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Jimi Hendrix’s early ‘60s Japanese sunburst electric sells for $216,000

(Image credit: David Redfern/Redferns / Kruse GWS Auctions)

A rare 1960s Japanese sunburst guitar played by Jimi Hendrix in the early to mid ‘60s sold at auction for $216,000.

The electric guitar, which does not have a brand name on the headstock, was offered for sale by GWS Auctions and ultimately went for more than four times its starting bid price of $50,000.

According to GWS, Hendrix began playing the double-cut model “shortly after he returned home from the U.S. Army in 1962.

(Image credit: Kruse GWS Auctions)

"After leaving Fort Campbell, Jimi moved to Clarksville, Tennessee for a short time 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 where he stayed until late 1966 playing venues such as Cafe Wha? and the Cheetah Club.

“Jimi moved to London in late 1966 and left this guitar in New York at the apartment of one of his best friends, where [his brother] Leon recalled seeing it many years later.”

The guitar was sold in “well-loved” condition and without strings, and included a letter of provenance from Leon Hendrix.

For more information, head to GWS Auctions (opens in new tab).

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.