Jimi Hendrix is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His ability to create unique sounds and effects with his guitar set him apart from other musicians of his time. One of the key components of his sound was the use of guitar pedals. His innovative approach to using them helped to define his signature sound.
Lets explore the guitar pedals that Jimi Hendrix used and how he used them to create his iconic sound. We will examine the specific pedals he used, as well as the techniques he employed to create unique sounds and effects. Whether you are a fan of Hendrix’s music or simply interested in the history of guitar pedals, this article will provide valuable insights into the techniques and equipment used by the legend.
Jimi Hendrix’s Guitar Pedals
Here are some of the guitar pedals that Jimi Hendrix used:
One of the most iconic guitar pedals used by Jimi Hendrix was the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. This pedal was designed to create a distorted, fuzzy sound that was perfect for rock music. Jimi Hendrix used the Fuzz Face extensively, and it became one of his signature sounds. He used it on many of his most famous songs, including “Purple Haze” and “Foxey Lady.”
Another pedal that Jimi Hendrix used was the Uni-Vibe. This pedal was designed to create a swirling, psychedelic sound that was perfect for the music of the 1960s. Jimi Hendrix used the Uni-Vibe on many of his songs, including “Machine Gun” and “Star Spangled Banner.” The Uni-Vibe was also used by other guitarists of the era, including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
Tremolo pedals were another effect that Hendrix used frequently. Tremolo is a modulation effect that produces a pulsating, rhythmic sound. Hendrix used the Uni-Vibe, which was a pedal that combined chorus and vibrato effects, to create a unique tremolo sound.
Phaser pedals were also a popular effect used by Hendrix. A phaser pedal produces a swirling, sweeping sound that is often used to create a psychedelic effect. Hendrix used the MXR Phase 90 and the Uni-Vibe to create his signature phaser sound.
The Octavia was another pedal that Jimi Hendrix used to create unique sounds. This pedal was designed to create an octave-up effect, which meant that it would take the sound of the guitar and shift it up by one octave. This created a unique, almost otherworldly sound that was perfect for Jimi Hendrix’s music. He used the Octavia on many of his songs, including “Purple Haze” and “Fire.”
Other Effects Used by Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is known for his extensive use of the Wah-Wah pedal. The Wah-Wah pedal, invented by Brad Plunkett in the mid-1960s, was originally designed to imitate the sound of a muted trumpet or trombone. However, Hendrix discovered that by manipulating the pedal, he could create a wide range of unique and expressive sounds, from funky rhythms to screaming solos. Hendrix used several different Wah-Wah pedals throughout his career, including the Vox V846 and the Cry Baby.
Throughout his career, Hendrix employed the Wah-Wah pedal in his live and studio performances, experimenting with different settings and techniques to produce his trademark sound. He famously used it on tracks such as “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Little Wing,” and “Up From the Skies,” to name just a few. Hendrix’s use of the Wah-Wah pedal was not just a technical innovation; it was also a reflection of his artistic vision and his desire to push the boundaries of what was possible with the guitar.
Today, the Wah-Wah pedal remains an essential tool for guitarists of all styles and genres, thanks in no small part to the influence of Jimi Hendrix. His use of the pedal helped to popularize it and establish it as a staple of modern guitar playing. Hendrix’s legacy continues to inspire countless musicians around the world, and his innovative use of effects pedals, particularly the Wah-Wah, will forever be remembered as a defining characteristic of his groundbreaking sound.
Jimi Hendrix was known for his experimental approach to guitar playing, and his use of the Leslie effect was no exception. The Leslie effect is a type of rotary speaker effect that creates a swirling, Doppler-like sound by rotating the sound source (in this case, Hendrix’s guitar signal) through a spinning speaker. Hendrix used this effect to create a unique and otherworldly sound that added to the psychedelic nature of his music.
Hendrix was able to achieve this effect by running his guitar signal through a Leslie speaker cabinet, which he would then control using a foot pedal. By adjusting the speed and intensity of the rotation, Hendrix was able to create a wide range of sounds that added depth and dimension to his playing.
One of the most famous examples of Hendrix’s use of the Leslie effect can be heard on his song “Little Wing.” In this song, Hendrix uses the effect to give his guitar a dreamy, ethereal quality that perfectly complements the song’s lyrics about a magical, romantic encounter. The Leslie effect also appears on other Hendrix classics like “Axis: Bold as Love” and “Voodoo Chile.” These days people rarely use the rotating speaker. Many companies have created guitar pedals to mimic the sound of the Leslie. They are often called rotary pedals.
Jimi’s Guitars – The Fender Stratocaster
Throughout his career, he predominantly played Fender Stratocasters, becoming synonymous with the instrument and contributing to its enduring popularity.
Hendrix’s affinity for the Fender Stratocaster began early in his career when he first received a used model as a gift from his father. He quickly fell in love with the guitar’s sleek design, comfortable feel, and versatile sound. Hendrix’s unique playing style, which combined intricate fingerpicking with explosive solos and feedback, showcased the Stratocaster’s full range of capabilities.
Over the years, Hendrix experimented with various modifications to his Stratocasters, including swapping out the pickups and adding a whammy bar for more expressive playing. He also famously set his guitars on fire during performances, cementing his reputation as a wild and unpredictable performer.
Jimi’s use of the Fender Stratocaster helped to elevate the instrument to new heights, inspiring countless musicians to pick up the guitar and follow in his footsteps. Today, the Fender Stratocaster remains one of the most beloved and iconic guitars in the world, thanks in no small part to Jimi Hendrix’s legendary playing.
Learning About Guitar Pedals Jimi Hendrix Used
As a pioneer in the use of guitar pedals, his innovative approach to sound manipulation has influenced generations of guitarists. While there is no definitive list of every pedal Hendrix used, there are several key effects that he favored throughout his career.
Here are a few other resources online that go over his pedal and effect use.
Jimi’s legacy continues to inspire guitarists today. He was a big reason why companies sprung up in the 1970’s to start making pedals. While there may never be a complete list of every pedal he used, studying his approach to sound manipulation can provide valuable insights for musicians looking to develop their own sonic palette.