Jimi Hendrix’s Burned Guitar
‘Jimi Hendrix’s Burned Guitar’ is a piece of music memorabilia. It was sold for £280,000 ($320,000) in September 2008.
James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix (1942 -1970) was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is often regarded as the best guitarist in the history of popular music.
Left-handed Hendrix was celebrated for his flamboyant performance style, which included playing with his teeth and behind his back.
His music spanned genres including rock and roll, blues, soul and funk, and has been highly influential on other musicians.
He rose to prominence in the late 1960s in the UK.
He released three studio albums before his death in 1970, and several post-humous collections.
The guitar is a 1965 Fender Stratocaster - a Hendrix trademark.
He played it at his Finsbury Astoria show, North London, in March 1967.
At the end, Hendrix famously “sacrificed” the guitar, “by covering it in lighter fuel and setting it on fire.” The stunt “sent roadies rushing to put out the flames and left Hendrix needing treatment for minor burns.”
Hendrix’s Press Officer Tony Garland then stored the guitar “in his parents garage in Hove, East Sussex, where it lay forgotten for nearly 40 years.” It was rediscovered last year by his nephew.
The guitar remains mostly intact, though the paintwork on the body is quite badly scorched. The neck appears to be undamaged, although it may have been replaced since its rediscovery.
Equally, the strings do not appear to have been affected by Hendrix’s stunt (although the guitar may have been re-strung). The pickboard is also slightly damaged.
Jimi Hendrix was one of the seminal artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and thus memorabilia relating to him is highly collectible.
It has been noted that the fact “he died at the peak of his career also helped to heighten demand”.
The on-stage burning of this guitar marked “a watershed in live performance”, and, alongside acts like The Who, helped revolutionise rock performance.
Such stunts “raised the bar of what could be expected and paved the way for a series of imitations and pastiche that exist to this day.”
On September 5th 2008, the guitar was sold for £280,000 ($320,000) in the “It's More Than Rock And Roll” auction at the Idea Generation Gallery, London.
Purchased by “passionate fan” and collector Daniel Boucher, the guitar surpassed its estimated price.
Boucher commented, "I thought I'd have to pay a little bit more for it, actually. I am going to play it, I hope some of it rubs off on me … Obviously it is an investment, it couldn't not be an investment for that amount of money, but I bought it because I like it."