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Are You Experienced Enough to Buy This? Jimi Hendrix’s Career-Starting Guitar Up for Auction

The guitar that started Jimi Hendrix’s stardom is up for auction.

It is an unbranded Japanese-made electric guitar played by Hendrix in the 1960s. It’s going up for auction for the second time, after failing to meet its reserve price. The early 1960s Japanese Sunburst Electric guitar and case with three letters of provenance will be auctioned off by Kruse GWS Auctions. The the online auction and bidding opens at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Jimi Hendrix (1942 – 1970) performing at Madison Square Garden, New York City, 18th May 1969. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images)

Psychedelic rock icon Hendrix was a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of rock ‘n roll, he died in 1970 at the age of 27. While he produced a number of hit songs, one of his most popular is “Purple Haze” from 1967.

When he died, his net worth more than $800,000 in 1970 dollars, or the equivalent of $5 million in 2019, Cheatsheet reported. He left his estate to his father, but since his father’s death in 2002, there have been several legal battles over control of the estate. In 2004, Court TV estimated the estate’s value at $80 million.

The Story Behind the Guitar

The guitar to be auctioned off was used after Hendrix was discharged from the Army in 1962. Living in Tennessee at the time, he played on the “Chitlin’ Circuit.”

The “Chitlin’ Circuit” were venues in the South where it was safe for Black musicians and entertainers to perform during the Jim Crow era. Hendrix used the guitar on the circuit to platform with other artists such as Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner, and Jackie Wilson, according to GWS.

Hendrix’s Japanese Sunburst Electric guitar that is being auctioned off. (Photo: Kruse GWS Auctions)

The guitar was also used when Hendrix moved to Harlem in 1964, where he played around New York City at famed music venues like the Cafe Wha? and the Cheetah club.

The guitar will also be sold with its original case, and the third letter of provenance states that the guitar was given to Hendrix by his father. The guitar was sold once before for $216,000.

According to Complex, Hendrix’s prized guitar is expected to be sold at around $250,000, with the auction having a minimum bid set at $50,000. It is one of many guitars being sold in the online Legends of Rock and Roll auction.

Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley, two prominent names in rock roll, will have their guitars for sell too.

Other Hendrix Guitars

Last month, Hendrix’s 1969 Olympic white Fender Stratocaster was up for sale via the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, Guitar World reported.

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