When GWS Auctions listed an early-career Jimi Hendrix guitar late last month it had a pre-auction estimate of $50,000. When the auction ended early on Saturday morning, it had sold for over four times that amount, raking in $216,000 after taxes and fees.
The guitar? A rare Japanese electric guitar that Hendrix used in the early ’60s prior to his worldwide stardom. Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division after just one year of service, Jimi made his way to Clarksville, TN “where where he played on the Chitlin’ Circuit with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner and Jackie Wilson,” according to the GWS Auctions listing.
From there, Jimi moved to Harlem, NY and played venues like Cafe Wha and Cheetah Club, before heading to London in 1966. It was during these years that Jimi played this Japanese Sunburst with bands like the Isley Brothers and Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Hendrix left the six-string in New York with his friend Mike Quashie upon making his trek across the pond.
The Hendrix axe remained in excellent condition throughout the decades despite years of heavy use from Jimi throughout his early career. Head to the GWS Auctions listing for the full backstory of this amazing guitar.
Other recent notable auctions include Kurt Cobain‘s Martin D-18E acoustic guitar used during the Nirvana‘s MTV Unplugged performance ($6M+), Prince‘s “Blue Angel” guitar ($563K), and Paul McCartney‘s handwritten “Hey Jude” lyrics ($900K).