The Guitar Collection: Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Stratocaster

November 23rd, 2011

This fall, Epic Ink will unveil The Guitar Collection, a lavishly oversized tome showcasing the most culturally important, historically significant, and visually stunning guitars ever made, from Billy Gibbons’ “Pearly Gates” 1959 Gibson Les Paul, to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Number One” 1962 Fender Stratocaster, to Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads” 1964 Gibson ES-335TDC. Presented in a custom-made leather guitar-style case, this package is a superb collector’s limited edition that is a fitting homage to these instruments from the world’s most exclusive public and private collections.

Guitar Aficionado’s new Nov/Dec issue, on stands soon, contains an in-depth story on the making of this ambitious new tome as well an excerpt of the guitars featured within. As an added bonus, we’ll be spotlighting one more legendary instrument from the Collection here every Wednesday.

Copies of the book are available at www.theguitarcollectionbook.com as well at select high-end retailers like John Varvatos.

And now, without further ado…

FENDER STRATOCASTER
Made in 1968 and played by Jimi Hendrix
From the collection of Experience Music Project

No guitar represents a greater convergence of artist, event, and instrument than this 1968 Fender Stratocaster played by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Taken alone, the instrument is rather unremarkable. For starters, it was made during CBS’s ownership of Fender, a period of declining quality. It’s a stock right-handed Stratocaster with Olympic White finish. Although the maple fingerboard appears to be integral with the neck, as it was on 1950s Fenders, it is actually separate; the giveaway is on the back of the neck, where there is no evidence of the walnut “skunk stripe” that is present on all Fender one-piece necks. Hendrix played left-handed, but rather than special-ordering a lefty, he simply flipped the guitar over and reversed the strings, so that the heavier bass strings would be on what is normally the treble side.

Although the Strat had some degree of notoriety in rock and roll music, thanks to Buddy Holly and the surf bands, it was overshadowed in the Fender line in the early-to-mid 1960s by the more expensive Jazzmaster. The film Woodstock featured Hendrix’s screaming, pyrotechnic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which set the course for the future of rock guitar and instantly raised the Stratocaster to the iconic status that it enjoys today.

  • Mike

    WOW it’s in remarkable shape considering what its been through.

  • Paul Lubliner

    That actually isn’t “Olympic White,” it was known at the time as “Blonde,” a decidedly more yellow-cream color than the lighter and whiter Olympic White. I have an identical one (except for the one piece maple neck) I bought new on 48th street in N.Y.C. in 1971.

    • just pceikd up Guitar Hero 2 for the kids and the Xbox 360… not the real thing but they like it…

  • I saw jimi play this guitar in the summer of 1970 at sicks stadium in seattle just about a month before his passing.To see the master at work is something i’ll never forget he was the king of the stratocaster theres was no one like jimi and never will be.

  • aniruddha & mainak

    the most beautiful and gorgeous guitar i have ever seen…when i am see this guitar i am just speechless..i have no words to express my feelings when i saw the guitar first time..when i will be rich, i have to buy this damn cool guitar…that is my dream..

    • florian

      quella stratocaster e mia e lo vendo… 5.000,00e se ti va contatami

  • Ryan Moffatt

    its a supreme guitar. i bouht a lefty one in a guitar center in manhattan in 2011.
    I rarely even think to play my other guitars because this one has it all.

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  • Jimi Von Winkle

    Bob The Builder

    • Jimi Von Winkle

      True Dat jimi Von Winkle

    • Jimi Von Winkle

      hey
      taniqua wyd gurrl!!!!

  • Jimmi Hendrix is a awsome guitar player even though he was left-handed and played right handed guitars

  • Jonas

    Well no Griffin Jimi played it left-handed AND strung left-handed, so for him the strings were still the ‘right’ way around to play chords the usual way. (Requires nut & bridge-saddle adjustments.)

    Actually Dick Dale played left handed with all his guitars strung upside-down of the usual, from light top to bottom heavy – even though Leo Fender personally made him the first left-handed Strat body in existence.

    But I love these 1968/69 style maple-cap fretboard Strats, they sound cool and Hendrix was partial to these guitars over other earlier Stratocasters. It’s all how you use the tool that makes it a legend.

  • Michael Olson

    Jimi will always be a legend among legends and the Grandmaster of the stratocaster. I am still blown away when I listen to his music. I was in Nam when we lost Jimi. (and Janis) What a mind &$*% ! I remember AFVN (Armed Forces radio Vietnam) did an incredible tribute to him. Machinegun is my favorite song, not just for me but probably for all of my Brothers In Arms.
    I thought Jimi’s strat was arctic white.

  • Jim Lenahan

    Just an aside—I knew a guy who had a white 1967 Telecaster that had the separate maple fingerboard. I though it was cool because you don’t see many of those.

  • Mike Stead

    Does any one have any pictures of Jimis OTHER candy apple red strat that he also painted up in the same fashion as the fiesta red one from the Monterey Pop Fest. The CANDY RED one had a poem written on the back & I would like to build a replica of it. I`ve owned a brand new 1999 “Voodoo strat” (white with left handed rosewood neck) since new & have worn out the first set of frets & am half way thru the second set of JUMBO frets as we write. Any pix or info is greatly appreciated my friends…rock on. Mike

  • Andrew Smith

    I was at auction at Phillips auction house when this guitar went on sale. It was displayed at the front and I actually touched it!
    When the bidding started a guy was buying everything he wanted, money no object.. everyone thought it was a buyer from the hard rock cafe..
    It turned out to be Paul Allen, co founder of Microsoft.. Mitch Mitchell was there also.
    What a day, I was near the front row and terrified to move or scratch my ear just in case!
    Will never forget seeing and touching that guitar!