Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Gibson SG Custom (Walnut)
It seems that this guitar was 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 guitar was allegedly a gift from the club owners since Jimi was apparently a frequent visitor and often jammed with other musicians in the club – such as Peter Green, BB King, and Jimmy Creed. This is based on a comment on an online blog about The Grateful Dead, written by a person who was once employed at the club.
Jimi jammed so many other times. We wound up buying him the left-handed white SG that is in some photos out there…Jimi was a regular and he loved the club.February 12, 1970 Ungano’s, New York, NY 210 West 70th Street The Grateful Dead – LOST LIVE DEAD
The part about the guitar being a white SG is somewhat confusing, but based on the information that is available, Jimi didn’t have a left-handed SG finished in white. The person who made the comment likely confused this guitar with the other SG that Jimi was often seen playing in late 1968 and in 1969.
The SG that was seen in the photos taken at the Ungano’s club in New York was a Custom with a walnut finish, three pickups, a white ‘batwing’ pickguard, and likely, a Bigsby tremolo. We don’t have the numbers of how many of these left-handed SG Customs were made in the late 60s, but they are probably extremely rare. Even the regular right-handed models made in 1969 with these exact specs usually go for no less than $10,000.
So in case a 1968/69 left-handed SG Custom in walnut ever comes up on sale, the chance of it being Jimi’s actually wouldn’t be so slim.
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01 janvier 1970 – jam-session au Club Ungano, New York City
With Elvin Bishop – Unganos Club, New York City
Hi, as regards the ‘Ungano’s lefty SG, i’m pretty sure the one he’s playing has a Bigsby trem rather than the Vibrola seen on the guitar pictured on this site. By the way, quite frustrating only having black and white photos of this jam, as the guitar always looked metallic to me so I assumed it was probably Pelham Blue.
Yeah, I will have to agree. The handle alone does not look like a vibrola, and I don’t see the vibrola plate on the back. I’ve also been looking at photos of SG Customs from late 60s, and every single one has a vibrola, so someone made the effort to remove the vibrola from Jimi’s and installed a Bigsby – which is interesting.
Could be, but that would make the guitar extremely rare. I did a quick search and couldn’t find a single batwing SG in Pelham blue. I’d imagine if someone appeared with a late 60s SG custom in Pelham blue, fitted with Bigsby, there’s probably 1 in 10 chance it was Jimi’s, lol.