Jimi Hendrix remains an icon for many guitarists, and a British Columbia–based maker is building a limited series of guitars using pieces of Hendrix’s childhood home in Seattle for a few of those lucky—and well-heeled—fans.
Reuben Forsland of Vancouver Island’s JOI Guitars forged an agreement with Experience Hendrix, the Hendrix family–owned business that controls Jimi’s estate, to build guitars using materials from a modest home that Jimi lived in for several years after his father Al purchased it in the spring of 1953. The house, built sometime between 1917 and 1920, was originally located at 2603 South Washington St. in Seattle’s Central District, and was later “deconstructed” by a real estate developer and put into storage.
The resulting guitars integrate several parts of Jimi’s home, which Forsland says was built using local old-growth woods. The top repurposes fir baseboards that came from either Jimi’s room or the living room. The neck uses fir from the floorboards, with additional support coming from ebony strips, a truss rod, and two carbon-fiber rods. Floorboard nails are turned into position markers on the fingerboard’s face, which also includes Jimi’s signature inlaid at the 12th fret, while the side dots come from the home’s copper wiring and are surrounded by sterling silver. The rosette is made from crushed paint chips removed from the floorboards. Internally, the neck- and end-blocks come from one of the house’s structural 2x4s. African blackwood, a rosewood family wood that looks like an ebony, is used for the guitar’s back and sides.
Forsland has an agreement to build ten guitars with this wood, and at the time of publishing, the fourth of the Harmonic Hendrix Home Guitars was under construction. Under a licensing agreement with Experience Hendrix, each guitar will cost $25,000, with a sizable portion of each sale going toward the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.