Jimi Hendrix’s 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]
According to the info posted on the Bonham’s auction page, the Epiphone was used extensively by Jimi in London, and many of the arrangements for the new songs were written on it. According to Kathy Etchingham, he mostly used an acoustic when playing and practicing at home.
Jimi used it for almost everything he composed in this country, as he didn’t use an amp until the move to Brook Street, and in any case Chas would never have allowed it in case we disturbed the neighbors because we’d upset them in Montague Square and Chas didn’t want to be chucked out of a second flat. Jimi would pick up and then play the acoustic, then pick up a Strat and play that unplugged, listening to it without an amp. He constantly played it to work out riffs and song arrangements including his own version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” [Kathy Etchingham – Bonhams: Jimi Hendrix: An Epiphone FT 79 acoustic guitar, 1951]
There are very few photos of Jimi playing the guitar, which is, of course, understandable since it was used in a more private setting. What’s more interesting is that there’s an actual video recording of him using the guitar backstage at the Royal Albert Hall on February 18, 1969. In the said video, Jimi can be seen playing a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” to a group of friends.
The Epiphone remained with Hendrix until March 1970, when he gave it to Alan Parker. Alan was a session musician, who at the time was playing guitar in a band called ‘Blue Mink’. It remained with Alan until 2016, when it was sold through Bonham’s auction house for £209,000 (around $270,000).
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