Jimi Hendrix (#4) - FX & Feedback
by David M. McLean

This final installment of the Hendrix series covers Jimi's use of FX and feedback. It's important to remember the equipment limitations Jimi had in the late 1960s: No amp gain (just a master volume), few effects pedals, and the like. I'd urge you to play around for a few hours with nothing but your guitar and amp (set with very little gain) so you can directly experience those limits before adding modern implements into the mix.

Also remember that Jimi was using a Strat most of the time, which means single-coil pickups. It also means a neanderthal whammy bar, plus tone & volume controls, and a 5-way toggle switch. This 5-way toggle allowed Jimi to experiment with rapid tone alterations while the whammy bar (despite it's effectiveness in his hands) made for quite a few tuning problems.

After experimenting with these limits for a few hours, try adding distortion and octave pedals into your chain (check out the Mayer Octavia and the Dunlop Fuzz Face). Jimi also made use of a Uni-Vibe (a sort of tremelo effect), chorusing, and the infamous Crybaby Wah pedal. You can find an extensive array of Hendrix-style effects from UniVibe, Dunlop, Electro-Harmonix, and Roger Mayer. Voodoo Lab also offers a line of Jimi-specific effects (including the Micro-Vibe, Superfuzz, and Proctavia).

Finally, we come to feedback. As before, try experimenting with long sustaining feedback as well as those quick stabs with just a low-gain setting, your guitar, and lots of amp volume before introducing your FX package into the mix. Old films of Jimi playing live show him struggling successfully with his set-up to attain bizarre feedback effects by altering the angles at which the guitar and amp interface, by striking the body and neck of the guitar, altering his distance from the amp, and sweeping the guitar smoothly in and out from in front of the speakers at close range. Check out concert footage from Woodstock and Monterey to get an idea of his techniques, then experiment on your own.

I hope this mini-series has been helpful. Now go out there, record your results, and send me a link to your on-line sound files so I can share it with all our readers right here at Skinny Devil Music Lab!

David M. McLean is the proprietor of Skinny Devil Music Labs, former guitarist of the avant-garde fusion-metal band Aurora-Sen, guitar instructor, and columnist for TinFoil Music Magazine (where he conducts interviews in the on-going series “Guitar Gods”). His new solo album, “HUNGER”, will be released later this year.

About Us | Chord Progressions | F.A.Q. | Freebies | Guitar Chords | Guitar Lessons | Home Page | Links | Music News | Site Search | Songwriting | Standards | Store | Tablature | WebRings Copyright © 2005