Jimi Hendrix’s 1963/64 Fender Stratocaster – Monterey Pop Strat

This guitar was first used by Jimi sometime in March 1967, likely on the 30th when the band appeared on Top of the Pops TV program. All the photos from that day are black and white, unfortunately, so it’s hard to tell the exact color of the body, but it did seem to be finished in a solid color. Likely, it was red, since that would make most sense based on later photos.

Also, since this seemed to have been the only red Strat with a rosewood fretboard that Jimi ever played, and it perfectly matches the Monterey Strat specs, aside of course, from the hand drawn design. As far as these things go, it’s pretty much a sure thing that this is the Monterey Strat.

Jimi Hendrix at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, May 24, 1967.

Usage

The guitar wasn’t used all that much until May 1967. Then, during the short European tour that spanned throughout that month, Jimi was seen alternating between this guitar, and another red Stratocaster with a maple neck.

Jimi Hendrix, 22 May 1967 – Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland. Photo by: Marjut Valakivi

Interestingly, both of these red Stratocasters shown in the photo above were later decorated by Jimi. The one with the rosewood neck was the Monterey Strat, of course, while the one with the maple neck was the famous Seville Strat.

The Year of Manufacture

Based on what can be concluded from the photos, the Monterey Strat was made in 1963 or early 1964. It has a small headstock with spaghetti Fender logo, the narrow dot spacing on the 12th fret of the neck, and pickguard screw layout of the models made later than early 1963. By late 1964, the design on the model changed significantly.

Monterey Pop Festival

As you probably already know, Jimi set this guitar on fire at the end of the Monterey Pop Festival gig, making it probably the best known guitar that he ever used. Worth noting is that he used a different guitar throughout the concert, and switched to this guitar just prior to playing the last song of the set – The Troggs’ Wild Thing.

After setting the guitar on fire, he smashed the Strat into several pieces, and threw them all into the audience. To our knowledge, only one of those piece is accounted for – and it’s kept safe at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly EMP) in Seattle.

A piece of Jimi's Monterey Stratocaster
A piece of Jimi’s Monterey Stratocaster on display. Photo by Steven Miller/Flickr

Fender’s Monterey Strat Replica

It’s perhaps important here to note that Fender released (it seems) several different version of the Monterey Strat. None of these seem to match the original Monterey Strat exactly, but play around the some motif.

For example, the more “premium” early tribute models, some of which were acquired by public figures like John Mayer, featured some significant changes. Among those – the design itself was heavily modified, and the Fender logo on the headstock was that from the transition era. Apparently, these were very limited, and hand-decorated by Pamelina H.

John Mayer owns and plays one of the Fender Monterey Tribute Stratocasters. Note the thick logo design, and compare to the photos shown above. Photo credit: Victoria Welch/Flickr

The more recent and budget friendly Fender Jimi Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster also deviates from the original design somewhat. While it keeps the original early 60s Strat design of the original guitar, the drawings (prints in this case) are somewhat different.

Fender.com
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dick bones
dick bones
2 years ago

is there more parts of this guitar that has been found?

Taniwha Sutherland
Taniwha Sutherland
1 year ago

I would assume as the cavity’s of the surviving piece are painted red that would be the original colour of the guitar.

Wolf
Wolf
4 months ago

What about where frank zappa son claims to have the strat jimmy set on fire, repaired it and plays it now? You read so much you’re not sure what’s correct. Maybe I missed something on the article. ?? Appreciate any help.

Last edited 4 months ago by Wolf
Taniwha Sutherland
Taniwha Sutherland
4 months ago
Reply to  Wolf

Dwezil Zappa has the sunburst strat that was burned at the Astoria before the Monterey one. It was the 1st to be burnt.

Wolf
Wolf
4 months ago

Thanks for clearing that up!! I never did understand or get that clear.
Thanks again!!

Guest A
Guest A
8 months ago

Better photo attached.

IMG_6041.jpg
Pete flynn
Pete flynn
3 months ago

The Monterey Strat was fiesta Red, not black. There’s plenty of photo’s of it prior to Monterey.

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