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For Adam and Tim

November 29, 2015

I know very little about guitars or music in general, but when the boys were shopping for their own, I gave them two pieces of advice.  There are certain things that you don’t go cheap on.  Pay a lot for a good suit, and you will get compliments from the first time you wear it until you throw it out because it is threadbare.  Buy a cheap suit and it looks awful from the day you walk out the store.  With that example I told them, don’t waste your time buying “beginner” guitars.  Take a risk and buy something nice.  It will be easier to play and will sound better, leading to longer practice sessions and quicker progress.  Second, don’t buy a custom made guitar.  Fender, Gibson, et al have been making guitars for decades and they have probably learned a few tricks that the local guitar craftsman doesn’t know.  The guitar will be cheaper and almost certainly, of higher quality.  Tim went ahead and bought himself a Fender Mark Knopfler Signature Guitar and while that may sound a bit groupie, it turned out to be a fantastic purchase both as an incredible playing and sounding instrument and even as an investment.  It is no longer in production and even used, it has doubled in price.

Mark is famous for switching guitars for each song.  I don’t know which guitar he is using for “Wherever I Go“, a song from his his latest album Tracker, but it is a must-listen.


Hit the jump for the official Fender sales pitch on their $15,000 899.00 Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster, and a vid of him playing the guitar it is based on.

More about Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster®

Honoring the electrifying “Voodoo Chile” who popularized the Stratocaster guitar and its tremendous sonic flexibility, the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster gives you the same fiery tone and playing feel to wield as your own. Full of incendiary vintage tone and classic style, this extraordinary instrument features signature touches and unique appointments based on his distinctive “flipped-over” guitars.

The foundation of Hendrix’s uniquely personal sound and playing style was his habit of flipping his guitars over and restringing them to accommodate his left-handed playing, resulting in a “reverse” headstock and bridge pickup—features reproduced here in exacting detail. The “reverse” headstock produces a longer string length for the bass strings, creating a tighter playing feel along with easier bending and vibrato on the treble strings. A trio of unsurpassed American Vintage ’65 single-coil pickups includes a reverse-slant bridge pickup, producing uniquely inspiring tone with tight, warm sound and enhanced upper harmonics and definition. The highly versatile 9.5”-radius “C”-shaped maple neck with medium jumbo frets offers a flatter playing surface—ideal for chording while simultaneously allowing you to bend notes to the stratosphere during scorching solos.

Commemorating Hendrix’s unrivaled legacy, the large ’70s-style headstock bears the guitarist’s signature on the rear. A unique neck plate displays a shoulders-up silhouette of the man himself and the engraved inscription, “Authentic Hendrix,” leaving no doubt as to the inspiration behind this guitar. Available in classic Olympic White or Black, both with chrome hardware and including a gig bag, the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster is your chance to unleash your own “electric sky church” music.





  1. November 30, 2015 3:36 pm

    My strat is actually modeled after Hendrix’s. This is an old pic:


    Features that make it Hendrix like:

    — Reverse headstock (actually affects tone)
    — The pickups are reverse wound to emulate the guitar being restrung backwards.
    — Body/Neck profile and style
    — Bridge is floating for optimal “dive bombing”.

    Mine is close to what he used in later years with the Band of Gypsy’s. It is my workhorse guitar, It is thoroughly worn and I lug it around the house.

    • November 30, 2015 7:21 pm

      I am shocked at the amount of customization. I read somewhere that it was because he was left handed, but first, I don’t see how this solves things, and second, the qualitative changes in sound/feel are so substantive, these changes had to have been made for that, rather than any handedness. Would love to hear why he made those changes.

      BTW, the pic doesn’t display/link doesn’t work. Would love to see it if you can fix it.

    • November 30, 2015 7:34 pm

      I changed from google image hosting to tinypic. Not sure if it helps (i could see the google one – possibly because I was logged in).

      Hendrix revolutionized what we know as modern guitar sound. So many pedals and affects were pioneered for him specifically and were later adapted by everyone.

    • November 30, 2015 7:40 pm

      Yep, can see the pic now! Thanks, and thanks for the info.

  2. December 3, 2015 9:29 pm

    Just a follow up, this new guitar is a MIM strat (made in mexico) and MSRP in the states is 899$. You can get one for around $800 brand new if you look around.

    It’s definitely cool, but I wish Fender would show the same care they did back in the 90’s with the signature version released then.

    Not a bad guitar by any means, but would likely require some work to be “great”.

    • December 3, 2015 10:21 pm

      Doh! IP detection automatically determines my location and displays the list prices in yen. I misread and thought it was about $15,000.

      How can you tell if a guitar is a MIM or not? Was Tim’s Knopfler Sig Strat made in Mexico then, too? Regardless, even if it was, it sounds fantastic, and all the more so as he gets better. 😉

      I found some forum links and stuff, but I have no idea what is important information, or what that information would signify.

    • December 4, 2015 10:34 am

      Nope! Tim’s strat was USA made, and I believe even “custom shop”. The same class as the Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan strats.

      MIM Strats are not “bad”, but tend to use less expensive parts/electronics and are not “set up” out of the box. They also typically produce more and do not hold their value like the USA Fenders. They are mainly designed for people who are going to be modding their instruments anyway, and will be beating them up doing shows and lugging them around the house.

      You are totally right about it’s value only going up now that it is no longer produced. I believe this is likely why they haven’t made another USA Jimi Hendrix strat. They don’t want to burn owners of the model made in the 90s (which is worth a significant amount).

      Talking about guitars that I dream of having one day (and excluding vintage originals),

      The street price on this was $15,000 to $16,000. Their value has grown exponentially, but you NEVER see them because only the incredibly wealthy could purchase and throw it in a closet somewhere =(.

      I still owe the boy’s a jam session sometime. Next week I have exams then I am off until early Jan!

    • December 4, 2015 5:49 pm

      Adam, thanks for the info. That is great news about Tim’s guitar.

      I remember you showing me some Les Paul guitars years ago. I wanted to buy one of the new ones (around 7 grand at that time, I think) for my brother, but of course, I don’t have that kind of cash.

      As for jam sessions, you mentioned once that you found an online service that could hook a brother up with negligible lag. What was that called?

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