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Observations on a Hendrix video

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Thoughtfree, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for posting, great OP and thread. Never saw it before. Must have been shot or directed by someone who appreciated guitar playing by all the close ups of his hands. I don't recall that as being very common at that time. I also really like your description of the audience, "...a polite crowd of pre-hippie German youths", good for lyrics!:)
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I had a chance to buy a really nice no name lefty Strat in maybe 2003, white with RW board, for $150.
    Thinking back it might have been one of the ESP custom shop guitars, super nice head to toe unlike virtually all no name Strats of that time, and the price was ridiculous.
    But I concluded that I had no use for an image guitar that was harder to play.
    Kind of regret not buying it, no clue why.
    I've looked at Jimi's handling of the guitar with interest but don't really think using my body the way he used his would benefit my playing, because I'm not built like him.
    I'm tall and thin but his angles would I think be uncomfortable, like his RH attack with repeated downstrokes just looks like it wouldhurt if I tried to force my body to look like his approach.

    I've been told that classical string players keep using a teacher even after many years of playing, but the goal is to prevent habits that strain the body, which leads to repetitive stress injury and also limits best tone production.
    So I look to find playing positions that don't strain my joints or support muscles, then proceed to strain my joints and support muscles in the most comfortable position possible!
     
  3. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    When I saw him in early 1968, he clearly turned almost all the way around and pointed at Mitch Mitchell. I guess he was fickle like that.
     
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  4. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Holic

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    "It's not the car, it's the driver"
     
  5. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can third that, when I saw him in August 68 he did the same thing. Kinda funny that people will still point to that as mis-hearing the lyrics.
     
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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I liked this video when I came across it, a shorter excerpt of the same concert as the OP's linked to.
    It's the only show where the camera guy spends more time on the picking end of the guitar than the neck. So I learned a few things when I had come across this a while back:

    -Look at how often he picks where there would normally be a Strat volume knob. He plays it like a Tele and that helps him cover a much wider range of tones.
    -His pickups are lowered and the bass side tipped, plus the reverse angled bridge slot pickup adds more bass to the treble side.

    Not in the video specifically, but my testing has revealed more sustain from strings with less hangover beyond the nut/saddles due to string stretch and friction. A reversed Strat headstock gives more sustain to the high strings for Hendrix and less sustain to the bass strings where sustain is less important.




    .
     
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  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can't be different! You must be one of the herd!
     
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  8. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    Eh.

    Roger Mayer claimed Hendrix had a special string gauge set...but the woodstock strat was stashed by Mitch Mitchell *with the same set of strings* shortly after the concert. Decades later, when opened up, there was a rusty set of 10-46 Fender strings with the packaging still in the case pocket.

    Some guy claimed he put special tubes in Jimi's amps, the verified ones in collections haven't shown that to be true plus Jimi used various on-loan Marshall heads all the time anyways. Same guy also claimed he knew a guitar tech who filed a divot into one of Jimi's frets so Hendrix could get his finger vibrato to make noise...holy stupid attack you have to be nutty to believe that.

    Jimi didn't jump the channels on his head, they were just chained like any normal multi amp chain. The volume knobs were not all dimed either, there's plenty of footage of him tweaking the knobs here and there during the 1st tune of sets.

    Some myth about special guitar wiring too, no verified guitar had this wiring either.

    I've read one vintage aficionado/builder claim that in one of Jimi's first American "Experience" performances his pre-'68 rig ('67 strat + Marshall?) was actually Jimi's favorite rig so much so that Jimi retired the rig. Wow, good grief.

    IIRC, there's more funny stuff out there if you dig.




    Basically, it's just really hard for folks to understand his live tone sounds like a high headroom 100W (multiple versions) pinstripe full stack with a strat 1/2 step down, some early pedals and coily cables, regular set of strings et cetera.

    No magic 'cept for the fact plugging into said stack is apparently illegal today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  9. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Holic

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    The magic was between the ears and translated down to the fingers. There was nothing special about any of his equipment.

    In the words of John Lennon: "I'm an artist. You give me a f***ing tuba, I'll get you something out of it."
     
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  10. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Holic

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    Think about this.....when Hendrix started playing on the chitlin circuit and in the studio, he had only been playing for about 4-5 years, and he didn't play much part of those years due to the military. Even when he hit it big, he had only been playing 6-7 years? No lessons, no tabs, no internet videos etc. That's how talented he was.
     
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  11. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Let's talk other players who play strats flipped over and compare it to how Jimi did so. From what I saw so far, Jimi apparently hit on the winning formula since everybody does it the way he did.

    [​IMG]
    Joe Perry pretty much puts his arm between the knobs and the output jack. But he also slings his guitar quite a bit lower than Jimi would do.

    [​IMG]
    But he also removes the second tone pot, probably because of bumping his arms against it constantly.

    [​IMG]
    Here's Eric Gales playing a tasty Eric Johnson Thinline strat and much like Jimi and Joe Perry putting his arm between the knobs and the output jack.

    [​IMG]
    Randy Hansen (If you ever get the opportunity see him live, DO IT, he's awesome) is quite a bit shorter than Hendrix was, his arm is actually resting on the knobs
     
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  12. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    An addendum to my post:


    "Secrets of Jimi's live tone"

    Things that actually add up:

    100W Full Stack = more headroom, less speaker breakup, 80% clean 20% mild crunch before the pedals. IIRC, he used various 100W models over the years. He wasn't diming a half stack then jumping channels for extra gainey crunch like you see all the time today. When his fuzz was off and guitar volume down a hair the sound was clean.

    Old Pinstripe cabs = they didn't have grill cloth, they had some crazy grandma's AMC rubber car upholstery stuff that was THICK. Like, putting a sleeping bag over your speakers, some guy makes it new and it's real expensive but no doubt that thick covering over your speakers would effect the sound on the other end.

    Noisy ass signal chain = 50 miles of coily cables with a wah that will squeal if left up, edgy early fuzz pedals *various incarnations* plus an equally noisy vibe thing. I've played vintage originals of all these, they're all slightly noisy but also very articulate, not like certain warm sounding compressed modern stuff.

    One half step down...duh.

    For the strat... them old singles, IIRC 95% of legit '68-'70 strat pickups I've seen measured at around 5.5k and no damn bump for the bridge pickup...take or leave it! :D
     
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  13. Flip G

    Flip G Tele-Meister

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    I always assumed that he stuck with the flipped Strat because of his unique use of the whammy bar. Also, when I strum my Strat copy a little too frantically, I often hit the volume knob and turn things down without meaning to.
     
  14. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for that clip, their US Debut at Monterey would just be a few weeks later.

    Love this clip from the upcoming film because you get so many full body shots were you can see him playing and see both hands.

    Always hated it when I was young and they showed the cropped version of the Woodstock film on TV and that you COULDN'T SEE HIS HANDS!

     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  15. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I have heard a theory that it had to do with reversing the pickups -- that having the end of the pickup that normally goes to the thick strings go the light gauge ones instead produced a certain tone. Of course, I don't know how Strat pickups are designed -- maybe flipping them makes no difference at all.
     
  16. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    And he didn't always manage to get all the way into tune. Drug use may have been part of the problem. I read a biography which quoted Noel Redding saying that sometimes he would tune JH's guitar for him on stage when he was too high.
     
  17. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    That tune evolved as he continued to play it. There were some bootleg recordings available in the '70s of him playing it in Berkley and Maui, and you could hear that he was rapidly picking up jazz influences. Too bad we won't know where that could have gone.
     
  18. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    The magnet stagger was reversed, so his B and high E had higher magnets, and his low E and A had lower magnets. The slant of the bridge pickup was also reversed.
     
  19. Bryan A

    Bryan A Tele-Meister

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    I tried a set of those Fender Hendrix strings and absolutely hated them. If nothing else, it explains why so many of his live recordings sounded out of tune, because those strings would NOT stay in tune.
     
  20. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    The only significant change is going to be on your D/G strings, simply looking at the pickup screws will temper the other magnet heights.

    Problem with this theory is that while it may effect some strumming/etc is when you play guitar long enough your ear reacts quickly to attack + output and you adjust. Hendrix had a light picking hand and was very articulate in his attack string to string so, IMO, it would not be a big factor in his tone. This is why we like vintage strat pickups in the first place..we adapt to their "flaws!"


    The reversed bridge pickup? Yes, it's a bit of a change, small and the ole strats had the "weak" sounding low output bridge. But, he played so much on the neck pickup, cheating the 4/5 position and middle pickup that his sig tone is not really in the bridge that much though he uses it a bit.
     
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