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Lot #695
Prince Owned Custom Cloud Guitar

Breathtaking bright yellow custom Cloud guitar created for and owned by Prince

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Estimate: $60000+
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Breathtaking bright yellow custom Cloud guitar created for and owned by Prince

Prince’s personally-owned Cloud electric guitar custom-made by Minneapolis luthier Kurt Nelson in the early 1990s. The neck-through guitar features a bright yellow finish, golden hardware, and cloud-inspired design to body, horn, and headstock, with a unique series of 18 black Prince symbols to fretboard and top of neck. The battery plate bears an affixed “PRN Musical Corp.” label, which is marked “PM 16200.”

Included material related to its construction: Nelson’s original clear plastic guitar pattern sheet, with matching Cloud outline in black felt tip; a Plexiglas cut-out of the upper body with telltale upper horn; and a yellow handkerchief given to Nelson by Paisley Park to color match with the guitar. In fine condition, with a repair to the headstock's uppermost point, a couple small chips to paint (near neck pickup and lower bout), some faint scattered scuffs to back, and a few instances of flaking to interior of swirl designs; these ‘flaws’ in no way detract from the guitar’s otherwise magnificent presentation. An iconic and simply gorgeous Prince-played Cloud guitar that perfectly embodies the flash and flamboyance of its legendary owner.

Includes a condition report from guitar specialist Chris Lamy: “There appears to be an extremely small finish chip towards the lower bout and another near pickup. There is some wear on the frets indicating the guitar has been played. The strings are old and appeared rather fragile and did have some buildup on them, again, indicative this guitar has been played...There is repaired headstock damage to the bass side horn of the headstock and it does not detract or impact playability. I have seen this exact damage on another Cloud and it may just be a weak point on the headstock.” 

Accompanied by a pearloid guitar pick with Prince symbol; the original purple hardshell carrying case with matching plush interior and faux reptile scale exterior; and a detailed letter of provenance from Nelson, who writes: "I built this yellow Cloud guitar after being contacted by Prince and Paisley Park (through my repair work at the Diner Guitar Store in Minneapolis.) They were looking for someone to build a Cloud guitar and found me. They (Paisley Park) lent me the original Cloud guitar to make patterns and take measurements from. I chose to make my copy as a neck-through construction as opposed to glue in neck/body joint. The electronics were chosen by them and I hand-built two copies, both delivered in the early 1990s to Prince at Paisley Park (not sure of the exact date)—one of them got destroyed I heard. I lost contact and never knew what happened to them until recently when this one showed up. After verifying it was one that I had made (Neck body joint) it was offered up for sale. This IS the guitar I built for Prince. The color was chosen by Paisley Park and I was given one of Prince's yellow handkerchiefs to color match the Cloud to. I had my friend John Carston, an auto body painter, do the painting. After he did it, he threw the handkerchief in his sock drawer, and there it sat for a couple of decades. I believe the handkerchief faded after all these years as the paint is catalyzed auto paint and most likely did not change."

The Prince Estate is not affiliated, associated, or connected with RR Auction or this auction, nor has it endorsed, authenticated or sponsored the items available for auction. Further, The Prince Estate has not licensed any of its intellectual property to RR Auction.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #604 - Ended March 10, 2021