5 Electric Guitars You Didn’t Know Jimi Hendrix Used

There are few things in the world known to be cold, hard facts. But one of them is that Jimi Hendrix is the greatest rock guitar player who ever lived. With his upside-down left-handed playing style, Hendrix turned the instrument into a weather system, capable of conjuring storm clouds or rays of light.

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[RELATED: Behind the Death of Jimi Hendrix]

One might wonder, what electric guitars did Hendrix favor? When the world’s greatest wants to play a six-string, what does he reach for?

1. 1968 Fender Woodstock Stratocaster

The Scoop:

This is actually the one you’ve seen him play most. (But did you know Jeff “Skunk” Baxter claims to have first introduced him to one?) It’s the one he played at Woodstock in 1969—classic all-white. He also played a black one with a white pickguard—always right-handed turned upside down. Hendrix mostly played Stratocasters in his prolific, albeit short-lived career. He’d plug them into his Marshall amps and put the gain knobs on 11. The guitar Hendrix famously set on fire was a Fiesta Red Strat.

Key Features:

Also known as a Strat, the guitar boasts signature models from artists like Hendrix. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, H.E.R., and Buddy Guy all have their own signature models. The guitar is known as a classic rock style and one of the most imitated. The guitar revolutionized the industry and reminds a standard.

2. Gibson Flying V Electric Guitar

The Scoop:

When Hendrix wasn’t playing one of his often-used Stratocasters, he was playing a Gibson Flying V. The guitar manufacturer even built a custom model for Hendrix in 1969 with gold-plated hardware. It was also set up left-handed, unlike his right-handed Strats, and given a tremolo bridge. He’s played cherry red and black models, too. Hendrix was seen playing it at the Isle of Wright concert on his hit, “Red House.”

Key Features:

Invented in the late 1950s, the Flying V guitar offers a futuristic, “out their” aesthetic to the body of the instrument. Unlike the now-standard look of a Strat, the Flying V looks just as its name suggests. Almost, with the guitar neck in mind, like a big Y if you stood it upside down. Thus it presents the audience with a massively different look during a big rock show.

3. 1957 Supro Ozark 1560s

The Scoop:

Hendrix’s first electric guitar is thought to have been given to him by his father, who’d bought it in Seattle’s Myers Music Shop in 1958 for $89. Hendrix played this with his early group, The Rocking Kings, in 1959. Legend has it the guitar was stolen from him at The Birdland Club in 1960. He’d left it backstage overnight. But Hendrix’s first gig with the instrument came in a band at the Jaffe Room in the Emerald City. But he was having so much fun with the guitar that he was fired between sets for showboating.

Key Features:

The simple rock guitar only has one single-coil pickup. The guitar is known for having a bridge mounted in such a way that it improved intonation and allowed for ample sustain.

4. 1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard

The Scoop:

After his Supro was taken, Hendrix got his second-ever guitar, a 1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard. Though, some historians think the Supro was perhaps borrowed at the time. Either way, Hendrix said of the purchase in his memoir, “When I was seventeen, I formed this group with some other guys, but they drowned me out. I didn’t know why at first, but after about three months I realized I’d have to get an electric guitar. My first was a Danelectro, which my dad bought for me. Must have busted him for a long time.”

Key Features:

A popular model at the time, guitar sleuths have deducted from early photos of Hendrix that the model he played had two pickups and was likely the 1959 Danelectro Model 3022 Shorthorn, copper colored. He’s even seen holding it in the army. After the army, Hendrix sold the guitar but later borrowed it to play shows and earn money in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Want to Read More About Electric Guitars? See the 5 Best Electric Guitars Under $1,000 Here

5. 1960s Fender Duo-Sonic

The Scoop:

Hendrix was gifted this guitar from O’Kelly Isley of the Isley Brothers, a band Hendrix played backup guitar. Hendrix got the six-string just after he joined the band in 1964. Again, though, Hendrix soon lost the guitar after someone stole it shortly after he began playing it.

Key Features:

It’s believed Hendrix had a pre-1964 version. With a 22.5-inch short-scale rosewood neck, the guitar also likely had two single-coil pickups and a white pickguard.

Bonus: Jazzmaster

On tour with the Isley Brothers and later Little Richard, Hendrix played a Fender Jazzmaster.

Photo by Doug McKenzie/Getty Images

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