Jimi Hendrix’s 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, on November 27, 1968, Rhode Island Auditorium gig seem to be the first one to feature this guitar based on the photos.
From then on the SG popped in occasionally, most likely to be used on tracks such as Red House which in the past he mostly played on humbucker-equipped guitars.
Also, in late 1968 and early 1969, Jimi often played Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love, which on some video recordings he played on the SG. Perhaps a nod to Eric who himself likely recorded the track on a Gibson SG (you can read a bit more about it in 1964 Gibson SG Standard ”The Fool”).
It is most likely that Jimi simply liked the lightweight and proportional design of the SG model. The SG can without almost any difficulty be played by a lefty since the body is almost exactly the same on each side.
The body is also very lightweight in comparison to the Les Paul Custom model that Jimi was seen playing in mid-1968, and the neck allows for the fingers to reach the highest frets with ease (something he’d surely struggle with on a Stratocaster to an extent).
Jimi SG was made in 1967 and features a mahogany body and neck finished in white, which faded to light yellow over the decades. The guitar is equipped with three humbuckers, which are all much more powerful and beefier than the usual set of single-coil pickups that Jimi played through on his Stratocasters.
What makes this model “Custom” is, of course, the diamond-shaped inlay and binding on the headstock, as well as the pearl block fretboard inlays, and gold plated hardware. The Custom SGs and Les Pauls are both top-of-the-line models with all the bells and whistles, costing considerably more than the Standard versions of each.
Nowadays, however, most collectible Les Pauls and SGs are actually vintage Standard models – early 60s SGs and late 50s Les Paul Standards.
Jimi’s SG, being made in 1967, had a large white pickguard that surrounded all the pickups and extended to the top portion of the body. The design of the earlier models was somewhat different. The pickguard was only covering the bottom portion of the guitar, and each of the pickups had an individual plastic cover.
Hendrix’s SG on Auction
The guitar is currently owned by Hard Rock Cafe International. [From The Hard Rock Vault – Jimi Hendrix Guitars] Unfortunately, at this time, we haven’t been able to find the background story behind the auction of the guitar, and who was the previous owner. If you happen to come across something on the subject, be sure to forward it to us.
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27-11-1968, Providence, Rhode Island Auditorium
28-11-1968, New York Philharmonic Hall
January 9, 1969 Konserthuset Stockholm, Sweden