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Feb 26

hendrix

Anything For $1.10: Gibson Jimi Hendrix Psychedelic Flying V by G7

Editor’s Note: the guitar shown here is one of the few 2006 Gibson Custom Shop recreations of the mythical Hendrix Psychedelic Flying V.  At the time of this writing, it’s in stock and for sale!

Question: Can you name a band produced by Jimi Hendrix with assistance from Noel Redding?  Answer: Eire Apparent in 1969.The album was called Sunrise on the Buddah label.

Why is this significant? Eire Apparent supported the Experience on a U.S. tour in 1968 and when they went into record their album Hendrix came along. In addition to production he apparently (no pun intended) played on several tracks.Oh yeah-he also gave Mick Cox, the band’s guitarist, his hand painted 67’ Flying V.  Yowww!

hendrix

Let’s back up a little. In 1967, the only Flying V most of us early G.A.S. victims had seen was in the hands of Dave Davies with the Kinks on television guitar syncing. It was like-Holy shit! What’s that? No one knew what it was called but it sure looked like it was flying.

So along comes Gibson with a second generation ‘V’. Gone is the natural wood {who knew Korina?} body and neck. Gone is the smaller pickguard and body mounted pickups. Gone is the gold hardware and V shaped tailpiece for stringing through the body. To us stiff necked guitar geeks it was cool to see a new Flying V but it looked kind of cheesy compared to the Kinks axe. We will save the design assassination for another day.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The name says it all. Amazing guitar playing-amazing guitar antics-amazing clothes-amazing hair. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jimi jumped on the new Flying V as soon he could. Like so many musicians in the late sixties, Jimi felt the need to customize his guitars. Witness the short life of the Monterrey Strat with Jimi’s red/white hippy floral treatment.

His newly acquired 67’ Flying V was given a similar treatment almost immediately .The first time it appeared on stage it was already painted. He used it regularly in the early days for his slow blues numbers- usually “Red House.”

hendrix

This first ‘V’ stayed with him until 1969 when the aforementioned Mr. Cox became that proud new owner. Wellll -perhaps not that proud because he quickly stripped the finish-art work and all. OUCH! Jeez!-Everyone is an art critic.

After that, things get a little hazy. Mr. Cox says he eventually sold the guitar (stripped?) to a “local” music shop in London in the 1970’s .Flash forward to the late 1990’s and one Dave Brewis, a British musician and fan of all things Hendrix, wanders into an unnamed “local” music shop in north east England where the owner tells him he just got a “Hendrix Flying V” refinished in black (?) on trade.

Mr. Brewis is understandably wary but eventually buys the guitar and begins his quest (headache) to confirm its Hendrix connection. Opinions were asked, photos and film were examined and ultimately Mr. Brewis was convinced he had the real deal. An approximation of the original artwork was applied using photos of the original. In 2003 it was sold to a collector. It was also referenced later by the Gibson Custom Shop for their limited edition reissue.

As for the veracity of the claim, I can only refer you to pages 54-55 of “Flying V-Explorer-Firebird” by Tony Bacon. In his search for confirmation, Mr Brewis claims his guitar matches original pictures of Jimi’s axe on the basis of physical characteristics like wood grain and unique inlay patterns. He cites prominent striping on the rosewood fingerboard. This is clearly visible on the guitar Jimi is holding and perhaps has just painted because there are no strings and they look so young and still happy. More interesting to me is the fifth fret dot inlay. Both pictures show a very clear off center line in the pearloid pattern that certainly seems identical. It’s your call.

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By the way, it is widely believed that Jimi’s 67’ was originally an unlisted (sunburst-cherry-sparkling burgundy) black finish before his handiwork. If you have the Bacon book you can easily see amber from a sunburst finish between the Vibrola and the bridge and a bit more by the bass side of the tailpiece. Oh well!

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