Hendrix's tubes

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Hendrix's tubes

Post by Tone-Freak » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:07 pm

what pre amp tube ya think he used especialy for BOG. You think he used mullards or tried others

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by Roe » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:41 pm

I'd guess mullards. but there was a very old article in a mag saying that hendrix liked telefunken tubes
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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by airwarrior » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:48 pm

Does anyone know who Hendrix relied on as a tech? It couldn't have been Mayer because he wasn't always on tour. Who maintained all of Jimi's gear?

It would seem if we could ask the people who were doing his maintenance work we could finally answer some of these questions.

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by Roe » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:39 am

I doubt he had a tech with him on the early tours. reading hendrix: setting the record straigh I get the impression that he used the gear until it sounded bad or didnt work. then he'll get some new gear. for instance, by february 68 many of the marshall's didnt sound good, so he got some sunn amps
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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by yngwie308 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:40 pm

Let me share my experience..sic, of trying to buy valves in London circa, 1968-1969. Marshall themselves, at least not Jim's shop, din't sell any valves pre or power amp.
I had to go down to radio, electronics shops to find Mullard power valves and the ones I bought, could not get to bias properly, so I always had the same old Mullards in my first Super Lead back in the day.
My point is that music stores were not like they are today and the availability of parts for amps, was mostly through firms like Radio Spares. The supply of tubes was almost exclusively from the hi-fi or short wave, type radio stores..back then. But again everything lasted longer and didn't need to be replaced as often, ect.
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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by 54strat » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:41 pm

Someone asked about Jimi's "tech". His roadies were Eric Barrett and Gerry Stickells. Gerry worked for Queen for ages. Has anyone ever seen any info from these guys about Hendrix's amps/tubes?
We all know the story about Marshall training some of Hendrix's people to bias and service his new amps after Jimi and Jim met. More than likely it would have been Gerry Stickells and/or Eric Barrett.
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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by slashsound » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:22 am

Hey my fellow amp addicts, I found this article on the net, I hope this will help put the tube question to a rest and give you a better idea of what he was doing.

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The Gear of Jimi Hendrix

March, 2005

Hendrix’s transformation from a quirky, Nashville-based R&B player nicknamed “Marbles” to an acid-tripping, gypsy, mega-star changed not only the face of pop music, but the rules of the game, as well. Hendrix’s songs and sounds were incredibly intertwined, and it’s safe to say his tools were part of his magic. The

Hendrix’s transformation from a quirky, Nashville-based R&B player nicknamed “Marbles” to an acid-tripping, gypsy, mega-star changed not only the face of pop music, but the rules of the game, as well. Hendrix’s songs and sounds were incredibly intertwined, and it’s safe to say his tools were part of his magic.

The Guitar Story

Somewhere between his 11th and 13th birthdays, Hendrix received his first guitar—an inexpensive acoustic—from his father, who bought it after seeing his son holding the neck of a broom and strumming the bristles. His first electric guitar was a white, single-pickup Supro Ozark that his father purchased from Myers Music in Seattle in 1959. Next came a red, single-pickup Silvertone Danelectro that Hendrix was slinging with Seattle’s Tomcats in early ’61. He parked this guitar with a girlfriend when he joined the army that year, and switched to a cheap Eko or Kay for a while. Eventually, he asked his father to send him the Danelectro, which he had nicknamed “Betty Jean.”

While gigging around Tennessee with the King Casuals in ’62, he traded in the Dano for a new Epiphone Wilshire—a dual-pickup guitar with a solid-mahogany body and a glued-in mahogany neck. He also bought an Ibanez electric from Collins Music in Clarksville, Tennessee. Unable to pay the $10-per-week installments, he voluntarily returned the guitar.

During his nine-month stint with the Isley Brothers in 1964, Hendrix got his first Fender—a blond ’59 or ’60 Duo-Sonic. With Little Richard’s Upsetters in ’65, he slung a Fender Jazzmaster. He switched back to a sunburst Duo-Sonic with Curtis Knight & the Squires, but later returned to a Jazzmaster. With funds supplied by his then girlfriend—and the trade-in of his Duo-Sonic— Hendrix bought his first Strat from Manny’s Music in New York, in the summer of ’66. He used a number of different CBS-era Strats— mainly rosewood-fretboard models—while gigging around New York’s Greenwich Village in ’66 and ’67 as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, and, later, with the Experience. Hendrix would narrow his choices to the black or white Strats with maple fretboards that were his primary axes for the rest of his career. (Although he owned innumerable Stratocasters—and often carried more than 13 at a time when touring— only six can be accounted for today.)

Hendrix bought right-handed Strats because he preferred to have the controls on top. He’d reverse the nut, and wind his low-E string the opposite direction around the farthest tuner in order to keep it from jumping out of the nut slot. He originally tuned to standard pitch, but he eventually tuned down a half-step to ease the strain on his voice.

Of course, Hendrix bought and played other guitars—lots of other guitars—and he gave many away. Henry Goldrich of Manny’s recalls selling him everything from a Gibson ES-330, to a Gibson Firebird, to a Mosrite electric resonator guitar. His other guitars included a Guild 12-string acoustic, an Acoustic Black Widow Spider, a double-neck Mosrite, a Hagstrom 8-string bass (played on “Spanish Castle Magic” from Axis: Bold as Love), various Rickenbackers (a bass, a 6-string, and a 12-string), a ’67 Gretsch Corvette, a left-handed Guild Starfire Deluxe fitted with a Bigsby tremolo, a ’67 Gibson Flying V, a ’55 Gibson Les Paul, a ’68 Gibson SG Custom, a black, left-handed Flying V, a Gibson Dove acoustic, a Martin acoustic, and a Hofner electric. Modifications to his instruments were minimal, and his frets were rarely reworked because the guitars didn’t last long enough to become worn.

The String Thing

Hendrix’s strings of choice were light-gauge Fender Rock ’N’ Roll sets (gauged .010, .013, .015, .026, .032, .038). However, guitarist/producer Bob Kulick—an acquaintance of Hendrix’s during the Greenwich Village days—remembers him breaking a string in a dressing room, and saying, “Uh oh, I don’t have any extras.” Kulick asked him what he needed, and Hendrix said he used an E string for a B. “That was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone moving their string gauges over like that,” Kulick says.

But, then again, Band of Gypsies drummer Buddy Miles insisted that Hendrix used a very heavy E string, a medium gauge on his A and D, a Hawaiian G string, a light B, and a super-light E. This was supposedly not just for experimentation, but something Hendrix did because he thought the mixed gauges would keep the guitar in tune better. (Michael Bloomfield apparently tried some of the Hendrix Strats that Miles owned, and he was also a proponent of the mixed gauge theory.)

For picks, Hendrix chose whatever medium gauge his hand came up with when he stuck it into the drawer at Manny’s. Barrett simply reports that the Experience carried thousands of picks, as well as hundreds of guitar straps—all selected to match Hendrix’s shirts.

The Amp Armada

Hendrix experimented with various amplification systems, but, to use Barrett’s words: “It was 99 percent Marshall.” The guitarist’s route to the Marshall stacks that eventually became his familiar backline was a process of elimination. He reportedly owned a Silvertone amp and a matching 2x12 cab during his days in Tennessee in ’61 and ’62, but he mainly borrowed amps for gigs. From ’65 through ’66, Hendrix’s mainstay was a Fender Twin Reverb. He reportedly sniffed out Orange amps at Pink Floyd’s December 1967 “Christmas on Earth” show in London, and again at his very last concert. Apparently, he couldn’t get the sounds he wanted from them.

Also in 1967, Buck Munger solidified a five-year contract (which actually lasted 14 months) between Hendrix and Sunn amplifiers after the Monterey Pop Festival. Sunn agreed to supply the entire Experience with anything they needed, in exchange for Hendrix’s research and development input.

Hendrix started out with a 100-F cabinet, loaded with one JBL D-130 in the bottom and an L-E 100-S driver horn in the top. There was not much midrange—Munger described the tone as “almost a surfer sound”—and Hendrix combined the cab with a stack of Marshall 4x12s to get a blend. Later, the Sunn setup included up to five Coliseum P.A. tops—altered for guitar at 120 watts RMS each—with ten speaker cabinets loaded with two JBL D-130s each.

“We then went to four 12" Eminence speakers at Jimi’s request, and we also took his advice that the minimum acceptable power at that time was 100 watts,” recalls Munger.

For the Experience tour that began in February ’68, Hendrix used Fender Dual Showmans and Marshalls, and then added 100-watt Sunn Coliseum P.A. tube amps, plus an array of Sunn 2x15 or horn-loaded cabs. Stage photos from this period show quite an assortment of Sunn, Fender, and Marshall gear, but Hendrix soon severed his relationship with Sunn and began using Marshalls almost exclusively.

“Jimi was used to the big numbers,” explains Munger, “and when he turned his Sunn amps up, he got a lot of noise he didn’t like.”

Hendrix’s Marshall of choice was the 100-watt Super Lead driving two 4x12 cabs, and his standard backline would quickly grow to three Super Leads and six 4x12s. He plugged his guitar into one amp, and linked it to the others by running a cable from an adjacent input (the Super Leads had four inputs) to the second amp’s input jack, and so on.

This was a long way from the band’s humble beginnings, when Hendrix and Noel Redding shared one miked 100-watt Marshall during the sessions for their first album. Because Hendrix performed with his amp settings nearly always on full, his systems wore out fast.

In 1969, the Experience began using the services of West Coast Organ & Amp Repair in Hollywood, California, to prepare and maintain their equipment. “We received eight new Super Lead heads and about ten 4x12 cabinets before the start of Jimi’s ’69 tour,” says David Weyer, who was then West Coast’s amp technician. “Hendrix wanted us to install heavier-duty speakers, so we took out all of the 25-watt Rola Celestions and replaced them with 75-watt Rolas that we bought from [Vox distributor] Thomas Organ. They used those speakers in the solid-state Super Beatles that were being made here. Jimi told me that he preferred the sound of 6550 tubes in his Marshalls, so we replaced the stock Mullard EL34s with General Electric, Tung-Sol, and RCA 6550s that I got from Yale Radio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. I rebiased all the amps and changed their suppressor-grid voltages to keep the 6550s from over-dissipating.

By the end of a tour, Jimi would always have two or more tops that he liked best, and I’d measure their voltages and spec everything out in an attempt to understand why they sounded particularly sweet. His favorites always seemed to be the ones with extra-high plate voltage.

“We kept most of his Fender Showmans stock. I modded some with 6550 tubes, but that required building heavier-duty power supplies. We usually just tuned the Fender stuff to sound as good as possible. Jimi had some 2x15 bottoms that would come in all torn up with the speaker grilles kicked in. We’d recover them, replace the broken speakers, and send them back out. Amp bashing was a big thing back then.”

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by spaceace76 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:43 am

slashsound wrote:The Amp Armada
it's a good read, but the tube and speaker claims in that article are highly controversial here. everyone seems to have their own opinion on the tubes, but as far as the speakers there were supposedly no 75 watt rola's available at the time. you can check around the various BoG speaker threads (quite a few at the moment) for better info on this.

Who knows (no pun) what was really happening that night. I don't think anyone has tried to set up an accurate recreation of the chain, with a real univibe (or one that performs the same cancel function), non-truebypass wah, curly cables, and however the ocatavia was switching. Maybe those elements, along with daisy chaining and a slew of 4x12's will give the desired result? Some have suggested an element of post production and eq. That's probably a big part of it as well.

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by basile865 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:19 pm

I beginning to wonder if he was even fully cranked that night. I can get in the BOG realm when I've got the channels jumped, vol 1 around 2 or 3 and vol 2 around 6 or 7. But theres not enough sound there. We have to keep in mind there were 3 full stacks to create that punch and huge full sound. A halfstack or 1 full stack can only go so far.

I cant decide on what to swap out my power tubes with. 6550's from clips I've heard sound pretty dang close but on the other side - they could very well kinda suck at low volumes. Plus youve got to mod it to use them by changing resistors, and if you dont like it, then the mod has to be reversed. Basically an hour bench time for the tech each way. It could get pricey if you dont like it.

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by Tone-Freak » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:36 am

you have to realize that when you link amps together each one sound a little different as they get farther from the guitar and the middle one was the one miked. Do you need 3 stacks miking the middle one to try it right. Did you try changing the one wire on V1 to make it shared as that I sugested as Hendrix did yet? :D

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by basile865 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:58 am

i havent for a few reasons - mainly I dont know how to safely drain the caps

Then I dont know what gauge wire to do it with and I'm not the best solderer in town. PLUS my v1 tube just went microphonic haha. :lol:

How is that little mod going to change my sound though? Im not saying it wont I'm actually curious what to expect. How is the distortion going to be diff and the clean/headroom?

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by Tone-Freak » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:19 am

it takes some of the distortion off I believe but Hendrix had his amp modded like that. You can drain the filtercaps by turning on the amp and turn it off with the power switch leaving it off stand by. you can hit a cord on your guitar and hear them slowly drain. but still be careful in there. you can use the same guage wire that is going to v1 it is the yellow one probaly 12 or 14. There are 2 yellow wires comming off V1 unsolder the one that is on the bottom right from the tube socket and and use a jumper to go from that pin to the other pin on v1 that has the yellow wire which is about 11 oclock. Then if you like it solder a wire in or just solder the one yellow back on. You can see which one it is in this picture of the Hendrix amp. The yellow wires on V1. But if you really want to get it you should try every thing including the shared to split mod :) Image

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by slashsound » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:07 pm

Tone-Freak wrote:it takes some of the distortion off I believe but Hendrix had his amp modded like that. You can drain the filtercaps by turning on the amp and turn it off with the power switch leaving it off stand by. you can hit a cord on your guitar and hear them slowly drain. but still be careful in there. you can use the same guage wire that is going to v1 it is the yellow one probaly 12 or 14. There are 2 yellow wires comming off V1 unsolder the one that is on the bottom right from the tube socket and and use a jumper to go from that pin to the other pin on v1 that has the yellow wire which is about 11 oclock. Then if you like it solder a wire in or just solder the one yellow back on. You can see which one it is in this picture of the Hendrix amp. The yellow wires on V1. But if you really want to get it you should try every thing including the shared to split mod :) Image
Hi there and thank you so much for contributing this information. May I ask why you think Hendrix had his amp modded like this?

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by Tone-Freak » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:21 pm

that is a picture of the inside of a real Hendrix amp #12361. The one that was supposedly his favorite one. It was for sale a few years ago and I got theise pictures of it. Notice both amps have .68 chiclets factory instead of mustards. Both amps are 69 :D
Image

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Here is another Hendrix amp a 10xxx series 69 that does not have the mod. supposedly his favorite was the one above and had the split to shared cathode mod
Image

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Re: Hendrix's tubes

Post by basile865 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:17 pm

I think the caps still hold power even when the amps off and you need to hook a wire to the chassis or something. I'm a bit afraid to mess with it, although I will sometime.

The other thing is that amp with the shared cathode looks like a rat's nest in there. The power cable looks like its been changed, and possibly the filter caps. You gotta wonder with it being in different ownership for 40 years if its been tampered with at all.

Looking at the split cathode amp - that one looks all original and untouched. Everything is neatly wired in there.

I think back then when he died they didn't think about the specialness of those amps - they were just amp's - not his guitars. Plus who would think that they'd go up in value so much because they dont make them like they used to.

I think one of the articles I read somewhere was a hendrix fan who saw one of his amps for sale a year or so after hendrix died.

Again who knows!

The shared cathode is something I'll try one day for sure though.

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