One of Jimi Hendrix's guitars is in the middle of a legal tug-of-war that erupted last year and has escalated into a lawsuit that could cost the defendant $750,000 in damages.

The story first made the rounds last November, when Experience Hendrix, the company that manages Hendrix's estate, filed a claim against Sheldon Reynolds and his business partner Brian Patterson, alleging that Reynolds stole a guitar that once belonged to Hendrix and passed it along to Patterson, who then attempted to auction it off.

Reynolds was once married to Hendrix's sister Janie, who manages Experience Hendrix, and he claims he received the guitar — Hendrix's Black Widow acoustic — as part of their divorce settlement. According to Reynolds' own court filings, he went to the couple's home to retrieve his belongings and was told to "take a pile of guitars" by Janie's son, who was then 14.

"Neither story is true," insists Experience Hendrix's suit. "The Black Widow is owned by plaintiff, and has never been the property of Janie Hendrix."

Reynolds, who's a guitarist in his own right and was once a member of Earth, Wind & Fire as well as the Commodores, found himself the focus of Experience Hendrix's ire when representatives for Julien's Auctions, a Beverly Hills auction house, contacted the company to inform them that the Black Widow had been submitted for sale.

Now, TMZ reports that Experience Hendrix is seeking the immediate return of the guitar, which still seems to be in Patterson's possession. In addition, the company is reportedly seeking "at least" $750,000 in damages. In the meantime, the auction is obviously on hold, and Patterson — who seems not to have been available for comment — looks likely to face an armada of high-priced attorneys if and when the case goes to trial.

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