• Country Music Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 2276

    Country Music Sale

    3 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1

    ROY ROGERS

    GIBSON INCORPORATED, AN ELECTRIC ARCHTOP GUITAR, SUPER 400, KALAMAZOO, MI., CIRCA 1948

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    ROY ROGERS
    GIBSON INCORPORATED, AN ELECTRIC ARCHTOP GUITAR, SUPER 400, KALAMAZOO, MI., circa 1948
    The headstock inlaid Gibson, labeled Style S-400 Gibson GUITAR Number A-1488 is hereby GUARANTEED against faulty workmanship and materials. GIBSON, Inc. KALAMAZOO, MICH. U.S.A., length of back: 21 7/8 in. (55.5 cm) with original case (2)


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    Roy Rogers is best known for his use of a 1930 C.F. Martin OM-45 Deluxe. That guitar was used throughout his early career with The Sons of The Pioneers. By 1948 Rogers's career was centered in acting and he needed a more dynamic appearing guitar that would translate to the big screen; he chose this Gibson Super 400. Measuring eighteen inches across the bottom bout it was the largest, loudest and most expensive guitar produced by Gibson. From this date onward the Super 400 would be the most iconic guitar used by Rogers and can be seen and heard in numerous films and performances.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Leonard Franklin Slye's (Roy Rogers) career as a professional musician came to fruition in 1933 with the launch of the Western Music ensemble Sons of the Pioneers. Founded by Slye, along with Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer, and Hugh Farr, their unique style of cowboy music sung in tight four-part harmony became synonymous with the Country and Western Music scene in Los Angeles prior to World War II. By 1934 their syndicated radio show on KFWB had broadcast their sound across America, which won them movie work as well as a recording contract with Decca Records the same year. The group would record 32 songs for Decca over the next two years with hits like Way Out There, Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. They would earn the respect of seasoned Hollywood performers like Gene Autry and Bing Crosby and go on to win work with studios like Warner Brothers, Republic Pictures and Columbia. By 1935 Leonard Slye was finding work as both a musician as well as an actor. In 1938 he won the audition as leading man replacing Gene Autry at Republic Pictures where he changed his stage name to Roy Rogers and permanently shifted the focus of his work from music to acting.
    Throughout his career Slye would appear in over 100 films establishing him as a matinee idol in Western Films. Along with his wife Dale Evans, The Roy Rogers Show would expose him to the generation of post war children on both radio and television earning him an endearing following that dubbed him The King of the Cowboys.
    Roy Rogers has been twice voted into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame. His first induction was in 1980 for his contribution as a founding member of the Sons of the Pioneers and again in 1988 for his work as a solo performer.