A Telecaster-style guitar hand-built for Keith Richards is going up for auction for $400,000 – but without its original neck

Richards’ longtime guitar tech Ted Newman Jones built the guitar in the late 1970s.

Keith Richards mahogany Telecaster

Credit: Nate D. Sanders Auctions

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A mahogany Telecaster-style guitar hand-built for Keith Richards is going up for auction at $400,000.

The T-style guitar was built for the Rolling Stones guitarist by his guitar technician Ted Newman Jones, also founder of Newman Guitars. It’s been authenticated by Stones gear expert Andy Babiuk, who was able to confirm that it’s the guitar used by Richards to record the band’s 1978 album Some Girls, while Richards also played it on the subsequent tour.

Newman Jones brought the mahogany body and pickguard together with a Fender rosewood neck, Tele bridge pickups and a Fender bridge. Shortly after building the guitar, he stood down from his role as Richards’ guitar tech to focus on his new guitar store and luthiery business, which was founded with a $20,000 loan from Richards and is still going strong today.

The Rolling Stones
Credit: Nate D. Sanders Auctions

According to Babiuk’s Letter of Authenticity, The Who’s guitar tech Alan Rogan began working with the Stones in 1981. He “had David Schecter build a Telecaster body made of rosewood and took the neck off the Newman Custom Built Telecaster and made a new Rosewood Telecaster guitar for Keith to use”.

He explains that the Newman-built body was given to Schecter, who fitted it with a Tele-style neck and a new bridge/pickup assembly. At the time, Schecter owned Schecter Guitar Research, and sold the guitar to a radio station executive to whom Richards inscribed it, “To Doc, Love & Prescriptions / Keith Richards.”

The auction begins with a minimum bid of $400,000, and begins tomorrow (25 April). You can find more information on the Nate D. Sanders Auctions website.

Richards’ old T-style axe isn’t the only eye-catching guitar set to go up for auction soon, however. For those who always preferred The Beatles to the Stones, John Lennon’s old Framus 12-string acoustic guitar is being auctioned off next month and is predicted to become one of the most expensive guitars ever.


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