The Grail Guitar

Chris Adams. Rowman & Littlefield, $35 (190p) ISBN 978-1-4422-4679-9
Musician Adams's fascinating search for the provenance of his beloved and battered Fender Telecaster—which may or may not have been owned by guitar hero Jimi Hendrix—is equal parts cultural history and detective story, and it's completely compelling reading. Adams's quest for the history of his "grail" begins almost 40 years after he found the guitar in 1973 in a London music store, where a salesman casually tells Adams he got it from "one of Hendrix's roadies." At the time, Adams was guitarist in the folk-rock band String Driven Thing, and his knowledge of the late 1960s music scene serves him well as he and a researcher friend—inspired decades later by rumors about "Jimi's lost Tele"—comb through Hendrix biographies and Internet sites. They discover a few solid facts in the chaos of Hendrix history: that Jimi used a Telecaster on overdubs on the "Purple Haze" recording, even though his guitar of choice was the Fender Stratocaster; that Hendrix bass player Noel Redding had procured the guitar from a friend for the session; that Redding ended up with the guitar after he had stopped playing with Hendrix; and that Redding had probably sold it to an actual Hendrix roadie. As Adams traces the guitar's journey through the 1960s—including a day-glo paint refinishing—he successfully rescues "this little piece of rock history for posterity." (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 238 pages - 978-1-4422-4680-5
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