Bob Dylan’s 1965 Fender XII 12-string is heading to auction this week
14.04.2021

Bob Dylan’s 1965 Fender XII 12-string is heading to auction this week

Words by Will Brewster

The folk icon used the guitar during the recording of Blonde on Blonde.

An early production model Fender XII 12-string electric guitar previously owned by Bob Dylan is set to be auctioned online later this week.

Read all the latest product, tour, music and industry news here.

Described as an ‘iconic landmark piece of American culture’, the guitar was one of the first to roll off Fender’s XII production line in 1965, and was given to Dylan later that year while he was in New York working on Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde at Columbia Studio A.

While Dylan would eventually shift operations to Nashville to finalise the recording of Blonde on Blonde in February 1966, the Fender XII is confirmed to have been used by Dylan during the album’s early sessions by former Fender Artist Liaison Jody Carver and Dylan’s own management, who both contributed letters of authenticity to the auction.

Dylan’s Fender XII stands out as an outlier from most other Fender XII’s manufactured in the 1960s due to its pearloid pickguard, with most other models being made afterwards featuring a tortoiseshell guard.

The guitar also features a notable amount of woodgrain at the bottom end of the neck, with these two elements being crucial to Carver’s letter of provenance confirming the authenticity of the guitar.

“I have inspected the 1965 Fender Electric XII serial no L72261, and can confirm (due to the unique wood grain figuring at the end of the fingerboard) that this was the instrument given to Bob Dylan by the Fender company, and is the one that can be seen on the Bob Dylan sessions in Columbia Studios attended by myself and my nephew Artie Martello in 1965,” a portion of Carver’s letter reads.

Other specs featured on Dylan’s XII include an alder body and maple neck with rosewood fretboard, as as well as split single-coil pickups, amp-style tone and volume knobs and a classic ’60s Three Tone Sunburst finish.

The famed electric guitar is set to go to auction today via Gotta Have Rock and Roll, and is expected to fetch a price somewhere between $350,000 – $500,000 (roughly $450,000 – $650,000 AUD).

A number of other prominent guitars are also included in the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, including three of Eddie Van Halen’s guitars and Kirk Hammett’s infamous Ouja Board ESP, as well as the iconic ruffled purple outfit donned by Prince in the music videos for ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ‘1999’.

Find out more about Bob Dylan’s Fender XII and explore the auction in full over at Gotta Have Rock and Roll.