Long before the PRS Silver Sky, the most controversial electric guitar release of the past decade was also Strat-inspired, when in 2009, Gibson announced a run of Authentic Hendrix-approved, entry-level Jimi Hendrix Signature models.
Following outcry from guitarists worldwide, the info was removed from the Gibson website the following week and actual production models never saw the light of day, but a prototype has now surfaced for sale on Reverb, almost 10 years since the first announcement.
According to the seller, Trogly’s Guitar Show, it turns out the prototype was sent to instructor Marko Coconut for the instructional DVD that accompanied the entry-level guitar packages.
At this point, we should mention that three Gibson Hendrix packages were available: the Experience (which came with a ‘Voodoo Child’ amp, ‘Foxey Fuzz’ pedal and a bevy of accessories, $449); Signature (which still included the VC amp but did away with a lot of the bonus case candy, $332) and the Little Wing (just the guitar and 10W ‘Max Feedback’ amp, $249).
Marko Coconut received both the Experience and Little Wing packages, which means there are at least two Gibson Hendrix signature models in existence.
The instrument up for sale is the Experience model, and Trogly’s Guitar Show has uploaded a video analysing the guitar in great detail, with playing clips to boot.
Perhaps the most intriguing details to note are the Strat-angled Firebird-esque headstock, the appearance of an output jack on the side rather than the face of the guitar, and the use of a - facepalm - three-way pickup selector switch. Yes, that’s what Jimi played originally, but for beginners looking to get those in-between tones, it’s an infuriating decision. Still, at least the bridge pickup is reversed.
The seller is listing the entire Experience package on Reverb for $1,999 - that includes the Hendrix strap, Allen key, guitar cable, Hendrix pick and Voodoo Child practice amp. Not bad for a bizarre piece of Gibson history.
Of course, since that ill-fated project, Authentic Hendrix learned its lesson and partnered with Fender for an, ahem, more authentic Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster in 2015.