As far as electric guitars, Jimi Hendrix is mostly known for playing Fender Stratocasters. A few worth mentioning here is certainly the early 1960s white Stratocaster – which was allegedly the only guitar Jimi had with him when he first came to England. There’s also a 1963/64 Fiesta Red Stratocaster that he painted and then burned on stage at Monterey Pop Festival, and a black 1968 Stratocaster with a maple neck that was allegedly his favorite. But perhaps, the most notable of them all was the 1968 white Fender Stratocaster that Jimi played during the Woodstock festival on August 16, 1969.
Also, worth noting is that Jimi didn’t always use Stratocasters. For instance, Jimi’s first electric guitar was a 1957 Supro Ozark finished in white color, which he used from around 1959. The truth is, he didn’t acquire a Stratocaster until 1966, and during that period he used a variety of different guitars, including a Danelectro Bronze Standard, Epiphone Wilshire, and a few different Fender Jazzmasters. In his later years, he would also occasionally pick up a Gibson Flying V or an SG Custom.
His acoustic guitars collection was however far more scarce. He was only really filmed playing two – a 1960s Zemaitis 12-string, and an Epiphone FT79. The former was used during a short video of Jimi playing an acoustic version of “Hear My Train A Comin’’’, and the latter was seen on a home video of him playing a cover of Presley’s “Hound Dog”.
Regarding amps – the things were somewhat simpler. Although he did use a few different models, it can be said that the Marshall JTM45/100 was the amp that Jimi mostly relied on. He did use a few Fender amps, including a Twin-Reverb that he played on with Curtis Knight circa 1966, and a Dual-Showman that he used occasionally during 1968, and also allegedly to record “Voodoo Child”. He also went through a period during which he used Sunn amps exclusively but returned to the Marshalls soon after.
The two main effect pedals that Jimi used were a Vox Wah-Wah, and a Fuzz. Regarding the latter, he used a variety of different fuzz models, including a Marshall Supa Fuzz, Roger Mayer Axis Fuzz, and Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. He also experimented with a lot of unusual pedals at that time, such as the Roger Mayer Octavia and a Univox Uni-Vibe.
Jimi Hendrix Equipment Guide
Please note that this is just a quick basic guide for beginners. In reality, a lot of factors go into replicating someone’s sound, and it’s usually nearly impossible to achieve. To see the equipment that Jimi actually used himself, and all that went into it, refer to the chronological list below.
All about that Stratocaster
Obviously, if you want to go for Jimi’s sound, you’ll need a Stratocaster. Look for the 1950s or 1960s themed models, as they’ll usually have specs similar to the models that Jimi used. If you want an original Fender, Classic Series 60s model is a pretty good choice, and since it’s made in Mexico it doesn’t cost too much for what it offers. A good cheap alternative would be a Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster. Do a quick Google search on them, and you’ll find only praise.
Aside from a Stratocaster, another key ingredient to Jimi’s sound is a proper tube amp. If you’re unfamiliar with the subject, tube amps are very expensive nowadays, since the production has moved to solid-state amps in the more recent years. So, if you want the real thing, plan on spending at least $1000 on something like a Fender Twin Reverb, and upwards of $2000 if you want the actual model that Jimi used. If you do want to go all the way, it’s smart to check the used market on websites such as Reverb.com
A good cheap alternative to these tube amps would be a modern modeling amp such as a Fender Champion. These amps are configured so that they emulate the tube amp sound, obviously through modern means. If you’re a beginner, it will do you wonders.
Pick yourself a set of Fender Hendrix Voodoo Child strings, which are based on the same strings that Jimi used back in the day – the Fender 150s. As far as guitar picks, it’s uncertain if Jimi actually had a preference, or he just used whatever was available. In most cases, he seemed to have used medium to heavy picks, so something like Dunlop’s Herco pick will do the job.