Chuck Berry Stage Played Guitar!


6th January 2023

This March, Gardiner Houlgate is delighted to present a 1964 Gibson Firebird V electric guitar that was used by Chuck Berry at Wembley Stadium in 1972.

The guitar that was owned from new by Donwliners Sect guitarist Terry Clemson, will feature in our next specialist guitar auction on 8th March 2023 (lot 201)

See the lot listing in our preview catalogue and our video overview via our YouTube channel.

Chuck Berry & Terry Clemson - 1964 Gibson Firebird V electric guitar, made in USA, Body: black re-finish, dings and marks throughout; Neck: minor dings and marks; Fretboard: rosewood. mild wear; Frets: good, re-fret; Electric: working, potentiometers with '64 date codes; Hardware: general tarnishing to metal parts, rusting to smaller screws, nickel plate loss to tremelo arm, three replacement bridge saddles, later pickguard; Case: heavy duty flight case (foam lining deterioration); Weight: 3.86kg; Overall condition: good for age

* Formerly owned by Terry Clemson (known as Terry Gibson), a renowned guitarist playing with many legendary musicians such as Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and Bo Diddley, to name a few. Terry also played in his own bands including the Downliners Sect, who were signed to Columbia Records, with their records now being highly sought after by collectors. 
Terry purchased the guitar in 1964, when it had its original sunburst finish. Terry can be seen playing the guitar in its original form with Gene Vincent in the late 1960s. Somewhen between this photo being taken and 1972, the guitar was re-finished in black, as we see it today. 

The guitars most prominent outing was at the The London Rock and Roll Show at Wembley Stadium in 1972, where headliner Chuck Berry was handed the guitar to close out his extended performance, who at the time was enjoying major chart success in the UK and USA with his hit "My Ding-a-Ling". Terry can be seen handing Chuck Berry the guitar at 1:16:15 ( ). It is believed that the strap that is sold alongside the guitar is the one that Chuck was wearing during this performance. A still image from this concert was used as the album cover for a 2017 double CD release of three albums and bonus tracks, including 'Rockin' at the Hops', 'One Dozen Berrys' and 'New Juke Box Hits'.

Terry played for many of the artists featured on the Rock and Roll show line up, including The Houseshakers, Screaming Lord Sutch, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

Many images show Terry with the guitar in a solo capacity as well as with Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bo Diddley, Screaming Lord Sutch.

A small envelope sent from Gibson to Terry is included, bearing Terrys previous address. The envelope contains a small selection of bridge spares, possibly the original saddles and wheels.

The vendor recently acquired the guitar from Terrys family, having sadly passed away in 2020, just after the guitar had a professional re-fret.

Estimate £10,000 - 20,000

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