Ian Curtis's Love Will Tear Us Apart guitar is up for sale

30 September 2020, 18:20 | Updated: 30 September 2020, 18:24

The Vox Phantom VI Special Guitar that the Joy Division frontman played is expected to fetch over £60,000...

The guitar played by Ian Curtis in Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart video is up for auction next month.

The unique instrument - a Vox Phantom VI Special - was seen in the promo clip fpr the classic single, shot in April 1980.

It's estimated to bring in between £60,000 and £80,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams' Entertainment Memorabilia auction on 13 October.

The Vox Phantom VI Special Guitar up for auction
The Vox Phantom VI Special Guitar up for auction. Picture: Bonhams

Although Curtis was not known for his guitar playing in Joy Division, he used the Vox Phantom when regular guitarist Bernard Sumner was busying performing keyboard parts.

The white, pentagonal-shaped guitar was bought by Joy Division manager Rob Gretton for just £120 and it unusual battery-powered built-in effects settings gave a new layer to the post-punk band's sound. Curtis also played simple guitar parts on the Joy Division songs Atmosphere and Incubation.

Ian Curtis playing the Vox Phantom Special VI guitar at Joy Division's high-profile show at London's Lyceum in February 1980
Ian Curtis playing the Vox Phantom Special VI guitar at Joy Division's high-profile show at London's Lyceum in February 1980. Picture: Chris Mills/Redferns/Getty Images

The same type of unusual instrument was used by Sterling Morrison in The Velvet Underground, a huge favourite of the Joy Division singer.

After Curtis took his own life in May 1980, the guitar was inherited by Sumner, who played it on the early New Order track Everything's Gone Green.

It also appeared on Sumner's albums with The Smiths' Johnny Marr as Electronic, until Bernard gave the instrument to Curtis's daughter Natalie when she came of age.

Natalie, who was just a year old when her father died, is now a talented photographer - but admits she's not at all musical. She says: "From everything I’ve been told about my father, he was very obsessed with how things looked, and so to me the Phantom makes sense and very much feels like Ian Curtis’s guitar".

The guitar will go under the hammer on 13 October.