Jimi was talking about the white Strat. Yes — that one. He'd played a black Fender Stratocaster throughout the concert, but for the last song, he'd swapped it for a white one with hand-painted nail-polish artwork. As "Wild Thing" built to its feedback-frenzy climax, Jimi doused the guitar in lighter fluid, set it ablaze, and smashed it to pieces — which he threw out as peace offerings to an appreciative — and stunned — audience. This legendary 1967 Monterey Pop Festival performance was the American debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the world was on notice. The rock critics were blown away. "Jimi Hendrix breaks the world into interesting fragments. Then reassembles it. You hear with new ears, after being Experienced," read the back cover of their first album, released just five weeks before. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic milestone, Fender created the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster.
Fender introduced the Stratocaster in 1954, but it was Jimi Hendrix who put the sleek, contoured solidbody on the map as the 6-string object of desire for generations of guitarists. It's been a half century since Jimi set the world on fire with his incendiary Monterey Pop performance. No one had ever seen — or heard — anything like this before. The showmanship was unprecedented — Jimi played the guitar with his teeth, behind his back, between his legs. Demolished during the fiery consummation of his set, Jimi's axe survived only on film and in photos. Until now. The Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster celebrates this groundbreaking performance with a limited-edition guitar that replicates Jimi's sacrificial axe, right down to the hand-painted nail-polish artwork on the body and pickguard.
Fender spec'd the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Strat with period-correct appointments. Three single-coil Stratocaster pickups deliver classic Strat spank and sparkle, infused with gobs of sustain for soloing. The C-profile maple neck is capped with a vintage-spec 7.25"-radius pau ferro fingerboard with 21 vintage-style frets for a playing experience just like the original. The 6-screw vibrato bridge/tailpiece is ideal for deploying dive-bombs and other forms of sensory expression. Vintage-style tuning machines, strap buttons, whammy arm, and a dual-wing string tree complete the setup. To commemorate the historical significance of his Monterey performance, the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster is emblazoned with a special etched Jimi Hendrix neck plate.
Jimi extended the vocabulary and range of the electric guitar into uncharted creative territory. If you ask any guitarist here at Hiendguitar (and there are quite a few), many will cite Mr. Hendrix as a major influence. The cultural impact of Jimi's music was monumental, extending well beyond the world of rock. "Mademoiselle Mabry," from the 1969 Miles Davis album Filles de Kilimanjaro, was a re-working of Jimi's "The Wind Cries Mary." The jazz trumpet legend had reportedly met with Jimi more than once, and it's tantalizing to think about the collaborations that might have taken place had not fate intervened. With his Monterey concert, Jimi Hendrix blazed his way onto the charts — and into the hearts and minds of musicians everywhere and for all time.