| FROM THE COLLECTION OF EXPERIENCE MuSIC PROJECT |
MADE IN 1968 AND PLAyED By
JIMI HENDRIX AT WOODSTOCK
no guitar represents a greater convergence of artist, event, and instrument than
this 1968 Fender Stratocaster played by Jimi hendrix at Woodstock.
taken alone, the instrument is rather unremarkable. For starters, it was made
during CBS’s ownership of Fender, a period of declining quality. it’s a stock right-
handed Stratocaster with Olympic White finish. although the maple fingerboard
appears to be integral with the neck, as it was on 1950s Fenders, it is actually
separate; the giveaway is on the back of the neck, where there is no evidence of
the walnut “skunk stripe” that is present on all Fender one-piece necks. hendrix
played left-handed, but rather than special-ordering a lefty, he simply flipped the
guitar over and reversed the strings, so that the heavier bass strings would be on
what is normally the treble side.
although the Strat had some degree of notoriety in rock and roll music, thanks
to Buddy holly and the surf bands, it was overshadowed in the Fender line in the
early to mid 1960s by the more expensive Jazzmaster.
the film Woodstock featured hendrix’s screaming, pyrotechnic version of “the
Star-Spangled Banner,” which set the course for the future of rock guitar and
instantly raised the Stratocaster to the iconic status that it enjoys today.
| FROM THE COLLECTION OF HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL |
MADE IN 1980 AND PLAyED By
alembic was founded in 1969 as an electronics consulting company but quickly
gained a reputation for creating high-end basses. alembic’s active electron-
ics and exotic woods attracted the attention of the Who’s John Entwistle, who
ordered the first of many custom alembics in 1974.
in 1977, Entwistle came up with a design based on the Gibson Futura, a
prototype for Gibson’s 1958 Explorer. Entwistle acknowledged the Explorer con-
nection by calling his model the Exploiter. the inlaid sterling-silver spider webs
also inspired the name Spyder. Entwistle had a number of basses made with
this design. this one, sporting maple and walnut body woods and a zebrawood
headstock overlay, was made in 1980, just in time for Entwistle to pose with it for
the cover photo of his 1981 solo album, Too Late the Hero.
the five-prong microphone jack (located next to the bridge) provided a direct
input to a recording studio board, but it required a transformer for use with a
standard bass amplifier. this inconvenience, along with the basses’ instability
under the climate variations that are unavoidable on tour, caused Entwistle to
abandon alembics as his main stage basses in 1985. he maintained a close
relationship with the company, however, and was working with alembic on a
special edition of the Spyder when he died in 2002.