Sussex craftsman made Prince’s ‘last guitar’

The gold-plated 'Purple Special' guitar was hand-made from cedar and carbon fibre
The gold-plated 'Purple Special' guitar was hand-made from cedar and carbon fibre

What is believed to be the last guitar owned by music superstar Prince before his death was made in the depths of Sussex.

The striking purple and gold creation came from a small one-man workshop in Heathfield.

It was made by Simon ‘Gus’ Farmer, who began his business Gus Guitars in 1994.

Prince, who died on April 21, performed with the guitar at his last public concert earlier this month.

Mr Farmer said, “Like every other lover of music, guitar and all things funky, I was deeply shocked to hear the news about Prince. It was particularly poignant for me, though, as one of the last known photos of Prince pictures him showing off a guitar I’d built for him to an audience at Paisley Park last Saturday [April 16].”

Mr Farmer attended Christ’s Hospital school near Horsham and then went on to study craft and product design at university. He described how the Purple Special he built for Prince was the ultimate expression of his G1 design and every aspect was tailored to suit him.

He said, “Focussed as he was on solo piano recently, I was nevertheless so looking forward to seeing him rip it up on that guitar as only he could and am devastated to think that won’t happen now.”

He continued, “He liked the design and had asked if I could make him a bass version. I sent some pictures for him to look at and he ordered a black and gold four string which I’d just started building over the last few days. He’d left the specification to me and I had some ideas for it that I think he would have liked and would have made for a cool bass ... so I feel his loss personally, even though I never met him and mourn the passing of one of the greatest musicians and guitarists ever.”

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