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.

 Jimi Hendrix playing his Ibanez guitar at the Pink Poodle Club in Clarksville, TN, circa mid-1962.
Jimi Hendrix playing his Ibanez guitar at the Pink Poodle Club in Clarksville, TN, circa mid-1962. Thanks Bruce for sending the photo.

The Story

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.

Update

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.

Feedback

GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.

In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)

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Harold Kip
Harold Kip
7 months ago

I believe that I might have found something interesting (while doing research about ‘The Jimi Hendrix Ibanez’)

Althought I cannot confirm its authenticity, this photo is dated January, 1963. Source: pinterest.com/pin/182958803586380041.

Apparently, it was taken at the Pink Poodle Club, because the markings on the wall behind the band are the same as on the photo in your article. Moreover, I believe that at least Jimi is wearing different clothes than in the photo in your article. He seems to wear a lighter color jacket, than in the june 1962 photo.

And, in that photo, Jimi is playing an Ibanez Model 18XX.

But #1: in your article you write: “in January 1962 […] he presumably sold the Danelectro and purchased an Ibanez. Both guitars were out of his possession by July 1962.”

But #2: in the book ‘Ibanez – The Untold Story’ (shop.ibanez.com/shop?productid=ibanezbook) there is a photo (page 8) of an invoice for an Ibanez 1830 made out to James Hendrix. And that invoice is dated 1 (?) September 1962. This is the $10 monthly invoice.

The January 1963 photo and the invoice in the book contradict with the ‘out of his possession by July 1962’ statement above …

But #3: Jimi left Nashville to be near his Grandmother in Vancouver in December of 1962 […] until heading back to the south in the spring of 1963.
(thenashvillebridge.com/2010/11/21/jimi-hendrix-the-nashville-connection)

And that statement contradicts with the date on the photo: spring 1962 vs. January 1962

Maybe Jimi traveled back and forth between Vancouver and Nashville to do the gigs with the King Kasuals every now and then? To me, that seems unlikely, because that would be to expensive for him in those early days?

This leaves me with the following question(s):

Did Jimi still have the Ibanez in January 1963? Or did he maybe have more than one Ibanez? That too, seems unlikely to me.

I would love to see the invoice that Mark is referring to. Would that be the same one as the one in the book? Or could it be another one?

And I would also love to see the photo of the guitar that Know Me is referring to.

Is there any way that we could see the photos of the guitar and the invoice?

Harold Kip
Harold Kip
7 months ago
Reply to  Harold Kip

Here is a photo of the invoice in the Ibanez book.

20230831_175339.jpg
Mark H
Mark H
1 year ago

Having worked at Collins music in Clarksville,TN I also have a copy of the sales receipt that Jimi signed and was co-signed by Billy Cox for the Ibanez. Jimi returned the guitar after a month and it disappeared to where who knows? Also about the time line, no one at this time knew who Jimi was or who he would become. Knowing Sam he would not save a $100 guitar for no unknown soldier! Also Sam didn’t keep this guitar in his office or at his home on Academy Avenue! I know because I had to clean or paint at both locations! I hope this clears up some of the mystery!

Mark
Mark
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

I would be glad to! Right at this moment we are snowbirding in sunny Florida! We will be going back to Tennessee at the first of April, and I’ll post it then!

Jerry
Jerry
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark H

Lol.. it’s amazing how many people knew sam.. I still remember him cutting paper towels in half for the restrooms.. and all the jewelry he would have laying around.. I bought my 1st wedding set through him.. he was an awesome dude but he could squeeze a penny so hard he would get a dime in change…

Tone Junkie
Tone Junkie
3 years ago

Jimi bought the Ibanez from Collins Music in Tennessee. He purchased it on installments, but was not able to keep up the payments. It’s likely that he bought the guitar and kept it for a few months until it was repossessed due to lack of payments on his end; thus having to re-acquire the Danelectro. By 1963, he had bought an Epiphone Wilshire for $65.

Know me
Know me
3 years ago
Reply to  Tone Junkie

Sam Collins never repossessed any instrument.. he would take a loss before he did that..Jimmy turned the Ibanez back in and Sam kept it hanging in his office until he died, just in case Jimmy needed it.

Tone Junkie
Tone Junkie
3 years ago
Reply to  Know me

Right, you’re correct about that. I forgot that it was voluntarily turned in. I read the story in a Guitar Player magazine years ago.

Know me
Know me
3 years ago
Reply to  Tone Junkie

Well this will be hard for you to believe and even harder for me to prove but I know where that guitar is.
My mom has to dust it every week.

Know me
Know me
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

Will do.. my father and I were very good friends with Sam Collins, I used to work at Collins music back in the 80s and after Sam passed my dad bought it from his widow for next to nothing.

mel
mel
3 years ago
Reply to  Know me

Need to see that photo!

John Williams
John Williams
4 months ago
Reply to  Know me

And still — no photo…

Jerry
Jerry
4 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

It’s not his.. we had a guy from Nashville come and authenticate it.. just a nice old guitar. While it’s entirely possible Jimmy played it we have no way to prove it either way.

Ian Cargill
Ian Cargill
2 years ago
Reply to  Know me

Would be interesting to know, because the guitar was supposedly “lost” in a tornado in 1999.

Know me
Know me
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Cargill

That tornado tore up the whole block, but Collins music closed well before that… My memory may not be perfect on the timeline but I am pretty sure the guitar had left the building B4 the tornado. Some of my best memories are in that shop.. the attic was so full of instruments it was impossible to get through.. Sam Collins was a great man.

Know me
Know me
3 years ago
Reply to  Tone Junkie

Sorry.. Jimi…darn autocorrect..lol