In 1967, Jimi Hendrix purchased a second-hand 1951 Epiphone FT-79 acoustic for the paltry sum of $25. Fast forward 50 years and that very same guitar has just sold at Bonhams auctioneers for $258,000 – over 10’000 times the original value.
It was expected to go for anywhere up to $150’000, but clearly the Hendrix touch is a massive draw for collectors and a competitive bidding war ensued. That’s quite a premium when you consider that on eBay, a 1950s FT-79 recently sold for just $1000!
As was the case with many of Jimi’s guitars, this is a right handed guitar which he strung upside down for left handed play.
The Epiphone was originally purchased due to Hendrix receiving noise complaints from neighbors in his London apartment. It is claimed that the Epiphone is his longest owned guitar (3 years), and was used extensively when writing songs, including his version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’. His manager claimed that it was used so extensively that Jimi would even take it into the bathroom to capture new song ideas.
The guitar was eventually given to Alan Parker (Blue Mink guitarist), hence the stencilling on the hard-case. It would later go on to to be used in recordings by Dusty Springfield, Paul McCartney and even David Bowie!
The video below shows Hendrix using the Epiphone live at an after-show party in 1969.
Despite the massive final sale price of over a quarter of a million dollars, this wasn’t quite enough for the guitar to enter our list of the top 30 guitars ever sold at auction. Although the list does feature quite a few Hendrix owned guitars!
Jimi would have turned 74 his year. Read more about Jimi Hendrix.