Jimi Hendrix, alongside his heavy association with Fender Strats, played an eclectic mix of electric guitars. One of the earliest of these was a 1958 Danelectro Shorthorn 3012, which NAMM’s Music History Project podcast has dived into the history of.
Used during his time in the army, the guitar was named Betty Jean – after Hendrix’s girlfriend at the time. Hendrix’s bandmate Billy Cox, who was also in the army with him, revealed that he was told: “‘If you ever found that guitar in Nashville it’d be worth five million dollars.”
“He [Hendrix] had pawned it to the guy who owned the Del Morocco [a Nashville nightclub] for about $150, something like that. And he kept it because Jimi didn’t pay him back.”
The owner then kept it at his house, but unfortunately for any would-be collectors, “about four years later that house burnt down,” as Cox explains. You can listen to the full Music History Project episode about Hendrix below.
The revelation follows the announcement of a new feature-length documentary about Hendrix’s storied visit to Maui, where he played two free sets for inclusion in the ill-fated film Rainbow Bridge.
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