Paul McCartney’s 1988 Gibson Les Paul Custom is up for auction

Bids for the axe begin at $40,000.

Not all guitars are created equal and for those looking to get their hands on a very special one, your time has come, as Paul McCartney’s Les Paul Custom is now up for auction.

According to Robb Report, a 1988 Gibson Les Paul Custom that the former Beatles member played during a TV tribute to the legendary guitarist and inventor will be sold at auction next month.

Inclusive of its original hard case, the guitar — which is still in playing shape — will be auctioned off in July as part of Heritage Auctions’ Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature Auction. Bids are currently accepted, starting at $40,000 and the auction is slated to conclude on 17 July.


The instrument was made for McCartney for his appearance on the 1988 HBO special Les Paul and Friends: A Tribute Concert, though scheduling conflicts ultimately prevented him from performing there. The singer did, however, find time to sit for a taped segment that aired during the concert, whereby he talked about Les’s influence and even played one of Les’s songs using the guitar.

Gibson had made Les Pauls for McCartney and all of the other musicians — including luminaries like B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, and Carli Simon — who appeared on the programme, and each guitar was reportedly tailored to each player’s needs and style.

The former Beatle is a southpaw, notes Heritage Auctions, so his axe is a left-handed model done up in gloss black offset by gold accents on the tuning pegs, pickups and bridge. The Les Paul Custom, serial no. 81898520, also comes with a matching black pickguard that reads “Paul McCartney 8-18-88”, commemorating the performance.

“Whoever owns this guitar owns a double piece of history,” reads the listing.

Last year, one of the bass guitars owned and played by Paul McCartney in his post-Beatles band Wings broke the auction price record, fetching a whopping $471,900.

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