Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Fender Stratocaster (black, Darlington)
According to some sources, Hendrix played a Fender Stratocaster on the night of February 2nd, 1967. The guitar was black, and it was stolen right after the gig at the Imperial Hotel in Darlington, County Durham [‘I bought missing Jimi Hendrix guitar for £20’ – The Northern Echo]
The article above first states that possibly a few of his guitars were stolen, but someone is quoted saying a few paragraphs below that only a black Stratocaster had gone missing. It is also mentioned that Jimi didn’t particularly care about the black Strat, and was mainly worried about a white one.
The white guitar that he cared about was, of course, the one we mentioned previously – the one guitar he carried with him from the US (1964 Fender Stratocaster (Linda)).
Most of this does make sense. Jimi was seen playing a black Stratocaster few weeks prior to this, on the January 29th at the Seville Theater. Some footage of this gig is still available, but unfortunately, we can’t post here due to copyright. There were also photos taken that day by Chris Morphet/Redferns, showing both the black and the white guitar being used by Hendrix.
Just a Myth, or Something Else?
Stories about guitars being stolen from Hendrix are a common occurrence, and we suspect that many of them are basically just people falsely remembering stuff. The story of the Darlington Stratocaster does, however, sound plausible, especially considering the fact that a black guitar went thought Jimi’s hands prior to this date.
According to the article linked in the first paragraph, a musician named Tony Carrington bought the guitar at one point for $20, and soon sold it to someone else, saying it played quite badly. He noted that the person who sold him the guitar claimed he got it from Hendrix and that the Strat was now re-painted red.
It was horrible. It had been used and abused and was not in a pristine condition. It could well have been the guitar that Hendrix knocked about. It did not even sound good. It was a dog as guitars go. [‘I bought missing Jimi Hendrix guitar for £20’ – The Northern Echo]
The story of Jimi’s stolen guitar has been retold from generation to generation, and it seems to have developed into a local legend. Some people in Darlington apparently believe that the guitar is still around, and are even actively asking the current owner to return the guitar [Return Jimi Hendrix’s guitar and we’ll set up a music foundation’ – tribute band’s amnesty offer]
We will not go any deeper into this as it is obvious that authenticating the guitar would be nearly impossible. However unlikely, if it ever reappears, we’ll update this article.