Jimi Hendrix’s 1970 Gibson Flying V (Left-handed, Black)
Although Jimi was no stranger to Flying Vs, this was the only one specifically made for left-hand use. The guitar was first seen on April 25, 1970, at the Los Angeles Forum, and subsequentially on May 8, 1970 at the University Of Oklahoma Field House, Norman [Norman (Field House, University Of Oklahoma) : 8 mai 1970 [Premier concert]] From then on it was used a number of times until Jimi’s death, most famously of course at The Isle Of Wight on August 30th.
Jimi’s left-handed Flying V was finished in plain black and featured a white pickguard, gold-plated hardware, and a Vibrola tremolo. The guitar also had some unique features, such as the fully bound neck with split diamond inlays, as opposed to simple dot inlays that were standard on models made around this period. Next to that, it also had a plain black truss rod cover reading “Custom”, identical in shape to the truss rod covers installed on Les Paul Customs.
Lastly, the Gibson logo on Jimi’s Flying V was inlaid on the headstock, while the standard models all had the logo printed on the truss rod cover. Based on all this, and also coming from few different sources, the guitar was likely a custom ordered by Jimi himself or something Gibson built specifically for him – with or without his knowledge.
According to Walter Carter, author, and a Gibson historian, the serial number on the guitar (849476) was not logged into Gibson’s shipping registry in 1969, but other models made in that year did have serial numbers close to Jimi’s. From this, it is assumed that Jimi’s guitar was made in late 1969, but because of the custom feature was not finished early to mid 1970 when it was shipped to Hendrix. [Gibson Flying V – Zachary R. Fjestad, Larry Meiners; p.23]
Jimi’s Flying V Today
The guitar is currently owned by the Hard Rock International (see video below, skip to 3:15 minute mark). According to some sources, the previous owner was Eric Barrett – Jimi’s road manager.