Elvis Presley’s guitar named world’s most expensive instrument

Elvis Presley’s iconic cherry red guitar has officially been valued at $5million, making it the world’s most expensive instrument.

The landmark valuation means Presley’s cherry red Hagstrom Viking II electric guitar has taken over in top spot from Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E, which sold at auction for £4.85m.

The Hagstrom Viking II is a semi-hollow-body electric guitar known for its distinctive design and tone. Manufactured by the Swedish company Hagstrom, this model gained popularity in the 1960s for its versatile sound and unique features. The guitar’s construction contributed to its warm and resonant tones, making it a favoured choice among musicians of various genres.

The red guitar was most famously played in what is considered Presley’s best performance, commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special. The concert was broadcast on December 3rd, 1968, and revitalised Presley’s career.

Before taking to the air to perform hits including ‘If I Can Dream’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’, his career had long stalled. He hadn’t achieved a top ten hit for years, instead focusing on a film career that increasingly put him out of touch with his young audience.

Following the success of the broadcast, Elvis considered the guitar his good luck charm, and it made an appearance on the subsequent Elvis in Memphis album cover, which spawned hits such as ‘Suspicious Minds’ and ‘In the Ghetto’, and was followed by his legendary Vegas residency.

The ’68 Comeback Special has endured cultural relevance, serving as a pivotal moment in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, Elvis, helping the guitar achieve its $5m valuation.

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