The Band‘s Robbie Robertson recounts the storied history of the 1965 Fender Telecaster Bob Dylan used on his first electric tour in a new video from Julien’s Auctions. Robertson will auction off his guitar used by Dylan as part of Julien’s upcoming Music Icons sale, set to take place May 19th.
While the Telecaster became Dylan’s primary instrument as he embarked on the most controversial and revolutionary phase of his career, his first electric guitar – the one he played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 – was a Fender Stratocaster. Robertson had just started playing with Dylan as part of his backing band, the Hawks (later re-named the Band), and, in the video, he said he advised Dylan to switch guitar models for two reasons: The Strat was more likely to go out of tune, and it was heavier than the Tele.
Dylan used the Telecaster throughout his first electric tour in 1966, which included shows across North America, Europe and Australia. “When something like that’s going on, you don’t really understand what it is, you’re just kind of putting your head down and charging forward,” Roberstson said. “You don’t find out until later on that you’re really part of a musical revolution, and what you were doing was going to change music forever.”
Robertson and Dylan shared the Telecaster over the next decade. Dylan used it on Blonde on Blonde, while Robertson played it on the Band’s classic albums, Music From Big Pink and The Band. The guitar was also on hand when Dylan and the Band linked up again for their 1974 tour. “We played that whole tour and nobody booed,” Robertson joked.
The guitar is expected to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000 at auction, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the American Indian College Fund. Julien’s Auctions will host its Music Icons sale live at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York and online.