This is the conclusion of the famous guitar series. I want to thank everyone who read these and the response was much more than I ever expected. I hope you enjoyed it.
This is the last edition of this series. We covered:
- Brian May’s Red Special, Willie Nelson’s Trigger
- George Harrison’s Rocky, Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat
- Bruce Springsteen’s guitar, Neil Young’s Old Black guitar
- John Lennon’s Casino + a Bonus, Keith Richards Telecaster
- Paul McCartney’s Bass, Eric Clapton’s Blackie
- Jimmy Pages Double Neck Guitar and Jerry Garcia’s Alligator.
Today we feature one guitar…and it’s a big one!
Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Stratocaster (Izabella)
This guitar is a 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster, with the serial number #240981, that he bought from Manny’s Music music store in New York. Its body was made of alder and has a maple neck/fretboard setup.
Hendrix played the Strat at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, including on his famous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Hendrix purchased the guitar in 1968.
Jimi Hendrix gave the guitar his drummer Mitch Mitchell who had been with Jimi since he broke through with the Experience.
Mitch Mitchell: ‘I had given him a drum kit as a present some time before and I said to him “I’ll have that guitar before you break it up” (I do not think that he would in fact have broken this particular guitar). He said, as was his way “You got it” and he then gave me the guitar. In retrospect I think it was by way of a gift as my daughter had just been born a few days previously’
Mitchell decided to auction the guitar off in 1990. Mitch had kept the guitar in the case and it never left his possession. The guitar needed to be cleaned up. Neville Marten who worked for Fender at the time did the job. This is what he said:
Taking the guitar to my workbench I checked the neck for straightness and it needed a slight tweak of the truss rod. That done, I cut off the strings and threw them in the bin. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Today they alone would probably be worth £50,000 (with Jimi’s DNA all over them)!
At an auction in 1990, it was bought by Gabriele Ansaloni for the sum of around $300,000. Ansoloni kept it for two years before selling it on to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for a sum believed to be north of 2 million dollars (some sources also say $1.3 million and $2 million).
Paul Allen housed it at The Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, the museum he founded to showcase the history of rock n roll music. And it’s on display there to this day…see below…
below that is Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing it.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd got to play the guitar on the Jimmy Fallon Show.
Fender made an exact re-production of Izabella…it can be yours for around $6000 dollars.