Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Fender Stratocaster (Carol)

access_time First seen circa 1966

This is likely one of the first, if not -the- first, Stratocaster that Hendrix ever owned. The history behind this guitar is however far from established.

The Origins

In the book Jimi Hendrix Gear [Jimi Hendrix Gear, p.62] it is noted that Jimi acquired this guitar at the Manny’s Music shop in New York, and that actually Carol Shiroky (his girlfriend at the time) bought it for him. It is assumed that he then carried this guitar with him after leaving the US.

However, in Steven Roby’s book “Becoming Jimi Hendrix”, it is mentioned that Jimi broke the guitar after breaking up with Carol. [Becoming Jimi Hendrix; Steven Roby, p.170] This would mean that the guitar was used for a very brief time in New York, and that it wasn’t the one that Jimi carried with him to the UK in late 1966.

To note – both of these stories are second-hand knowledge, and at this time we have no way of proving any of this info. They do however make sense, especially considering the following —

Linda Keith supplies another white Stratocaster to Hendrix

There’s a story of Linda Keith borrowing one of Keith Richard’s guitars to Jimi sometime in 1966. As she is quoted saying, Jimi’s guitar was at a pawn shop at the time, so she borrowed him a white Fender Stratocaster. Also to note, according to her, Jimi smashed a different guitar later on during a gig of his that she attended at Cafe Au Go-Go in New York’s Village.

It was the night he smashed up a white guitar, I was beside myself. I’d lent him a guitar belonging to my boyfriend and there he was smashing one up on stage! I was absolutely livid with Jimi because to me that’s the most un-cool thing to do. [How I helped to make Jimi Hendrix a rock’n’roll star – The Observer, September 2014]

Taking this info and building upon what was stated previously, it seems possible that Hendrix smashed his first white Stratocaster at the very gig that Linda Keith attended. Knowing that he had a backup guitar from Linda, this perhaps gave Hendrix the freedom to get rid of Carol’s guitar, while also making a scene that he would be remembered for.

It still seems somewhat unlikely though that Jimi would trash a good guitar this early on in his career. The money was certainly still tight at this point. For now anyway, we assume that this was the end of the first white Fender Stratocaster that Jimi owned himself, and the beginning of the second.

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Bres Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bres
Guest
Bres

Hi Dan,
I own an 63 /65 Olympia white strat . I got it in Paris 30 years ago, from ân Hard Rock café, For sure, it has been played by â left handed guy. They told me it was Jimi. How can I proove it ? Best.

Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to Jimi Hendrix Gear Page
access_time 1969

1960s Fender Stratocaster (Telecaster neck, Newport)

Jimi used this guitar only two times, both at the Newport Pop Festival in June 1969. Based on the photos and footage available, the guitar was used on both June 20th and the June 22nd. The guitar is one of the weird ones, in a sense that it was without a doubt put together using parts from at least two different guitars. The neck is from a late 1960s Telecaster, while […]

access_time 1959

1957 Supro Ozark 1560s

This was Hendrix’s first ever electric guitar. According to some sources [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.9], he got it from his father who bought it in the Myers Music Shop in Seattle in 1959 for $89. According to others [Becoming Jimi Hendrix, Steven Rody], this story is connected to his second electric guitar, a Danelectro. Be that as it may, Jimi played the Supro with his band The Rocking Kings […]

access_time 1960

1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard

After his Supro was stolen, with the help from father Hendrix bought this Danelectro which he later nick-named “Betty Jean” after his girlfriend at the time, Betty Jean Morgan. [Jimi Hendrix Gear, by Michael Heatley, p.28] The guitar was allegedly originally green, but Hendrix himself painted it several times from red to purple, and back to green at some point. [Becoming Jimi Hendrix, Steven Rody] However, the earliest photo of […]

access_time 1966

1964 Fender Stratocaster (Linda)

Based on the photos and the stories from various people, Hendrix only carried one single guitar with him on the plane to the UK in September 1966. Since he didn’t make a work permit ahead of time, it is suspected that someone else (perhaps Chas Chandler) carried the guitar for him. By all accounts, it seems that the guitar that Jimi carried with him was a 1964 Fender Stratocaster finished in […]

access_time 1968

1968 Fender Stratocaster (Woodstock)

This is probably the best-known guitar of Jimi’s. It was used at the Woodstock Festival on August 18, 1969. Before Woodstock however – things are somewhat fuzzy. It seems that the guitar was used from around the same time as the black Strat, around October 1969, but have gone out of rotation sometime in 1969 in favor of a different white Strat that looked nearly identical. The Woodstock Strat was […]

access_time 1968

1968 Fender Stratocaster (Black)

Hendrix started using this guitar in mid-October 1968, and it represented a shift away from rosewood and towards maple neck Stratocasters. Up until this point, almost every guitar that he played had a rosewood fretboard. This is understandable considering the fact that he mostly used early to mid 60s Strats, most of which were shipped with rosewood fretboards, at least up until around mid-1965. The guitar was one of the two maple […]

access_time 1962

1961 Epiphone Wilshire

After coming back from the Army in 1962 Hendrix acquired an Epiphone Wilshire. It is assumed that this was from the money he made playing with the Danelectro, which as previously noted, was indeed borrowed from a friend in the army. Jimi used the guitar in the early days of King Casuals – a band that began performing in Nashville by November 1962. The Wilshire can be seen on photos taken at the Club […]

access_time 1967

1967 Gibson Flying V (Hand-painted)

The earliest photo of Jimi playing this guitar on stage that we have been able to find dates back to August 15, 1967. [Jimi Hendrix at “Fifth Dimension Club”, Ann Arbor. Michigan] Based on this, it is likely that Jimi purchased it in the US – perhaps sometime in late July when he was staying in New York (Manny’s Music Shop in NYC was a very popular guitar store among rock stars back […]

access_time 1968

1967 Gibson SG Custom

This 1967 Gibson SG Custom is most famous for its appearance on the Dick Cavett show on September 9, 1969. The guitar was however first seen in Jimi’s hands around late 1968. More precisely, November 28, 1968, Rhode Island Auditorium gig seem to be the first one to feature this guitar based on the photos. From then on the SG popped in occasionally, most likely to be used on tracks such as ‘Red […]

access_time 1967

1963/64 Fender Stratocaster (Monterey Pop)

This guitar first appeared sometime in March 1967, likely on the 30th when the band appeared on Top of the Pops TV programme. All the photos from that day are black and white, unfortunately, but the guitar does seem the be finished in a solid color. Definitely darker than white, and lighter than pure black, but it’s impossible to tell exactly whether it was red or not. Regardless, the guitar […]

Interested in other artists? Check out GroundGuitar's subdirectory_arrow_rightGear Page