Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Dual Showman Silverface
It seems that for a short period of time, around early 1968, Jimi used a few Fender Dual Showman amps for his live gigs. The amps were seen during the show at Fillmore East on February 1, 1968, on the 2nd at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, and lastly at Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim on February 9, 1968. According to some sources, the amps were supplied by Fender for Jimi to use during the 1968 US tour.
However, during the Anaheim gig on February 2, 1968, a Marshall amp was seen on stage sitting below a Fender Dual Showman, apparently because the two Fenders broke and the band couldn’t finish the set. After the gig, Jimi struck a deal with Buck Munger of Sunn Amps and most likely got rid of the Fenders.
The amplifiers broke down during the first show, resulting in only four numbers being played during the second show. After the show Chas and Jimi were approached by Buck Munger representative for Sunn Amplification who replaced their Fender gear (provided at the start of the tour, but not powerful enough for Jimi’s tastes) with brand new Sunn equipment. [1968-02-09 Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California USA]
Fender Dual Showman amp used on ‘Voodoo Chile’?
According to Eddie Kramer, Jimi used a Fender Showman amp during the recording of ‘Voodoo Chile’. Based on the fact that the song was recorded only about two months after Jimi was seen using Fender Dual Showman amps on stage, it is possible – although not likely, that he used one of those. To remind you, Jimi’s Fender Dual Showman amps broke after a gig in Anaheim on February 2, 1968, but there is a possibility that someone ended up fixing them.
Also, just to note in regard to the quote from Eddie below – the only difference between a Showman and a Dual Showman amp is the 8-ohm output transformer on former, and a 4-ohm transformer on the latter. Reason for this being – Dual Showman was shipped with a dual speaker cabinet.
Surprisingly, the amp he used on that song was not a Marshall stack. It was actually a Fender Showman top with a huge cabinet with eight 10-inch speakers in it. You can hear it rumbling around on the floor of the Record Plant when you listen to the beginning of the song. [Guitar Center interview with Eddie Kramer, webpage is now taken down]
As far as the cabinet that Eddie is talking about here – a Fender Dual Showman came with a 2×15 cab that looked rather large, so maybe Eddie had mistaken it for an 8×10 cab. The only other logical option would be a Marshall 1990 8×10″ cab, which Jimi was never seen using before – but it could’ve been something owned by the studio.