Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Ibanez Jet King
As evidenced by photographs, Jimi Hendrix performed with a 1960s Ibanez Jet King guitar at least twice.
One notable appearance was at the Pink Poodle Club in Clarksville, TN, in mid-1962. The details surrounding the other occasion remain elusive at this time but we will update this information as soon as a precise date becomes available.
The history of this particular guitar is far from straightforward. Some sources date a photograph of Jimi with the guitar to June 1962, just a month before he was discharged from the Army.
Adding to the confusion, when Jimi left Fort Campbell in July 1962, he claimed not to have a guitar of his own. He mentioned needing to borrow his old Danelectro from a guy he sold it to, neglecting to mention the Ibanez.
To create a rough timeline: in October 1960, Jimi asks his father to send him his old Danelectro. He likely uses it for over a year, and then, in January 1962, Jimi forms a band with Billy Cox and Charles Washington (a lieutenant). By that point, he presumably sold the Danelectro and purchased an Ibanez. Both guitars were out of his possession by July 1962.
The perplexing aspect of this story is why Jimi referenced the Danelectro as the guitar he needed to borrow, rather than the more recently acquired Ibanez. It’s possible that he maintained a good relationship with the buyer of the Danelectro, whereas the Ibanez might have ended up in a pawn shop.
Supporting this theory is Charles Washington’s statement in the 1973 film “Jimi Hendrix.” Washington revealed that Jimi often pawned his guitar between gigs. Furthermore, since they restrung the guitar upside down for Jimi, he had to use that specific instrument and no other.
As you know, Jimi was a left-handed player – he would have to string his guitar upside-down. This was okay, with one exception – Jimi would somehow always manage to pawn this guitar before a gig and the band would have to go repossess it. Nothing else could be used, he had to have this specific guitar.Major Charles Washington interview – Jimi Hendrix movie (1973)
It’s plausible that the person who purchased Jimi’s Danelectro restrung it for right-handed play, rendering it challenging for Jimi to use. Consequently, the Ibanez became his only viable option. However, Jimi’s habit of pawning the Ibanez eventually took its toll on the band, who grew weary of repeatedly buying it back. Ultimately, the guitar remained in the pawnshop, never to be reclaimed.
According to comments provided by “Tone Junkie” and “know me”, Sam Collins from Collins Music in Tennessee sold the Ibanez to Jimi. However, after some time, Jimi struggled to keep up with the payments and eventually returned the guitar to the shop.
This revelation aligns with Charles Washington’s statement and sheds light on why Jimi had to borrow the Danelectro instead of using the Ibanez.
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