An electric guitar that helped Jimi Hendrix ignite the rock world when he played it at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 could be yours, but you’ll have to cough up at least a half million dollars.
The 1966 Fender Stratocaster, which Hendrix used at the famous fest and many other concerts, will be sold at a memorabilia auction hosted by Heritage Auctions on June 17-18 in Beverly Hills, California.
The guitar features a black-pepper finish and a white pickguard, and boasts extensive wear thanks to Hendrix’s frequent use. Jimi played the instrument for most of The Jimi Hendrix Experience‘s Monterey Pop appearance, which was the group’s U.S. debut. However, at the end of the set, Hendrix switched to a cheaper white Stratocaster, which he famously smashed and set on fire.
Shortly before Monterey Pop, Hendrix played the black-pepper Strat at the Saville Theatre in London for an audience that included The Beatles‘ Paul McCartney and George Harrison. At the June 4, 1967, show, Jimi wowed the Fab Four members by playing the title track of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which had just been released three days before.
Online bidding on the guitar will open on May 29 at HA.com and will start at $500,000. The instrument is estimated to sell for at least $750,000, although Heritage Auctions executive Garry Shrum tells ABC Radio that he could see the black-pepper Stratocaster fetching as much as $2 million.
“This is one of the most important guitars to ever come to auction,” says Shrum in a statement. “In the pantheon of guitars, only a few have changed music history and Jimi’s Black Strat is one of them.”
The auction will take place on the actual 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop festival.
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