Jimi Hendrix amp settings aren’t terribly difficult to figure out, seeing as how guitar players have been building off of his innovation and sound for decades after his death.
He’s certainly one of the greatest of all time and, as a result, many guitarists have imitated his sound.
So if you’re wanting to play Purple Haze or Voodoo Child, what are the best settings to use?
We’ll start by taking a look at Hendrix’s gear from 1969 and what I used to craft the tone with my own rig.
What Hendrix Used
- Marshall Superlead “Plexi” Heads (100 watts)
- 1968 Fender Stratocaster
- Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face
- Vox Wah Pedal
- Univox Univibe
What I Used
- 2004 Fender American Telecaster
- 2005 PRS CE 24
- Line 6 Spider IV 150-watt Modeling Amp
- Morley Steve Vai Wah Pedal
- Boss DS-1 Distortion
If you were looking for something even modestly complicated, you’re likely to be disappointed.
Hendrix used Marshall Superlead amplifiers, fuzz effects and little else.
In total, he had two of these amps and a stack of Marshall cabinets to go along with his fuzz and wah pedal.
Hendrix is showing up everywhere these days | Flickr Commons Image via Roel Wijnants
When I was dialing in settings, I used a Boss DS-1 distortion to mimic the classic overdriven tone Hendrix used.
Since we don’t have a lot of consensus on how Hendrix had his EQ set, some speculation is necessary.
I’ll use the JamUp app to illustrate.
If you want to take a stab at Jimi Hendrix’s amp settings without all the gear, one of the most accurate methods would be the Hendrix Anniversary Collection from Amplitube:
The program gives you access to everything you need to capture Hendrix’s tone, as well as a slew of other basic amp and effects models.
You can try it for free and then download whatever models you want.
Jimi Hendrix Amp Settings
If you want to get your distortion from your amp and not a pedal, turn the gain knob up to around seven or eight to mimic the saturated distortion tone that Hendrix was known for.
Here’s how I’ve set the rest of the EQ:
Hendrix used a high gain amp model with a fuzz distortion and some extra bass in the EQ | View Larger Image
How your amp’s gain will serve the Hendrix sound is hard to tell, because Hendrix generally got his distortion from the classic Fuzz Face pedal (more on that below).
Aim generally for a thick, saturating distortion that still has some classic rock tonality pushing through.
Hendrix played heavy, but he didn’t sound heavy the way modern guitar players do. Make sure you find that balance when considering how much gain you dial in on your amplifier or pedal.
Gain: 7 / Bass: 8 / Mids: 5 / Treble: 5 / Reverb: 3
Jimi Hendrix Effects
Dunlop eventually released a Hendrix signature version of the Fuzz Face.
“Wish I had an EHX pedal down there..” | Large Image
Despite the fact that Hendrix never used the big muff pedal, it’s a fairly accurate representation of his distortion.
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff
Combing the above dials with a Marshall amplifier and one of these two pedals is your best bet for getting an accurate Jimi Hendrix sound.
If you have different gear, spend some time adjusting the dials on your distortion and make sure the amp settings match up.
You don’t need a Marshall to make it work.
Could you use more gear help?
Producing “great tone” is a worthy pursuit, but not always an obvious one.
We all own a unique collection of gear that seems to sound different all the time. That’s normal, but still something we need to learn to deal with.
We need to learn our gear.
If you want to access some resources that will help dealing with a specific tonal pursuit, piece of gear or other questions related to your rig, I’d recommend giving Guitar Tricks 14-day free trial a test run - there’s no obligations and you’ve got nothing to lose - except two free weeks of one of the most comprehensive and thorough guitar education websites in existence.
You’ll learn a lot and get access to a number of other resources that all guitarists can benefit from.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of mirjoran