When Billy Gibbons Revealed The Only Thing Jimi Hendrix Didn’t Get Enough Credit For
The rock legend Jimi Hendrix achieved to redefine electric guitar playing despite his four-year career. His experimental sounds and innovative technique rose him to fame during the 1960s. Hendrix was at the age of 15 when he took his first acoustic guitar and it may sound surprising to some that he was a self-taught musician. He would practice for hours and hours every day by listening and watching the more experienced guitarists.
At the beginning of his career, Hendrix was just a pickup guitarist but his luck turned when he decided to move to New York in 1964. It is no wonder that his mind-blowing talent drew attention in a short span of time. Jimi was offered to sign an agreement to form a new band in London. And thus, he got involved in the band ‘The Jimi Hendrix Experience’ and contributed to threes studio albums.
There is no doubt that Hendrix’s Woodstock performance in 1969 is a never-to-be-forgotten moment in many people’s minds. It was the closing performance of Woodstock and Jimi totally dominated the stage with his amazing guitar sounds. It is disappointing to know that this kind of exceptional talent left the world too soon with his controversial death in 1970.
What Makes Jimi Hendrix So Special?
One of the things that makes Hendrix special is surely the way he played the guitar and the style he used. As he didn’t have a formal education, he didn’t follow the traditional methods of guitar playing. Jimi was also a left-handed musician but he played with a right-handed Fender Stratocaster upside-down, which doubled his reputation.
Hendrix was playing the guitar on the stage as he was acting. He liked to fuse different genres like rock, blues, jazz, and soul while playing, which is inspiring for many musicians. Jimi also never hesitated to use different technologies as he increased the popularity of the wah-wah and Octavio guitar pedals.
Besides music, Jimi Hendrix has also become a well-known figure in popular culture and his tracks even gave inspiration to various games and movie soundtracks. His distinctive style also had a powerful impact on the counterculture movement of the time. His iconic status was empowered by the counterculture along with the mainstream.
What Was The Thing Hendrix Didn’t Get Enough Credit For?
Jimi Hendrix has never lost his impact on the music industry as he still becomes the subject of many interviews and debates. While his innovative and experimental technique is highly praised, there is one thing, according to ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, that he is not given enough credit for.
In a previous interview with Total Guitar, Gibbons revealed that there should be more credit for Jimi’s ‘innovative use of the pickup toggle switch.’ Billy Gibbons explained that Hendrix would use a five-way toggle switch instead of a three-way, which was one of his discoveries.
Here is how Gibbons revealed his use of a five-way toggle switch:
“Jimi took the three-way toggle switch into five-way. He’s the one that discovered the in-between positions, and in order for that not to pop out of place, he showed me how to take off the back scratchplate and remove the spring within the toggle switch, so it would more or less stay in place! And that sound had this extra chimeyness to it.
I don’t think he was credited enough for that. There were lots of little things about him, and all very important to how we see the Stratocaster or even the instrument in general through his applied skills. This is the first five-way toggle switch that I ever saw. He took the springs off the standard switch so that it just hung there. When he wanted to move it out-of-phase, Jimi’d shake the guitar until the switch moved, smooth as can be, into the position.”
It is very fortunate of Billy Gibbons that he had a chance to play with Hendrix, from whom he learned different techniques. Gibbons even toured together with Jimi on his U.S. tour in 1968. Billy always revealed the impact of Hendrix’s playing on him in some of his previous statements and showed his admiration for his musical genius.