Jimi Hendrix’s ‘60s Japanese sunburst guitar sells for over £160,000 at auction

The legendary musician used the guitar before he became famous

Jimi Hendrix’s Japanese sunburst electric guitar that he used in the early ‘60s has sold for more than £160,000 at auction.

The late star used the instrument after he was discharged from the army in 1962 and played it during his time in New York as a musician for the likes of the Isley Brothers.

The guitar was estimated to be worth $50,000 (£38k) before the auction, but was bought for a winning bid of $180,000 (£138k). When auction fees were added to that price, its total became $216,000 (£165k).

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Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight 1970. CREDIT: Charles Everest © CameronLife Photo Library

It went under the hammer at a sale run by GWS Auctions. According to an item description on the auction house’s website, Hendrix began playing the guitar after he left Fort Campbell for Clarksville, Tennessee, where he “played on the Chitlin’ Circuit with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner and Jackie Wilson before moving to Harlem, New York in early 1964”.

The musician left the guitar with his friend Mike Quashie when he moved to London in 1966 and Quashie provided a signed and notarised letter of provenance before he died in 2019.

The guitar was said to be “in well-loved condition” but had no strings on it as the auction house wanted to “keep it in its original state”. You can see the full auction listing here.

Last year, an urban legend that claimed that Hendrix was responsible for the arrival of wild parakeets in Britain was debunked. The myth stated that the rock icon had released the first pair of parakeets, called Adam and Eve, as a symbol of peace while stoned in London’s Carnaby Street in 1968.

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