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

Seven arrested in drug trafficking investigation

Queen Charlotte RCMP arrested seven people in connection to a drug trafficking… Continue reading

QC, Port commit to electric car infrastructure

Municipalities opt in for Hwy. 16 charging network

More sailings coming to Haida Gwaii

The B.C. government says Haida Gwaii’s two BC Ferries routes are among… Continue reading

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Mold shuts down construction at QC supportive housing project

Construction of the new 19-unit modular housing complex in Queen Charlotte has… Continue reading

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read