Jimi Hendrix’s 1968/69 Fender Stratocaster (White)
Please note that the existence of this guitar is based purely on speculation. It could be that this is the exact same Stratocaster that Jimi used at Woodstock, but for the sake of discussion, it’s perhaps good to keep them separate at this time.
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 seem to date back to April 25, 1970, and were taken backstage at The Forum, Los Angeles [Los Angeles (LA Forum) : 25 avril 1970]
Second White Strat?
The hypothesis 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 (formerly EMP Museum).
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 is possibly the same guitar, or that it was used alongside the Woodstock Strat even in 1969, giving the time for the burn marks to develop.
Based on all this, it is nearly impossible to figure out the exact story behind this guitar. It is possible that it is the same guitar, but it’s also possible, based on the scratch on the body, that there was indeed a second white Stratocaster in 1970, which changes things significantly. Because if later is the true, 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.
The Dirt Hypothesis
One simple hypothesis that would could explain everything is that there was no scratch at all, and that we’re just looking at piece of dirt. How likely this is, seems to be a matter of personal opinion. Could dirt stick to a shiny guitar lacquer for months, would it not rub off simply though Jimi using the guitar extensively?
It’s possible, and would make things a lot simpler, but it’s obviously pretty hard to say anything conclusively, therefore it’s important to point out that there’s at least a chance that there were two white guitars after all.
To further tip the scale towards this second theory, below is an image submitted by jleclerc (see comments below) which conclusively confirms that at least the neck is the same on both guitars. This either means that we’re looking at the same guitar, or that the neck was swapped from one body to another, and then back again to the first body. The first version is obviously more likely, it is simpler after all, but who knows at this point.
The most likely explanation at this point is that we’re actually talking about one same guitar and that that was indeed just a piece of dirt and not a scratch.
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