Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Fender Stratocaster (black, Darlington)
Stories of stolen guitars belonging to Jimi Hendrix are a common occurrence. According to some sources, Hendrix played a black Fender Stratocaster on the night of February 2nd, 1967, at the Imperial Hotel in Darlington, County Durham, which was stolen right after the gig.
An article in The Northern Echo reported that the guitar was at some point sold to a musician named Tony Carrington for $20, who then sold it to someone else as it apparently played quite badly, and he didn’t find it usable [‘I bought missing Jimi Hendrix guitar for £20’ – The Northern Echo].
Although it’s mentioned that possibly a few of his guitars were stolen that same night, someone is quoted later in the article linked above, saying that only a black Stratocaster had gone missing. It is also mentioned that Jimi didn’t particularly care about the black Strat, as he was mainly worried about a white one.
This white guitar that Hendrix cared about was most likely the 1964 Fender Stratocaster he carried with him from the US, the one given to him by. Linda Keith.
This story about there being a white and a black Strat is also supported by photos taken just a few days before the theft, at the Seville Theater on January 29th, where Hendrix was seen using both a black and a white guitar.
True Story or just a Myth?
The story of the Darlington Stratocaster sounds plausible, especially considering that a black guitar went through Jimi’s hands prior to this date. However, the retelling of the stolen guitar story from generation to generation has turned it into a local legend in Darlington.
Some people in the area apparently believe that the guitar is still around and are actively asking the current owner to return it [Return Jimi Hendrix’s guitar and we’ll set up a music foundation’ – tribute band’s amnesty offer].
Although authenticating the guitar is nearly impossible, it’s fascinating to consider the possibility of its reappearance. However unlikely that may be, we’ll be sure to update this page if any new information comes to light.
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Here is a photo from 1/29/67 at The Saville showing what must have been the Darlington black Strat. I have no photos of it at Darlington.