Walter Becker of Steely Dan sells guitar collection for $3.3 million

By Saige Miller on October 22, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – MAY 6: Guitarist Walter Becker of Steely Dan performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course May 6, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

A good chunk of change was spent collecting musical equipment belonging to the late guitarist of Steely Dan. Walter Becker’s vast amount of guitars and goodies were auctioned for $3.3 million, surpassing the anticipated total of $1.4 million.

Becker had approximately 600 guitars and 400 amplifiers throughout his lifetime, according to Billboard. His widow, Delia Becker, mentioned Becker kept some equipment in New York and Hawaii. However, their New York apartment housed a good chunk of gear.

“Amps were lined up at the foot of the bed, under every table, the dining room table was all amps and then all the floor space,” said Delia Becker.

Walter Becker’s collection was the largest selection of guitars and gear Julien’s Auction has ever seen. Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills was amazed by the life’s long collection of the Steely Dan guitarist.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Julien. “Who else had this many guitars and this many amps? Who else had a collection like this? It’s unbelievable. And he didn’t just buy them because they looked great. He literally played all of them, and that’s what made this collection unique.”

Over 1,000 people registered to participate in the auction. There were a handful of people at the house gallery and many more bidding online or via telephone. Billboard notes some buyers were “very famous rock stars,” however, no names were mentioned.

Some of the guitars sold were a 1957 Fender Duo-Sonic played on the 1977 album ‘Aja’ ($57,600), a Chihoe Hahn created green Stratocaster-style guitar ($68,750), a guitar personally signed by Chet Atkins ($12,800) and the red Roger Sadowsky Telecaster clone Becker regularly used in the mid-’90s ($25,600). Music gadgets like Becker’s pedalboard went for $32,000.


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“I’d rather have Walter here and not see all this stuff for sale,” said Jeff Greenberg of Village Studios, where Steely Dan often recorded. “But it’s pretty trippy, right? These are spectacular guitars. He was magical. Their records are still magical. It’s some of the greatest music ever made.”

Walter Becker died in 2017 after fighting esophageal cancer. He died at the age of 67. There’s no doubt Becker rocked on until his final days.

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