Topped by recycled fir baseboards from Jimi Hendrix’ childhood home, this guitar made by luthier Reuben Forsland also has nails and wiring from the home inlaid in all of its fret markers. The “story” guitar is a collaboration between Forsland and Kevin Hennig of Symphontree Music in Sandspit. (Kevin Hennig/Symphontree Music)

Home-made Hendrix guitar lands in Sandspit

Hand-built acoustic guitar is made from the baseboards of Jimi Hendrix’ childhood home.

After a broom and a dumpster-dived ukulele with just one string, Jimi Hendrix’ first guitar was a $5 acoustic he got second-hand.

Hendrix quickly switched to electric — his first band, The Velvetones, was drowning him out — and it was on electric that he ascended to rock guitar god-dom.

But in Sandspit of all places, there is now an acoustic guitar built from the baseboards, nails, paint, and wiring of the Seattle home where 15-year-old Hendrix first learned to play.

Handmade by Reuben Forsland, a Métis luthier in Comox, its soundboard is made from the fir baseboards of Hendrix’ bedroom.

Inside the silver fret markers are wires and nails from the home. For the rosette, the decorative trim around the soundhole, Forsland inlaid bits of paint from the Hendrix home floor, encased in 150 pieces of ebony.

“That’s what this guy does, all the time,” says Kevin Hennig, owner of SymphonTree Music, a specialized guitar shop based in Sandspit.

Hennig said he first heard of Forsland about 10 years ago, when the carpenter and furniture maker started making his first off-the-wall “story” guitars — including one made from shipworm-eaten salvage wood.

A few years ago, Forsland custom-made a guitar for Slash of Guns N’ Roses featuring Honduran mahogany from “The Tree” — a single tree with highly patterned wood long-prized by guitar makers, and tuner buttons made from petrified whale vertebrae.

His latest is made from a 3,300 year-old Sitka spruce that grew on Prince of Wales island, north of Haida Gwaii.

Besides the detailing, Hennig said the trick with the Hendrix home guitar was making a great-sounding sounding guitar with a fir top.

“Most people have only ever heard a spruce guitar, maybe a cedar now and then,” he said.

“To voice the hardwoods is really, really tough — you can’t just do what you normally do and hope it sounds good, because it ends up sounding like a pillow.”

Another luthier is now in Hennig’s shop, building a guitar that features wood from Haida Gwaii — something Hennig hopes to see more of in the future.

Speaking about Jimi Hendrix, remembered by Rolling Stone as the greatest rock guitarist of all time for the carefree way he drew new sounds from the electric guitar (and its feedback), Hennig said it’s amazing what Hendrix did in just seven years of recording.

Just before he died, Hendrix taped some rough demos for Black Gold, an album he imagined as a series of playful ‘pieces’ well outside rock ‘n roll. Mostly unreleased, tapes are some of the only recordings of Hendrix playing an acoustic, and fans are still hoping to hear them.

It’s true Hendrix had a short career, said Hennig, but “he accomplished a hell of a lot.”

 

Luthier Reuben Forsland with some of the baseboards and other materials he recycled to build an acoustic guitar with parts of Jimi Hendrix’ childhood home in Seattle. (Joi Guitars)

Just Posted

Environment Canada warns of strong winds Monday

Environment Canada warns that strong winds will blow over Haida Gwaii on… Continue reading

Investigating change to B.C.’s licence and quota system

MP Ken Hardie hears from fish harvesters how corporations are favoured under current regime

Bad weather delays next Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Stormy weather will delay the next ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to… Continue reading

Number-one bud: Q.C. cannabis store could be the first on Haida Gwaii

A local business owner is looking to open the first licensed cannabis… Continue reading

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read