Jimi Hendrix’s 1959-1964 Fender Jazzmaster
During the latter part of the Isley Brothers tour in late 1964 and during the tour with Little Richard in early to mid-1965 Jimi was seen playing a sunburst Fender Jazzmaster (a quick Google Image search should give you a few results). The guitar was also seen on one of Jimi’s earliest TV appearances, in May 1965.
Dating the Jazzmaster
Based on the appearance, this Jazzmaster was made sometime between 1959 and 1964. The celluloid tortoise pickguard seen on Jimi’s guitar was introduced on the Jazzmaster model in 1959, and the small headstock, as well as the logo style present on the guitar, are both representatives of the pre-1964 era. Lastly, the guitar also appears to have a veneer rosewood fretboard, which would decrease the year range even further since the change from the slab to veneer happened in 1962. [Vintage Guitars Info’s – Model Information, Jazzmaster]
Unfortunately, no photo shows the fretboard from such a perspective that would make any conclusion certain, so this is something not yet confirmed. If you happen to come across a photo of Jimi playing the Jazzmaster circa 1964/65 with a good angle on the top of the fretboard, be sure to send it to us.
Post Little Richard
Jimi was seen playing this guitar on a photo taken at the Hejaz Grotto Hall in July 1965 with the Isley Brothers (we can’t put up the picture due to copyright, buy Googling it should give you a few results). This was of course after he left Little Richard, and joined the Isley Brothers for the second time.
Another photo of him with the guitar was taken later that year with Joey Dee and the Starliters. [joeydee.com – Hendrix Close-up] According to a letter Jimi sent to his father, he played with Joey around November 1965.
From then on, the guitar essentially disappears. Hendrix moves on to a white Jazzmaster which he was seen using with King Curtis, and a sunburst Duo-Sonic he used with Curtis Knight.