In around 1957 it was Al who bought Jimi his first electric guitar. Eight years after that, in August 1965, Jimi sent his dad the letter below. It comes via the New York Times, and also appears in the book Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy by Harry Shapiro.
As the New York Times notes, at the time Hendrix was in New York City “between gigs as a sideman for bands like the Isley Brothers and Joey Dee and the Starliters”:
I still have my guitar and amp and as long as I have that, no fool can keep me from living. There's a few record companies I visited that I probably can record for. I think I'll start working toward that line because actually when you're playing behind other people you're still not making a big name for yourself as you would if you were working for yourself. But I went on the road with other people to get exposed to the public and see how business is taken care of. And mainly just to see what's what, and after I put a record out, there'll be a few people who know me already and who can help with the sale of the record.
Nowadays people don't want you to sing good. They want you to sing sloppy and have a good beat to your songs. That's what angle I'm going to shoot for. That's where the money is. So just in case about three or four months from now you might hear a record by me which sounds terrible, don't feel ashamed, just wait until the money rolls in because every day people are singing worse and worse on purpose and the public buys more and more records.
I just wanted to let you know I'm still here, trying to make it. Although I don't eat every day, everything's going all right for me. It could be worse than this, but I'm going to keep hustling and scuffling until I get things to happening like they're supposed to for me.
Tell everyone I said hello. Leon, Grandma, Ben, Ernie, Frank, Mary, Barbara and so forth. Please write soon. It's pretty lonely out here by myself. Best luck and happiness in the future.
Love, your son, Jimmy