The possessions of artists are always in demand, especially after their passing. With Prince‘s untimely passing earlier this year, some of his belongings have gone up for auction, including a guitar the virtuoso used to play before he switched to his iconic symbol guitar.
The Purple One’s Yellow Cloud guitar was sold for $137,500 at a Los Angeles auction this past weekend. According to Zeke Clark, Prince’s former guitar technician, the instrument served as the musician’s “main guitar and used in most of his early videos, touring performances and album recordings” from 1988 to 1994. One of the guitar’s most memorable appearances throughout the six years was when it served alongside Prince. Aside from in the background of Sign ‘O The Times‘ album art, his infamous 1991 MTV VMA performance, where he performed “Gett Off” with The New Power Generation was legendary for his guitar (and where showed his bare ass).
After the Yellow Cloud guitar Prince would forever be shown shredding on his distinguishable symbol guitar, although he did switch it up shortly before his death. Five days prior to his death the legendary musician held a dance party at his very own Paisley Park, where he came onstage and played his Purple Special guitar made by custom guitar maker Simon Farmer.
The instrument has an interesting story. Farmer originally made the Purple Special guitar for Prince when he was touring in the United Kingdom in 2007, but the artist happened to leave before Farmer could try and give it to him. Fast forward to 2015 and fans of Prince are tweeting images of the guitar at Prince’s handle. The following year Farmer received an email from Kirk Johnson, Paisley Park Studios’ estate manager, inquiring about the guitar.
“I thought it was a bit of a hoax,” Farmer told Vanity Fair. “But then after a few correspondences, I realized this was the real thing, the moment I had been waiting for [for] nearly a decade.”
The Purple Special got into the hands of Prince, and he was so impressed with Farmer’s work that he asked the guitar craftsman to build him a bass (which he unfortunately never got the chance to play).
Prince not only knew how to wail on a guitar but he knew how to make a guitar look good. Although his Yellow Cloud guitar is now in the hands of someone else, it’ll always serve as a testament to the musician’s eye for innovation.