date_range 1970

Jimi Hendrix’s 1968/69 Fender Stratocaster (White)

This is the guitar that Jimi was seen using from around April 1970. Up until that point he used a similar white Stratocaster (Woodstock Strat), but photos seem to indicate that a change took place sometime around early 1970, and Jimi swapped to a different Stratocaster. First photos of this second white maple Stratocaster that we’ve been able to find date back to April 25, 1970, and were taken backstage at The Forum, Los Angeles [Los Angeles (LA Forum) : 25 avril 1970]

The case of there being another white Stratocaster with a maple neck in 1970 is mainly built around one tiny detail – a scratch on the paint on the lower part of the body. This scratch is visible on the guitar that was used from around April 1970 and until Jimi’s last concert in September, but it cannot be on the Strat that was used on Woodstock – neither on the photos taken in 1969, nor on those taken recently. To remind you, the Woodstock Strat is accounted for and is currently owned by the Museum of Pop Culture (EMP Museum).

This is a still from a concert played at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970. The scratch is clearly visible on the edge of the body.

One thing that is admittedly weird about this “new” white Start is that it had the cigar burn marks on the headstock even on the earliest photos. These marks are also present on the Woodstock Strat and on Jimi’s black Strat, but they developed over time and were not present on the guitar when Jimi first started using them.

This could indicate that perhaps this second Strat was used alongside the Woodstock Strat even in 1969, giving the time for the burn marks to develop. Given that the guitars are identical to each other, it would be difficult to differentiate them from the photos. Furthermore, the burn marks would develop on the exact same spot, since Jimi would either place his cigar sitting beneath the strings parallel to frets, or resting on the string tree (this pattern is visible on both the Woodstock Strat and on the black Strat).

So based on all this, it is nearly impossible to figure out the exact story behind this guitar. It is fairly safe to say though, based on the scratch on the body, that there was indeed a second white Stratocaster in 1970. And from that, it only follows that most (if not all) of the gigs played until September 1970, during which Jimi was seen using a white Strat, were played on this guitar and not on the Woodstock Strat. We’ve gone through photos, and scratch seems to be always there – from LA Forum in April all the way to the Isle Of Fehmarn in September.

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