Iconic guitar used when Bob Dylan went electric on display in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Ask any music buff and they will tell you there are about a dozen iconic guitars, made famous by the musicians who played them.

The instruments of greats like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jerry Garcia often fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the guitar that arrived Sunday at the American Writers Museum is worth more than any other: just under $1 million. It’s the same electric guitar Bob Dylan used to change music history when he last played it in 1965.

With a Nobel prize in literature and some of the most prolific lyrics to date, Dylan shaped not just music, but also literature around the world. Then he shocked folk music fans when he plugged in and went electric with a Fender Stratocaster at the Newport folk festival on July 25, 1965. That moment was the date folk music and rock ‘n’ roll collided, opening a new genre of possibilities.

As Dylan flew home in from the Newport festival, the guitar was reportedly left in a plane.  It was later sold in 2013 for $965,000, fetching more than any guitar in music history.

The iconic guitar will be on display at the American Writers Museum starting Friday, along with original song manuscripts, Dylan’s poetry and other rare memorabilia through the end of April.


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