Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Martin D-45
Jimi bought this guitar in 1969 from Manny’s Music shop in New York. The guitar was passed on to Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell after Hendrix’s death, who kept it until 1992 when it was sold through auction.
It was purchased by Jimi in 1968 and kept at home to compose with. He wrote many things on it, including the “Black Guld Suite”. It did get taken to and used in studios in New York and can be heard on The Cry of Love album as well as other sessions.Mitch Mitchell – letter from the 1992 auction – original source needed
Of course, nothing from this statement can be confirmed since Jimi was never photographed with the guitar, nor did he ever talk about it. But as far as reliable Hendrix sources go, Mitch Mitchell is probably as good as it comes. The statement does make sense, and it is highly likely that Jimi would pick up an acoustic to fool around in the US, similar to what he did with the Epiphone back in the UK.
In 1992 auction, the guitar was sold to Rock Star Guitars [Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Martin D-45]. Shortly after, Jimi’s Martin was sold to the Experience Music Project in Seattle (or Museum of Pop Culture if we’re going by the more recent name) for an undisclosed sum.
Jimi’s alleged #2 Martin D-45 ended up with Noel Redding, who kept it in his house in Ireland until his passing in 2003. Chris Dair was at his house around 1998/1999, when he had the opportunity to play Jimi’s D-45. What follows is Chris’ own account of what happened, sent to us by Chris via email.
First of all Noel said “I want to show you something” and then he disappeared and came back with a guitar case and opened it and said “this was Jimi’s” and I just looked at it in amazement, and then he said “would you like to have a go?” and I said “what?”, and he said “would you like to play it?” I can’t remember my answer to that, I must have said yes, because he handed it to me. I could see it was a Martin and had been strung back to right hand. (Viv was sitting across the room from me, Noel’s mother Margaret was also there). I just felt it, it sounded in tune…and then I started to play New Rising Sun…I don’t know why.
I finished playing after a few minutes, turned the guitar towards me and looked at it. Noel then said “why did you play that?”, and I said “I really don’t know”, handed it back and said thank you. That was it, he took it away. It was extraordinary because it’s not a piece I normally play, and usually when you pick up a guitar like that you just doodle around a little.Chris Dair – via email
The first doubt was that this was Jimi’s Martin which is now at the EMP Museum, but the dates and facts don’t match. It is still possible that he had two different D-45s, although this second one seems to be a lot less known and talked about. Nonetheless, it is an interesting story, but not one that can be proven – so take it with a grain of salt.
Of course, thanks to Chris Dair for being kind enough to let us share this info publicly.
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