Gear That Will Help You Sound Like Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix's Hand Painted Gibson Flying 'V' Electric Guitar
JIMI HENDRIX'S HAND PAINTED GIBSON FLYING 'V' GUITAR - Photographer: Nigel Osbourne/Redferns/Getty Images

I don’t know about you but I’m not rich. So when Marshall released its ultra-expensive Hendrix Signature Series amp I knew I would never own one. Same thing when Gibson released its copy of the Hendrix hand-painted Flying V, ...I knew I would never own one either. (Jimi's actuall 'V' is pictured above)

So, since you're reading this, I assume you don't own the Hendrix Marshall or Gibson V either but still wish to achieve tones like Jimi's.

This Voodoo Hendrix Blog, 'How to Sound Like Jimi Hendrix Without Breaking the Bank,' is a list of gear that I've researched and purchased to sound more authentically like Jimi Hendrix. I sincerely hope it helps you in your quest for tone.

Any and all comments are always welcome. Agree, disagree, whatever ...AND if you do happen to own the Gibson V or 'Authentic Hendrix Amp,' please comment below and let the rest of us know what its like!

Fender Stratocaster - Made in the USA

Fender American Standard StratocasterI know as you're reading this you’re saying, “Uh duh …a Fender Stratocaster is kind of an obvious choice.” And you're right! A Fender Stratocaster is what Jimi played 99% of the time.

The Strat I chose for this project is your basic USA Standard Fender Stratocaster retailing for around $1000 bucks in the US and Canada. Mine is a 2008 year model and is slightly off white in color (Olympic White) with a maple neck. It looks pretty close to the one Jimi played at Woodstock, minus the 70’s style headstock and backwards strung strings.

Fender Custom Shop 'Custom 69 Strat' Pickups

Fender Custom Shop 1969 Stratocaster Pickups - Hand WoundThe Fender Custom Shop ‘Custom 69 Strat’ Pickups are produced the same way they did back in the late 60s. They use the same materials and are hand wound by Abigail Ybarra who has been winding pickups at Fender for over 50 years! Wow, she must be really sick and tired of winding pickups!

To my ears, these pickups really put out a great Hendrix sound, especially for songs like The Wind Cries Mary, Little Wing and Castles Made of Sand. I bought mine in 2009 on eBay for around $300 and installed them myself. I think now-a-days they retail for around $250.

Marshall Vintage Modern 2466 100W Valve Amplifier

Vintage Modern 2466 100w Marshall Valve AmpI chose the Vintage Modern 2466 100W Head because it’s based on the same 1966 – 1970s era Super Lead amps that Jimi used.

It utilizes the same KT66 output valves and ECC83 pre-amp valves that Marshall uses in their current Jimi Hendrix Signature Series amp the Super 100JH. The Hendrix Signature Series Amplifier Head costs around $6000. I bought my pre-owned Vintage Marshall Head for $1000 in 2010.

All in all the Marshall Vintage Modern sounds and looks great (its purple) and allows me to dial in great Hendrix tones for around five grand less than the Super 100JH.

Dunlop JH-F1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face

Dunlop JH-F1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz FaceThe JH-F1 Fuzz Face is built to the exact specifications of the 1969-70 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face used by Hendrix. I bought the JH-F1 because it’s the official “Authentic Hendrix” fuzz face …which to my thinking means it’s an exact copy of the actual pedal(s) used and owned by Jimi Hendrix.

From heavy distortion to just-starting-to-break overdrive, the Fuzz Face effect does it. The key to a good fuzz sound (as the experts say) is in the transistor. Silicon transistors are thought to be too harsh sounding while the original germanium transistors are softer and more musical. The Dunlop JH-F1 uses the silicon type (BC108 silicon transistor) but doesn’t sound too harsh to my ears.

You might want to have a look at Dunlop’s JD-F2 Fuzz Face which uses germanium transistors and is based on the original Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face first introduced in 1966.

Some other Fuzz pedal manufacturers that use the germanium transistors are Fulltone, Roger Mayer and Z. Vex.

Electro Harmonix claims Jimi Hendrix used their Big Muff Fuzz Pedal to record some of Electric Ladyland, but these claims have been questioned by experts and have not been proven definitely. Either way, the Big Muff (used by David Gilmore on The Wall) is also a great pedal worth considering.

The Dunlop JH-F1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face retails for around $150.

Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah Wah

Clyde Deluxe Wah Wah Pedal by FulltoneThe Fulltone Clyde Deluxe wah Pedal is the “Holy Grail” of wah pedals and is named after trumpet player and wah-wah innovator Clyde McCoy. It is modeled after the ‘60’s Vox Clyde McCoy wah used by Jimi and Eric Clapton (Cream era). Its wah sounds are fully customizable and the instructions that come with it walk you through its settings and explain step-by-step how to achieve the stock ‘60’s Vox sound and others.

The Clyde Deluxe has three settings: Wacked, Jimi and Shaft, it has an adjustable gain control and an adjustable treadle (the part that your foot rests on) for a firmer or softer feel. I got turned on to this pedal by seeing Robin Trower use it on his live performance DVD: “Robin Trower – Living Out of Time,” filmed on his 60th birthday at the Crossroads Festival in Germany. I purchased my Fulltone Clyde Deluxe wah for $159.

Also recommended is the Dunlop JH-1 Jimi Hendrix Signature wha which is modeled after the original Vox ‘Cry Baby’ wah. The Dunlop wah is the official "Authentic Hendrix" wah and retails for around $150.

Fulltone Mini-Deja 'Vibe

Mini-Deja 'Vibe Effects Pedal by FulltoneThe Fulltone Mini-Deja ‘Vibe is a high quality clone of the original Univibe. Hendrix used a Univibe at Woodstock and on the Band of Gypsys album; most notably on the song ‘Machine Gun.’ For more examples of its watery psychedelic sounds have a listen to Robin Trower’s ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and Pink Floyds ‘Breathe.’ It retails for around $260.

Dunlop JH-OC1 Jimi Hendrix Octavio

Dunlop JH-OC1 Jimi Hendrix OctavioHendrix used an octave up effect on his recordings of ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Fire.’ The Dunlop JH-OC1 Jimi Hendrix Octavio octave up pedal is another “Authentic Hendrix” reproduction of one of the dividers used by Jimi himself.

To get the best results with this pedal pair it with a Fuzz Face and play higher than the 9th fret. This pedal retails between $150 and $200.

Electro Harmonix Memory Toy Analog Delay

Electro Harmonix Memory Toy Analog Delay PedalI’ve included a delay pedal because Jimi added delay to some of his recordings like 'Red House' on Are You Experienced and 'All Along the Watchtower' on Electric Ladyland.

I like the Electro Harmonix Memory Toy Delay because it’s analog and therefore has a warmer, more natural sound to it. You can buy this delay for around $100.

Fulltone OCD Overdrive/Distortion

OCD Overdrive Distortion Pedal by FulltoneThis versatile little pedal is great for overdriving your amp to play blues like Voodoo Child and its really great at clean tones too.

By turning down your guitar's volume control, songs like Wind Cries Mary, Little Wing and Castles Made of Sand really stand out and make your playing sound more dynamic. I paid $140. (OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Drive...)

 

The grand total for everything listed here is just over $3000. About half of what you'd pay for the Hendrix Marshall head all by itself.

And that's all folks! I hope the choices I've made to achieve a good Hendrix tone will help you make yours!

As Jimi once said, "Anybody can do anything, it's up to themselves. All it takes is the right intentions."

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Anybody can do anything, it's up to themselves.

All it takes is the right intentions

--James Marshall Hendrix