Horace Wee is one of the foremost professional pop guitarists this side of the Pacific, having been with our local radio station (RTS) for many years and a leader of his own group. He has a reply to Henri Gann's interesting short comment about distorted guitar sound when I asked him to educate an ignoramus like me.
Thank you Horace.
His article starts here.
The subject of distortion and a discourse of Jimi Hendrix - the man, his music and instrument has been covered in volumes of books and articles. Guitar distortion existed in various forms from the early 50's recordings. Much of it was by accident and the discovery that it produced musical tones. Like the tremolo drenched sound of Link Wray's rumble or the bite of Keith Richards' telecaster.
Hendrix pushed the envelope further by playing louder and using larger amplifiers. Influenced by his background of RnB music and likely listening to blues performers performing on inadequate small amplifiers distorting, were some factors that probably contributed to the crystallization of his musical approach (image: Richards-left, Wray-right).
Black people don't listen to white music. Essentially Hendrix foundation was the Blues. Probably America's greatest contribution to the world's art form. The distortion on his guitar sort of emulates the growl in a blues holler or shout. In short the distortion of an electric guitar sound can be equated to a primal scream. Pure raw emotion.
Technically in the beginning, Hendrix's equipment was a regular right handed Fender Stratocaster strung and played left handed, a germanium Big Muff distortion pedal, Vox wah pedal and a stack of Marshall amplifiers. He used a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face as well, mentioned in various articles about Hendrix.
The way he played was the most important element in the final result we all have come to appreciate.
Ah Andy, you have triggered my thoughts.
Horace Wee (left) has peppered this blog with many short anecdotes and comments for some years now. If you key his name in the Search engine on the right bar of this blog you can find many of his contributions.
What triggered this discussion. Read connection here:
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Images: Google and a Personal Collection.
You Tube Video: Tone Factor.