As an avowed Stratocaster fanatic, Jimi Hendrix had many examples pass through his hands. One in particular stood out to him, eventually being graced with a name — Izabella — inspiring the song of the same title.
This instrument is the one Hendrix is most closely associated with, thanks to his incendiary performance at Woodstock on Aug. 18, 1969. That fated day, Hendrix tore through many of his scorching favorites, like “Hear My Train a Comin’,” “Foxy Lady” and “Fire,” before breaking into an improvised piece.
Hendrix expertly played Izabella — his 1968 Olympic White Stratocaster — free-form style, for a few minutes and then into a distorted, wrenching interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Never before had the national anthem been performed with such expressive ferocity. The sound of Jimi Hendrix and his Stratocaster loudly illustrated the anthem in a blazing new light.
And now, fans can get their hands on a piece of history with the Limited-Edition Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster honoring Hendrix and this iconic moment on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.
“Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock was a cultural moment heard around the world,” said Fender Custom Shop Vice President of Product Development Mike Lewis. “We’re especially excited about this release because not only is the Izabella one of the most iconic instruments of our time, it represents a moment in history that will forever be woven in our cultural make-up.
"The Fender Custom Shop has done tributes to many extremely meaningful artist guitars through the years, but there was an extra sense of awe and privilege in the air in recreating the Izabella.”
The Izabella Stratocaster was originally purchased at Manny’s Music on West 48th Street in New York City. It was a 1968 Olympic White Strat with an alder body and two-piece maple neck, with no “skunk stripe” and truss rod adjustment at the heel. The “F style” neck plate had the serial number 240981, which, along with the pickups and hardware, were standard 1968 issue.
Significantly, the guitar featured the “big” Strat headstock with the Bob Perine-designed Fender logo and bold arced “Stratocaster” type. The headstock, when turned upside down in his hands, became an iconic emblem. Izabella was the last guitar Hendrix played with his original Jimi Hendrix Experience group, and the final guitar he ever played in concert. Izabella is displayed at MoPOP (formerly EMP Experience Music Project) in Seattle, Wash.
“This Stratocaster timestamps an amazing era and shines a spotlight on one of the most epic moments of our time,” said Janie Hendrix, CEO/President, Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Authentic Hendrix LLC. “The unforgettable image of Jimi with his Strat on that Woodstock stage is embodied in this guitar. He changed music history with every earthshaking note he played that day. What a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. And we’re overwhelmed by the opportunity to join Fender in regifting the world with this beautiful recreation.”
Fully authorized by Authentic Hendrix, the Limited-Edition Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster captures all of the details and features of the original to allow players to harness the power of his iconic Woodstock appearance. It features an Olympic White alder body with a 3-ply Parchment pickguard, as well as a flatsawn maple "60s C"-shaped neck with a maple fingerboard and 21 vintage-style frets.
To harness that epic Woodstock tone, the guitar also boasts three custom hand-wound '69 single-coil Strat pickups and a three-position blade switch. In addition, each Limited-Edition Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster comes with a deluxe hardshell case, custom strap, custom headband, coiled cable, commemorative book and a Certificate of Authenticity.
To learn more about the Limited-Edition Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster and have a true Jimi Hendrix experience, visit the Fender Custom Shop here
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