About the Guitar:
The 1997 Jimi Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster is a left-handed guitar flipped and reverse strung (keeping the low E string on top), allowing the right-handed player to play a left-handed guitar, essentially the mirror image of how the left-handed Hendrix played right-handed guitars. In fact, the 1997 Tribute Strat takes the “mirror image” concept one step further – the CBS-style decal is written in reverse and only “readable” when looking at it in a mirror.
January 19, 1997, Fender Press Release:
In the late 1960s, Jimi Hendrix single-handedly stretched the sonic possibilities of the guitar and, in the process, changed rock music–forever. In his gifted hands, the instrument became a major vehicle of expression. It talked, cried, exorcised and exulted as he glided with exuberance and ease from searing, blistering, electric blues to feedback-laden, free-form jazz to smoothly crafted torch ballads.
In honor of the guitar-wielding legend, Fender Musical Instruments and Experience Hendrix, LLC (the family of Jimi Hendrix) have just released the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster. “Modeled after the same Strat that Jimi played at his historic performance at the Woodstock Music Festival of August 1969, the instrument is bound to delight generations of guitar players and music history enthusiasts for years and years,” noted Jack Shelton, senior vice president of sales at Fender.
For starters, the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster, which is built in Fender’s factory in Corona, California, is a left-handed model strung right-handed and reversed, with the strap button on the lower horn, so that right-handed players would appear as Jimi did when looking at themselves in the mirror.
The guitar, which is available in Olympic White, also boasts a maple neck with a large late-60s-style headstock, classic Schaller “F” tuners and woven strap. The icing on the cake, however, is the pickup configuration–three reverse staggered vintage Stratocaster pickups that are positioned perfectly for boning up on Jimi Hendrix classics such as “Wild Thing,” “Purple Haze” or even “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The 1997 Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster introduces a feature that will reappear on both the 1998 Voodoo Stratocaster and the 2000 ’68 Reverse Headstock Strat: a relationship between the bridge pickup and the strings that is the reverse of the norm. In the case of the Tribute Strat this relationship is achieved by reverse stringing the instrument with no change to the bridge pickup itself.
On the Voodoo and the ’68 Reverse Headstock, it is accomplished by a combination of reverse stringing and reversing the angle and pole staggering of the bridge pickup (these two models are otherwise right-handed bodies).
This changes (reverses) the traditional relationship between vibrating string and pickup pole. For example, the low E string now vibrates over the pickup pole that otherwise would be below the high E string, and vice versa. It is believed that this reverse relationship produces different tone characteristics – a somewhat brighter bass and warmer treble, a difference that some believe contributed to the “Hendrix tone”.
This guitar was signed by Kim Simmons (Savoy Brown) and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 2006 at a festival in Hawaii (Lazar Bear Productions presented: John Mayall's Blues Breakers (with Very Special Guest Kim Simmonds!) in Hawaii February 1 thru 4, 2006).