1581 guitars played Jimi Hendrix’s blues-rock hit 'Hey Joe’ at the Old Town Square in Wroclaw, Poland, on the 1st of may 2006, last week. This event sets a new Guinness’ World Record for the largest number of guitars simultaneously playing the same song. This was the fourth attempt: last year 1201 guitars participated in the event. The previous record (1555 guitars) belonged to Epiphone – the American guitar producer.
The attempt took place during the 'Thanks Jimi Festival’ dedicated to the music of the world’s best known guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. It was organized on the initiative of Leszek Cichonski – a respected musician and music educator from Wroclaw, Poland, who wants to attain a goal of teaching guitarists a new Hendrix’s song every year.
1581 guitars from all over Poland, as well as from countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Sweden and the USA, gathered at the Old Town Square in Wroclaw despite the rain falling persistently since the day before. Until the last moment the weather forecasts were not optimistic, putting the whole event in danger but just before the general rehearsal (electric & acoustic guitars tuning) by 3 p.m. the rain suddenly stopped. When at 4 p.m. the orchestra conducted by Leszek Cichonski performed 'Hey Joe’ the sun was shining! Thanks to… Jimi? Additionally, the world’s largest guitar orchestra performed the hits: 'Little Wing’, 'Red House’, 'Wild Thing’ , as well as Cichonski’s own 'Thanks Jimi’.
The idea was born nearly ten years ago during the summer blues guitar workshop held by Cichonski in Zakrzewo, when 16 participants have played together 'Hey Joe’ for the first time. The idea to play this song by hundreds of guitars has been maturing for many years.
Even though the record was set, the 'Thanks Jimi Festival’ will be continued in the next years.