Garage Content Creates Rock’s Greatest Guitars Up For Auction

The contents of a converted garage, frequented by rock legends such as George Harrison and Ronnie Wood, are expected to cause a wave of excitement among music fans as they go up for sale. .

He parked his car in Chatham, Kent, which was the workshop of Britain’s leading guitar maker, the late Tony Zemaitis.

It has been visited regularly by the likes of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood, Pete Townshend, Bobby Womack and David Bowie producer Tony Visconti.


Luke Hobbs Auction House with desks belonging to guitar maker Tony Zemaitis (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

While Zemaitis shuns the limelight, his distinctive guitars have been used by some of the biggest names in the music world and continue to be sought after by collectors and musicians alike.

Among the lots from Zemaitis’s workshop are documents, books, tools, his work bench, memorabilia and wall panels covered with photographs and designs.

Letters from George Harrison and even one of Harrison’s own sketches for a guitar are said to attract many bids.

Born in Tottenham, of Lithuanian descent, Zemaitis was originally a cabinetmaker who used his skills to build some of the most iconic electric and acoustic guitars ever made.

In 1969, he built an oversized 12-string acoustic guitar for Eric Clapton called Ivan the Terrible, considered the largest in the world.

His instruments have been played on stage by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mike Oldfield, Donovan and Bob Dylan among others. He passed away in 2002.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs, from Gardiner Houlgate Auctions in Corsham, Wiltshire, said: “This is a single sale and we estimate items could sell in the region between £20,000 and £30,000. .

“Tony’s workshop is almost a temple for guitar aficionados. Tucked away in this quiet suburban street, he has produced some of the finest guitars this country has ever seen.

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“I’m surprised the council didn’t put a blue sign on it. Some of the most famous rock stars in the world visited Tony there. “


Luke Hobbs Auction House with a painting by George Harrison (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

Zemaitis has developed an ornately carved metal shield and also inlaid pearls for the fronts of its electric guitars. Both make them well worth using on stage.

Zemaitis’s son, Tony Zemaitis Jnr, said: “We are incredibly proud of what Dad has achieved and don’t want the content in his workshop, which has remained untouched since his death, just disappear. pass away.

“The auction is a way for people who love Dad’s work to own something of his.”

Recalling his father’s famous guests, he said: “I could come home from school to see Bobby Womack in the workshop, or George Harrison would come by surprise in his Porsche 944 then compare the notes with his father. , who have the same car model.

“At other times, I see various rock stars in the kitchen enjoying mom’s homemade pizza. Our neighbors do not know who visited. “

Confining his production to maintain quality, high demand for Zemaitis guitars in the 1990s led to his instruments changing hands for £20,000 each on the second-hand and manufacturing markets. fake Zemaitis guitar.

The auction will take place on December 8. Garage Content Creates Rock’s Greatest Guitars Up For Auction

Fry Electronics Team

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