Jimi Hendrix’s Guitars and Gear

James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Despite a relatively brief mainstream career spanning four years, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.

In the early years, Hendrix played mostly cheaper guitar like the Epiphone Wilshire and Supro Ozark. Towards the mid-1960s he started using Fenders, starting with a 1959 Fender Duo-sonic which he played with Isley Brothers. In the summer of 1966, he bought his first Stratocaster with the help of his girlfriend, and it quickly became his signature guitar. His favorite guitar was a black 1968 Stratocaster with a maple neck. Towards the later part of his career, Hendrix started using different guitars, including some Gibson Flying Vs and Les Paul Customs.

Jimi Hendrix playing one of many of his white Fender Stratocasters. Photo by: Steve Banks

Hendrix played mostly right-handed models, even though he was left-handed – which played a role in the way his guitars ended up sounding and left an overall impression on the listeners. Important to note is that the string placement was correct for a left-hand player with the low E on top. This of course reversed the length of the strings behind the nut, affected the tone on the slanted bridge pickup, and affected the tone of each string since the single-coil pickups usually had staggered pole-pieces – each of them set to a different height in order to balance the inconsistencies in individual string volume on guitars.

Electric Guitars

Jimi Hendrix Guitar Gear Equipment

1957 Supro Ozark 1560s

This was Hendrix’s first ever electric guitar. According to some sources [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.9], he got it from his father who bought it in the Myers Music Shop in Seattle in 1959 for $89. According to other [Becoming Jimi Hendrix, Steven Rody] this story is connected to his second electric guitar, a […]

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1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard

After his Supro was stolen, with the help from father Hendrix bought this Danelectro which he later nick-named “Betty Jean” after his girlfriend at the time, Betty Jean Morgan. [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.28] The guitar was allegedly originally green, but Hendrix himself painted it several times from red to purple, and back […]

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1961 Epiphone Wilshire

After coming back from the Army in 1962 Hendrix acquired an Epiphone Wilshire. It is assumed that this was from the money he made playing with the Danelectro, which as previously noted, was indeed borrowed from a friend in the army. Jimi used the guitar in the early days of King Casuals – a band that began performing […]

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1960s Fender Duo-Sonic

Just before his nine-month gig with the Isley Brothers in 1964 Hendrix (at the time known as Jimmy James) acquired his first Fender guitar. According to Michael Heatley [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.46], the guitar was a gift from O’Kelly Isley. We assume this was just after Jimi was accepted to the band following his audition in February […]

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1959-1964 Fender Jazzmaster

During the latter part of the Isley Brothers tour in late 1964 and during the tour with Little Richard in early to mid-1965 Jimi was seen playing a sunburst Fender Jazzmaster (a quick Google Image search should give you a few results). The guitar was also seen on one of Jimi’s earliest TV appearances, in May 1965. Dating […]

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1950s/60s Fender Duo-Sonic (Sunburst)

Jimi was seen playing this guitar during a few gigs he did with Curtis Knight in late 1965/early 1966. This guitar was apparently a gift from Knight [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.48]. It is likely that Jimi pawned it sometime prior to leaving for London in late 1966. Beside this, we haven’t been able to […]

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Fender Jazzmaster 1966 White

1960s Fender Jazzmaster

Jimi was seen playing this guitar during a gig with King Curtis & the Kingpins in May 1966. Given that this is the only time he was ever seen with it, it is possible that the guitar was borrowed. The only interesting thing to say about this guitar is that it was likely made between 1964 and […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (Carol)

This is likely one of the first, if not -the- first, Stratocaster that Hendrix ever owned. The history behind this guitar is however far from established. The Origins In the book Jimi Hendrix Gear [Jimi Hendrix Gear, p.62] it is noted that Jimi acquired this guitar at the Manny’s Music shop in New York, and that actually […]

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1964 Fender Stratocaster (Linda)

Based on the photos and the stories from various people, Hendrix only carried one single guitar with him on the plane to the UK in September 1966. Since he didn’t make a work permit ahead of time, it is suspected that someone else (perhaps Chas Chandler) carried the guitar for him. By all accounts, it seems […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (black, Darlington)

According to some sources, Hendrix played a Fender Stratocaster on the night of February 2nd, 1967. The guitar was black, and it was stolen right after the gig at the Imperial Hotel in Darlington, County Durham [‘I bought missing Jimi Hendrix guitar for £20’ – The Northern Echo] The article above first states that possibly a few […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster

This guitar was first seen on February 11th 1967, at the Blue Moon club in Cheltenham. It was photographed sitting on stage while Hendrix played on a different white Stratocaster, likely the one that came with him from the US. Photos and additional info about the gig can be read over at GloucestershireLive website [It […]

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1963 Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst)

Hendrix was seen using this sunburst Fender Stratocaster starting with late February 1967. Based on what we discovered in our research, it is likely that Hendrix bought this guitar upon returning to London after a short North East tour during which a couple of his guitars went missing. One of the first gigs that Hendrix did with […]

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1965 Fender Stratocaster (Astoria Strat)

This is the guitar that Jimi allegedly set on fire at the gig played in The Astoria, London, England, on March 31, 1967. The gig was the first concert of the Walkers Brothers tour, which also featured Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck. Unfortunately, not much of the guitar’s history is known. As we discussed in the […]

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196? Fender Stratocaster (Zappa)

This Stratocaster was given to Frank Zappa by Howard Parker – Hendrix’s roadie, at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival. The history of the guitar is however far from established, and some even doubt its legitimacy since there’s proof of Jimi only ever burning two guitars in his life – both of which are now accounted for (actually […]

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1963/64 Fender Stratocaster (Monterey Pop)

This guitar first appeared sometime in March 1967, likely on the 30th when the band appeared on Top of the Pops TV programme. All the photos from that day are black and white, unfortunately, but the guitar does seem the be finished in a solid color. Definitely darker than white, and lighter than pure black, […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (Seville Theater / Sgt. Pepper's Strat)

This is the second of the two red Fender Stratocasters that Jimi used around May 1967. Based on photos available, it was likely first used at Saville Theatre on May 7th, but it is possible that it was used at an earlier date. This red Strat was mainly played just during the short European tour in May 1967. By […]

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1965/66 Fender Stratocaster (Black)

If we’re to rank guitars in order of their usage during the some of the most iconic performances of Jimi’s, this black Stratocaster would probably be way up there at least in the top three. It was first used (to our knowledge, not necessarily correct) at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. During this […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst, Monterey)

This is the third guitar that Jimi used at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. At this point, we don’t know basically anything at all about the guitar, except what can be concluded from the footage itself. It was finished in sunburst, it had a rosewood neck, and it had a large headstock […]

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1967 Fender Stratocaster (White)

Jimi started using this guitar upon returning to the US, in July 1967. It was seen on July 2nd at Whisky A Go Go, and a few days later on the 5th at the Rheingold Central Park Music Festival. From then on it was used on nearly all (probably all of them at least to some extent, but no way […]

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1967 Gibson Flying V (Hand-painted)

The earliest photo of Jimi playing this guitar on stage that we have been able to find dates back to August 15, 1967. [Jimi Hendrix at “Fifth Dimension Club”, Ann Arbor. Michigan] Based on this, it is likely that Jimi purchased it in the US – perhaps sometime in late July when he was staying in New York […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (Tortoiseshell)

This, for the time – unusual, Strat was used around late 1967. To our knowledge, it was first seen at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on August 18, 1967. Less than ten days later, the guitar was seen once again at the Saville Theater in London. What’s unusual about the guitar is the combination of the specs. […]

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Blue Fender Jaguar

1960s Fender Jaguar (Blue)

There are a few photos of Jimi playing a Fender Jaguar in what’s either a dark blue or black finish. To our knowledge, all of the photos were taken on August 24, 1967, at the Lime Grove Studios for “Top Of The Pops”. The most interesting thing about the guitar is that it was strung for a right-handed player, meaning […]

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Mosrite Joe Maphis 12/6 Doubleneck

This guitar was shown at the EMP museum during a special Hendrix event. According to the museum’s info, Jimi purchased it at Manny’s Music shop in New York and used it for the recording of “Spanish Castle Magic” in late 1967. Unfortunately, beyond what was stated by the EMP, we couldn’t find anything else about the […]

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1967 Fender Stratocaster (White)

This is the guitar that Jimi switched to from his first 1967 Strat (mentioned a guitar before this one). The second Strat first saw stage light on February 2, 1968 in San Francisco, US.  [Jimi Hendrix, backstage at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, 1968 – Time] In essence, the two guitars were identical, aside from the wear […]

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1965 Fender Jazzmaster (Sunburst)

To our knowledge, this guitar was only used on a couple of gigs in March/April 1968. It was first seen at the University Of Toledo Fieldhouse on March 30th [Toledo (University Of Toledo Fieldhouse) : 30 mars 1968], and last on April 5th at the Symphony Hall in Newark [Newark (Symphony Hall) : 5 avril 1968]. This Jazzmaster […]

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1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Fillmore West, Miami Pop)

Jimi started using this guitar around April 1968. The earliest photos date to April 5th, 1968 [Newark (Symphony Hall) : 5 avril 1968], which could possibly mean that this is something Jimi acquired at the Manny’s Music shop, which is just a 30-minute drive from the Symphony Hall. The guitar seemed the have been used exclusively […]

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1967 Guild Starfire V

This guitar was used only once by Jimi, on May 19, 1968, at the Wreck Bar within the Castaways Hotel, in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, after the Miami Pop Festival. The festival was originally scheduled as a two-day event, but the second day was canceled due to a thunderstorm, which prompted the performers to gathered in the Castaways […]

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1950s Gibson Les Paul Jr TV Special

Jimi was seen using this guitar only on one occasion, on May 31, 1968, at the Hallenstadion, Zurich. [‘Monster-Konzert’, Hallenstadion, Zurich. (30/05/1968)] Based on the photos this was some sort of a jam session/sit in, so it is most likely that guitar didn’t even belong to him, and was just something sitting around the stage.

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1967/68 Fender Stratocaster (Blue)

This guitar is not all that significant at least when compared to the others, but it is nonetheless one of the more interesting ones. Jimi used it for a very brief period of time, from what we’ve gathered – not longer than a month. It was first seen at the Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport on July 31, 1968 […]

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1968 Fender Stratocaster (Black)

Hendrix started using this guitar in mid-October 1968, and it represented a shift away from rosewood and towards maple neck Stratocasters. Up until this point, almost every guitar that he played had a rosewood fretboard. This is understandable considering the fact that he mostly used early to mid 60s Strats, most of which were shipped with rosewood […]

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1968 Fender Stratocaster (Woodstock)

This is probably the best-known guitar of Jimi’s. It was used at the Woodstock Festival on August 16, 1969. Before Woodstock however – things are somewhat fuzzy. It seems that the guitar was used from around the same time as the black Strat, around October 1969, but have gone out of rotation sometime in 1969 in […]

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1967 Gibson SG Custom

This 1967 Gibson SG Custom is most famous for its appearance on the Dick Cavett show on September 9, 1969. The guitar was however first seen in Jimi’s hands around late 1968. More precisely, November 28, 1968, Rhode Island Auditorium gig seem to be the first one to feature this guitar based on the photos. From then […]

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1969 Gibson Flying V (Tobacco burst)

This is the second Gibson Flying V that Jimi played in his career. Of the three that he had in total (or at least used publicly), this one is probably the least known and most certainly the least photographed. This, of course, makes it much more difficult to research this guitar properly. Although some sources […]

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1960s Fender Stratocaster (Telecaster neck, Newport)

Jimi used this guitar only two times, both at the Newport Pop Festival in June 1969. Based on the photos and footage available, the guitar was used on both June 20th and the June 22nd. The guitar is one of the weird ones, in a sense that it was without a doubt put together using parts […]

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1955 Gibson Les Paul Custom

According to Larry Lee, this guitar was purchased by him and Hendrix in 1963 when they played in a band called Bob Fisher and the Bonnevilles. When Larry was invited to join Gypsy Sun and the Rainbows in 1969, a week prior to Woodstock, Hendrix allegedly gave it to him since he had no instrument of […]

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1960s Gibson SG Custom (Red)

To our knowledge this guitar was only used on one gig, at the Ungano’s club in New York in January 1970 [Jimi with Elvin Bishop – Unganos Club, New York City 1969/70] If you happen to come across any other photo of Hendrix with the guitar, please be sure to send it to us. The […]

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1968/69 Fender Stratocaster (White)

This is the guitar that Jimi was seen using from around April 1970. Up until that point he used a similar white Stratocaster (Woodstock Strat), but photos seem to indicate that a change took place sometime around early 1970, and Jimi swapped to a different Stratocaster. First photos of this second white maple Stratocaster that […]

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1970 Gibson Flying V (Left-handed, Black)

Although Jimi was no stranger to Flying Vs, this was the only one specifically made for left-hand use. The guitar was first seen on May 8, 1970 at the University Of Oklahoma Field House, Norman [Norman (Field House, University Of Oklahoma) : 8 mai 1970 [Premier concert]] From then on it was used a number of times […]

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Acoustic Guitars

1951 Epiphone FT79

This Epiphone (serial number 62262) was purchased by Jimi in 1967 sometime during the JHE US tour, which was the band’s first away from Europe. According to Noel Redding, the guitar was bought second-hand in New York, for about $25, and was brought back to England. [Bonhams: Jimi Hendrix: An Epiphone FT 79 acoustic guitar, 1951] […]

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1960s Zemaitis 12-string

One of the rare professional video recordings of Jimi with an acoustic guitar shows him playing an unplugged version of the song “Hear My Train A’ Comin’” on a twelve-string guitar.  The short footage is a part of the film called “See My Music Talking”, recorded on December 19th, 1967 at the Bruce Fleming’s studio, London. The […]

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Thornward Parlor Guitar

All that is known about this guitar is that it is currently owned by the Hard Rock Cafe International, and that it can be seen at their restaurant in Amsterdam Netherlands. According to the Hard Rock Cafe’s info, the guitar was donated to them by Mitch Michell, and it was used during the recording of “All Along […]

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1968 Martin D-45

Jimi bought this guitar in 1969 from Manny’s Music shop in New York. The guitar was passed on to Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell after Hendrix’s death, who kept it until 1992 when it was sold through auction. It was purchased by Jimi in 1968 and kept at home to compose with. He wrote many things […]

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Martin D-45 #2

Jimi’s alleged #2 Martin D-45 ended up with Noel Redding, who kept it in his house in Ireland until his passing in 2003. Chris Dair was at his house around 1998/1999, when he had the opportunity to play Jimi’s D-45. What follows is Chris’ own account of what happened, sent to us by Chris via […]

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Amps

Silvertone Twin Twelve

Jimi seemed to have been using this amp around late 1962 / early 1963. It can be seen on a photo of him performing with the King Kasuals. Based on the fact that this is the only time he was seen using the amp, we suspect that it was likely borrowed. At the time of […]

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Fender Twin Reverb

Jimi was seen using this amp in the pre-Experience days. More precisely, photos dating to his Curtis Knight days (late 1965/most of 1966) all seem to show Jimi playing through a Twin Reverb combo amp. Given that he played the last gig with Curtis in August 1966, and left for the UK in September, it […]

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Supro S6420 Thunderbolt

Allegedly used in the early days with Curtis Knight, circa 1966. It is worth noting here that although some argue that an amp resembling a Supro Thunderbolt was seen on stage behind Jimi on at least one photo, it is very questionable if this actually holds any credibility. The whole theory seemed to have originated from […]

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Marshall Super 100 JTM45/100

Allegedly, Jimi first came across a Marshall amp, and tried one himself, while sitting in with Brian Auger’s band Trinity – most likely on September 28, 1966. According to Brian Auger, Jimi turned the amp all the way to 10 and instructed the band to follow him while he played “Hey Joe” – of course leaving everybody […]

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Fender Dual Showman

It seems that for a short period of time, around early 1968, Jimi used a few Fender Dual Showman amps for his live gigs. The amps were seen during the show at Fillmore East on February 1, 1968, on the 2nd at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, and lastly at Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim on February 9, 1968. […]

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Sunn 100s

Sometime in early 1968, Hendrix signed an endorsement deal with Sunn amp. Allegedly, he was approached with this idea by Buck Munger (PR, Sunn Amps.) sometime after Monterey Pop Festival. I went backstage (Monterey Pop Festival), and by the end of the night I knew what record label he was on. Someone invited me, I think it was Chas […]

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Sunn 2000s

Hendrix allegedly used this amp during his endorsement deal with Sunn circa 1968. One of these amps recently appeared on an auction over at Reverb.com, paired with 2X15 Cabs with JBL-D140 speakers. The asking price was around $150,000. Unfortunately, the posting has since been removed and we couldn’t find any additional info about it. In our research, we […]

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Sound City One Hundred

Jimi used a single Sound City One Hundred amp briefly during the latter part of the 1968 North American tour, from around mid-March to early April. The amp seemed to have been used together with one of Jimi’s old Marshall JTM 45/100s. He started using this setup after a short stint with Fender Dual Shoman amps […]

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Effects

Marshall Supa Fuzz

There is a scan of a receipt from a Sound City music store in London from January 1967 showing that Jimi purchased a Marshall Supa Fuzz. [The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a collection of original Sound City receipts 1966 – 1967] This receipt was recently auctioned off, alongside another receipt for a for Fender Telecaster Bass for […]

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Strings

Fender Rock'N'Roll

Jimi most likely used the standard gauge (.010, .013, .015, .026, .032, .038), though Mike Bloomfield says Buddy Miles insists that Jimi used very heavy strings on the bottom, a medium gauge on his A and D, a Hawaiian G string, a light(not super-light) B string, and a super-light E. This was supposedly not just for experimentation, but something that Jimi […]

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Accessories

Guitar Straps

Jimi usually used whatever he thought looks good with his outfit. On one of his most famous gigs at the Woodstock, he used a strap with a very unique design, copies of which are nowadays sold by few different manufacturers.

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