Jimi Hendrix’s 1965/66 Fender Stratocaster (Black, Monterey)
If one was to rank guitars in order of their usage during the some of the most iconic performances of Jimi’s, this black Stratocaster would probably be way up there at least in the top three.
It was first used (probably) at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. During this gig, Hendrix played the guitar on Killing Floor, Foxy Lady, Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, Rock Me Baby, Hey Joe, Can You See Me, and The Wind Cries Mary. At the end of the concert, he switched to a red Stratocaster painted by himself, and then set that guitar on fire after playing a cover of The Troggs’ Wild Thing.
Please note that the section that was previously here – which was about some of the weird details on the guitar, like the placement of the logo – is now removed. The reason for this is that the section was completely based on the alleged Stratocaster that appeared on auction recently, and was proven to be a fake. Thanks Daze in the comments for clearing up the whole thing regarding this.
Based on photos available, most notably, Hendrix used this guitar at Fillmore West on June 25th and at Whisky A Go-Go on July 2nd.
From then on, as pointed out by Monty Ray on the Zappa Strat page, the guitar was used at the Ambassador Hotel on October 4th, 1967, where it was set on fire at the end of the concert. This makes it the third Stratocaster ever burned by Jimi.
The strat at the Ambassador Theatre was a black strat, and almost certainly the same black strat Jimi used at Monterey. The body of the strat he burned and smashed at the Ambassador was left with the management there, and Jimi signed it.Monty Ray
Black Monterey Strat was Jimi’s Favorite?
This guitar is sometimes referred to as one of Jimi’s favorites. Based on what is known about the guitar, how long it was used, and how long it took for it to get replaced with another guitar, this seems unlikely.
By July 1967 Jimi was already using a different white Stratocaster over the black one, and given how often these changes happened (moving from one guitar to another), it is even unlikely that Jimi had a favorite guitar at that time. Perhaps he preferred using one guitar over the other, but having a clear favorite, something he would treasure is very unlikely.
Even the assumption that he switched from the black Strat before setting fire to the red one at the Monterey doesn’t make much sense. The Monterey Strat was likely painted for that purpose to begin with – the same story as the Saville Strat that he destroyed shortly before Monterey. Even if he didn’t plan on setting it on fire beforehand, he most likely planned on at least destroying it.
According to what’s commonly accepted as a true story, he decided upon setting the red Strat on fire only after seeing The Who destroy their equipment. Since simply destroying your guitar on stage was old news at Monterey, setting it on fire would certainly make for a bigger spectacle.
Black Strat on Auction
In 2012, a black Strat appeared on auction via Fame Bureau auctioneers (photos can be seen at Jimi Hendrix owned & played guitar – Liveauctoneers). According to the official info, the Strat was given to Jimi’s record company Anim Limited at some point, where it fell into the hands of James ‘Tappy’ Wright (Hendrix road manager). The guitar remained in Tappy’s hands until 2012.
According to Tappy, this was the same black Stratocaster that Jimi played at Monterey.
As a side note, if you happen to own a copy of James “Tappy” Wright’s book “Rock Roadie”, and wouldn’t mind citing a couple of sentences, in case there’s any mention of the guitar there, shoot us an email.
More recently, this same guitar has been featured in one of Paul David’s videos on YouTube, which raised some controversy. Following that, another YouTuber, CGS (Mike Milton), put out a video pointing out all the inconsistencies about the guitar and basically proving that there’s a high chance that this might be a fake.
The video is embedded below, and you can learn about all the details there. It would be unfair for the people who figured this out to just copy-paste everything here.
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