly interested in a number of special items in the collection, most notably his 1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. Heavily modded and now equipped with a Fernandes Sustainer at the neck, this heavyweight (10.8lbs) veteran of the The Escape Tour saw the 80s in in style as it was, according to Schon, the first Gibson to be fitted with a double-locking Floyd Rose vibrato.
With credits including Don't Stop Believin', Stone In Love, and Who's Crying Now, there's no question that this is guitar has some songs in it. But despite the history behind it, will it fetch a higher price than the pair of 1959 Les Paul Standards on the block?
On the '59 Grainger 'Burst, so-called because it once belonged to Gary Grainger of Rod Stewart's band, Schon said he was looking for a clean vintage model with a beautiful top. ”This guitar, I saw it and I was like, ‘Wow!‘” says Schon. ”It was like a must-have. It has a really cool top to it, a little more burnt around the edges than some of the others.”
The other unnamed 'Burst is similarly immaculate for its age, all original, and its presence for auction feels like it should be a paging Joe Bonamassa moment.
Another highlight from the auction is Schon's 1974 Guild F-50R jumbo acoustic, on which he wrote and recorded the likes of Wheel In The Sky and Winds Of March.
It played an important role in Journey's history as Schon and then-new vocalist Steve Perry were holed up in a hotel room where they would write their first song together, patiently. The jumbo has a solid Sitka spruce top with solid rosewood on the back and sides and was one of Guild's most-popular acoustic guitars.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Neal Schon mega-auction without a double-neck or two, and he does not disappoint, offering up his 2005 Paul Reed Smith Dragon Double-Neck. ”Man, the amount of work put into these original Dragons? It's just insane,” says Schon. ”I mean, I have one of his new ones that he gifted me, and it's amazing, but there are many more hours of work in this because it is all up and down the neck and the body. This is an incredibly good sounding one.”
In demonstrating it in the video below, Schon violates the no-Stairway rule but all for a good cause as he demystifies one of Jimmy Page's overdubbing techniques on the Led Zeppelin classic.
The auction opens this Sunday, 12 July, and closes on the 31st. See Heritage Auctions for more details.