Bob Dylan’s guitar from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ album to be sold

Bob Dylan pictured with his 1965 Fender Electric XII 12-string electric guitar. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – Bob Dylan’s personally owned 1965 Fender Electric XII 12-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 16, 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,” said 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.

Bob Dylan’s personally owned 1965 Fender Electric XII 12-string electric guitar. Heritage Auctions image

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 pickguard being quickly changed to the common tortoiseshell pickguard. Featuring 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.

In addition to the rock-solid provenance, a signed letter from Bob Dylan’s management confirming this is the exact guitar he owned and used for the Blonde on Blonde sessions, accompanies the guitar.