A 1964 Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix used on his earliest tours with the Jimi Hendrix Experience is expected to fetch £400,000 to £600,000—approximately $890,000—when it goes on the block April 1.
Ted Owen & Co. auctioneers in London are handling the sale of the guitar for Leon Hendrix, Jimi’s brother, who received it from him on February 12, 1968, the day Jimi played the Seattle Center Arena.
Leon has an interesting story about how he acquired the instrument.
He writes: “When Jimi came back home to Seattle with his band for the first time in 1968, we all met him at the airport, and the same night he played at the Center Arena.
“A lot of the family was backstage and we were waiting for them to go to their seats so we could smoke some weed and have a few minutes to ourselves.…
“He asked me if I was gonna get a band together. I had forgotten I had told him I was thinking about it over the phone, and I was kinda shy about it, which made him laugh. He had at least three guitars that were ready to go onstage: one of them he was warming up on, and there was another in an open case on the floor.
“He asked me if I had a guitar, and I said no, so he said, ‘Take that one over there,’ pointing to the one in the open case…. I said, ‘I dunno, man,’ or something like that.
“He said, ‘Go ahead and take it. You don’t have to learn to play it now if you don’t want to, but I want you to have it.’
“I’ve always remembered that part, because it made me feel like I couldn’t say no. That was Jimi.”
Leon has owned and used the guitar since then. The guitar is set up for right-handed playing and comes with the original case that Jimi was using on tour.
According to auction house owner Ted Owen, Leon has undisclosed health issues and needs cash. “Due to legal wrangles, Leon has never received a penny from Jimi’s estate, even though he is the only surviving blood relative,” Owen says.
“Leon is getting on a bit and is not in the best of health. That’s why he’s decided to sell now.”
Bidding starts at £200,000—about $300,000. For more information or to bid, visit LiveAuctioneers.com.