Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 Fender Stratocaster (TTG Studios)
Jimi was seen playing this guitar in a photo taken of him at the TTG Studios in October 1968. Most of the photos taken during these TTG sessions show him playing his black 1968 Strat, but there’s at least one that shows him playing a large-headstock sunburst Stratocaster.
A guitar that was dubbed “the TTG Stratocaster” was seen on various auctions online from around 2021. It was at one point even available for purchase on Reverb.com, where it was listed by someone named “Neil’s Gear Bazaar”.
This account has been associated with a lot of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia sales, including another 1965 Stratocaster, a Jazzmaster, his Flying V, and a few amps. Most of those auctions were not really publicized all that much, and they were mostly just public sales posted on eBay and Reverb. Given that this particular guitar was also not really publicized at all perhaps indicates that the large publishers were avoiding the story for a reason, and maybe we should be careful in labeling it as the TTG Strat.
It’s extremely important to understand how hard it is to prove that a guitar belonged to Jimi, and how big of an incentive someone would have in producing a fake. Jimi Hendrix’s memorabilia is pretty much as good as it gets, and everyone wants to have even the tiniest things that were touched by Jimi.
With all that being said, let’s see the story being this TTG Stratocaster.
The TTG Strat Analysis
The official auction page reads that this guitar (serial number 206846) was recovered by Bob Levine, Jimi’s US manager, from Jimi’s New York City apartment after his passing. The gutiar was kept strung backward all these years, and according to the auction, it is in the same condition it was left when recovered by the Levine.
If we start from that, and we take a look at the photo of the gutiar from the auction, we’ll see some interesting things. Yes, the guitar is strung for left-handed playing, but there’s also some wear on it that would indicate that it was played by someone who is right-handed.
So if we take what was posted on the auction page at face value, that “the guitar remains in the same condition it was left when recovered by the Levines”, that would mean that this wear already existed on the gutiar in 1968 when Jimi played it. However, if we take a look at the photo of Jimi playing the gutiar, the wear is not there. The photo is of course not of the best quality, but it’s the only photo of the guitar that we have.
So that means that the guitar was indeed played since it was recovered from Jimi, and it was not kept in its original condition, or the wear somehow happened between when the guitar was made in 1967, and when Jimi was photographed using it. In that case, we also have the accept the possibility that the photo from TTG studios simply doesn’t show the wear, but it’s there.
The first option of course sounds a lot more plausible, but it doesn’t explain why the auction house would point out that the guitar was kept completely original.
Now, Bob Levine is definitely someone who was closely involved with Jimi, and there’s really a handful of people who you’d trust more on a thing like this. But even if this is the real deal, it’s so hard to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, because just having the story, and one single photo of Jimi with the guitar, is not enough. Especially when that photo doesn’t show the guitar in detail.
Also, we’ve all seen what happened to the alleged Monterey Strat (a guitar that also went through Bob’s hands at some point), and how it was proved to be a fake, so it’s extremely important to be careful about this stuff. Unless there are receipts with Jimi’s name and this guitar’s serial number on it, there’s just no way to prove that this is the real thing.
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