Jimi Hendrix’s 1957 Supro Ozark 1560s

This was Hendrix’s first 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 others [Becoming Jimi Hendrix, Steven Rody], that story is actually connected to his second electric guitar, a Danelectro.

Be that as it may, Jimi played the Supro with his band The Rocking Kings circa 1959, until it was allegedly stolen from the bandstand at The Birdland Club in 1960.

Young Jimi Hendrix playing his white Supro Ozark guitar.
Young Jimi Hendrix playing his white Supro Ozark guitar.

As a fun trivia – around the time he owned this guitar, Jimi often hung out at a place in Seattle called The Spanish Castle. Years later, he would write the song Spanish Castle Magic, reminiscing about the old days hanging at the ballroom, and trying to get a gig with different bands.

At the time he wrote the song, the Spanish Castle was already closed and was eventually demolished in April of 1968.

Once you know the legend of the Wailers at the Castle and the facts of Jimi’s attendance there, the lyrics of his ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ seem haunted by homesick nostalgia. ‘It’s very far away, it takes about half a day/to get there by my ah…dragonfly,’ he sings, in the voice of a kid stranded a couple of continents from home

Louie Louie: The History And Mythology Of The World’s Most Famous Rock ‘n’ Roll Song

The Guitar

Unfortunately, the guitar itself is one of the more obscure models with very little of its history being known today. It was made by a company called Valco, which also produced instruments sold under brands such as Airline, Oahu, and National.

Jimi’s particular model featured a white finish and very simple circuitry powering a single pickup placed in the bridge position.

If you’re more curious about the details and the insides of the guitar, it’s recommended that you watch the YouTube video below, which displays a restoration of a guitar identical to Jimi’s.


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J.D. Bell
J.D. Bell
7 months ago

However, there is no known reference to Jimi Hendrix ever actually gigging at the Spanish Castle….Jerry Miller, who did gig there a lot (with the Dynamics–a legendary NW Rock band in the late 50s and early 60s). tells a story about Hendrix, hanging around the stage, asking to jam between their sets!…and the late, great NW DJ Pat-O’Day, also mentions Jimi hanging around the Castle…but no, he never was allowed to jam as part of any group, onstage there.