Are You Experienced? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Si tan sólo pudieras organizar tu mente
Te cruzarías conmigo
Nos tomaríamos de la mano y veríamos juntos el amanecer
desde el fondo del mar
Pero antes, tienes experiencia?
Has tenido alguna experiencia
Bueno, yo sí


Descrita como una sinfonía sicodélica Are You Experienced? combina el sonido de la guitarra grabado con reproducciones del mismo en reversa más la batería.

Jimi Hendrix es más recordado como ejecutante que como letrista, sin embargo las letras de sus rolas son igualmente intensas, en Are You Experienced? invita al escucha a romper e ir más allá de su mísero mundo y viajar: 'Puedo escuchar trompetas y violines a la distancia/pienso que nos llaman/quizás ahora no los puedes oir pero tu podrías hacerlo/si tomas mi mano'


Título: Are You Experienced?
Traducción: ¿Tienes experiencia?
Compositor: Jimi Hendrix
Intérprete: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Productor: Chas Chandler
A la venta: 12/05/1967
Formato: L.P.
Incluída en el L.P. Are You Experienced?
Disquera: Track
Orden al bat: 055


Are You Experienced?
¿Tienes experiencia?
If you can just get your mind together
Then come on across to me
We'll hold hands and then we'll watch the sunrise
From the bottom of the sea

But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have

I know, I know you probably scream and cry
That your little world won't let you go
But who in your measly little world

Are you trying to prove that

You're made out of gold and, eh, can't be sold

So, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have

Let me prove you…

Trumpets and violins I can hear in distance
I think they're calling our names
Maybe now you can't hear them, but you will
If you just take hold of my hand

Oh, but are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful…

Si tan sólo pudieras organizar tu mente
Te cruzarías conmigo
Nos tomaríamos de la mano y veríamos juntos el amanecer
desde el fondo del mar
Pero antes, tienes experiencia?
Has tenido alguna experiencia
Bueno, yo sí

Lo sé, lo sé, tú probablemente gritarás y llorarás
Que tu pequeño mundo no te permite ir
¿Pero quien en tu miserable y pequeño mundo?
Intentas provar que

Tú estás hecha de oro y, eh, no puedes ser vendida

Entonces, tienes experiencia?
Has tenido alguna experiencia?
Bueno, yo sí

Permíteme probártelo...

Puedo escuchar trompetas y violines a la distancia
Creo que nos llaman por nuestro nombre


The gear used by Jimi Hendrix, and the glorious sound he produced with it, is shrouded in more myth and mystery, and remains more evocative of tonal magic, than that of any other player in the history of the electric guitar. Hendrix proffered a Midas touch upon his instruments of choice that has reaped rewards for the manufacturers behind his equipment for more than 40 years, yet the set ups used in the earlier part of his career are really pretty straightforward, if nonetheless impenetrable for certain unquantifiable variables. Later in his career, Hendrix dabbled in different equipment, and certainly made some beautiful music on a late ’60s Gibson Flying V and an SG Custom played through a handful of American-made tube amps. But I’m talking classic early Hendrix here: Fender Stratocaster into a Marshall, with three specific pedals in between.

Said variables—and a lot of the aforementioned magic and mystery—come from three different directions: 1) Hendrix played a right-handed Fender Stratocaster upside down, but restrung it low-string-highest for standard but “mirror image” fingering (lefty Strats existed but were hard to come by, and he purportedly liked the controls at the top anyway); 2) the majority of Hendrix’s effects were heavily modified or “improved” from their factory stock condition, or were prototypes made for him by effects pioneer Roger Mayer; 3) Hendrix was an extremely agile, musical, soulful guitarist with a seemingly otherworldly control over his instrument and all of his gear. Throw all of these into the pot, stir, and simmer gently, and it’s not a stew you are easily going to replicate just by assembling the various bits of hardware and plugging them in. That said, hey, this is all great sounding gear, and if you acquire something anywhere close to it, and get your chops down, you can manage a pretty good approximation of “the tone” … and while you’re at it, maybe even work toward crafting your own soon-to-be legendary voice.

Hendrix’s guitars of choice have sparked endless debate and analysis, with pundits from one camp or the other insisting he must have liked the post-CBS Stratocasters because the increased wood at the headstock yielded great sustain; or because the slightly weaker pickups of the late ’60s, compared with those of the early ’60s and late ’50s, gave him more dynamics and let him keep the his tone clear and well defined even at deafening volumes, and yadda, yadda, yadda. He was photographed playing the occasional pre-CBS Strat with rosewood fingerboard, but certainly played a lot more large-headstock models in 1967 and ’68, an apparent preference that runs contrary to pre-CBS/post-CBS Stratocaster values on the vintage market today. Personally, I think the fact that the big headstock/big sustain theory fails to account for the fact that different cuts of maple used in guitar-neck manufacturing have very different weights and densities anyway, and therefore contribute to different tones—regardless of a couple extra square inches of wood in the headstock—makes poppycock of the notion.

For the inside scoop, though, let’s turn to a greater authority. In addition to building and/or modifying Hendrix’s effects pedals, Roger Mayer served as Jimi’s pal, confidant, and right-hand man regarding all things guitar-gear related. He did everything from attending studio sessions to tweak equipment on the fly, to procuring and setting up guitars, to helping to boost the famously shy guitarist’s confidence to help coax legendary performances from him. “So,” I asked my friend Roger down the phone, “what about this whole headstock/sustain issue?”

“No, Jimi wouldn’t have considered that,” he told me. “All the guitars that we used were bought out of necessity; there weren’t that many Stratocasters around in those days, and they were very expensive. Also, in the 1960s nobody paid much attention to whether pre-CBS Fenders were any better than CBS Fenders. They were all about the same, and often none of them were very good, to tell you the truth. I can’t see a slightly bigger headstock making any difference anyway.” Common sense prevails here, I think. Walk into a music shop in the London of 1967, on the hunt for a replacement Strat for a recording session, and the vast majority of what would be facing you—not that many to choose from at that—would be the latest imports of new models.

Some elements of Hendrix’s Strat set up that would make a little difference, of course, would be the variables thrown up by that right-hander-upside-down factor: winding the low E around the furthest tuning post from the nut and the high E around the nearest will introduce some changes in the sounds of these strings, and using a right-handed vibrato upside down alters the way this piece of hardware performs. Pundits also point the fact that the flip-flop would place the compensated pole pieces under the D and G strings (the latter originally a little higher than the former) in their reverse configuration, but that would have a minimal affect at best. And, again we have Roger Mayer to thank for the tidbit information confirming that Hendrix very consciously used a .015 gauge G string in his Fender 150 Series Rock’n’Roll Lights rather than a .017, in order to keep the G from leaping out volume-wise. But you know, Hendrix would have sounded like Hendrix if he’d played some no-name archtop with add-on pickup through a small Silvertone amp all his career… and we’d all probably be out there trying to score the exact same rig. And before you go buying that left-handed neck and vibrato bridge to add on to your right-handed Strat to “get the Hendrix sound,” consider this: Hendrix borrowed bassist Noel Redding’s Telecaster to record both “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze”—a sobering revelation for anyone who ever quoted those tracks as classic examples of Jimi’s great Stratocaster tone.

The Hendrix amp of this era was the Marshall JMP100, the 100-watt version of the model colloquially known as the “plexi.” We examined Marshall’s JTM45 and “Bluesbreaker” combo in some detail in Get That Tone: Eric Clapton, and while the plexi models of the late 1960s used almost identical circuits, some of the components in the mix had changed. Most notably, perhaps, the amps now used British EL34 tubes instead of US 5881s or European KT66s. The EL34 has a distinctive, crunchy rock tone of its own when cranked up, with a slightly smoother, juicier overdrive than these other types; it’s also a more robust tube, and can be run at slightly higher voltages to produce a little more volume. To that end, Marshall dropped its GZ34 tube rectifier around the time of the transition to plexi specs, changing to firmer solid-state rectification.

In the form of the large 100-watters that Hendrix used, these were big, punchy sounding amps. They stayed relatively clean up to phenomenal volume levels, and once they tipped over into distortion they really wailed. Listen closely to Hendrix’s tone, however, and you realice a lot of it really is fairly clean, while very dynamic and touch sensitive. Although we think of him as an early proponent of both hard rock and psychedelic rock, and the most revered rock lead player of all time, his core tone was more that of cranked electric-blues—wherein lay his roots, of course—and many passages display the clarity and depth of a massive clean tone just verging on the edge of breakup. Early on, Hendrix would have used the Celestion G12M “greenback” speakers, in two 4x12 cabs per-head, that these amps came with as standard, but a little later he came to prefer the newer G12H-30, a “heavy magnet” Celestion variety with bolder lows and more punch overall (a speaker Marshall was initially using in its bass amps), so he was really going toward projection and clarity, rather than pure juice and grind.

But, yeah, there was juice and grind aplenty. When Hendrix wanted to push his sound over the top, he rather famously stomped on a Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face, an early germanium-transistor fuzz pedal known for its sweet, thick, creamy distortion tones. In fact, he often used this very dynamic-sounding pedal with his guitar volume wound down to clean up the tones while retaining some of the fuzz’s added texture. The only other two effects used regularly in the early Hendrix rig were a Vox Wah-Wah pedal, placed in front of the fuzz, and occasionally a Roger Mayer Octavia pedal, an octave-up effect of which Mayer built only half a dozen or so examples in its original form (from 1969, on a Univox Uni-Vibe became the other essential in the Hendrix effects line up). Taken as a whole, these are pretty simple ingredients compared to the complex and convoluted pedalboards and rack systems that many professional players employ today, but Hendrix sure could whip up a maelstrom of sound with them. That said, it’s important to once again acknowledge that an unparalleled touch and a rare musical vision also had a lot to do with it.

Before you spend the mortgage in an effort to acquire “the Hendrix set up,” it’s also worth considering that most of the sounds you have heard on record were produced with far more creative, spontaneous, and impenetrable signal chains than exhibited by his simple live rig. Sure, there’s some Fuzz Face and Octavia there in the legendary tones of “Purple Haze” or “Crosstown Traffic,” but through Hendrix’s recorded work there’s often a lot more going on besides. To give Roger Mayer one final say in the matter, when recording in the studio, Hendrix and his team were “only concerned with making a good sound that goes onto tape, and were going to use anything we can to get it. You’d take a few different things to the studio that you wouldn’t have on stage—different driving stages to put in front of the fuzz boxes, different equalizing stages, different voltages you’re using on the fuzz boxes. As well as the technical side, one of my jobs with Jimi was to help get that three minutes or so of magic. The whole day had to lead up to that. That’s the end, the goal.”

Jimi Hendrix used mainly a Fender Stratocaster guitar through Marshall Amplifier stacks along with several effects pedals. He also did extensive sound manipulation in the studio. The main pedals he used where the Vox Clyde McCoy Wah Wah pedal.

Below are some of the effects pedals that produce those sounds including the Sweet Sound Ultra-Vibe (Uni-Vibe clone no longer made, that is the closest available to the original using all original geranium transistors and photocells that produce the watery swirling effect), the Clyde McCoy Wah Wah pedal re-issue, a Voodoo Labs PROCTAVIA, that emulates the original Roger Mayer Octavia and in my opinion has a little extra kick, The Voodoo Labs SUPERFUZZ gets a fairly consistent original Arbiter Fuzz Face tone using the same geranium transistors. The problem with the Fuzz Face is that no two geranium transistors sound the exactly same and the new Dunlop Fuzz Face sounds too grainy for my taste. The SUPERFUZZ uses a combination of geranium and silicon transistors and seems to have nailed the Experience Era tone. The Digitech Digi-Delay has great delay sounds and what's unique about it, is it has a reverse tape sound, perfect for playing "Are You Experienced!"

Jimi also used a Uni-Vibe to get that watery swirling sound you may have heard on songs like Machine Gun and Robin Trower's "Bridge Of Sighs" and he used an Octavia pedal to get high harmonic sounds you may have heard on the solo in "Purple Haze" and several other songs, along with a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, and a Leslie rotating speaker device heard on many songs through Marshall Amplifier stacks to get the wild distortion and feedback. All of those pedals were used in different combinations to get various effects, plus other studio effects to get other otherworldly sounds.

Are You Experienced is attempting to produce those sounds and below are some of the effects pedals that produce those sounds in near exactness, including the Sweet Sound Ultra-Vibe (Uni-Vibe clone that is the closest available to the original using all original geranium transistors and photocells that produce the watery swirling effect, the Clyde McCoy Wah wah pedal re-issue, and a Voodoo Labs PrOctavia, the emulates the original Octavia and in my opinion has a little extra kick.


Jimi Hendrix – voz principal, guitarra y piano
Noel Redding – bajo
Mitch Mitchell – batería


The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Seattle


La revista Rolling Stone clasifica a Are You Experienced? como el número 25 entre los 500 discos más importantes de todos los tiempos


1. "Foxy Lady"
2. "Manic Depression"
3. "Red House"
4. "Can You See Me"
5. "Love or Confusion"
6. "I Don't Live Today"

1. "May This Be Love"
2. "Fire"
3. "3rd Stone from the Sun"
4. "Remember"
5. "Are You Experienced"


1. "Purple Haze"
2. "Manic Depression"
3. "Hey Joe"
4. "Love Or Confusion"
5. "May This Be Love"
6. "I Don't Live Today"

1. "The Wind Cries Mary"
2. "Fire"
3. "3rd Stone From The Sun"
4. "Foxy Lady"
5. "Are You Experienced?"


Devo; Patti Smith; Psychic TV

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