Unknown to the crowd at the Monterey festival, outside San Francisco, Hendrix had switched his “favourite” black Fender Stratocaster for another instrument just prior to his dramatic display of flames and rage during a rendition of 'Wild Thing'.
Not wishing to be outdone by THE WHO’s Pete Townshend who had performed first and smashed up his guitar, Hendrix opted to set his axe on fire so as not to be accused of copycat behaviour.
He requested some lighter fluid but couldn’t bring himself to destroy the Strat and so swapped it secretly for a less valuable instrument.
The Fender Stratocaster continued to be used on Hendrix’ US tour (his return to the States after moving to the UK in 1966 to make his fortune). It later fell into the hands of his record company managed by James Wright.
“When Jimi used to smash a guitar up you would try and rebuild it so he could use it again for that purpose. Pete Townshend smashed his guitar up and put the neck into the amp. Jimi was annoyed at this and asked for some lighter fuel. He just wanted to outdo Pete Townshend,” Wright told The Times.
Read more at The Independent.