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Jimi Hendrix, Stockholm, January 1969 - Observations

Messages
173
I've seen a ton of misinformation and speculation about Hendrix posted just about everywhere. Hopefully this post clarifies a few points.


Sound chain: 1968 Fender Stratocaster -(coil cable)> Vox Wah -(coil cable)> Arbiter Fuzz Face -(coil cable)> Marshall amps

Tuned down a full step to D.

These comments are only meant to describe this particular show.

1) Hendrix's base sound without any pedals was fairly clean but on the edge of break up. Listen to the first two minutes of his warmup and the beginning of Killing Floor; that's WIHOUT the fuzz face. Clear evidence for this at 3:13 when he turns it on. Start here before messing with pedals.

2) Hendrix used different pickups for different songs. Killing Floor is entirely neck pickup (see: 6:53). Spanish Castle Magic is entirely bridge pickup (see: 8:59, 10:53). Hey Joe is a mix of middle pickup (see: 21:33) and bridge pickup (see: 20:00). Voodoo Child is NECK pickup (see: 23:53, 28:59) and later bridge pickup (see: 35:52). The muted strumming intro to Voodoo Child is also bridge pickup; Hendrix switches to the neck pickup when he begins playing the intro line.

3) Hendrix played portions of this show without any effects pedals. Fire (see: 17:18-18:15), Hey Joe (see: 18:20-20:00).

4) The intro to Voodoo Child is wah only, no fuzz. (see: 23:20-24:04). This is also true for the version Hendrix performed in Maui (see: YouTube).

Conclusions: If you're trying to sound like Jimi, get the clean sound right and know your pickup positions.

I really want to stress that a fair amount of this show is just Hendrix's guitar straight into his amp.
 
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Sparkfriction

Member
Messages
940
i am sure some people reffering to the recordings by posting informations. - not sure, but this is always confusing part if its not clear.
 

ELmiguel

Senior Member
Messages
3,673
I'd have figured he used the in between positions a lot.
Most of us Strat players in the 60's and 70's discovered the in between position by accident. The 5 position switch didn't exist yet. So you had to park the switch in between positions and hope it didn't move (it usually did). Some people started taking the spring out so it wouldn't move out of position so easily. I would guess Jimi didn't use that position live because he moved around when he played.
 

cfjimi

Active Member
Messages
41
I agree with your first point. His base sound was pretty crunch, enough so he could play without the fuzz.

As to pickups, IMO it was pretty random, no set position for any particular tune
 

PurpleJesus

Moderation is key
Staff member
Messages
8,679
Never ceases to amaze me the ease with which he played while at the same time being an absolute powerhouse and epicenter of everything going on musically. The very beginning of that video before the band comes in when he's just playing by himself sounds just massive and full, almost no need for a band, and from his facial expression he's just completely relaxed and in the moment....no showing off, just here it is.....and it's completely badass.
 

tech21nyc

Member
Messages
1,721
I was fortunate enough to see Jimi as a kid and sat about 20 feet in front of him. He used actually 4 Marshall amps. 3 full stacks behind him and a half stack off to his right pointing back stage. It was the Band Of Gypsys rig. His base clean sound was the same sound you hear on BOG, a huge medium breakup blues tone. It was always very obvious when the fuzz or octavia was engaged. Lots of sustain when clean but at that volume and amount of speakers why wouldn't it be.
 
Messages
173
I agree with your first point. His base sound was pretty crunch, enough so he could play without the fuzz.

As to pickups, IMO it was pretty random, no set position for any particular tune
My point isn't exactly that you need to use the neck pickup on Killing Floor. Instead, it's that Hendrix seemed to like the neck pickup for songs where he wanted a warmer, less aggressive sound, and the bridge pickup for bright biting tone. Yes, it's very common to do this. But I think people instinctively go "Oh Hendrix, bridge pickup!" - which simply is wrong.
 

ELmiguel

Senior Member
Messages
3,673
Never ceases to amaze me the ease with which he played while at the same time being an absolute powerhouse and epicenter of everything going on musically. The very beginning of that video before the band comes in when he's just playing by himself sounds just massive and full, almost no need for a band, and from his facial expression he's just completely relaxed and in the moment....no showing off, just here it is.....and it's completely badass.
I was fortunate enough to see him twice. It appeared he played with his whole being. You could see that his whole body was involved in playing, not just his hands. And he seemed to have that gift where he could just "go into the zone" immediately and music and magic started happening. Most guitarists don't slip into that so easily, if at all. I saw SRV once. It seemed like he did it. He'd just start playing and BAM! all of this great stuff started happening.
As great as Hendrix was, he lived close to the edge. The second time I saw him, he started acting weird after about an hour. Yelling at the audience between songs and playing very out of tune. I read later he'd taken some bad acid right before the show. It was sad to see him go down that way. At that time I think I was 17. He was my idol. It was like watching a god fall down. So sad.
 

vinchan

Member
Messages
225
Since I can't watch the YouTube now, I want to ask something I always wonder

Is fuzz face always on? Even tunes like little wing or bold as love? well.. I doubt there exist live version for Bold as love, but for instance, I really love 1969 RAH live version of little wing. And Ive been always curious about how he got his clean (or semi clean) sounds.

As I'm not sure about clean up tone of si fuzz he "might" have used at the era, so I wonder if anyone have any better idea about it..
 

neosoulchild

Member
Messages
727
I was fortunate enough to see him twice. It appeared he played with his whole being. You could see that his whole body was involved in playing, not just his hands. And he seemed to have that gift where he could just "go into the zone" immediately and music and magic started happening. Most guitarists don't slip into that so easily, if at all. I saw SRV once. It seemed like he did it. He'd just start playing and BAM! all of this great stuff started happening.
As great as Hendrix was, he lived close to the edge. The second time I saw him, he started acting weird after about an hour. Yelling at the audience between songs and playing very out of tune. I read later he'd taken some bad acid right before the show. It was sad to see him go down that way. At that time I think I was 17. He was my idol. It was like watching a god fall down. So sad.
It's usually hit or miss with the greats.. I've heard and read about Frusciante, Slash, EVH, Page, etc. all being kind of hit or miss.. depending on their chemical consumption.
 
Messages
173
Since I can't watch the YouTube now, I want to ask something I always wonder

Is fuzz face always on? Even tunes like little wing or bold as love? well.. I doubt there exist live version for Bold as love, but for instance, I really love 1969 RAH live version of little wing. And Ive been always curious about how he got his clean (or semi clean) sounds.

As I'm not sure about clean up tone of si fuzz he "might" have used at the era, so I wonder if anyone have any better idea about it..
Fuzz is on after 3:13 in the Stockholm video for most of the show. He turns it off at 17:18. The rest of Fire from 17:18-18:15 is without fuzz. Hey Joe starting at 18:21 has no fuzz.

Edit: at 20:03 he turns the fuzz back on and adjusts it.
 
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ScreamTS808

Member
Messages
116
I've seen a ton of misinformation about Hendrix posted just about everywhere so here's my take on two things - his clean sound, and his pickup selection - using video evidence.

Video here:


1) By 1969 Hendrix's base sound without any pedals was a mix between clean and the edge of breakup, probably easily controlled with his guitar volume knob. Listen to the first two minutes of his warmup; that's WIHOUT the fuzz face. Clear evidence for this at 3:13 when he turns it on. Figure out the base sound before messing with pedals.

2) Hendrix used different pickups for different songs. Killing Floor is entirely neck pickup (see: 6:53). Spanish Castle Magic, was entirely bridge pickup (see: 8:59, 10:53). Hey Joe is a mix of middle pickup (see: 21:33) and bridge pickup (see: 20:00). Voodoo Child is NECK pickup (see: 23:53, 28:59) and later bridge pickup (see: 35:52). Figure out the rest yourself!

3) Hendrix played portions of this show without any effects pedals. Fire from 17:18-18:15 is an example.

So if you're trying to sound like Jimi - get the base sound right and know your pickups.
Too bad we can't see footage of the second show that night.. that was the show that rocked and all the Experience members seemed to like each other unlike the first show where there was definitely a bad vibe.
 

Digidog

Member
Messages
2,694
As great as Hendrix was, he lived close to the edge. The second time I saw him, he started acting weird after about an hour. Yelling at the audience between songs and playing very out of tune. I read later he'd taken some bad acid right before the show. It was sad to see him go down that way. At that time I think I was 17. He was my idol. It was like watching a god fall down. So sad.
It's usually hit or miss with the greats.. I've heard and read about Frusciante, Slash, EVH, Page, etc. all being kind of hit or miss.. depending on their chemical consumption.
Too many great musicians have wasted themselves with drugs.... I believe it has nothing to do with their music, rather than personal shortcomings in handling fame, childhood traumas (f.ex. Hendrix hinted in an interview that he'd been abused) or the sheer difference between pre and post fame. Listen to Page in '77 to '79; a firm example of how bad it can be on drugs.
 

vinchan

Member
Messages
225
Fuzz is on after 3:13 in the Stockholm video for most of the show. He turns it off at 17:18. The rest of Fire from 17:18-18:15 is without fuzz. Hey Joe starting at 18:21 has no fuzz.

Edit: at 20:03 he turns the fuzz back on and adjusts it.
Thanks for the great explanation with details!
 

Devin

Low Voltage
Messages
4,115
Loved it, thanks. He seems kinda depressed but maybe I'm projecting. Really a great performance.
 




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