Saturday, October 10, 2015

How to sound like: Jimi Hendrix (with sample and using only free Vst Plugins)

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to see how to obtain very easily one of the most iconic and classic guitar sounds of the history of this instrument: the classic Jimi Hendrix tone.
Let's start by saying that Jimi hendrix was really an innovator: he took effects which were new at the time, like the modulation effects, and made them famous and mainstream, to the point that many of them are still today a standard in any guitar player rig.

Another thing to say about Jimi Hendrix is that he actually had a LOT of tones; almost a different one for each song, to the point that some commercial simulator (for example the very complete Amplitube Hendrix) today recreates the tone of the various single songs.

I wanted to recreate the classic Little Wing sound, that in my opinion is the best one, using only free plugins or the ones bundled in any commercial Daw: as you can see from the picture above (which shows the full chain, to be read from left to right, from top to bottom) I have used Presonus Studio One, but the same rules can be applied to any DAW, since they all feature these processors by default.

First off I have loaded on a track the original Little Wing, to use it as a Reference Track, so I could compare in real time the results of my tweaking, until the sound was similar enough.
I have used my cheap Squier Stratocaster, using the neck pickup (although in the last part of the sample I have switched to the bridge one, which was a humbucker, in order to have a little more output), tuned it, found the right Input Level, and proceeded loading a Preamp to use with the clean channel. I have used the Ignite Amp NRR-1, with no cab emulation (when using clean guitars it's possible to act this way to obtain a more direct sound, it's no blasphemy :D), and I have added enough gain to simulate a booster in front of the amp.
From here I have proceeded to add two modulation effects typical of the Hendrix sound: a Phaser and a Chorus. both of them in a very moderate amount, just to add some depth and character to the sound.
In the end I've put a sprinke of Reverb, do give some space to the sound, that otherwise without Cab emulation would have sounded too direct.

On the bottom of the signal chain I've added a Low pass Filter to shave off some of the harsh frequences typical of the digital sound, and put a limiter on the master bus.

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