Wednesday 28 August 2002

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Hendrix's burnt guitar for sale

Dweezil Zappa and the now legendary Strat

A guitar famously burnt on stage by Jimi Hendrix is likely to become the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction when it is sold in September. Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster Sunburst, thought to be the same instrument that he set fire to at the London Astoria in 1967, is expected to fetch at least £400,000.

He also burned it at the Miami Pop Festival the following year.

Frank Zappa - who was also on the bill at the festival - found and restored the instrument and played it on his 1976 album Zoot Allures before forgetting about it. Zappa's son Dweezil found it in pieces under the stairs at his father's studio, and set about putting it back together. "It's a very inspiring guitar because it has such a unique history, one that can never be recreated," he told BBC News Online. "When I found it taken apart, in 1991, I told my dad I'd found the Hendrix guitar, and he said I should have it. Now I think it's time it should pass on to a new owner."

Hendrix only owned two Sunbursts, and it is thought that this is the one that was torched on the two occasions, according to Ted Owen, of Cooper Owen auctioneers. "All of the Hendrix archivists and all of the books are pointing to the fact that it was originally burnt in 67 at the Astoria and was restored and burnt again in Miami," he told BBC News Online. "It's particularly burnt where the electrics were and the plastic scratch-plate area. The neck is completely burnt."

Hendrix was recently voted the greatest guitarist of all time in a poll of readers of a UK music magazine. He once said: "The times I burnt my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar."

He is only thought to have set fire to guitars three times - in London, Miami and at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, which became the most famous torching because it was captured on film. BBC


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