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Hendrix tone on "Wind Cries Mary"

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by TNTales, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. TNTales

    TNTales Strat-Talker

    Mar 26, 2010
    The Altar of Sound
    Does anyone know a good pickup to approximate this tone? I'm thinking it's a neck pickup, but not sure. I've got some time before I pick up my next set of pups (still paying for building the strat). Suggestions?

    YouTube - Jimi Hendrix - The Wind Cries Mary
  2. Strat-O-Dawg

    Strat-O-Dawg Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    I'd say Jimi used his neck pickup, but I'm not sure. There's probably someone around here who knows for sure.

    This is how I get that sound (works for Jimi or SRV tone).

    -Any good Strat neck pickup will work. A true single coil with a DC resistance of around 5-6K is ideal. Keep the pickup adjusted low! About 1/8" above the pickguard. This is very important!!

    -Tune your guitar down a half step to E flat. Heavier strings work best for this. I recommend a quality 11 set (D'Addario, Fender, Ernie Ball, etc.).

    -Adjust your trem springs until there is about 1/8" space under the rear of the bridge.

    -Use a tube amp with just a little drive. Fairly clean. Not too dirty!

    - Roll your neck pickup tone control completely down and then slowly back up until it just starts to become clear.

    This should do it! I hope this helps.
    Mankonis and rlmcritters1 like this.
  3. Tele like it is

    Tele like it is Left is right! Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 2, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I beleive Jimi also played it through a Wah-wha pedle that he pushed part way and left there. The envelope filter sort of squeezes the tone a bit...
  4. Strat-O-Dawg

    Strat-O-Dawg Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    I forgot to mention that you should pick (strum) directly above the neck pickup. I'd try it without the wah-wah pedal (this is how I do it).
  5. wagner

    wagner Strat-Talk Member

    May 7, 2009
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I was actually pretty sure that he played this song in the neck + middle position.
  6. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 7, 2009
    austin texas
    It is the neck pickup on his Strat.The tone sort of scooped sounding....almost like it was the neck and middle combined but I'm certain it is the neck pickup alone.He probably set the amp to have that slightly scooped tone or maybe the eq on the recording makes it sound like that.I wouldn't be surprised if he was playing it through a Fender amp.Fender's current custom 69 pickups work really well for that type of tone.I own a few Strats with them and they have that transparent,somewhat scooped mid tone.That is the typical tone of the gray bottom Strat pickups that were made from 1964 into the 1970s so I'd guess Jimi,s Strat on that recording probably had those pickups.But who knows for sure....we'd have to ask Eddie Kramer(Jimi's engineer).
  7. MarkJ61

    MarkJ61 Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 25, 2010

    (The John Mayer P'ups cop this too, but can't be had aftermarket)
  8. mutato

    mutato Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 10, 2007
    It's the Neck that sounds almost identical. Not a hard sound to get on any Strat. On the song, it's played relatively clean, so you can hear some bright edge, but it's still scooped on the mids. Just an edge of overdrive if you pick harder.

    You can get close to that sound by either EQing your amp (lower mids), or playing/picking above the the Neck PU.

    As for key, you don't have to tune down a half step. It's in the key of F. A lot of Youtubers are playing it in other alternative keys, so learn the licks there, but then listen to the song and transpose to the correct key.
  9. Strat-O-Lady

    Strat-O-Lady Former Member

    Aug 28, 2009
    As most posters have already said it is the neck pick-up. Also, the version on the Are You Experienced album is in normal key - not tuned down half a step. However, in some of Jimi's performances, he would tune down half a step: YouTube - Jimi Hendrix - Stockholm - The Wind Cries Mary (live 1967)

    Also, remember that because his strings were reversed, the bass strings had more treble and the treble strings had a more mellow sound. But if you use the neck pick-up and clean setting on your amp (with just a little bit of overdrive as someone else mentioned), it will sound just fine:)

    I did a cover of The Wind Cries Mary about a year ago:
    I used my 100 dollar Squier Bullet Strat set to the neck pick-up.
    Groovey and rlmcritters1 like this.
  10. MarkJ61

    MarkJ61 Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Bravo. Nice.
  11. marcostrat63

    marcostrat63 Strat-Talker

    Apr 22, 2010
    Kissimmee, Florida
    nice job - hard to believe it's a your other tracks too.
  12. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

    Sep 2, 2009
    Nah, it's really not hard to believe at all. :)

    There's been some really great advice in this thread for the OP. I listened to his video post last night and was going to comment that it just sounds like a Strat in the neck position, but I didn't want the first post to seem like I was being a smartass when he was asking specifically about replacing pickups.

    But yeah just sounds like a Strat, it's really not a hard sound to get at all. Any decent Strat should be able to sound like or get very close to that sound. Part of what makes the first 3 chords sound so "heavy" is that he's doing his power chords with the 5th below as well. So I think the first chord is Eb (if memory serves) so instead of just and Eb5 (first finger on 6th fret of A, third finger on 8th fret of D) you'd end up with (first finger on 6th fret of E and A, third finger on 8th fret of D.)

    It's a really cool song and an awesome kind of rhythmic solo. Good luck OP, I'm sure you'll get things sounding the way you want with little problems.
    velvet_man and Bighump like this.
  13. MichaelZ

    MichaelZ Strat-Talk Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks for the tips, everyone. I love playing this song; it's such a satisfying musical experience. Also fairly structured, but without seeming so.
  14. mutato

    mutato Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 10, 2007
    That Jimi Vid in stockholm was cool. Not to digress, but I thought it was funny to observed these things in the vid (taken in jest below!):

    During Jimi's little solo, they do closeups of the Bass playing!

    Speaking of the Bass player, wouldn't that frilly shirt mess up
    playing by muffling the strings?

    Squeaky kick drum pedal. D@mn those drummers! Oil your equipment! ; - )

    I noticed the strings are a half step down (in E) because you can (barely) see that he's doing the F barred chord on the resting chord. God, he had big hands!
  15. drf64

    drf64 Strat-Talker

    Apr 15, 2010
    Kalamazoo, MI
    A very big part of the sound is the amp. The sound on the recording is definitely BF, probably Twin Reverb, which is also going to scoop the mids.

  16. TerryM

    TerryM Strat-Talker

    Oct 30, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Impressive. Nice work.
  17. woodsie831

    woodsie831 Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 20, 2010
    +1. very nicely done
  18. marcostrat63

    marcostrat63 Strat-Talker

    Apr 22, 2010
    Kissimmee, Florida
    Great tone on your songs. I listened to quite a few of them - you are really talented!
  19. daniboy79

    daniboy79 Strat-O-Master

    Feb 26, 2009
    Trinidad, West Indies
    I just got thru listening to your stuff Strat-O-Lady, great playing!! keep it up!
  20. Strat-O-Dawg

    Strat-O-Dawg Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    A lot of people think that there was some secret combination of guitars, amps, effects, etc. that famous players back in the day used. The truth is that many of these players used stock or near stock instruments, amps and so on. There were exceptions to this rule but for the most part, it was off the shelf equipment unless it was something new (at the time).

    The real magic was in the hands and minds of the musicians. These were/are very talented people. That is the real reason why players such as Hendrix, Beck, Page, Clapton and the rest are still revered today. Enough said!

    There's and old joke that goes something like this:
    "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
    Answer: "Practice!"

    I love gear as much as the next guy but interestingly enough I read very little on these forums about actually playing. Maybe these forums are gear oriented but what good is gear if you don't use it for it's intended purpose.

    As we have heard many times, a pedestrian instrument can sound excellent in the right hands.
    velvet_man and Tim S like this.