Bonhams are to sell an acoustic guitar once owned by Jimi Hendrix which his girlfriend of the time said he “used for almost everything he composed in this country”. It will be offered in the Entertainment Memorabilia auction on 15th December 2010 and is estimated to fetch £80,000-120,000.
Jimi Hendrix, widely considered to be the best electric guitarist in the history of rock music, bought the vintage Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar second hand for about $25 in New York during his first tour of the United States. He kept it for three years – longer than any other documented Hendrix guitar and spent weeks recording, jamming and performing with it in New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles.
This acoustic Epiphone guitar became his favourite instrument and his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham has said, “it was used very, very heavily, continuously, all the time. Jimi had music coming out of every pore. One minute he’d be eating his breakfast, the next he’d say ‘hey’ and pick up the guitar and play the riffs in his head…” His manager Chas Chandler remarked that Hendrix was so attached to the guitar he would even take it with him to the bathroom.
He continued to use the guitar regularly after moving to Brook Street in London, at around the time Electric Ladyland was completed. He was captured on film playing Elvis’s Hound Dog on this distinctive instrument at the after-show party following The Experience’s Royal Albert Hall concert of February 18th 1969. He gave it to a fellow-musician in March 1970 and it was subsequently used on numerous recordings and film soundtracks including those by Dusty Springfield, Walker Brothers, Blue Mink, Paul McCartney and on David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’.
Stephanie Connell, Head of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Department comments, “Jimi Hendrix is arguably the greatest guitarist of all time and the sale of this iconic instrument offers a rare opportunity to own an important piece of rock and roll history.”