Jimi Hendrix’s 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 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 the body is from a Stratocaster.
The question is whether any of the parts belonged to one of Jimi’s old guitars, or whether there they were picked up from a guitar store/shop. The chance is that at least the body came from one of Jimi’s white Strats.
The Newport Strat Body
The body of the Newport Strat likely belonged to one of Jimi’s older guitars. Prior to the Newport gig, Jimi usually played either the black maple Strat or the white maple Strat. He also played at least one white rosewood Strat in mid-1969.
The Newport Strat could be a third maple Strat that Jimi played in 1969/70 – the first one being the Woodstock Strat, and the second one is the one with a scratch on the body (we’ve discussed this second Strat here) – or it could be one of the older 1967 rosewood Strat but fitted with a Telecaster’s neck. There is also a possibility that this is the same maple neck Strat that Jimi used prior to Newport, but with a replacement neck. Lastly, this could also be a completely different guitar, never played by Hendrix before.
However, according to one of our visitors, who had a chance to speak to Neal Moser, who is the person who modified this guitar for Jimi, the Strat that he worked on originally had a maple fretboard neck. So that narrows it down quite a bit.
Aside from that, there are a few other hints that could point in the right direction. The body of the guitar that was used at the Newport had two scratches on the paint just below the bridge. The white Strat that Jimi used around this time (presumably the same guitar that was used on Woodstock), doesn’t have these scratches – meaning that this likely wasn’t it.
So essentially the only way to track this body down to its original neck is to find which of the white guitars that Jimi used prior to June 1969 had those exact scratches. So far, there are no matches. If you happen to be successful, be sure to let us know. You can find a few decent photos showing the scratches on the Newport Strat with a quick Google search.
The Newport Strat Neck
The neck on the Newport Strat is obviously from a Telecaster. Based on the skunk stripe on the back of the neck, it was made no earlier than 1969, when Fender went back to one-piece construction. [Vintage Fender Model info – GuitarHQ] From this it can be somewhat safe to assume that the neck was brand new.
Neal Moser Interview
Guitar Player magazine published an article in the Fall 2003 special issue on Hendrix, in which Neal Moser – a Hollywood luthier, talked about a guitar that he fixed for Jimi. According to him, some Hendrix roadies came with the guitar to his shop and asked for a neck replacement since Jimi broke the original at a gig.
The neck was broken, and they wanted a replacement. Of course, Fender didn’t have any at the time, but they did have some Tele necks. We got one, and I modified the butt to fit the Strat body. That guitar ended up in a collage on the Hendrix in the West album.Guitar Player Magazine, Fall 2003 – Master Series / Jimi Hendrix
Based on Neal’s description, this must’ve been the Newport Strat. The neck was indeed a brand new replacement part from Fender, while the body was one of Jimi’s older ones.
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Thank you for all of this Information. I know how much work goes into this research.
Thanks, Richard! Glad you found it useful.
I had a thought. Do you think that maybe the neck came off Eric Clapton’s Telecaster? In that Hendrix and Clapton swapped. However, EC’s Telecaster had a pre-CBS Stratocaster neck on it. But this thought did cross my mind. As the Strat necked Tele also made it’s debut in 1969.
Hi Julie. That would make it an awesome story, but unfortunately, Eric’s neck is the same that he used on his Brownie Stratocaster, meaning that it came from that guitar. Also, Neal Moser who modified the Strat for Jimi said that the Telecaster neck was just something that he had in the shop at that time. Cheers, Dan.
One thing for sure…Hendrix played his cosmic ass off on the Sunday, when he returned with Buddy Miles…reviewers were totally blown away, and much of his amazing riffing exists on the Internet. I wonder why Jimi did not use this guitar much after this gig!
This was posted on the Stratocaster Owners group on facebook.
How about at the Shokan house leading up to Woodstock? Photos show him outside with a the black beauty strat and also pic from inside the house with the white with rosewood neck. This would make the time frame similar but the order I think is reversed. He had a number of them but I always wondered why it’s so hard to track his axes. I don’t think at the time anybody thought it had any significance until he passed then it all got dispersed or taken…one here…one there.
It’s a shame they can’t get it together and have a bunch of them displayed together or at least a story and detailed photos assembled…I can understand keeping the mystique but no one will catch up to him anyways so it’s about time we see all his cool stuff and not just bits and pieces
Sounds great about showing the Jimi guitar collection all in one.
We could do the same with his clothing too!