Want to know how to sound like Jimi Hendrix? In this post we will go over exactly the gear you need to achieve the tones that the legendary guitarist made famous.
Regarded as one of the best guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix revolutionized how we look at the guitar and how we hear it as well. He was the master at improvisation and even though his career was super short (4 years), he is considered one, if not the, most influential guitarists in the history of music.
So many guitarists have tried to emulate his sound and point to him as their major inspiration.
The 1960’s was still a new time for the Electric Guitar and what Hendrix did was groundbreaking for the future of its sound.
How to sound like Jimi Hendrix: The Gear you Need!
Let’s look at the gear you will need to achieve that classic sound of Hendrix. We will be looking at and reviewing the following:
We will get to the “why” Hendrix played these exclusively, but here we have an Olympic White Stratocaster. This model is intended for right hand players and features the upside down headstock as Hendrix played a right handed guitar upside down.
This model sets out to depict the 1965 American Vintage bridge pickup and it does so very accurately.
We have a very nice maple fretboard with 21 medium jumbo frets. The tremolo bridge offers that pitch control that Jimi used so well to create his unique sound.
The tone that Jimi liked is what you can get here. You have three reverse-mounted 65’ single-coil Strat pickups. This changes the string to string balance which is attributed to that Hendrix tone.
Now this is a little pricier as it’s a signature model. If you want to look at other Strats that are less expensive, head on over to our post on Strats vs Teles for some more affordable options: Stratocaster vs Telecaster.
- Classic Olympic White Color.
- Reverse headstock.
- Vintage 6 screw tremolo.
- Maple Fretboard.
- Trio of 65’ single coil pickups.
- 21 medium jumbo frets.
- May not be price friendly depending on budget.
The key here is to get a good sounding amp and that plus what we will discuss next (pedals) will be responsible for creating that Hendrix sound.
With this Marshall you get a gain and volume per channel which gives you a dedicated resonance control.
There are high and low power settings with reverb and a softube emulated output. You get the clear punch of those classic British-sounding amps.
It’s also very versatile as it can do heavy metal very well along with crunchier sounding rock. To note this is an amp that has valves (tubes), which creates a different dynamic and can be expensive to replace.
If you’d like to check out some great amps that are a little less expensive, head on over to our post on the best guitar amps under $200 right here: Best Guitar Amps Under $200.
- Balanced tone.
- Great for heavier music as well as clean leads.
- Perfect for classic rock.
- Softtube emulated output.
- Reverb with his and low power settings.
- Celestion seventy 80 speakers.
- Tubes/valves can be costly to replace.
We start with this signature Wah pedal. In short, a Wah pedal alters the tones and frequencies of the guitar to mimic the human voice.
Hendrix famously displayed this sound on classics such as “Voodoo Child” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
This pedal will give you that cool retro Hendrix sound. It is short and full sounding which leads to great bottom and high tones. This is exactly how Hendrix used it.
With sturdy construction, you can have fun with this pedal all day long!
- Provides you with that awesome retro sound.
- Full sounding with clear bottoms and highs.
- Sounds great, clean or dirty.
- Sturdy construction.
- Great for use with other effects pedals.
- Made in the USA.
- Does not come with power supply.
Fuzz is basically a heavy saturated guitar signal which produces a “fuzzy” sound. This pedal by Dunlop gives you that legendary tone that Hendrix perfected.
This pedal takes you back to the sounds of the sixties and it’s simple yet effective design will leave you in awe as to what this could do to your sound.
Simple with no fluff. Just two knobs and that’s it! The knobs turn easily by foot and the switch is very sturdy.
This will really shape your sound and give you what Hendrix used in albums such as Electric Ladyland.
With solid construction, you will see how this pedal is built like a tank. This pedal will suit all of your fuzz needs which will provide hours of fun!
This pedal gets you that classic and late 60’s style with vintage octave up and fuzztone effects. It’s cool psychedelic design will transform you back to the time when this sound reigned supreme.
The idea of the octave pedal is to take a note and basically shift it by 12 notes either up or down.
Because an octave pedal is an effect with a very specific purpose. It is not essential to achieving the Hendrix sound, but it is a nice addition.
The octave pedal is ideal for practicing solos and riffs which Hendrix was known for. Couple this with a wah pedal and you will be really amazed at the sounds that you can reproduce.
- Cool psychedelic design.
- Versatile with it’s tone settings.
- Creates a raw and aggressive sound.
- Built to last.
- Great for playing solos.
- Sounds great even without the octave enabled.
- Some may find it to be “too noisy.”
- Works better on the neck pickup than the bridge pickup.
These pedals get you that chorus/vibrato tone from the late 60s tone. There is a simple three-knob interface.
You get some great levels and depth here and a totally recognizable psychedelic sound. You will get a good sound with no noise providing you with a great range of speed and range of depth which is perfect when trying to emulate Hendrix.
- Iconic chorus/vibrato tone made famous in the late 60’s.
- Three-knob interface.
- Features a true bypass.
- Excellent tone quality.
- Bass heavy when used with a fuzz pedal.
Jimi Hendrix played with thin gauge on the lower strings. A regular set of 10 gage guitar strings will be 0.10, 0.13, .017, 0.26, 0.36, 0.46. Hendrix was unusual in that the gauges were 0.10, 0.13, 0.15, 0.26, 0.32, and .038.
That is quite the difference on the lower strings. These strings by Fender will provide you his exact gage.
These strings will provide you a nice warm tone and you’ll be able to easily bend and create that magical sound.
Designed to balance the altered string tension of playing an upside down neck. The lighter bass strings and the heavier treble strings will lower the overall tension on the neck which makes it easier to play.
If you like thin strings with higher action, these will be ones you should check out to get even closer to Hendrix.
- Exact gage that Hendrix used.
- Clear and warm tone.
- Easy to bend.
- Great balance of tension.
- Stay in tune.
- Available in ball or bullet end.
- Low E string tends to buzz.
- Works best with a reverse headstock.
It features this trippy artwork from the award-winning UK-based design crew ILOVEDUST.
These 2.5’ wide straps really pay tribute to one and only Jimi Hendrix. Crafted with high quality materials, this strap is super comfortable.
With easy adjustment, this guitar strap will make any guitar you play fit nicely. If you want to check out some other options for guitar straps, you can head over to our best guitar straps post right here: Best Guitar Straps.
How to sound like Jimi Hendrix: FAQ’s
We reviewed some pretty awesome gear to help you to sound like Jimi Hendrix. From guitars to amplifiers and pedals and strings to straps. You now have the roadmap to sound like the legend.
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions with regards to Hendrix. If you are going to go all in on duplicating this classic sound, then this is all important knowledge to have.
Why did Jimi Hendrix play a Stratocaster?
Jimi Hendrix is best known for playing a right-handed Fender Stratocaster upside down. Before this, rock musicians tended to favor Gibson guitars as Strats and Fenders were more closely associated with country and surf style music.
Strats are designed to take abuse and Hendrix was known for being hard on his guitars as he played very aggressively.
He also liked strats because the thin single coil sound is clean and clear and he was able to experiment due to its versatility in tone. The tremolo bar is something that made it attractive as well.
Strats also have thin necks which allowed him to run wild all over the fretboard. The ability to flip the Strat over and get to the high notes with easy access was also a plus.
What guitar tuning did Hendrix use?
Hendrix turned every string down one semitone. This is also known as being downtuned to E flat (Eb).
Instead of being tuned in standard tuning EADGBe the strings are tuned to Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, and Eb.
Being in Eb tuning, the strings are a little bit looser and slinkier which also add to a more free and lucid style of playing.
For singing, tuning to flat also makes it a little easier for one to sing which helps while playing the guitar with such passion and innovation.
Is Hendrix considered to be the greatest guitarist of all time? If so, why?
The answer to this question is always going to be different based on who you ask. The one thing to remember is that Hendrix was an innovator.
When Hendrix came onto the scene and started becoming popular, no one heard anything remotely close to it at the time. Very few of the styles and techniques were ever used previously.
This was all in his head and he took a blank canvas and created something special out of it. He was a natural genius and treated that electric guitar in a way that no one saw previously.
So yes there was unbelievable talent and uncanny ability such as playing with his teeth and behind his back. However, the innovation and how he was able to create this new style of music is equally as impressive as his playing ability.
Why is Jimi Hendrix considered to be so influential on guitar?
Hendrix basically widened the sound and changed the way we hear the guitar. He sought out to play the guitar differently than anything that was being done before.
He also played much louder than anyone who came before him. Hendrix needed to play loud because he needed and wanted the sound from his speakers to cause his guitar to vibrate and therefore giving him the ability to control the feedback.
Jimi Hendrix incorporated different kinds of music from blues, heavy rock, jazz, and folk. He was an exceptional guitarist and an extremely gifted songwriter.
How was Jimi Hendrix so good?
Hendrix was known for practicing upwards of 14 hours a day. It’s even said that he took his guitar to bed with him at night.
He worked hard to make his sound more fluid and unique. He was also very driven and felt that no one could match his style of playing.
His confidence spewed out (in a good way) to everything that he did. Take the National Anthem for example. The way he played it with such confidence gives anyone goose bumps who listens to it.
Jimi also was just born with an innate talent that not many possess and the timing also played a role in his success. Meaning that, in the 1950’s, what he was looking for in an amplifier wouldn’t have existed however, in the 1960’s it was available.
How to sound like Jimi Hendrix: The Conclusion
You now know the gear needed for how to sound like Jimi Hendrix. So do you need all of the items we reviewed?
The answer is no. You may already have an electric guitar and perhaps you are just intrigued about a pedal that can boost your sound to get closer to Hendrix.
Maybe you do not have a guitar and Jimi Hendrix is your idol, therefore his signature model may be for you.
Whatever situation you are in, there are options for you to sound like one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
His sound revolutionized rock and roll and inspired so many to do the same. His performances are legendary and nothing short of special.
We hope you enjoyed this post on how to sound like Jimi Hendrix. At the end of the day, it’s about finding out what inspires you and then adding your own individuality and creativity to the mix.
Remember to enjoy the experience and HAVE FUN!!