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 you can see the photo here.
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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