Stellar custom-made Fender 'space guitar' signed by 12 astronauts
Out-of-this-world NASA-themed Fender Stratocaster electric guitar custom made by master builder Chip Ellis, signed on the body and black pickguard in gold ink by 12 legendary astronauts, a fraternity that includes: “Alan Bean, Apollo 12,” “Gene Cernan,” “Michael Collins,” “Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7,” “Charlie Duke, Apollo 16,” “Joe Engle, Space Shuttle, X-15,” “John Glenn,” “Richard Gordon,” “Fred Haise, Apollo 13,” “James Lovell, Apollo 13,” “Dave Scott, Apollo 15,” and “Tom Stafford.” Signed by both the first American to orbit Earth (Glenn) and the last man to walk on the Moon (Cernan), this is a piece of enormous significance. Reverse of headstock features Serial Number US12305229, and is signed in black felt tip by Ellis, with added date of 2012. The body of this gorgeous guitar features a variety of space and NASA-related images to front and back, such as insignia for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, the NASA ‘meatball’ logo, and images of the lunar module and rover on the surface of the moon. Includes a deluxe Fender tweed-and-leather hard-shell carrying case. In fine condition, with some ink adhesion issues to Duke, Engle, Scott, Haise, and Glenn. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from Zarelli Space Authentication, as well as by a copy of a notarized certificate of authenticity from Ellis’s father, Captain Charles E. Ellis, Jr., the Vice President/Corporate Secretary of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.
Chip Ellis, a senior master builder and project engineer for Fender’s Research and Development Division, made just two of these absolutely stunning electric 'space guitars,' both of which were presented at the Salute to the Pioneers of Space event held at the National Naval Aviation Museum on December 14 and 15, 2012, a two-day gala that celebrated the 40th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 17, the final lunar-landing mission. A total of 12 NASA astronauts signed the two guitars, with one now displayed in the Fender Museum of Music and the Arts, and the other offered here to be sold to raise funds for the National Naval Aviation Museum and National Flight Academy.
Ellis has built and designed custom guitars for many of Fender’s top musical artists, such as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Perry, John Fogerty, Duane Eddy, Jack White, and many others. His distinctive work with Van Halen has continued since 2006 with the introduction of the EVH brand of guitars. Ellis continues to work closely with Van Halen, designing and building new models for the brand, as well as customizing the guitars EVH records with and brings on tour; three of the guitars he built for Eddie Van Halen are displayed at the Smithsonian, and another is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The winning bid is to be designated as a contribution to the NAMF, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the National Naval Aviation Museum and National Flight Academy.