Dusty Hill’s 1953 Precision Becomes Second Highest Selling Bass in History

ZZ Top: Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons

Julien’s Auctions has released the results of the “The Collection of Dusty Hill of ZZ Top” auction, and the figures are staggering. Several of the late bassist’s instruments sold for anywhere from $26,000 (his 1970s Charvel Precision Style “Recording Bass” Played During the 1981 El Loco Motion Tour) to $58,500 (his 1980s Gibson Explorer Fur Bass Guitar Used in Eliminator and more). However, one of his axes drew the second most money ever collected at an auction for a bass guitar.

Hill’s 1953 Fender Precision sold for a whopping $393,700, placing it just behind Paul McCartney’s BB-1200 that garnered $471,900 in 2021. He used the ’53 P extensively throughout his career for live performances and studio recordings until he retired from the bass in 2012. The sale price also surpassed Bill Wyman’s Fender Mustang from 2020.

“Dusty would be so pleased to know his bass is between a Beatle and a Rolling Stone!” his wife Chuck stated.

Another high-dollar instrument was his fur bass guitar played in the video for “Legs,” which sold for $317,000. “The 1983 Dean Explorer style bass, in sheepskin finish with ZZ Top logo painted on the fretboard, was attached to a rig worn around Hill’s waist to make it spin,” the auction house explains.

Many of Hill’s basses and memorabilia sold for double, triple, or even quadruple the estimates given to them. See below for more highlights provided by Julien’s Auctions.

  • Hill’s 2000s Bolin Precision style bass guitar used during ZZ Top’s 2007 live performance in Grand Prairie, Texas that was released on their 2008 Live From Texas DVD and on tour in 2016 ($22,750) (estimate: $7,000- $9,000)
  • Hill’s “I Gotsa Get Paid” Music Video 2000s Bolin Telecaster style guitar painted with a concrete style finish by Elwood Francis featuring a Texas Longhorn badge ($22,750) (estimate: $6,000- $8,000)
  • MTV Moonman award statuette for Best Group Video “Legs” presented to Dusty Hill and ZZ Top at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards ceremony held in 1984 where ZZ Top was the first group to ever win Best Group Video whose fellow nominees included The Police “Every Breath You Take,” Van Halen “Jump,” and Huey Lewis and the News “The Heart of Rock & Roll” ($25,400) (estimate: $10,000- $15,000)
  • Dusty Hill’s commissioned oil derrick gold nugget ring accented with four circular-cut diamonds ($9,100) (estimate: $2,000- $3,000)
  • Hill’s custom sky-blue wool suit jacket with yellow and red embroidered flowers accented with stones by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors worn on the cover of ZZ Top’s 1975 album Fandango! ($11,430) (estimate: $6,000- $8,000)
  • Hill’s black leather motorcycle jacket with custom painted skeleton motif, eagle head pins on the lapel, and silver spike embellishments with “Streek Landslide” written on the back ($13,000) (estimate: $1,500-$2,500)
  • Hill’s 1970s Charvel Precision style bass in transparent blue finish with gold hardware, two vintage style P-bass pickups. Dusty was photographed performing with this guitar in the early 1980s. ($29,250) (estimate: $6,000 – $8,000)
  • Hill’s 1970s Charvel Precision style “Recording Bass” bass, in transparent red finish with neck plate that reads “Custom Made / by / Charvel’s. Dusty was photographed playing this guitar during the El Loco Motion Tour in 1981. ($26,000) (estimate: $8,000 – $12,000)
  • Hill’s 1956 Fender Precision bass in sunburst finish ($22,750)
  • Hill’s 1964 Gibson Thunderbird II in sunburst finish ($13,000)
  • Hill’s 1965 Fender Fretless Precision bass in Olympic white finish ($16,250)
  • Hill’s 1968 Fender Precision bass in blonde finish with black pickguard ($10,400)
  • Hill’s 1965 Fender Fretless Precision bass, in Olympic white finish with tortoise pickguard. This bass appears to be the same bass that Dusty was photographed playing in some of the earliest live performance photographs taken of the band circa 1970 ($16,250) (estimate: $7,000 – $9,000)
  • Hill’s circa 1980 Gibson SG bass, no serial number, in dark cherry finish, with mother of pearl barbed wire and cross inlays on fretboard, flying V headstock, Hipshot Badass bridge ($10,400) (estimate: $2,500 – $3,500)
  • Hill’s 1983 Dean Explorer bass in a yellow finish with green, blue, and red pinstripe accents and back design with the graphic featured on the back of the 1983 Eliminator album, double-bound body, single black EMG pickup, Hipshot Badass bridge, and gold hardware ($10,160) (estimate: $6,000 – $8,000)
  • Hill’s “Lone Wolf Horns,” (the band’s alter ego horn section featured on their 1979 album Deguell) Reynolds SX-08 saxophone in hard case with handwritten tape label on case that reads “ZZ New Orleans” and a metal badge on case that reads in part “ZZ Top / Houston, Texas USA / ZZT 00140” ($7,800) (estimate: $400 – $600)
  • Dusty Hill’s portrait by Frederick J. Brown ($5,200)
  • Hill’s “Doubleback” music video Dean Explorer bass guitar ($10,400)
  • Hill’s MTV Music Award Moonman statuette for “Rough Boy” music video ($11,700)

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  1. Mark B.

    wow that’s amazing Kevin
    when I was 19 I framed homes with ZZ Top playing out of my boss’s van thems where the days