THE guitar that set the Bee Gees on the road to Saturday Night Fever and international disco stardom is to be auctioned in Wiltshire on Wednesday (Sept 12).

The Gibson J45 acoustic was used by Maurice Gibb to compose the band’s 1975 breakthrough disco hit Jive Talkin’, whose success led to the Bee Gees being offered the chance to contribute to the soundtrack of the hit 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever.

It was the film’s soundtrack that breathed new life into the disco craze of the late 70s and propelled the Bee Gees to global chart dominance.

Famously, Maurice – who died in 2003 aged 53 - was one of three Gibb brothers in the group. The other two were Barry and Robin Gibb.

He composed the track on the guitar after driving across a bridge in Florida and hearing the rhythm made by the car’s tyres on the road surface.

The guitar will be sold at Wiltshire-based auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate in what will be the UK’s largest auction of guitars.

Jive Talkin’ was the first single from the Bee Gee’s 1975 album Main Course, which marked the turning point in their career as they moved away from ballads, which were the hallmark of their early career, to disco.

The song was regarded as the Bee Gees’ comeback after a lull in popularity in the early 70s.

In 1987, Maurice donated the guitar to BBC Radio 1 to give away as a prize on The Bruno Brookes show, for which it was autographed by all three Gibb brothers. The prize winner subsequently sold the guitar on Channel 4’s Four Rooms show in 2014.

Also in the sale is a second Maurice Gibb-owned guitar, an exceptionally rare custom-made 1968 Gibson EBS-1250 double-neck, which combines a bass and guitar into a single instrument.

The guitar was sold by Maurice in 1974 to another musician and collector, who has owned the guitar ever since. It is believed to be the only one of its kind made by Gibson in 1968.

Luke Hobbs, the Gardiner Houlgate auctioneer who will sell the guitars, said: “Bee Gees’ instruments are exceptionally rare and neither of these guitars has ever been offered for public auction before.

“We have great provenance on both. The J45 is well documented as the guitar on which Maurice Gibb composed Jive Talkin’. We’ve also got the letter from Radio 1 to the gentleman who won it.

“Maurice was photographed performing with the double-neck and he can be seen playing it on stage in a video on YouTube.

“These guitars represent the two great phases of the Bee Gees’ career. The double-neck comes from the 60s and early 70s when they sang popular ballads; the J45 represents their comeback and the disco years. It’s not often you get to encapsulate a band’s career so succinctly in a single auction.

“We’ve over 400 guitars in September’s sale, making this the largest ever auction of guitars held in the UK, possibly the world. We’re expecting massive international interest.”

Both Bee Gees’ guitars are being sold by UK-based private collectors. Each is expected to fetch over £10,000.

The Maton guitar used by George Harrison at the Beatles’ last appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club in 1963 will also be auctioned in this sale.

The auction will take place at Gardiner Houlgate, 9 Leafield Way, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9SW on Wednesday, September 12 from 11am.

The guitars, accessories and amplification equipment are available for public viewing today and tomorrow from 9am to 5.30pm and on the day of the sale itself.

For more information contact Luke Hobbs or Jamie South 01225 812912 or by email at