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This spring, the Experience Hendrix Tour is kicking off for another round. It’s got a huge lineup of amazing musicians, including original Band of Gypsys bass player Billy Cox as well as Dunlop artists Zakk Wylde and Buddy Guy to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Gales, and Eric Johnson. It’s going to be one hell of a fitting tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Go to experiencehendrixtour.com to see the rest of the star-studded lineup and find out where and when you can get your tickets.

 

Since many of the artists playing will be using Dunlop effects on this tour, we decided to revisit our look at the effects Jimi Hendrix used and how he used them. Do you use any of the effects he helped make famous? Let us know in the comment section!

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Jimi Hendrix: His Effects and How He Used Them

 

The modern age of the electric guitarist begins with Jimi Hendrix. His creative use of the tools at his disposal set a precedent for tone crafting and sonic texturing that countless numbers of players continue to pursue today. With a combination of effects that included the Fuzz Face® Distortion, the Cry Baby® Wah Wah, the Uni-Vibe® Chorus/Vibrato, and the Octavio® Octave Fuzz, Hendrix was able to vary his tones in seemingly endless ways that fail to sound dated nearly 50 years on. Equal parts sonic braggadocio and understated elegance, Hendrix used his instrument, his hands, his effects, and most importantly his ears to concoct a brilliant synergy of sound and song rarely, if ever, equaled.
Below we take a look at the key effects Hendrix used to change the face of music forever.

 

Fuzz Face® Distortion

With a Fuzz Face Distortion, Hendrix could elicit an endless variety of tones by using different pickup combinations, manipulating his guitar’s volume control, and picking at different areas of a string. This unruly stompbox not only gave him a full-on primal howl with its burly, fat-sounding fuzz tones—it afforded him remarkably detailed clean textures as well.

 

The album Are You Experienced remains a shining example of Hendrix’s ingenious use of the effect. The song “Manic Depression,” for example, has Hendrix veer in and out of grainy yet-almost-twangy tones during the verses only to go to full-on meltdown during the solo with howling sustain and thick-as-a-brick midrange. By backing down his guitar’s volume control, Hendrix used the exaggerated treble bite and hyper-sensitive attack the Fuzz Face offers to enhance clean tones and make them really speak. Another example of this sonic yin-yang is, among others, “Third Stone From the Sun,” as it features some amazingly jangly chordal work as well as the insane sonic equivalent of WWIII, all achieved with help from the Fuzz Face.

 

Cry Baby® Wah Wah

Released in August of ’67, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” is the first recorded example of Hendrix using a Cry Baby Wah Wah. From then on, Hendrix used the effect often. “Up From the Skies” from Axis: Bold as Love shows Jimi’s jazziest and most subtle use of the wah wah as he uses it to add quick, throaty sweeps to the tune’s hip chord voicings.

 

For the most part, Hendrix’s wah wah technique was extremely bold. Whether it was for propulsive rhythmic accents, like on the stinky funk of “Little Miss Lover,” or as a constant force on tracks such as “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” or “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” Hendrix managed to use the wah wah in cavalier, over-the-top ways without ever wearing it out—not an easy feat!

 

Uni-Vibe® Chorus/Vibrato

With the release of Band of Gypsys in 1970, Hendrix managed to elevate another effect to hallowed status—the Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato. With its thick, smoky swirl, this effect’s complex “phasiness” throbs and undulates throughout the entire live album. Although Hendrix used the Uni-Vibe on a handful of studio recordings late in his career, it’s “Machine Gun” from Band of Gypsys that stands as his ultimate statement with the effect. From the tune’s outset, Hendrix’s use of space enhances the spookiness of the Uni-Vibe’s hazy modulation. As the tune ramps up, Hendrix ups the intensity and keeps it there, starting his solo with a single sustained note that tears right through your soul.”

 

And who can forget the singular, most important Uni-Vibe sound of all? On his version of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, Hendrix single-handedly created the anthem for a generation. Utilizing the swirly, chewy goodness of the Uni-Vibe to great effect, he sent millions into a psychedelic trance that some have yet to return from.

 

Octavio® Octave Fuzz

Hendrix used the Octavio for some of his prettiest passages as well as for some of his gnarliest. The song “One Rainy Wish” from Axis: Bold as Love definitely falls into the former category as Hendrix uses the Octavio to add a dreamy otherworldliness that enhances the tune’s sweetness. However, “Who Knows” and “We Gotta Live Together” from Band of Gypsys find Hendrix eliciting barks, belches, and skronks as he unleashes a veritable clinic on using the Octavio while playing double-stop 4ths and 5ths—he even throws in some wah wah for good measure. Sick! Listen to the end riff of “We Gotta Live Together” for even more stony low note howl. The most famous Octavio track, however, is undoubtedly “Purple Haze.” You can hear how Hendrix uses his pickup and volume knob settings as well as his picking attack to vary between different flavors of effect on different parts of the tune. Master composer, interplanetary blues man, and sonic visionary—genius!

 

Finally, please watch the first two videos in our series of artist interviews about the influence Jimi Hendrix had on the use of guitar effects in rock music, and his influence as a player and an artist, featuring Dweezil Zappa, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd…

 

 

 

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Comments (26)

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Category: Artist News, Cry Baby, Dunlop Electronics, Events

  • Paul Jeffris

    No contest – lighter fluid, and solo on Wind Cries Mary. From Chicago.

  • Gerard Hales

    “all along the watchtower” was his classic solo!

  • jerzeeboy

    Fuzz Face & Crybaby…….I STILL use them…..but NOWHERE NEAR HIS sound !!!!!! I LOVE “LITTLE WING” !!!!”WIND CRYS MARY” & “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER” are right up there too !!!!

  • UnsafeCrayon

    I found Are You Experienced in a box of vinyl records in the attic when I was 8 years old. I listened to it and knew right away that I wanted a guitar. My dad, being a player himself, set me up and from there I would sit in my room all night playing along to that album… Poorly, but i got better and better. Jimi Hendrix IS the reason i picked up a guitar. Although I’ve discovered and have been influenced by many other guitar players, he is the end all be all to me. The pinnacle. Even at 8 years old, listening to that record, I knew there was nothing like it elsewhere, ever. A true innovator. Thank you Jimi. I wish you were here so I could tell you just how much you mean to me.

    • Guitar Hero

      I remember about 12 years ago my mom took a little tab off of one of those ads, and gave me my first guitar lesson. Driving back home afterwards, I was flipping through radio stations and heard something AMAZING. Sadly, it was just the end of the song, but luckily the DJ came on and said “And that was Jimi Hendrix with Purple Haze”; my mind was blown! How could I never have given his music a chance? How had I never heard Purple Haze before? I started devouring his music and the constant stream of sonic discovery became the reason I played and practiced for hours every day. I had no idea at the time that there wouldn’t be another musician who rivaled him as a complete lyrical, musical, technical and emotive creative package. Freaky blues, indeed :) What an inspiration!

  • Allen Scarborough

    I saw Jimi open for the Monkees in 1967 and was never the same! We were on about the 12th row. I was already a couple of years into learning guitar, but seeing Jimi and the Experience put the possibilities into a new dimention. I have a Fuzz Face, Jimi Cry Baby, and a Uni-Vibe that all fuel my Strats and add almost endless possibilities. D.C.’s the closest show this year, so let’s choose that one to hear Billy Cox, KWS, and all the others bring back Jimi’s gifts to us. Thanks!

  • Cousin Joe from aequus1

    The man played more than just guitar, he played his rig-the studio-the entire stage-and your mind!

  • Mark Olson

    More than any of Jimi’s visionary techniques at crafting guitar sounds, it was the way that he implemented these sounds to represent thoughts, concepts, and emotions that blew me away. The first time I heard Machine Gun, I knew what I wanted to do. Jimi was like an impressionistic painter with a guitar as his brush and his effects as his color palette. He turned psychedelic music into a new art form, brought it to unprecedented heights. He made me realize that the sound you’re using to play something is just as important as what you’re playing. He brought what can be communicated, and how, through music to a whole new extreme. And best of all, he had some great, great things to communicate with us through his music. New perspectives a lot of us had never imagined before hearing him. Truly visionary in every sense of the word.

  • Mary-Wayne Harrod

    Jimi a great talent who used his tools to bring his music to the people ..inspiring still ..

  • Jacki Billings

    As a bass player, Jimi’s music inspires and motivates me to perform at a higher level. I remember listening to Purple Haze when it first came out and I was mesmerized by sound never before heard on this planet. That’s what Jimi’s music is all about.

  • Brian Clayton

    The way Hendrix introduced the Uni-vibe into his sound has had the most profound (and less obvious than fuzz/wah) affect on my playing. Everything from the delicate beauty to sweeping motion it provided for Hendrix’s sound has influenced and informed my playing and composition. I believe that the Uni-vibe is among the most important tools to crafting tone, and believe it has a place in the future of recording and live performance.

  • JeremyB

    Awesome! Would love to win to take my friend with me and see some truly crazy and amazing music

  • Gino

    The first words I ever heard Hendrix say were…”I see that we meet again, hmmm…” from the Woodstock II cassette tape and the tracks that followed (Jam Back At The House and Izabella). I was in the 3rd grade and soon thereafter began collecting his music. Hendrix & The Experience have influenced me in so many ways via the music/guitar playing and positive messages. However, I will say that through learning how to play his guitar music proficiently and with feeling/emotion, I have elevated my own skills and performance for others to enjoy and learn from. Hendrix was a master at manual guitar volume knob manipulation since he did not have a volume pedal to step on. I’ve been able to use and apply this technique for not only Jimi’s music (think Bold As Love), but others too. I still don’t own a volume pedal and won’t anytime soon. I’d like to attend the 3/30 Washington D.C. show!

  • Travis

    I heard Jimi Hendrix the way it was supposed to be when I was 10: in a living room, with big old speakers spread out. My friend put on Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and that was it. It was the greatest thing (and still is) I’ve ever heard. It was like hearing a man crammed into five minutes and twelve seconds. I was hearing freedom. All I’ve ever done from day on is try to feel like Jimi Hendrix; and not just when I’m holding a guitar, but as a human being. “I’m going to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” I have a wah wah and an Octavia, but Jimi isn’t a pedal; he’s an ethos.

    • Travis

      Grand Prarie, TX. gotta stick that in there.

  • Jed Sallee

    The main way Jimi’s playing has affected my own has just been by being blown away by his massive sound! And I try to put that sound in the context of when he was playing and think even more so how mind blowing of a sound that would be for people to hear. I remember hearing Eric Clapton thinking they were all screwed as guitarists when he first heard Jimi play. I also just love the expression and raw emotion that Jimi had in his playing. Such a colorful style!

    • Jed Sallee

      Oh and I’m really wanting to go to Grand Prairie show!

  • Vincent Sclafani

    I grew up during Jimi’s rein I would come home from school and play the vinyl of my mentors- mostly, Jimi Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield , Alvin Lee, Stephen Stills and Eric Clapton. these were the artists that influenced me the most. I am thankful to have first hand experienced what I consider to be the best modern music to ever be produced. I say modern because my true roots go back to the Blues- the root of all . It wasn’t uncommon for me the awake for school the next day with my 1966/67 Gretsch Corvette on top of me.

  • Jim Poobah Gustafson

    I was lucky enough to get to record with the great Billy Cox in Memphis. The experience made me feel close to the sounds of Hendrix. Billy Cox is the Last Gypsy Standing ! I appreciate all I learned from him, and will never forget his great Hendrix stories. He even told me last time I saw him, that he thought my POOBAH CD’s were incredible ! Hail, Mr. Billy Cox !

  • happydog

    I can never forget the first time I heard Electric Ladyland. All of it was mind-blowing, but “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” was the apotheosis. By that point in the record, I realized he wasn’t playing the guitar any more; he was playing sound itself to reflect what he was thinking and feeling. When he said “I stand up next to a mountain/Chop it down with the edge of my hand,” it sounded as though he DID it, and that was how chopping a mountain down with the edge of your hand would sound. Not to mention the parts where it sounded like planets were colliding. The song doesn’t even end; it just fades out quickly. It’s as if someone decided, “This is still happening, but your mind is too small to handle what is going on, so we’re going to cut it here for your safety, Earthling.” After that I was absolutely stricken. I didn’t just want to play like Jimi played; I wanted to manipulate sound itself like he did. He wasn’t playing the guitar, he was playing the universe. (And yeah, this was long before I did any drugs other than science fiction books and movies). There are still days when I get away from playing or practicing, turn everything on and all the way up, and just make sounds. The neighbors don’t like it, but for a few minutes, I’m out there on the Astral Plane looking at Jimi’s footprints, and that’s a beautiful thing. Thank you for that, Mr. Hendrix.

  • Chickenbone Genome

    Uh……yeah.

  • Spidey55

    I caught the Experience Hendrix tour last year and loved it! I am a huge KWS fan and his Voodoo Chile is a great tribute to Jimi. My son’s a drummer but picked up a guitar recently and has a Cry Baby Wah that he can really make sing! I’d love to take him to the show this year. He loves Zakk Wylde and it would be awesome for him to see and hear ZW doing Hendrix!

  • Jackie

    I would love to attend the Detroit, MI show in April! I have long admired Jimi and his legacy, and am excited about the artists that have signed up for this tour :)

  • http://www.thoughtsandrantings.com/ Thinking Americanist

    He also used a couple of Echoplex’s as well. 1983 a mermaid I should be, is an example.

  • iamsuperdan

    No Canadian dates? Disappointed.

  • http://www.moforte.com MoForte Bizdev

    Here is a version with 3 feedback distortion guitars. Sounds like Jimi x 3 : http://youtu.be/-wcNiCwMHCk