Ed Bickert’s guitar is up for sale.
The Canadian jazz legend’s mid-1965 blonde Fender Telecaster is currently for sale at the Toronto pro guitar shop The Twelfth Fret.
The guitar was Bickert’s main instrument from 1965 until his retirement in 2000, and he played it on countless sessions, club dates and recordings.
In response, Toronto guitarist David Occhipinti has written to the Canada Council for the Arts suggesting that the guitar be added to its musical instrument bank.
“As Canadians we wouldn’t let Glenn Gould’s pianos be put on private sale, or an iconic Lawren Harris painting, or an Emily Carr handwritten sketchbook,” Occhipinti wrote. “We have institutions that take good care of these iconic items that identify our Canadian culture. Ed Bickert’s guitar is on that level of significance in Canadian music.”
Bickert was a customer at The Twelfth Fret and had the shop maintain and modify the guitar, according to the shop’s online listing. It periodically required refretting, which was done by Grant and Russ Lackey at the original repair shop on Kingston Road. The guitar retains most of its original finish. The six-saddle bridge and Gibson humbucking pickup in the neck position are the non-original parts.
“I’ll tell you, I was pretty nervous working on Ed’s guitars,” says Grant MacNeill, who opened The Twelfth Fret in 1977. “But he was always appreciative and a true gentleman to deal with and I was honoured to have had his trust. He is remembered fondly by all who knew him.”
Bickert was renowned for his five-decade career as one of the top players in Canada and around the world. He died on Feb. 28, 2019.