John Mayer’s Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster Custom Shop

John started using this guitar sometime in late 2003. One of the earlier appearances of the guitar was on December 30, 2003, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when John played a set with Buddy Guy and Double Trouble. The guitar was subsequently used on the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 6th, various dates throughout the 2004 tour in support of the Heavier Things album, as well as on many different dates throughout the John Mayer Trio era.

It seems that on almost all occasions he used the guitar to play Waiting for the World to Change, which might indicate that he used the guitar in the studio too, for that particular song.

John Mayer played the Monterey Strat in 2003 on Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

The Monterey Strat

The guitar most likely is one of the Fender Custom Shop’s limited replica runs of Jimi Hendrix’s Stratocaster that he played and burned at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. A total number of 210 of these guitars were produced, all painted and hand-signed by Pamelina H. If you wanna learn more about the original guitar, please refer to Jimi Hendrix’s 1963/64 Fender Stratocaster – Monterey Pop Strat.

John’s guitar, in particular, is mostly stock but it did have a few modifications done to it. According to Mayer himself [John Mayer – Jones Beach Back Stage Tour] he had the neck custom-made to feature a Brazilian rosewood fretboard, and he had the back of it sanded down.

More than just one Monty?

It is rumored that John owns more than just one Monterey Stratocaster, but as of now, there isn’t enough information about the subject to be able to say anything for sure. It does seem that at least from 2004 to 2006, every time John picked up a Monterey Stratocaster it was probably the same exact guitar.

There are also rumors that the guitar that John plays isn’t a genuine Fender, but based on the photos alone this also seems to be unlikely. If you carefully watch the Who Do You Think I Was music video, you can spot the golden transition-style logo on the figured maple headstock, as well as the number printed on the back of the headstock (somewhat less clear due to the poor quality of the video).


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Branden Watts
Branden Watts
1 year ago

The first time I saw a custom shop Monterrey Strat was behind a glass case at Strings & Things in Memphis. I’ve never seen so much case candy, a soft case inside of a hard case!. I think they were asking $10,000 for it in 2001 or 2002. Then I saw John Mayer at Blossom Music Center in Cleveland in ’04? He pulled out this bad boy and started playing “Every Rose Has it’s thorn” for 30 seconds or so before stopping abruptly, then started into “Smokestack Lightning.” Now, you have to understand, that I was there because I admire his guitar chops, but I was very much in the minority. 92% of the audience consisted of 13-15 year old girls that were there because he was the heart throb of the moment. Anyway, he grooves on “Smokestack” for 5 or 6 minutes, and then, just like the Dead, blending and transitioning seamlessly from one song into the next, “Smokestack” became “Voodoo Chile!” I was grooving along, appreciating the Hendrix tune on a Custom Shop Hendrix Strat, but I very much felt like everyone else was just waiting for “Your Body is a Wonderland.”