Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Zemaitis 12-string Acoustic

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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.

A still form the 1973 documentary “Jimi Hendrix” showing Jimi playing a Zemaitis 12-string guitar.

The guitar that Jimi played in the video was made by a guitar luthier called Antanus Casimere (Tony) Zemaitis, based in London, England. All of the vintage Zemaitis guitars were made by Tony himself, and many of the popular guitarists of that time were seen playing one – including Eric Clapton, Donovan, Ronnie Wood, and Keith Richards. After Tony’s death in 2002, the production of Zemaitis guitars was moved over to Japan.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any info on what happened to the guitar after Jimi’s death. It does, however, seem to be still around, as there are photos of it on a website by David Brewis (now down for some reason).

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Craig C.
Craig C.
1 year ago

Hi there…I can say with my hand on my heart, I saw the 12 string Zemaitis guitar at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. I was visiting out there back in 2015, and saw the guitar with a funky jacket and another guitar of Jimi’s in a large display. I hope it’s still there….peace.

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

In the video there is a close up, and I think this Z guitar is 10 string not 12! The D and G are singles and the rest are doubles. I’ve never seen that. It looks like that’s the design, not leaving 2 strings off. I just saw the video today, 1/16/21.
If I knew how, I’d post a screenshot.

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

10, not 12 string?

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Richard
Richard
4 months ago

I now think he was leaving off the 2 strings, guitar was designed for 12 and he was playing with 10.

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

Thanks. My point is that a 12 string should have 12 strings and he used 10 strings, leaving the D and G with singles not doubles, for a total of 10 strings and not 12?

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

Good one! Thanks! I appreciate his play of this guitar and your interest!