The Guitar Collection: Jimi Hendrix's 1968 Fender Stratocaster - GuitarPlayer.com
Guitar Aficionado

The Guitar Collection: Jimi Hendrix's 1968 Fender Stratocaster

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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…

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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.

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