Credit: Dieter HoffmannA guitar that once belonged to Jimi Hendrix is at the center of a new lawsuit that the late rock legend’s estate has launched against the owner of a Tucson, Arizona, guitar store, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The newspaper reports the Hendrix family-run Experience Hendrix company filed a $750,000 suit October 2, claiming Rainbow Guitars owner Harvey Moltz isn’t the rightful owner of Jimi’s Black Widow guitar. The suit seeks the instrument’s return, as well as monetary damages.

Moltz says he purchased the guitar for $80,000 in June 2014 from a man named Brian Patterson, who in turn claimed he bought the instrument from Sheldon Reynolds — a former member of Earth, Wind & Fire and the ex-husband of Experience Hendrix president and CEO Janie Hendrix.

According to the Experience Hendrix filing, the Black Widow belonged to Jimi at the time of his death in 1970 and was then was bequeathed to his father, along with the rest of his estate. It supposedly came into the possession of the Experience Hendrix company when Hendrix’s dad died in 2002. The complaint states that the estate learned the instrument was missing in June 2014 when Julien’s Auctions contacted them to authenticate a claim of ownership by Patterson, who was trying to sell the guitar.

Experience Hendrix says Reynolds has claimed he either received the guitar as part of his 2007 divorce settlement with Janie Hendrix or was given it by her 14-year-old son, but the estate maintains the story is untrue and that instrument wasn’t even Janie’s property.

“The guitar is priceless to our family,” Janie Hendrix says in an emailed statement to the newspaper. “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.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Moltz told the newspaper, “My client purchased the guitar in good faith from a private seller, without knowledge of competing claims of ownership.” In addition, the attorney wrote in a letter sent to Experience Hendrix in June that Patterson had shown Moltz a letter stating that Janie had given Reynolds the Black Widow guitar while they were married.

Experience Hendrix’s lawyer, Ed McPherson, says that claim isn’t true, adding Patterson “got it from someone who stole it and we intend to get it back.” McPherson also says the guitar is valued at between $750,000 and $1 million.

Moltz’s lawyer also told Experience Hendrix in the aforementioned letter that his client would refrain from selling the guitar until a court comes to a decision in the case.

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