Take a closer look at the gear that gave Jimi his signature sound, including what amps and pedals he used and even what string gauge Hendrix used on his Strat
Want to know how to sound like Jimi Hendrix? Get to grips with one of the most legendary guitar tones in music history with our guide to the guitars, amps, effects, and even the strings that Jimi used throughout his career.
Whether you want to replicate Jimi’s Band of Gypsys or you’re simply searching for the right pedal to make your guitar solos sing - keep reading for a full breakdown of how to sound like Hendrix and get familiar with all of the gear he used live and in the studio..
Jimi Hendrix Guitars
Much has been written about the best way to get Hendrix tone from your guitar. Purists maintain that only Fender Stratocasters with a maple neck - and the neck pickup activated - will get you close to the tone.
Jimi seemed to favour maple necks, but he was pictured using rosewood variants from time to time, too.
Whether you use the bridge pickup or the neck pickup, maple necks or rosewood necks - we can agree that S-style electric guitars with single coil pickups are the way to go.
What gauge strings did Jimi Hendrix use?
If you’re looking to get the edge on your quest for legendary tone, you can replicate the strings that Jimi played very simply.
For the Jimi Hendrix strings set-up, you should use a set of strings with the following string gauges:
.010 / .013 /.015 / .026 / .032 / .038
Roger Mayer - engineer, innovator, and guitar tech extraordinaire - worked closely with Jimi on his guitar tone. He explains:
“The big difference there is that you’re using the .015 for the third, because if you use the .017 for the third, the actual sound of the guitar is very G-heavy.”
When choosing electric guitar strings, the main thing to consider is how they feel to you - so whether you prefer lighter strings, wound strings, pure nickel strings, or any other type of guitar string - shop a full range at PMT, including the biggest brands such as Ernie Ball, D’addario and more..
Jimi Hendrix Amps
There are a number of guitar amps that Hendrix played in his lifetime, and many more have been designed to replicate his tone in the years since his untimely death in 1970.
What amp did Jimi Hendrix use?
When most people think of the ‘Jimi Hendrix amp’, they think of Marshall Amps - and more specifically, Marshall Super Lead amps.
Whilst it’s true that Jimi used these amplifiers for a great portion of his career, he also experimented with Fender amps, Supro gear, and was even endorsed by the now-discontinued Sunn Amplifier company.
Any Marshall amp is a great place to start when chasing the Hendrix tone - check out a full range of them here:
Jimi Hendrix Pedals
Hendrix was one of the earliest purveyors of guitar pedals, making great use of effects that were uncommon at the time in order to recreate the sounds he could hear in his head.
Nowadays, there are many Jimi Hendrix pedals that are designed specifically for recreating his screaming tones. First though, let’s take a closer look at the original Jimi Hendrix pedal chain..
What pedals did Jimi Hendrix use?
The most renowned Jimi Hendrix pedal chain contains the following pedal types:
Hendrix usually used a Vox Wah pedal alongside a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Shin-Ei Uni-Vibe pedal, and an Octavia stompbox built by Roger Mayer.
Some of these pedals have since been discontinued and are now extremely rare - so here we’ll explore some of the ways you can add these effects to your rig..
Wah pedals are a favourite of ours at PMT, and we have a huge range to choose from. Vox still creates awesome wah effects, and brands such as Dunlop even produce signature Hendrix wah pedals which are designed to faithfully replicate Jimi’s tone. Check them all out here:
Fuzz tone is one of the most important components of the Hendrix sound, and Jimi relied on the Fuzz Face pedal to take care of his most distorted moments.
Vintage-styled fuzz pedals are your best bet here. Many people have argued over whether germanium or silicon transistors are better suited, but Jimi used both - mainly depending on what was available to him at the time.
As an effect pedal innovator, Hendrix loved to experiment with modulation of all kinds.
Jimi most famously performed with the Uni-Vibe pedal, which uses a series of staggered phasers in order to create a chorus/vibrato sound that you can hear on songs such as ‘Machine Gun’.
Jimi likely would have experimented with all manner of modulation pedals had he lived to see some of the crazy stompboxes available today - take a look at what we stock at PMT below:
The Octavia pedal used by Jimi was designed by Roger Mayer and can be heard on songs such as ‘Purple Haze’.
The Octavia combined a fuzz effect with a reproduced signal one octave higher in pitch than the original. It was also unique as it had additional frequency-shaping circuitry and could produce ring-modulated overtones.
Some modern Octaver pedals are designed to recreate the Octavia exactly, but these stompboxes come in all shapes and sizes - find the perfect one for your rig here:
Not many people can claim to have sounded like Jimi Hendrix, but hopefully with some knowledge of the gear he favoured - and their modern equivalents - you’ll be able to build a rig that gets you as close as possible to his tone.