Prince was peerless at just about everything. Not only could he sing, dance and write songs better than nearly anybody else, he could also play pretty much every instrument known to pop music. Above all, he was a spectacular lead guitarist. And he loved his guitars. Probably no other guitar is more closely associated with his legacy than his "Cloud" guitar.
Back when he was preparing to make his legendary film, "Purple Rain," Prince walked into a guitar shop in his hometown of Minneapolis and commissioned a local luthier (stringed-instrument maker) named Dave Rusan to make him a special axe. The guitar, patterned on the design of a friend's bass, would be a crucial element of the film.
Prince gave very few instructions, so Rusan made the guitar he hoped the star would want. He got it right. Not only did the "Cloud" guitar star in the "Purple Rain," Prince loved it so much he commissioned copies and went on to play them for the next 20 years [source: Murphy].
A yellow version of the Cloud now resides in the Smithsonian as an important artifact of American culture. That one's not for sale, but a teal blue Cloud sold for $700,000 at auction in November 2017, the most ever paid for one of his guitars [source: AP].