The Story of Prince’s Model C Guitar

The Model C is very unique electric guitar used by Prince during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was built by famed German luthier Jerry Auerswald, who also built the Symbol guitar and Cleo bass. It has a bar connecting the body to the headstock, called a “sustain bow” – similar to the Roland G-707, also used by Prince.

Prince was given his first Model C by Gloria von Thurn und Taxis in 1986. Gloria had married Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis in 1980, so at the time, she was technically a Princess Consort. Making the Model C, quite literally, a gift from a princess to a Prince. As for how she became acquainted with Prince, that may have to do with her extravagant, hard-partying lifestyle that made her a media sensation [for good or ill] in the press.

Ultimately she ended up meeting Prince through his father, John Nelson, and traveled with them on tour for a brief while. She became enamored with Prince and eventually got him a gift, as she recounted in the Vanity Fair interview:

“After reading about Jerry Auerswald, a guitar maker in Germany who used wood more than 100 years old, I had one made for Prince all in white. Prince was surprised and happy, and so thrilled with the quality of the sound that he told me he re-recorded all of the guitar tracks of his album ‘Sign o’ the Times’ with this new guitar.”

Prince used his Model C to record “Lovesexy”, “Graffiti Bridge”, and the Batman soundtrack, the majority of “Sign o’ the Times” (1987), and played it on his 1987 tour. It appears in the video for “Alphabet Street” (1988) and in a concert film from the Lovesexy Tour (1988–89).



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