Did Jimi Hendrix actually burn a guitar at the Miami Pop Festival?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Alanko, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    Dweezil Zappa has been showing off that burned Stratocaster for the best part of two decades now, claiming at one point that it was a relic from Monterey and then, later on, claiming it was from the Miami Pop Festival. Dweezil asserts that it was one of Jimi's guitars, burnt and then passed along to Frank Zappa. Some point later Zappa pimped it out with the fanciest aftermarket parts you could find in the '70s, namely chrome bling, brass hardware, Carvin pickups, way too many switches... the works!

    [​IMG]

    The only issue is that I've never seen a photo of Hendrix torching a sunburst Stratocaster anywhere, only photos and video from Monterey. He is known to have burned a Strat at the Astoria theatre in London, which allegedly surfaced recently. I say allegedly as there have been some suspicions here and there as to the authenticity of this guitar:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

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    clifton park,ny
  3. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    Cheers for the link. I'll do the grunt work:

     
  4. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    No Strat burning at Miami and that much publicised Astoria Strat is a fake.
    The one that Zappa got is blieved to be the Astoria Strat.
     
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  5. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    How was it ascertained it was a fake? Is it simply a pre-CBS Strat that somebody burned as a scam?
     
  6. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Caesar Glebeek did a step-by-step breakdown of the guitar in his Univibes magazine (it was up on his site for a while but I couldn't find it a minute ago).
    I also have photographic proof that it is a fake. I'll see if I can find it.
     
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  7. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    That would be great to read, and I would be grateful if you uncover the images. I did think it looked a bit odd. For my sins I've burned a guitar once, and the plastics were consumed pretty quickly in the blaze. For the pickguard and pickups to hold up so well when the nitro is completely burned off and the wood charred does seem a bit suspicious. Likewise the neck looks very clean. I hope a vintage Strat wasn't torched simply to create a scam.
     
  8. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Socially distancing lamf since 1977

    The pics of Zappa with the guitar are after it was restored/cleaned up for use. He did use it in concert quite a bit in the early 80s, and it wasn't like Frank to use sub-standard equipment, so he probably liked the sound.

    I can't see why the roadie would give him a faked burnt guitar (as in not burnt by Hendrix) which Frank kept untouched for many years. What gains would be there to give it away? If the roadie tried to sell it, sure I can see how he may have faked it. But to do so with a guitar you just give away, and which isn't touched for 10+ years.

    Possibly it was the Astoria guitar, but I've also read that the Miami Pop '68 was 2 days, with the 2nd day rained out. But all the bands played 2 sets the first day. The footage on YouTube shows Jimi playing during the day, so I assume it's the afternoon set. It is possible he played a different guitar for the evening set (which he was the headliner), and burnt it. Zappa was there, MOI played the fest, and he also recalls a story where after the fest was rained out, he jammed with Jimi and a few others in the lobby of the hotel.

    Edit: Here's a pic of the guitar pre-restoration, from '78

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
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  9. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    I wouldn't describe that as pre-restoration exactly. The chrome pickguard is definitely not original, and neither is the three microswitches and additional knob under the neck pickup. I'm getting a strong '70s Schecter or Mighty Mite vibe from the pickguard.
     
  10. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
  11. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Glebeek's comparison of the Astoria Strat in the photo of Jimi with Cat Steves and Engleburt Humperdink and the fake that was sold at auction:

    "Real Astoria Strat

    Manufactured: 1963 (between July and December) NOTE 1
    Serial #: unknown (but would be “L” plus 5 digits)
    Chrome neck plate: without “F” logo
    Pickguard type: triple ply laminated plastic
    Pickguard colour: white/black/white NOTE 2
    Headstock size: small
    Headstock logo: old style Fender “spaghetti” logo
    Position markers and side markers on the fingerboard: clay dots (dull and greyish)
    Screw type for mounting the pickup selector switch: Phillips
    Tremolo arm (lever assembly): missing (snapped off in tremolo block) NOTE 3
    Strings: present NOTE 4

    Volume knob: missing
    Tone knob (center): present
    Tone knob (lower end of pickguard): missing
    Three-way pickup selector switch tip: missing
    Cigarette burn on neck: none
    Wear and tear on the sides of the guitar body: a lot of paint loss
    Rear cover plate: missing

    Fake Astoria Strat

    Manufactured: 1965
    Serial #: 109657
    Chrome neck plate: with “F” logo
    Pickguard type: non-nitrate laminated plastic
    Pickguard colour: pearly white
    Headstock size: small
    Headstock logo: Fender gold “transition” logo
    Position markers and side markers on the fingerboard: dot pearls
    Charcoal marks on the neck: hardly any
    Three pickups: completely intact (except for some minor discolouration)
    Screw type for mounting the pickup selector switch: flat head
    Tremolo arm (lever assembly): present
    Strings: missing
    Volume knob: present
    Tone knob (center): present
    Tone knob (lower end of pickguard): present
    Three-way pickup selector switch tip: present
    Cigarette burn on neck: present
    Wear and tear on the sides of the guitar body: hardly any paint loss
    Rear cover plate: missing

    Almost everything is different!"
     
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  12. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Socially distancing lamf since 1977

    I meant pre early 80s restoration, how it appears in the first picture in this thread.
     
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  13. Alanko

    Alanko Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland
    Excellent analysis there. Just checked out the photo of Jimi with Cat Stevens and co, and yes it looks like a totally different Strat.
     
  14. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Jimi with the Strat at the Astoria:
    [​IMG]

    Look at the dent to our right of the plate where the screws are (just above the jack socket)

    [​IMG]

    The fake - note that the dent is absent:

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    You know it not authentic if not even Hard Rock Cafe would buy it at auction.
     
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  16. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    Hi guys. I'm the person who writes stuff for GroundGuitar (linked by davmar77)

    I did some research on Jimi's guitars recently and thought I could share some thoughts.

    If Caesar Glebeek based his comparison on the photo linked by Purple Jim, I don't know whether it tell us much. The Strat that Jimi was photographed with on the night of March 31st backstage isn't necessarily the same one he burned that night. He had at least one more sunburst Strat in March 1967 (see this photo http://media.gettyimages.com/photos...lub-on-18th-march-1967-in-picture-id106882987). As far as I know, there are no photos from the actual gig.

    There's some potential evidence that the Strat he's seen holding on that photo (the one taken backstage) was used as late as May 11th, 1967. I wrote about it here: Jimi Hendrix’s Guitars and Gear

    All things considered, I think it is more likely that the Astoria Strat sold in 2008 is the actual Astoria guitar (although it seems impossible to tell for sure). Astoria was played on March 31st 1967, and Zappa got his guitar on May 18, 1968. Between those two dates Jimi had traveled twice to the US, and did numerous tours across Europe and the UK. Is it reasonable to think he cared enough to carry the burned guitar with him, as opposed to just buying one in the US? He even said in his autobiography that the guitar that he burned at the Astoria Theater was picked up by the band’s promoter, who put it away under his coat in order to hide it from the police and firemen who arrived to the scene.

    Howard Parker, the guy who gave the guitar to Zappa, worked for Hendrix as a roadie/tech during the summer of 1968 (according to what I've been able to find). According to Chas Chandler, the guy who hid the guitar was Tito Burns. The guy who sold the guitar in 2008 was Tony Garland. Figuring out how guitar went from Tito to Tony is the hard part that I have yet to figure out. I've read stories that it was given back to Hendrix the next day, and that it stayed with Noel for a while before being picked up by Tony.

    In short: It's all just speculation. You can't authenticate neither of the two burned guitars, so you can't reasonably call any one of them a fake. From the clues it does seem more likely that the guitar sold on auction in 2008 is the actual Astoria Strat. The Zappa Strat being the Astoria Strat seems like more of a stretch.

    Cheers.
     
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  17. zippy

    zippy Forum Resident

    Location:
    United Kingdom
    So if Zappas guitar is not the Astoria guitar, could his be the Miami pop fest axe?
     
  18. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    There's no evidence of Hendrix burning a guitar at Miami Pop, but there is evidence of him having at least two sunburst Strats with him on stage - one of them being a hardtail. Zappa's guitar could in theory be one of these guitars, but how it ended up being scorched completely is still a mystery.

    Here's a photo taken by Ken Davidoff showing both of them on stage: http://www.oldrockphoto.com/images/img392.JPG
     
  19. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Thanks for the research Dan. I thought that it had been ascertained that Jimi only had one sunburst Strat by the time he got to the Astoria.
    I'm still a bit suspicious of the 2008 auctioned guitar. The scorching looks too intense for lighter fuel burns (more like a blow-torch job) and the burnt areas conveniently obliterate all possibility of cross-referencing any damage marks with old photos!
     
  20. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    Hi Jim.

    Yeah, I'd agree that the 2008 Strat looks almost too perfect of a memorabilia item to be authentic, and there are some things that just don't add up . The most troublesome thing for me, next to the burns looking too intense, is that it has a transition-style logo, while Jimi seemed to have used only early 60s Strats in March 1967, all with "spaghetti" logos of course. The 2008 auction Strat basically only appears at Astoria, and nowhere else - which makes no sense.

    This French site btw SOMMAIRE - Chronologie des concerts has all the photos pretty well organized, and I haven't been able to see one Strat with a transition style logo around March 1967.

    I'd really love to see that witness letter from Tony Garland to read his side of the story. Regarding the Zappa Strat, the fella who gave him the guitar, Howard "H" Parker, apparently disappeared in the 70s off the coast of Greece, so that guitar is probably gonna remain a mystery. We can only speculate.

    Cheers.
     
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  21. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Could you please post photos of the two types of logos ("spagette" and "transition")?

    Yes, that's a great forum and I have been contributing there for years. Unfortunately, we put up loads of images using the imageshack hosting site and they all vanished a couple of years ago. It'll be a long time before it is all put back together again.
     
  22. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
  23. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque
    I was at the Miami Pop Festival (well, both of them) and yes, Hendrix poured lighter fluid on his guitar and set the fluid on fire. It didn't burn up the guitar or anything. Just a quick stunt. Think he did it at the afternoon perf and not the evening one but maybe the reverse. It was windy and he had trouble with that.

    I was too young to be on drugs, so the memories are pretty clear.

    The audio wasn't so hot (not loud enough) and I think the Experience was a bit of a disappointment -- so many red-hot bands there and the Hendrix band was still pretty green as a unit. I remember John Lee Hooker coming on after Hendrix and was much better, although most people had left by then.

    Also recall Zappa goofing on the crowd as the Hendrix helicopter touched down during the Mothers set and everyone rushed over to see him get out of the copter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  24. Dan from GG

    Dan from GG New Member

    Location:
    Europe
    Yes, those are correct. It's the names popularly given to the logo styles used before the CBS acquisition of Fender and during the transition period.

    Well, that would pretty much settle the things. What do you mean it didn't burn the guitar though? The fire didn't start at all? Zappa Strat is pretty scorched.

    Any other details you can remember about the stunt? Was it during a song, or end of the set I suppose...?

    I must say, I talked to Ken Davidoff who took the famous photos at the gig, and he said that he attended both shows and that Jimi did not burn his guitar that day. He was pretty clear that if Jimi burned a guitar that day he would snap a photo of it. I was also contacted by two different people who claimed to have attended the gig, and both said that Jimi did not burn a guitar at Miami Pop. I'll see if anyone published a review of the concert in 1968, and maybe there some mention of Jimi setting the guitar on fire.
     
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  25. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Wow! I think this is the first eye-witness account I have come across! Thanks for the info.


    Meanwhile, I just did a little research about the Star Club and Astoria Strats:

    [​IMG]

    So was tatty Strat 2 burnt at the Astoria. Is it the auctioned Strat?
     
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