Don’t fret: pluck this antique guitar at auction

The Gibson 400, Gibson valve amp and Epiphone Olympic guitar

The Gibson 400, Gibson valve amp and Epiphone Olympic guitar

A rare wartime guitar – played by a member of an award-winning dance band and used to accompany the Glenn Miller Orchestra – will be sold at a Cotswolds auction later this month.

The Super 400 is so unusual because the manufacturer, Gibson, ceased imports to the UK at the outbreak of the second world war in 1939.

However, professional musician Maurice Goodearl – who played with Eric Wakefield and his Blue Rhythm Band and once accompanied members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra at Wycombe Abbey – managed to find one at Francis Day & Hunter in Charing Cross Road in 1941.

He paid £90 for the guitar – not far off the forecourt price of a brand new Ford Eight saloon car. And when it goes under the hammer at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Friday, December 9 it is expected to achieve between £3,000 and £5,000.

The Super 400 was the hip hop bling of its day – and professional musicians flocked for one, despite the austerity imposed by the war.

At 18 inches wide and 21 inches long it was larger than anything else on the market, and ostentatious too – the highly-ornamental model boasted neck, rims and back of maple, finest spruce top in sunburst finish and oval ebony fingerboard.

Maurice Goodearl (right) with his Gibson Super 400 and fellow members of Eric Wakefield and his Blue Rhythm BandFamous musicians of the day, including Dan Perri of Jack Hylton’s Band, Peter Sloan of Northern Broadcasting Star, Harry Davis of Oscar Rabin’s Band and Norman Brown of the Mills Brothers, all endorsed the model.

Auctioneer Philip Allwood said: “This is a superb example of a highly collectable guitar, and we are expecting lots of interest.”

The Super 400 will be sold alongside a circa 1940s Gibson valve amp in leatherette bound wooden case, which carries an estimate of £80 to £120, and a 1930s Epiphone Olympic guitar, with spruce body and mahogany back, which should achieve between £100 and £150

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