Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Ibanez Jet King
Based on photographs, Jimi played this guitar at least on two occasions – at the Pink Poodle Club in Clarksville, TN in mid-1962. The other one at this point no one seems to have an exact date on, but the page will be updated once we find out.
Things are far from established regarding this guitar. Some sources have the above photo dated June 1962, which would be exactly a month before Jimi got discharged from the Army.
The confusing part in all this is the fact that when Jimi stepped out of Fort Campbell in July 1962, he stated he had no guitar of his own. He then mentioned needing to borrow his old Danelectro from a guy he sold it to, omitting the Ibanez.
So, to put it all in a timeline, in October 1960, Jimi asks his father to send him his old Danelectro. He presumably uses it for more than a year, and then in January 1962, Jimi forms a band with Billy Cox, and Charles Washington (a lieutenant). Again presumably, he sells the Danelectro by that point, so goes and buys an Ibanez. Both of them are out of his hands by July 1962.
To point out the confusing parts – why did Jimi reference Danelectro as the guitar that he needed to borrow, and not the Ibanez – which was his more recent guitar? Perhaps it was simply the case of him being good with the guy he sold it to, and the Ibanez may have gone to a pawn shop somewhere.
Something that could go along with this theory is Charles Washington’s statement in the 1973 movie Jimi Hendrix. Charles Washington said that Jimi would often pawn his guitar between the gigs. He also mentioned that since they strung the guitar upside down for Jimi, he had to use this one specific guitar 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)
So maybe the guy who now owned Jimi’s Danelectro re-strung it for right-handed play, therefore making it hard to use by Jimi. The Ibanez was the only option, but Jimi kept pawning it. Eventually, the band tired of buying it back, and the guitar remained in the pawnshop.
Based on the comments (thanks Tone Junkie, know me), Sam Collins from Collins Music in Tennessee sold the Ibanez to Jimi. After a while, Jimi couldn’t keep up with the payments, so he returned the guitar to the shop. This explains Charles Washington’s statement and clarifies why Jimi had to borrow the Danelectro.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Tell her to snap a photo ;)
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.
Need to see that photo!
Would be interesting to know, because the guitar was supposedly “lost” in a tornado in 1999.
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.
Sorry.. Jimi…darn autocorrect..lol
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!
Thank you very much Mark for sharing that. Would you mind snapping a photo of the receipt so we could have it here?
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!