On Display Downtown: Legendary Hendrix Guitar | NBC Southern California

On Display Downtown: Legendary Hendrix Guitar

See the Stratocaster played by the icon just before the Stratocaster he burned.

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    Grammy Museum
    Monterey Pop Festival artifact: Jimi Hendrix's 1966 Fender Stratocaster is on display at The Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

    Tell some rock 'n roll mavens that you're headed to a museum to see the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and you're very likely to be met with a hardy guffaw and a raised eyebrow.

    And that eyebrow says this: You don't know what the heck you're talking about.

    Because Jimi Hendrix famously set his Monterey Pop Festival guitar aflame, during "Wild Thing," and music changed forever, in an instant, or at least over the course of a single song. Pop culture students know this like they know the date The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and that The Buggles were the first band featured on MTV.

    But like a tune that changes its beat mid-chorus, some iconic moments have a few layers. And many more music fans know the full story, that Mr. Hendrix actually played two guitars on June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.

    The first was a 1966 black Fender Stratocaster, which he jammed on for eight songs, and then out came his white Stratocaster, the instrument that soon met a torrent of hot flames and, almost immediately, immortality.

    The guitar that led up to that legendary moment, the rosewood-fret Fender Stratocaster, continued on after the festival, fully flame-free and an enduring symbol of that iconic period, concert, and performer.

    It is now on display through February 2016 at The Grammy Museum.

    You can find it on the third floor of the LA Live-based institution, and if you go after July 2, you'll see the Hendrix Stratocaster joined by another instrument of note: John Lennon's Gibson J-160E, which will be going up for auction later this year.

    Surely music mavens know that The Jimi Hendrix Experience was "(r)ecommended to festival organizers by Paul McCartney." Thus a guitar flush with Beatles lore and a guitar that gave Monterey Pop Festival attendees "Hey Joe" and "The Wind Cries Mary" shall appear together, in quiet but powerful concert, if you will.

    Call it an excellent meeting of memory, music, and musical majesty.

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