KK DOWNING’s Iconic Flying V Guitar Was Actioned For Nearly $ 200,000

During a conversation with Full in Bloom, classic Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing talked about auctioning his iconic Gibson Flying V guitar back in December for £150,000 (approximately $189,000).

The guitarist explained how the decision is connected to his own mortality and the fact that he’s reached a certain age, saying:

“I don’t feel, probably like a lot of other people, that time is necessarily on my side. I say that because I’m 67 years old; I’m going to be 68, so kind of pushing 70.

“That kind of gets you, I suppose. Obviously, losing good friends along the way, and things that are happening seemingly not necessarily daily, but on a weekly basis… we’re losing people.

“Obviously, Lemmy’s gone, good man Ronnie just before him went; a lot of things are happening. We just lost Vinnie Paul, a good mate. We go back together, obviously, Pantera doing tours with us. My good buddy Jeff Mantas from Venom, he died on the operating table, but they brought him back.

“I’m not saying I’m going to pop my clogs at any point, but I mean, coming back to the guitars, what have you got? You find yourself doing things that are probably best not spoken about, lots of people doing.

“Does it make sense to start making your own funeral arrangements, or do you have to put the burden on your family? You know, things like that. You enter the zone, andobviously, I find myself owning a lot of things.

“I think to myself that it is a burden if something suddenly happened, so it’s kind of me getting my house in order – if you know what I mean. Not to put the burden on my family. I think it’s better to probably get the house in order. I don’t want my family to argue or to decide whether to sell things off or not to sell things off.

“They would think I wouldn’t want it or I would want it. I put myself in a position where all of these things that have happened to me, that I’m going to make my decisions as to what to do. So basically, I found myself with an awful lot of guitars, a lot of ones that I don’t use anymore.

“Obviously, those guitars that I would use are still here close by me, but the other ones are basically surplus to requirements, that had a very good value, it’s better for me. Basically, it’s like stocks and shares, and stuff like that.

“It becomes liquid cash that you can actually put in an inheritance package for your family should something happen.”

Were you shocked by the ’67 flying V sold for almost $200,000?

“Yeah. I was expecting, to be honest, about half of that.”

I think on the side they estimated it, like, for $10,000 to $20,000.

“I think that that’s probably just to get a massive interest in the audience, I don’t know how it works. Obviously, that was a 1967 V, and Gibson only made a 111 of those guitars.

“Those guitars were put in some pretty famous hands, to be fair. I don’t know everyone that had one, I know Dave Davies from The Kinks had one, Jimi Hendrix had one, I know that Mark Baldwin had one, I know that Keith [Richards] from the Rolling Stones had one…

“So those guitars went into some… there weren’t that many to go around. Obviously, I’ve got my hands on one, [Michael] Shenker’s had a couple. They were bound to be worth more than…

“I was offered 20 years ago, maybe more, I was offered $25,000 cash by a guy. That guitar was used on a lot ofstuff, a lot of concerts. It was my flagship guitar, for sure, but I retired that guitar a long time ago because it was getting too valuable, I’d never take it down the road.”

Earlier in 2018, KK sold his royalty rights to 136 Judas Priest songs, including such classics as “Breaking the Law,” “Living After Midnight,” “Painkiller,” and more. The deal was made after the collapse of Downing’s luxury golf course venture.

Thanks to Ultimate Guitar for the transcription.