A 1956 Gibson Super 400 CES/Scotty Moore
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A 1956 Gibson Super 400 CES/Scotty Moore

A 1956 Gibson Super 400 CES/Scotty Moore
Serial No. A-24672, Factory Order No. V7370 7, in natural finish, maple body with round cutaway, arched spruce top with bound f-holes, maple neck, twenty-fret bound ebony fingerboard with split block inlays, headstock face with split diamond inlay, two alnico pickups, four rotary controls, selector switch, wooden bridge, metal tailpiece and bound imitation tortoise-shell pickguard; and a brown hardshell contour case with pink plush lining; accompanied by a photocopy of typescript statement from Scotty Moore, signed, dated 6th November, 1992; and a photocopy of receipt for the guitar dated 1/8/57 on Chicago Musical Instrument Co. headed stationery with typescript details, the serial number A-24672, the style S-400CESN. Gibson Guitar and in brackets With Elvis Presley; and a corresponding black and white machine-print photograph of Elvis Presley
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

This guitar is believed to have been used on more hit records than any other comparable instrument in pop history.

It was originally purchased by Scotty Moore, the guitarist with Elvis Presley's backing band, on 8th January 1957, from the Chicago Musical Instrument Co. Scotty Moore used the guitar on almost all his recording sessions and live appearances with Elvis Presley over the next two years. The instrument became known by other musicians and fans as 'the blonde Elvis guitar'.

Among the Elvis Presley records on which Scotty Moore used the guitar were All Shook Up, Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, King Creole and One Night. In addition, Scotty is seen playing the guitar in the Elvis Presley feature films Loving You, 1957 and Jailhouse Rock, 1957. Elvis himself is known to have played the guitar on numerous occasions, both in the studio and on film sets. According to Chips, Scotty Moore would frequently get annoyed with Elvis for playing around with the guitar he described as "his pride and joy".
In 1963, Scotty Moore passed the guitar on to Chips Moman. In a letter of authentication dated 6th November 1992, Moore explained: "In 1963, I was working at Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, TN. We needed some equipment for the studio for which funds were not available. Chips Moman owned his studio in Memphis, American Studio, and he had the set of vibes which we needed. I had recently acquired a new guitar and had an old one available, which Chips wanted for the historical value. The guitar was traded for one set of vibes, a small classic guitar, and $80.00 cash". Moore added that, "The guitar was acquired by me at approximately the time that Elvis Presley began making movies, and I used it on all sessions, stage shows, and live appearances from that time until Elvis went into the Army".

According to Chips, although the sales invoice is dated 1957, Scotty actually acquired this guitar in 1956.

Chips Moman himself regularly used the guitar during his own recording sessions, both as a sessionman and a producer. It was used on literally hundreds of sessions between 1963 and the early 70s, appearing on several hundred hit records, including Aretha Franklin's Do Right Woman and I Ain't Never Loved A Man, Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally and Bobby Womack's Fly Me To The Moon. Sessionman Reggie Young played the guitar on Elvis Presley's 1969 sessions in Memphis, which produced the hit singles Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto.

Chips Moman first met Scotty Moore in the mid-1950s when Moore hired him to play on some sessions for the Fernwood label. Moman later reciprocated this arrangement, inviting Moore to play on the original version of Carla Thomas's hit, Gee Whiz.

Besides its use on recording sessions, the 'blonde Elvis guitar' has been handled and played by a galaxy of pop and rock stars. "Every rock star that I've run across in the last twenty years has wanted to play it", Moman explains. "I've had people travelling to the studio specially so that they can see that guitar. You think of a name, and they've played it".

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