Jimi Hendrix’s Acoustic/Bartell “The Black Widow”

Jimi acquired this guitar in October 1968. As the story goes, Harvey Gerst, a rep from Acoustic Control Corporation, came to help Jimi in TTG Studios LA with four Acoustic amps that Jimi purchased.

I got a call on Saturday morning from steve Marks, the president of Acoustic, saying, “go down to TGG right now!” Why? “Jimi Hendrix just bought four of our amps and he’s having trouble with some of the controls.

Harvey Gerst – Tape Op Magazine

History, Specs

Before we talk about the guitar, we should talk a little about the company behind it. Acoustic Control Corporation up until the early 70s focused on making solid-state guitar amps. Their first official electric guitar, the Black Widow, became available in 1972.

Before 1972, their guitars were built by Bartell and labeled as “Acoustic”. Among these was of course the guitar that Jimi owned. So, Jimi’s Black Widow was based heavily on a Bartell semi-hollow model, with some minor modifications.

A late 1960s Bartell guitar, famously owned and played by George Harrison (left), and Jimi Hendrix’s Black Widow (Right).

The most obvious difference on the Acoustic-labeled Bartell guitar that Jimi played, was, of course, the deep black finish. Apart from that, Jimi’s model had neck and body bindings, a different tailpiece and bridge, and the control knobs were taken directly from an Acoustic amplifier.

It seems also that the bodies were not completely identical, as the “horns” on Jimi’s guitar appear to be sharper, and the contour seems to be more pronounced. This could however just be a case of a different year – different body style, different manufacturing process.

After Jimi

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