Jimi Hendrix’s 1965 Fender Jazzmaster (Sunburst)

access_time First seen circa 1968

To our knowledge, this guitar was only used on a couple of gigs in March/April 1968. It was first seen at the University Of Toledo Fieldhouse on March 30th [Toledo (University Of Toledo Fieldhouse) : 30 mars 1968], and last on April 5th at the Symphony Hall in Newark [Newark (Symphony Hall) : 5 avril 1968].

This Jazzmaster is apparently currently owned by the actor Steven Seagal. He was interviewed in the January 2006 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine on the subject and stated that he acquired the guitar from Tappy Wright (Hendrix’s roadie).

I bought that guitar from Tappy Wright, who was his roadie. That Jazzmaster is a 100 percent authentic. I’ve got pictures of Hendrix with it. He played it in 1966 and 67. Hendrix wrote in a journal somewhere that he got it for recording. Apparently, Seymour Duncan was with him the day he bought it – someplace like Manny’s in New York City. I showed the Jazzmaster to Seymour and he remembered it. [Guitar collection of Steven Seagal; Vintage Guitar Magazine, January 2006 – steven-seagal.net]

Few things to note – as said, we haven’t been able to find any photos of Jimi with this Jazzmaster aside from the few taken in April 1968, so we can’t confirm Mr. Seagal’s statement that he used it in 1966/67. Even without any photos to confirm it, it does seem unlikely, since in late 1966 and early 1967 Jimi mostly used just one guitar – the white Strat that he carried with him from the US.

Jimi did own another identical Jazzmaster early on, and this might lead to some confusion, but even so – this was before he even set foot in the UK. All of the known photos of that Jazzmaster are from mid to late 1965. Even if they were one guitar, which is highly unlikely given how much time had passed (1965 to 1968), the dates are way off from Seagal’s 1966/67.

The latter part of the quote is somewhat plausible though. Jimi was in New York on March 17th, so he could’ve gone to Manny’s for a resupply. Although the earliest known photo of the guitar dates to March 30th, there’s no way of knowing whether Jimi actually used the guitar between the two dates. The lack of photos does not indicate that he did not use it during this period, but without them, this is all just speculation (as is often the case when it comes to Jimi’s guitars).

Once a famous guitar store that sold instruments to guys like Page, Clapton, and Hendrix – Manny’s Music now sits closed. The store was in business from 1935 to 2009, seventy-four years! Photo source: Google Maps

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