Jimi Hendrix’s 1960s Fender Stratocaster (Modified)
Jimi was seen using this guitar only on one occasion, at L’Olympia, Paris on October 9, 1967. It is an odd guitar in a sense that it’s the only heavily modified Stratocaster that Hendrix ever was seen playing, and what’s also very weird about it is that it was only seen this one time. If we assume that Hendrix modified the guitar himself, or more precisely had someone modify it for him, it would make sense that he would want to keep on using the guitar, but he obviously didn’t. This opens up the possibility that the Strat was borrowed, meaning that it didn’t even belong to Jimi.
Another possibility is that someone wired a separate pickguard for him, Jimi tried it out in one of his guitars, ended up not liking it and forgot about the whole thing. To further build upon this theory – there is at least one guitar that could’ve served as a donor to this modified pickguard – a white early to mid-1960s Stratocaster with a Tortoiseshell pickguard that Jimi was seen playing just a day prior, at the Saville Theatre, London on October 8, 1967. In theory, he could’ve swapped the pickguard on that guitar, and went back to the old one after realizing that the modified one wasn’t working out for him.
Of course, there is also a chance that this is a completely separate guitar, perhaps one that Jimi trashed at a prior concert, and that one of his roadies pieced together and wired in a weird way for Hendrix to try out.
The mods on this guitar seemed to have been pretty simple. Basically, the only thing that seems to be different from a stock Stratocaster is that instead of a single 3-way switch, there are three separate toggle switches, which most likely served as on/off switches for each pickup. Wired this way, each pickup is controlled separately, which allows for some unorthodox pickup configurations. For example, Jimi could use all three pickups at the same time, or only the bridge and the neck pickup – which he couldn’t do with a stock 3-way switch.