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Blackie, Lenny and the Red 335 Headed to Chicago

Famous Axes set for Public Display

Westlake Village, CA. (July 19, 2007) - For just the second time since Guitar Center bought them for nearly $2.5 million in 2004, three of the most famous guitars in the world will be on public display. Eric Clapton’s "Blackie" Strat, his red Gibson ES-335, and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s "Lenny" Strat can be seen at Guitar Center Chicago Thursday, July 26.

The guitars were purchased during the Clapton Crossroads Centre auction at Christies New York. The Clapton Crossroads Centre is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Antigua. The 2004 auction netted more than $7 million.

Guitar Center will exhibit the guitars alongside a video component featuring performance footage of the famous instruments in their heyday. Two days later, they’ll be on display at Chicago’s Toyota Park during Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival.

“Blackie” has a ’56 alder body and a ’57 maple neck. It was Clapton’s primary guitar from 1973 to 1985 and was featured on the cover of “Slowhand.” It sold for $959,500, breaking a record for the most expensive guitar ever purchased at an auction.

Clapton’s red ’64 ES-335 is the second guitar he bought. He played it for decades, including the time he spent in the Yardbirds. It sold for $847,500. It holds the record for the most expensive Gibson ever purchased at an auction.

Lenny was heavily modified by Vaughn. It is believed to have had a ’63 or ’64 maple neck but was replaced by a non-Fender maple neck given to him by Billy Gibbons. With slightly lighter strings and a softer attack, Lenny was Vaughn’s favorite guitar for lighter moments. It sold for $623,500, the second most expensive Strat ever purchased at an auction.

For more information:

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007