There are these moments when you try a well-known guitar player’s gear set-up and you actually feel you are on stage jamming with the actual band.
For this article a short brief on Hendrix’s pedal set-up. His set-up is not complex and it is not too hard to make those pedals work for you to get that Hendrix sound. The one thing you now need to do is to play like Hendrix……………………..
Well even if you just riff about you will still get the vibe.
The pedals are run in the following order: Gtr–> Wah–> Octaver–> Fuzz–> UniVibe.
Hendrix used mainly Strats with Single Coil pick ups but the set-up works amazingly well with other guitars as well.
The Wah can be used for clean sounds, or while the Fuzz is on. Once you will kick in the Fuzz your Wah will start to sound very organic.
The Octaver does add depth to anything your will play, you can use it as a special effect or to add depth to the Fuzz.
Fuzz will add some frenzy to your chords and single notes.
The UniVibe adds swirl and space to the overall sound.
What Kind of Brands?
Wah: Use any kind of older style Dunlop Wah such as a Cry Baby. These pedals may not be perfect but they will get you close to Hendrix’s feel and sound. Any Wah will work, just experiment with your favourite ones.
Octaver: Use any simple one including all the warps and fluctuations, remember Hendrix’s pedals were not perfect. You really want a simple Octaver nothing too modern or flash.
Fuzz: You can either use a dedicated Fuzz or any Distortion pedal with a maxed out gain setting. As with the Octaver, your Distortion should be simple and basic. Hendrix’s live sound could be quite ugly from time to time. Once you know how to play simple gear will quickly get you into the zone.
UniVibe: A UniVibe can give you similar sounds as a simple chorus pedal. UniVibe does have more options, but have a good listen to some Hendrix live recordings and decide for yourself if you need a dedicated UniVibe unit or if a Chorus will do as well. I have been using some older Electro Harmonix style chorus pedals and they can get very close. Hendrix did not go for traditional chorus sounds (dedicated chorus pedals came into being in the late 70s and early 80s) he mainly used the UniVibe as a Leslie kind of effect to move the sound around and to create the idea of space (dedicated delays were not yet being manufactured in the 60s!). Avoid digital chorus pedals as they will clean your sound up too much. You want your sound to be as organic as possible.
Playing and Use of Pedals:
Hendrix may have been one of the first guitar players who started to combine various effects. Most of the effects are used to create variety in the sound. The main playing comes from his riffs and chords and the kind of songs he played: Souped up heavy blues dressed up with riffs! Keep this in mind all the time.
Get good with the Fuzz and your chords and riffs. Be able to mute at will but do not be afraid to create sonic havoc as Hendrix so often did. Bands like Sonic Youth took this noise idea a lot further, started thinking about it and specialized in it. Hendrix did not, it was part of what he did, but he could also play beautiful, clean chord style of playing.
You do not have to play Hendrix’s songs, it may be an idea to get inspired by his sound, create something of your own and start playing with the Octaver and Chorus to add variety to your overall sound.
Have fun and hope to catch you soon again for more,