Duane Allman’s Legendary ‘Layla’ Gibson Guitar Sells For $1.25 Million

The late, lamented guitarist also played the guitar on the Allman Brothers Band’s first two albums.

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Duane Allman Layla Gibson Guitar Sells
Photo: Courtesy of Gotta Have Rock n Roll Auctions

A 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop once owned by Duane Allman, and played on the legendary Derek and the Dominos song ‘Layla,’ sold at auction for $1.25 million recently.

Allman also used the Goldtop on the Allman Brothers debut album released in ‘69, as well as Idlewild South released in 1970. The albums featured the original versions of ‘Whipping Post,’ ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,’ ‘Midnight Rider,’ ‘Revival’ and other classics. The guitar can clearly be seen in the ‘Loan Me A Dime’ studio sessions.  It was used on the Historic ‘Layla’ sessions with Eric Clapton on August 1970 before Allman traded it. It changed hands three more times before the seller acquired it in 1977.

Calling it “one of the most important guitars in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” auctioneers Gotta Have Rock and Roll said the instrument was known as Allman’s “Studio Guitar.”

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“Duane was one of the greatest guitar players in history, ranking No. 9 by Rolling Stone magazine,” they noted. “This guitar would be the holy grail in any collection or museum. The guitar has been on display at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in Macon, Ga. The guitar also still has been getting played, with recent players such as Billy Gibbons, Kirk Hammett, Charlie Starr, Vince Gill, Derek Trucks and many more.”

Documenting how Allman gave up ownership of the instrument, the auction description noted that on Sept. 16, 1970, “the Allmans played a show in Duane and Gregg Allman’s hometown of Daytona, Florida. Duane, fresh off recording ‘Layla’ was, as usual, playing his ’57 Goldtop. The opening band was a local group called the Stone Balloon, whose guitarist, Rick Stine, was playing a 1959 cherry sunburst Les Paul, which Duane was fond of. While making ‘Layla,’ he had fallen in love with Clapton’s cherry sunburst. Wanting one of his own, Duane offered to swap Les Pauls with Rick. When Rick hesitated, Allman upped the stakes, throwing in $200 and one of his regular Marshall 50 heads. Rick agreed and the deal was finalized.”

Earlier this year, another Allman guitar, the Gibson SG he played on the Allman Brothers’ classic 1970 album At Filmore East – which later belonged to Graham Nash – sold for $591,000. That was enough to make it one of the 20 most valuable guitars ever sold, Guitar World noted.

The first five landmark Allman Brothers Band albums are out now on coloured vinyl and can be bought here.


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