A guitar that was once owned by the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix is the focus of a new lawsuit. The Arizona Daily Star reports that the estate of Hendrix, who died in 1970, is suing to get the instrument back.
The instrument, known as an Acoustic Black Widow, is an electric guitar that was owned by Hendrix at the time of his death. Now in a guitar shop in Tucson, Ariz., the instrument is estimated to be worth between $750,000 and $1 million.
“Rainbow Guitars owner Harvey Moltz says he paid $80,000 last year for the Black Widow,” the paper reports. “But in an Oct. 2 complaint, the company that runs Hendrix’s estate claimed Moltz is not the rightful owner of the guitar and asked a Pima County Superior Court judge to direct him to return the guitar and pay damages.”
Janie Hendrix, the sister of Jimi Hendrix and CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC, said in an emailed statement: “The guitar is priceless to our family. It is one of the few guitars that came home after Jimi passed away. We just want our guitar returned safely and back where it belongs.”
The report adds: “Experience Hendrix said in its complaint that it first learned the guitar was missing in June 2014 when Julien’s Auctions — a Los Angeles firm that bills itself as ‘the auction house to the stars’ — called to authenticate a claim made by Brian Patterson, who was trying to auction the Black Widow.”
Patterson, who sold the guitar to Moltz, reportedly said he bought it from Sheldon Reynolds, a former member of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and the ex-husband of Janie Hendrix. Lawyers for the two sides differ on how Reynolds obtained the guitar, with an attorney for Moltz reportedly saying Patterson showed Moltz a letter indicating Janie Hendrix had given the instrument to Reynolds.
An attorney for the estate reportedly countered that the seller “got it from someone who stole it and we intend to get it back.”
Here’s a YouTube clip showing what an Acoustic Black Widow looks and sounds like: