Most musicians agree that Jimi Hendrix was the best rock guitarist of all time. He was a true revolutionary who expanded the range of sounds you could make on an electric guitar. While his raw skill was one of the main attributes that made his playing exceptional, his equipment also had a massive inspirational effect that paved the way for his creativity and trailblazing style.
It would be hard to imagine Jimi Hendrix without his upside-down Fender Stratocasters “Black Beauty” or “Izabella”. But the effects pedals, amps, and settings he used also had a massive impact. Here is a breakdown of all the equipment Jimi Hendrix used so that you can sound just like him when you play!
You won’t manage to sound like Jimi Hendrix without using his effects pedals. Hendrix relied heavily on his effects to give him his classic psychedelic tone.
Vox V847A Wah
The Vox V847A Wah was Hendrix’s favorite pedal, and he used it throughout most of his songs. This Vox Wah is simple and has a classic tone that is reminiscent of the 60s. Hendrix used several Vox Wahs throughout his career, but the V847A was his preferred pedal.
Dunlop Fuzz Face
The Dunlop Fuzz Face was one of the first fuzz pedals to hit the market. These fuzz pedals differ from the tube amp overdrive sound because they contain much more distortion – to the point that the guitar sounds almost unrecognizable.
If you want a vintage fuzz pedal sound, the Fuzz Face is the pedal for you, and luckily Dunlop has re-released the pedal, so it won’t break the bank to own this classic pedal.
MXR Octavio Fuzz
This is a super unique pedal that combines an octave pedal with a fuzz. The MXR Octavio Fuzz was made specifically for Hendrix to play with the fuzz effect while mixing in a higher octave. You can hear Hendrix using this effect in the intro of “Purple Haze” and “We Gotta Live Together”.
Hendrix did not actually use an MXR Uni-Vibe. Instead, he used a Shin-ei Univibe. However, the MXR Uni-Vibe is much easier to get your hands on nowadays because it is still in circulation. And the pedal has essentially the same effect as the Shin-ei version. The Uni-Vibe is a chorus/vibrato modulation pedal that will kick you right into psychedelia. Hendrix used this pedal during his famous 1969 performance at Woodstock.
Obviously, if you want to mimic Hendrix’s sound, you’ll need to use the same guitar style he used. Hendrix primarily used Fender Stratocasters during his career.
Prior to owning his iconic collection of Strats, Hendrix owned several other electric guitars, including:
- 1957 Supro Ozark 1560s
- Danelectro Bronze Standard
- Ibanez Jet King
- Epiphone Wilshire
- Fender Jazzmaster
- Gibson Flying V
- Gibson SG
Jimi Hendrix also used a couple of different acoustic guitars.
- Zemaitis 12-string Acoustic
- Epiphone FT79
In most of his recordings and performances from 1964 until his death, Jimi Hendrix used a Fender Stratocaster. And as a left-handed guitarist, he would famously restring a right-handed guitar in the opposite direction so that he could play it upside down. This also affected the tone since the pickups were wired to detect sound coming from a guitar strung the usual way.
While you can’t buy the exact custom guitars Hendrix used in the 1960s, Fender has released some replica guitars designed to sound very similar to what Hendrix would have played. He also usually had a whammy bar installed on the guitar that he would use in conjunction with his wah pedal to create intense vibrato and pulsing. Check out my article on how to use a whammy bar to learn some of these techniques.
His notable guitars were “Black Beauty,” a 1968 black and white Fender Stratocaster, and “Izabella,” an all-white 1968 Fender Stratocaster. His guitar “Izabella” was the famous guitar he used during his Woodstock performance. “Izabella” was sold at an auction for $2 million, and is one of the most expensive guitars ever sold.
Hendrix exclusively used tube amps because, in the 1960s, there were barely any solid-state amps in circulation, and tube amps sounded much better. Hendrix preferred Marshall tube amps but occasionally used fender amps as well. Here are two modern-day amps that will get you very close to sounding like Jimi Hendrix.
Marshall JVM210H 100W Tube Guitar Amp Head
This is a powerful amp head by Marshall with a loud vintage tube amp sound. The Marshall JVM210H 100 W Tube Amp Head is a perfect gigging amp that will deliver the loud power that Hendrix had. Combined with a large 4 X 12 Marshall Cabinet, the above effects pedals, and a Fender Stratocaster, you’ll have the perfect sound.
Marshall Origin 50W Combo
If you are just looking for something to mimic Hendrix’s tone but don’t need something powerful enough to gig with, go for the Marshall Origin 50W Combo Tube amp. This amp still has some power and could be used for smaller shows, but it is much more affordable and easier to transport than a Marshall full-stack amp.
Jimi Hendrix used Fender Rock n’ Roll 150 strings. This is the string gauge of the strings in this set:
Low E: .038
High E: .010
This string gauge set is hard to find nowadays, but Fender does sell Voodoo Child Electric Guitar strings that are designed very similarly to Hendrix’s strings.
Few have the talent to play like Jimi Hendrix, he truly was one of the greatest guitarists to ever live (if not simply the best). That being said, by mimicking Jimi Hendrix’s gear setup, your guitar will sound as close to Hendrix’s as possible.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, I am always happy to help!