The Iconic Guitar Pick of Jimi Hendrix: A Quick Guide

by Madonna

In the annals of music history, few figures stand as tall as the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Renowned for his unparalleled guitar skills and groundbreaking innovations in rock music, Hendrix remains an eternal source of inspiration for countless musicians and guitar enthusiasts. Beyond his virtuosic talent, his choice of gear and equipment has also piqued the curiosity of aficionados. In this article, we embark on a journey to discover the guitar pick that Jimi Hendrix used and how this seemingly simple accessory played a significant role in shaping his distinctive sound.

Who is Jimi Hendricks?

Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was an iconic American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is celebrated for his groundbreaking contributions to rock music and his innovative guitar playing. Hendrix’s performances at Woodstock and Monterey Pop Festival in the 1960s are legendary, where he pushed the boundaries of electric guitar playing with his virtuosic techniques and distinctive sound. His albums, including “Are You Experienced” and “Electric Ladyland,” remain influential in the world of rock and continue to inspire musicians worldwide.


The Plectrum Puzzle: Jimi Hendrix’s Guitar Pick

Before we delve into the specifics of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar pick, it’s essential to recognize the profound impact of this seemingly insignificant accessory on a guitarist’s tone, technique, and overall sound. The guitar pick, or plectrum, is a small, flat tool typically made of various materials, including plastic, nylon, metal, and even exotic materials like tortoiseshell. It is used to pluck or strum the strings of a guitar, creating the initial vibration that produces sound.


For many guitarists, the choice of a guitar pick is a deeply personal matter. Different picks offer varying degrees of flexibility, thickness, and surface texture, each influencing the way a player interacts with the strings and, consequently, the tonal characteristics produced.


What are the works of Jimi Hendrix?

Jimi Hendrix, one of the most influential and iconic guitarists in the history of rock music, created a significant body of work during his short but prolific career. Here are some of his most notable works:

1. “Electric Ladyland” (1968):

Widely regarded as Hendrix’s masterpiece, this double album showcases his versatility and experimental approach. It includes classics like “All Along the Watchtower” (a Bob Dylan cover) and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”

2. “Band of Gypsys” (1970):

This live album, recorded with his Band of Gypsys, features a different musical direction, with funk and blues influences. “Machine Gun” is a standout track known for its emotional guitar work.

3. “Cry of Love” (1971):

Released posthumously, this album was intended to be Hendrix’s next studio release. It includes tracks like “Freedom” and “Angel.”

The Mystery of Jimi’s Pick

Jimi Hendrix’s guitar pick has been a subject of intrigue and speculation among guitar enthusiasts and fans for decades. Hendrix’s unique playing style and tone, characterized by his expressive bends, wild vibrato, and searing solos, raised questions about the specific pick he favored. While Hendrix’s exact pick preferences were not always explicitly documented, several factors provide insights into the type of picks he may have used.

1. Thickness:

Hendrix’s technique often involved aggressive bending and vibrato, which requires a certain degree of flexibility in the pick. Many speculate that he favored medium to heavy-gauge picks, typically in the range of 0.73mm to 1.0mm or more. This thickness allows for both precision and durability during intense playing.

2. Material:

Jimi Hendrix was known to have used a variety of pick materials throughout his career. Celluloid and nylon were common choices for many guitarists of his era, and it’s likely that he experimented with picks made from these materials. He may have also used picks made from tortoiseshell or other unconventional materials known for their unique tonal properties.

3. Custom Picks:

Some reports suggest that Hendrix had custom-made picks. These custom picks may have featured unique designs or materials tailored to his preferences. However, concrete evidence of such custom picks is scarce.

4. Fingers and Thumb:

It’s important to note that Hendrix was renowned for his innovative use of fingers and thumb in addition to traditional picks. He often used his fingertips to create expressive, percussive effects and his thumb to fret and bend notes on the lower strings, adding to his distinctive sound.

5. Artistic Freedom:

Hendrix was an artist known for pushing boundaries and embracing experimentation. It’s likely that he didn’t adhere rigidly to a single pick type, opting instead for whatever suited his artistic vision at any given moment.

See Also: The World’s Oldest Guitar: A Quick Guide

In conclusion

The quest to uncover the details of Jimi Hendrix’s iconic guitar pick may remain a tantalizing mystery, but what truly defines the legacy of this legendary guitarist is not the material of his plectrum but the groundbreaking music he created. Jimi Hendrix’s revolutionary playing style, innovative techniques, and unparalleled creativity continue to inspire and influence generations of guitarists. Whether using a thin or thick pick, or even his fingers and thumb, Hendrix’s ability to conjure a kaleidoscope of emotions through his instrument is a testament to his musical genius. As musicians and fans, we are reminded that the magic of Hendrix’s music transcends the tangible, residing in the boundless realm of artistic expression and innovation.


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