The Who bassist’s guitar up for auction in France

A bass designed by and built for The Who rocker John Entwistle will be sold at auction in Lyon in eastern France Thursday, an auction house said.

Estimated at between 12,000 and 15,000 euros ($13,000-$16,240), the angular axe from a band better remembered for smashing instruments will be on offer in the afternoon at the De Baecque auction house.

The guitar was a “prototype” built by German guitar-maker Warwick “at John Entwistle’s request after he sketched it,” auctioneer Etienne de Baecque said, before a limited run were offered for sale.

Entwistle, whose signature in gold felt-tip pen adorns the rear of the bass, gave the model away after demonstrating it at the 1988 opening of a Guitar Center shop in Lyon — now closed.

A Lyon-based collector had kept it since then, but has now put many of his items up for sale.

There had been “a lot of interest from all over the world” in the guitar built for Entwistle, who died in 2002, de Baecque said.

“Collectors are a bit obsessive, the fact that it’s signed and dated is attractive for them,” he added. “Objects like this set you to dreaming.”

“The Who was a legendary group,” said Antoine Stacchetti, the former manager of the Lyon Guitar Center, who came to see the bass and other items on sale Thursday.

He called Entwistle “a memorable personality” after watching him demonstrate the bass 36 years ago.

The bassist’s instrument is “a very specific model,” Stacchetti added. “It’s huge, which matches his size”.

Entwistle was known as “the Ox” for his imposing stage presence.


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