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One of the Most Important and Well-Documented Instruments in Music History

1970 Rickenbacker 4001 Bass Guitar, serial no. JG143 to jackplate, in natural Mapleglo finish. Purchased in 1970 by Maurice Gibb and played extensively by Gibb in the recording studio and live on stage. Used exclusively by Gibb to record all of the legendary Bee Gees tracks appearing on the historic “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack album (1977). Signed and inscribed in black pen by all three members of the Bee Gees: Maurice (d. 2003) , Barry, and Robin Gibb (d. 2012).



The guitar features a natural finish with checkerboard binding, maple and walnut through-neck with lacquered African rosewood fingerboard with triangular crushed pearl inlays and twin truss rods, two pickups (one neck Toaster pickup and one bridge Horseshoe pickup), two volume and two tone controls with a selector switch, stereo Rick-o-Sound wiring, clear plastic finger rest. Includes the original hardshell flight case with several touring stickers adhered to the outside of the case, all originating from the Bee Gees Middle Ear recording studio in Miami Beach, FLA. The well-preserved guitar demonstrates expected wear from extensive use, and measures 44 1/2in (113cm) long.

Impeccable Provenance

Accompanied by two original signed letters of provenance. The first, is a signed typescript letter from Maurice Gibb that appears on ‘Gibb Bros Music’ letterhead,  from their historic Middle Ear Studio at 1801 Bay Road, Miami Beach, FLA. The letter is dated December 4, 1991 and states, “Just a short note to verify that the Rickenbacker Bass Guitar, Serial No. 143, that we recently sent you was the actual guitar I played on the Bee Gees' tracks that appeared on the “SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER” soundtrack album. Sincerely, Maurice Gibb”

The second letter details how the guitar was gifted by Gibb to longtime friend and legendary BBC Radio 1 producer and documentary presenter Stuart Grundy. Grundy worked for the famed British broadcaster for 25 years interviewing leading musicians such as David Bowie, members of The Who, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Iggy Pop and Eric Clapton. In the accompanying letter of provenance, Grundy states that he knew Maurice Gibb well having worked with the band on numerous occasions. This included the critically acclaimed 1987 three-part series ‘The Bee Gees’ which he wrote and produced discussing the band's lives and careers.

The Iconic Rickenbacker 4001 Bass Guitar

The Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar has been employed in the studio and on stage by a “who’s who” of artists in the music industry, including: Paul McCartney (The Beatles and Wings), John Deacon (Queen), John Entwistle (The Who), Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Randy Meisner (The Eagles), Geddy Lee (Rush), Chris Squire (Yes), Paul Simonon (The Clash). Maurice Gibb and the Rickenbacker Bass guitar are synonymous. It was his favored make and model that he used throughout his career and there are many documented images of him performing on stage with this exact guitar, and similar versions. On inspection, this Rickenbacker appears to be a special order guitar, or an early experimental one, as it has a very rare 21-fret fingerboard (usually a 20-fret fingerboard). Paul Boyers book, "The Rickenbacker Electric Bass 50 Years as rocks bottom" describes these basses as "The mysterious 21 fretters". To quote a passage from page 20 in the book directly: "Nowhere in Rickenbacker catalogs or price lists is there a mention of 4001 basses made with 21 fret fingerboards. Yet from 1969 to '71, an unknown number of them were made this way. It is not clear if they resulted from special orders or were simply experiments". Additionally, the Mapleglo color choice for this model replicates a faded sunburst and is not a standard finish found in Rickenbacker's catalogue.

Saturday Night Fever: The Movie

In 1976, legendary Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood, purchased the film rights to a mostly fictional New York Magazine article by rock critic Nick Cohn, entitled, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night". This would become the 1977 blockbuster movie, Saturday Night Fever, directed by John Badham and produced by Stigwood. The movie starred John Travolta as Tony Manero, a young Italian-American man who spends his weekends dancing and drinking at a local discothèque while dealing with social tensions and disillusionment in his working-class ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Initially, the Bee Gees music was not included in the film and they were brought in by Stigwood during post-production. Stigwood reached out to the bandmembers during their recording sessions in France. At the time, the Bee Gees were in the process of writing and recording tracks for their new album. With five songs already written, (including “Stayin’ Alive”, “Night Fever”, “If I Can’t Have You”, and “More Than a Woman”), the band sent a demo tape for Stigwood and the Paramount execs to review for potential inclusion in the film. Needless to say, the songs fit perfectly. The six songs the Bee Gees eventually contributed helped redefine the movie. The opening scene features John Travolta strutting down a street in Brooklyn to the rhythm of  “Stayin’ Alive” with Maurice playing the famous opening bass line along with the guitar riff, played by Barry Gibb and Alan Kendall. Barry chose to sing falsetto on the entire song, except on the line, "life’s going nowhere, somebody help me". The movie, and accompanying soundtrack album, instantly became a part of pop culture, the world over. In 2010, Saturday Night Fever was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Saturday Night Fever: The Most Influential Soundtrack in Music History

With more than 40 million copies sold, Saturday Night Fever has been widely recognized as the most influential soundtrack in music history. Today, Saturday Night Fever remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Between 1978-1979, the album garnered numerous Grammy Awards. In 1978, the Bee Gees won “Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group” for the song "How Deep Is Your Love". In 1979, the soundtrack was awarded “Album of the Year”, the Bee Gees also won “Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus” for their work on the soundtrack, and they were awarded “Best Arrangement for Voices” for the song “Stayin’ Alive”. Lastly, “Producer of the Year” was awarded to Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb, Albhy Galuten, and Karl Richardson. In 2014 the album was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally significant.

The Songs

The impact of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack cannot be overstated. “How Deep Is Your Love” became a No. 1 hit in the U.S., before the movie was even released. This was quickly followed by the second No. 1 hit, “Staying Alive”. Then “Night Fever” bounded up the charts and, in the U.S., it remained the No.1 Billboard Hot 100 single for more than two months in 1978. The soundtrack also included the No. 1 hit “Jive Talking” which initially appeared on the 1975 “Main Course” album and was seen as the groups “comeback” song. Plus, the album featured the No. 1 “You Should Be Dancing” which previously appeared on the 1976 “Children of the World” album. Lastly, there were two versions of the popular track “More Than a Woman”, one performed by the Bee Gees, and the other by Tavares. Driven by the film's huge success, the soundtrack broke multiple industry records, becoming the highest-selling album in recording history.

The centerpiece of the album was the Bee Gees music. At this point in their career, the music of the Bee Gees was self-described by the three bandmembers as Progressive R&B, or “blue-eyed” soul. In fact, prior to the release of Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees music was already topping the charts with songs like, “Jive Talking”, “Nights on Broadway”, and “You Should Be Dancing”. Upon its release, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album further catapulted the Bee Gees into super-stardom. The album epitomized the disco phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic and was an international sensation that still resonates in today's popular culture. At the heart of the album were those rhythmic and melodic Bee Gees masterpieces teamed with extraordinary three-part harmonies.

The Guitar

The Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar was used exclusively by Gibb to lay down all of the famous bass tracks that would appear on the album. Gibb used the guitar throughout the 1975-1976 recording sessions in the legendary Criteria Studios, in Miami, FLA. In 1977, the guitar traveled with Gibb for additional recording sessions in the renowned Le Château d'Hérouville, the 18th century château located in the small village of Hérouville, France, 20 miles north of Paris. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack would eventually be released on November 15, 1977. In addition to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, Gibb undoubtedly used the guitar in the studio for the recording of the “Main Course” album (1975), as well as the “Children of the World” album (1976). In addition, Gibb used the guitar for countless live performances while on tour throughout the 1970s.

Beyond the provenance letters provided by Gibb and Grundy, this guitar has been extensively documented comparing photographs, as well as isolated still frame video footage. The unique woodgrain pattern on the body of the guitar has been video matched to conclusively determine its authenticity.

Live performance, Tokyo 1973

The Bee Gees: An Unparalleled Legacy    


The Bee Gees are critically acclaimed as one of the most influential bands in music history. Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, the three brothers – Barry, Robin, and Maurice – have helped reshape popular music and popular culture. They have sold more than 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling and most beloved artists of all time. They have enjoyed more Number One singles in the U.S. charts than any band outside the Beatles. They have also inspired artists as varied as Al Green, Nina Simone, Elvis Presley, and Janis Joplin, to try and make the Bee Gees’ songs their own. Today, the Bee Gees remain the most successful family and sibling band of all time, and the most successful musical trio of all time.

A Museum Quality Artifact of the Highest Order

The guitar being offered here today, is one of the most important and well-documented instruments in music history. Maurice Gibb used this well-traveled Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar to invoke some of the greatest song structures in music history. Although the Bee Gees are recognized as one of the greatest vocal groups of all-time – with impeccable natural three-part harmonies – they also wrote, produced and arranged their own songs. As a talented multi-instrumentalist, Maurice played keyboards, guitar, bass and percussion. However, he is most remembered for his rhythmic and highly inventive bass playing using his iconic Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar. He was the melodic anchor in the recording studio, creating some of the most memorable hooks in popular music. With unparalleled documentation from Maurice Gibb himself (with Gibbs' signature verified by Beckett Authentication Services), as well as industry insider, and close friend Stuart Grundy, this is a museum quality artifact of the highest order. Accompanied by an array of Letters of Authenticity from Maurice Gibbs himself, Stuart Grundy, Tracks UK Ltd., Beckett Authentication Services (for the signatures on the guitar and on the Maurice Gibbs LOA) and a Definitive Photomatch Analysis Letter from End-to-End Photomatching.

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $20,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $51,450.00
Number Bids:9
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