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Jimi Hendrix, the undisputed guitar G.O.A.T, transcended musical boundaries and wove an intimate tapestry of connection with an array of guitars. In this exploration of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar journey, we dive deep into the iconic instruments that became extensions of his unparalleled creativity, shattering the myth that Hendrix’s sonic wizardry was confined solely to Fenders.

As we embark on this sonic odyssey, we’ll unravel the stories behind each guitar, each string vibrating with the essence of Hendrix’s revolutionary spirit. Join us in celebrating the diverse array of guitars that played a pivotal role in shaping the sonic landscape crafted by the one and only Jimi Hendrix.

Let’s Explore 10 Guitars Played by Jimi Hendrix!

 

1. Gibson Jimi Hendrix Flying V

 

The Custom Shop Flying V stands as one of Gibson’s most iconic guitars. Originally painted black by Jimi Hendrix himself, it became a staple during the Band of Gypsys era. Its fame soared after Jimi Hendrix’s legendary performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1970.

Not a stranger to Flying Vs, Jimi Hendrix had a unique connection with this one – the only left-handed model tailor-made for him. It made its debut on April 25, 1970, at the Los Angeles Forum, and from thereon, it accompanied Hendrix until his untimely death, on 18 September 1970.

 

2. 1968 Fender Stratocaster Woodstock aka “Izabella”

 

Jimi Hendrix fell in love with a white Fender Stratocaster, a standard 1968 edition. Little did many know, this guitar would evolve into a cornerstone of Jimi Hendrix’s musical identity. “Izabella” wasn’t just a guitar; it became a symbol of the artistic intimacy between man and instrument.

Its most significant moment in history occurred during Jimi Hendrix’s electrifying performance at Woodstock in 1969. Amidst the haze of the iconic festival, Hendrix’s Stratocaster echoed the haunting notes of the American national anthem, “Star-Spangled Banner.” The guitar itself became an emblem of counterculture a musical declaration against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

 

3. Red Silvertone Danelectro

 

Often identified as a U-1 or a 1958 Danelectro Shorthorn 3012, “Betty Jean” played a pivotal role in Jimi Hendrix’s journey. This guitar stood faithfully during Jimi Hendrix’s time in the U.S. Army, witnessed his earliest jam sessions with Billy Cox, and marked his initial post-military service performances.

However, the tale of “Betty Jean” takes an unexpected turn when Hendrix exchanged it for an Ibanez Rhythm Maker at Collins Music store in Clarksville, Tennessee. Following this transaction, the Danelectro “Betty Jean” seemingly vanished into obscurity fading into the shadows of music history.

 

4. Jimi Hendrix’s 1963/64 Fender Stratocaster – Monterey Pop Strat

 

This guitar fragment is a poignant relic from the Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix destroyed in a ritualized sacrifice at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. Following an electrifying performance, Jimi Hendrix dropped to his knees, set his guitar on fire, and culminated the act by smashing it.

Known as the “Monterey Stratocaster,” Hendrix’s burned guitar became an indelible symbol of his groundbreaking performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Following the fiery spectacle, the guitar underwent restoration and found its place of honor at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.

 

5. Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Stratocaster “Black Beauty”

 

The 1968 Fender Stratocaster, “Black Beauty”, was among several Fender Stratocasters owned by Jimi Hendrix. What sets “Black Beauty” apart is its status as Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitar, surpassing even the equally legendary 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster known as the “Woodstock Strat.”

This guitar played a pivotal role in Jimi Hendrix’s live performances, prominently featured at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival on August 31, 1970. It held a special place for Jimi Hendrix, often being his first choice when jamming with fellow musicians. Initially reserved for practice sessions, Jimi Hendrix eventually embraced Black Beauty on stage, making it a memorable part of his later career.

After Hendrix’s death, “Black Beauty” found its way into the possession of his girlfriend, Monika Danneman. According to Danneman, Hendrix had played “Black Beauty” on the night before his death.

 

6. 1957 Supro Ozark 1560s

 

Jimi Hendrix’s white Supro Ozark holds a unique place in his musical journey, marking his first electric guitar. Purchased by his father “Al” Hendrix, from Myers Music shop in Seattle in 1958, this guitar debuted in the Jaffe Room of Seattle’s Temple De Hirsch. However, his onstage enthusiasm led to an unexpected twist — he was fired between sets for showcasing his musical tricks.

Unfortunately, the story of the Supro Ozark took a heartbreaking turn when Hendrix’s guitar was stolen after being left backstage overnight.

In a nostalgic turn, Supro has revisited history by reissuing the Ozark, famously associated with Jimi Hendrix as his first electric guitar. Not only cherished by Hendrix but also a favorite among slide players, this late-50s model has been re-imagined with vintage specifications and modern enhancements.

 

7. Ibanez Jet King 2

 

Jimi Hendrix acquired this Ibanez Jet King guitar through payments made sometime in 1961-2, though his ownership was short-lived. The guitar eventually found its way back to the store in Tennessee where Jimi Hendrix initially made the purchase.

A photograph featuring Jimi Hendrix with the guitar is dated by some sources to June 1962, just a month before Jimi Hendrix’s discharge from the Army, adding a layer of historical significance to this instrument.

Interestingly, as Hendrix left Fort Campbell in July 1962, he claimed not to possess a guitar of his own. In a peculiar twist, he mentioned the need to borrow his old Danelectro from someone he had sold it to, omitting any reference to the Ibanez guitar, thus contributing to the mystique and intrigue surrounding Hendrix’s early musical journey.

 

8. Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Epiphone Crestwood

 

In an iconic picture from around 1962, Jimi Hendrix is captured playing a 1960s Epiphone Crestwood guitar while performing with The King Casuals. What adds a unique twist to this image is the apparent left-handed configuration of the guitar, evident from the placement of the control knobs on the lower side of the body.

 

9. Jimi Hendrix’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster (Linda)

 

In September 1966, Jimi Hendrix embarked on a transformative journey to the UK, carrying with him a single guitar that would later become legendary. Interestingly, due to a lack of a work permit at the time, it’s believed that the guitar, a 1964 Fender Stratocaster with an Olympic White finish, was brought on his behalf by someone else, potentially Chas Chandler, setting the stage for an iconic chapter in musical history.

According to reports, the guitar was borrowed by Linda Keith from none other than Keith Richards. This 1964 Fender Stratocaster, not only became a pivotal part of Hendrix’s sonic arsenal but also sparked intrigue regarding its previous owner. Linda Keith’s role in this musical exchange is notable. She lent the guitar to Jimi Hendrix, as recounted by her, without specifying whether the instrument found its way back to Keith Richards.

 

10. Jimi Hendrix’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster (Astoria Strat)

When most people think of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, they immediately jump to the Monterey Pop Festival. But The first time he pulled off this fiery feat was actually at London’s Finsbury Astoria in March 1967.

A historic night during a 24-date tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens, and Engelbert Humperdinck, all sharing the stage with the one and only Jimi Hendrix Experience. As they wrapped up their set with the sizzling “Fire,” Jimi casually placed his 1965 Fender Stratocaster by the amps, setting the stage for an unforgettable moment in rock and roll.

 

Jimi Hendrix Guitars FAQS

 

What Kind of Guitar Did Hendrix Prefer?

Jimi Hendrix was known for his preference for Fender Stratocasters. The Fender Stratocaster became synonymous with Hendrix’s signature sound, and he played various iterations of this iconic guitar throughout his career. Hendrix’s unique playing style, which often involved innovative techniques like feedback, dive bombs, and extensive use of the guitar’s tremolo arm, contributed to the distinctive sound that many associate with him. While the Stratocaster was his primary choice, Hendrix also experimented with other guitars, showcasing his versatility and pushing the boundaries of musical expression.

 

What Kind of Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Prefer?

Jimi Hendrix wielded a right-handed Fender guitar flipped upside down and restrung for left-handed use, creating a distinctive sonic signature. Employing light gauge Fender “Rock ‘n Roll” strings, with the top strings likely around 8 gauge, he tuned the guitar down a half step to Eb. This unique setup, coupled with Hendrix’s unparalleled skill, contributed significantly to the iconic tone that set him apart from the rest.

 

Did Hendrix Use a Pick?

Jimi Hendrix used a pick in addition to employing fingerstyle techniques. His playing style was incredibly versatile, and he would choose between using a pick or his fingers based on the desired tone and the particular demands of the music he was creating. Hendrix’s ability to seamlessly blend different techniques contributed to the richness and uniqueness of his guitar playing.

 

What Was the Famous Hendrix Chord?

The famous Hendrix chord, often associated with Jimi Hendrix’s signature sound, is the dominant 7#9 chord. This chord is colloquially known as the “Hendrix chord” because of its prominent use in his iconic song “Purple Haze.” In musical terms, it’s a dominant seventh chord with a raised ninth, often written as 7#9.

The specific voicing Hendrix popularized involves placing the root (1), fifth (5), seventh (7), and the raised ninth (#9) in the chord. In the key of E, for example, the chord would typically include the notes E (root), G# (third), D (seventh), and F# (raised ninth). This distinctive chord contributed significantly to Hendrix’s psychedelic and blues-infused guitar style, becoming a hallmark of his musical identity.

 

Read our other article to discover 10 more guitars that became famous in the hands of Jimi Hendrix.

 

 

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