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Famous ‘Burned’ Jimi Hendrix Guitar Sold at Auction

Jimi Hendrix
Evening Standard, Getty Images

Hopefully the Jimi Hendrix fan who dropped nearly $380K for a guitar that was allegedly torched on stage in 1967 didn’t immediately begin searching for the fire damage. The famous, black Fender Stratocaster was sold at auction this week (Nov. 27) by James Wright, a manager at Hendrix’s record label.

As legend has it, Hendrix doused the Strat in lighter fluid during ‘Wild Thing,’ and lit a match (or flicked a lighter) at the Monterey International Pop Festival in San Fransisco that year. Wright tells English newspaper the Metro that the guitarist had planned to just smash it, but saw Pete Townshend do the same thing earlier that night.

“When Jimi used to smash a guitar up you would try and rebuild it so he could use it again for that purpose,” Wright said (quote via Independent.co.uk). “Pete Townshend smashed his guitar up and put the neck into the amp. Jimi was annoyed at this and asked for some lighter fuel. He just wanted to outdo (him).”

However the black Fender was a favorite, so he switch guitars and let a lesser instrument go up in flames. The picture would wind up on the cover Rolling Stone, and help bolster his reputation in the United States where he was still relatively unknown.

Hendrix continued to use the instrument during that tour, and eventually it ended up with Wright. It sold it for 237,000 British pounds at London’s Fame Bureau, after being predicted to go for 125,000. The Independent also reports that a different Fender that Hendrix set fire to went for 90,000 pounds in January.

Next: Top Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums

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