What Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Play?

What Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Play

If you are any kind of classic rock fan, you will probably be an ardent lover of Jimi Hendrix (or at least have a lot of respect for the guy). Some of his guitars are nothing shorter than iconic. 

But, what guitars did the great musician play? We’re here to shed light on that!

Read on to learn all about the guitars of Jimi Hendrix. 

The Most Famous Hendrix Guitar – The Fender Stratocastor 

Strats from Fender are completely legendary – and for good reason.

They boast credits in some of the most well known and well loved albums of all time, such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from The Beatles, Cliffs of Dover from Eric Johnson, and Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits.

Jimi Hendrix played many types of guitars, but the most famous were his black and white Stratocastors, which he performed with most often.

Allegedly, the white Stratocastor was the only guitar that he brought with him when he first came to England in the 1960s, and he used this guitar during the Woodstock festival in ’69.

In a truly iconic rocker move, Hendrix painted and then burned a Fiesta Red Stratocastor whilst performing onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Another notable strat that Hendrix owned was the 1968 Black Beauty. Some evidence actually points to this guitar being his favorite of all of his instruments. 

The 1957 Supro Ozark 

Hendrix didn’t only play Fender Stratocastors though, as he only got his first in 1966. Jimi actually started out playing a 1957 Supro Ozarks as his first electric guitar.

According to some sources, he got it from his father, who had purchased it in the Myer’s Music shop in Seattle in the year 1959, for only $89 (although, that was A LOT of money in 1959).

According to other sources, the heartwarming story of a father’s gift is actually connected with Hendrix’s second electric guitar, the Danelectro.

In any case, Jimi played the Supro with his band, known as The Rocking Kings, around the year 1959, until the guitar was stolen from the stage at The Birdland club in 1960.

Jimi Often played The Spanish Castle Ballroom when he had this guitar, which was a popular nightclub in Seattle.

He later wrote and recorded Spanish Castle Magic, where he expresses nostalgia for hanging around the Spanish Castle Ballroom club, playing and trying to get a gig with a band –  unfortunately, though he wanted to revisit on one of his tours, by the time he was touring in 1967, the club was shut, and later demolished in April 1968. 

The 1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard

After his faithful Supro Ozark was stolen, Jimi then switched to a Danelectro Bronze standard guitar when he was 17 years old.

He used this to play with another band named “The Experience”, moving on from The Rocking Kings.

In interviews, he has said that the Danelectro was his first guitar, so it could be that the Supro was actually borrowed from a band member, and this was the guitar that his father helped Jimi to buy. He said: 

‘When I was seventeen, I formed this group with some other guys, but they drowned me out. I didn’t know why at first, but after about three months I realized I’d have to get an electric guitar. My first was a Danelectro, which my dad bought for me. Must have busted him for a long time.’

The Ibanez Jet King 2 

Taking a look at photographs, Jimi was seen playing an Ibanez Jet King guitar a handful of times. Photography documents him playing it at two gigs in particular – at the Pink Poodle club in Clarksville, Tennessee, in mid-1962, and later at another venue. 

When it comes to this guitar, the facts are a little blurry, though we do know that he had it soon after being discharged from the army. It went on to be sold at auction in 2002 for a whopping $1.2 million.

The Epiphone Wilshire (1961)

Jimi Hendrix played guitar with the King Casuals in 1963, using his 1961 Epiphone Wilshire.

This gig was soon after he and Billy Cox had been discharged from the military, when Hendrix was able to move from Clarksville to Nashville, in the latter part of 1962.

Shows with the King Casuals at the Club Del Morocco were Jimi’s first regular gigs as a musician, despite getting his first guitar at the age of 15. The Epiphone Wilshire will have been with him for the majority of this era in his career.

He got this guitar in early ’63, around the time he started performing at Club Del Morocco.

Hendrix’s particular model has a mahogany body, painted red, with a tortoiseshell black pickguard, and two P-90s, and a set of dot fretboard inlays. 

The Fenders 

After this, Jimi went on to own and play a series of Fender models, such as the Fender Duo-Sonic, the Fender Jazzmaster, and the Fender Duo-Sonic (Sunburst). From here, he graduated to his trademark stratocaster. 

He names his fist stratocaster Carol, but not much is known about this instrument. His girlfriend, Carol Shiroky, purchased it for him from Manny’s Music Shop in New York.

What Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Play (1)

He may have broken this guitar after splitting up with Carol, however. His second strat is probably his most famous, and is the only guitar he took overseas with him.

In some stories, it is alleged that the guitar, finished in Olympic White, actually belonged to Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), another guitar icon, and was given to Hendrix by Linda Keith, a British fashion model at the time. 

Another famous guitar of Hendrix’s is his Stratocaster, named Astoria Strat, which he set fire to when playing a gig at the Astoria, in London.

The scorched remains of this guitar were sold to a private collector in 2008 for $575,000. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, there are many guitars that Jimi Hendrix used throughout his life. Today, we have discussed some of the most famous and instrumental guitars that he owned.

He really was a Stratocaster man through and through, though, with many of his most famous guitars being Fender Strats. 

We hope you enjoyed reading our article! If you want more information about any of these instruments, feel free to explore our other articles.

What Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Play? 1

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