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Hendrix Guitar Sells for $168,000

Published: Tue December 12, 2006  News Feed
Christie's Auction House in New York held an auction of Rock memorabilia on 4th December 2006. The jewel in the crown was undoubtedly a Stratocaster guitar owned by Jimi Hendrix between 1969-1970. The instrument, which initially had a sale estimate of $80,000-120,000

The Sunburst-finished Strat® guitar bears the serial number 244458, which dates it as a 1968-69 model. The neck has a date stamp on the inside, which reads "MAY69". Other features include twenty-one fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, three pickups, three rotary controls, three-way selector switch, tailpiece with adjustable saddles and white pickguard; with original rectangular hardshell case with orange plush lining.

The sunburst guitar was examined by vintage guitar expert Richie Friedman who has confirmed that, in his opinion, this guitar shows characteristics consistent with other Stratocaster guitars owned and played by Jimi Hendrix. Most importantly, the nut appears to have been removed at some point, one of Hendrix's trademark modifications. This modification was also seen in the white Woodstock Stratocaster guitar sold in 1990. Similarly, the back plate has been removed, another trademark of Hendrix's - he would remove the back plate and would occasionally pluck the revealed springs of the vibrato system to create unusual sounds and effects.

The guitar appears to be in original condition throughout, the present owner having stored the guitar, without playing, prior to loaning the instrument to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. The vendor met The Jimi Hendrix Experience during The Isle Of Wight Festival where his own band was hoping to play - the vendor became friendly with the band and purchased this guitar following Hendrix's death.

This guitar was probably purchased in mid-1969 by Hendrix for use in the recording studio. Apparently, Hendrix favoured rosewood necks in the studio as he liked the way they sounded although he preferred maple necks for stage use. He favoured black, white and sunburst finishes and occasionally played a red Strat guitar - apparently, he chose to use black and white Strat guitars on stage as he liked the way they looked. Towards the end of his career, he favoured his 1968 black Stratocaster guitar and his 1968 White "Woodstock" Stratocaster guitar, both with maple fingerboards, and used them consistently on stage from October, 1968 until his death.
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