The History of Jimi Hendrix’s Famous Guitar, The Woodstock Strat

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    The History of Jimi Hendrix’s Famous Guitar, The Woodstock Strat
    Published: March 17, 2021

    Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, with his famous Woodstock Stratocaster

    On August 18th, 1969, the legendary Jimi Hendrix famously took the stage to close out the Woodstock Festival. He was one of the biggest names on the bill (which is saying quite a bit, considering the star-studded lineup), and thus he was given the honor of playing the final set of the weekend. His performance, which took place at 9am on Monday morning after a weekend riddled with weather delays and technical difficulties, is often cited as the most important and memorable performance of the festival.

    Jimi’s guitar for this performance was a 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster (which he called Izabella and named his final single after) that is today known as the Woodstock Stratocaster and is one of the most iconic guitars in American music history.

    Jimi Hendrix was known for many things, including his love for Fender Stratocasters. He did play other guitars, but after 1966 his arsenal mostly consisted of Strats, the two most famous being the Woodstock Stratocaster, and his personal favorite, Black Beauty. The Woodstock Strat was one that he purchased at Manny’s Music in New York City in 1968 and was completely stock on the inside, with the only customizations being slight modifications to fit Jimi’s left-handed playing (a hole for the strap button was drilled on the lower horn), and is printed with the serial number #240981. The guitar has a alder body and two-piece maple neck, both standard for Stratocasters in 1968.

    Hendrix first played this instrument in the Fall of 1968, and then of course he famously played it on his North American tour in the summer of 1969, which naturally included his festival-closing performance at Woodstock and his famous rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”, which you can watch in its entirety below.

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