Did Jimi Hendrix played guitar upside-down?

I’ve always heard Hendrix played his guitar upside-down (lefthanded) - is this true? Wouldn’t it make certain things a lot harder (if not impossible?) while other things would be easier?

Also, can anyone tell me what album the song “Angel” is from? I’ve tried looking about on Amazon, but it doesn’t appear on any of the three studio releases. Bonus points if anyone can tell me where/when the solo version I have is from?? (it’s just him playing clean electric and singing… SO beautiful)

AFAIK that is the case. He took a guitar strung for a righthanded player and just flipped it for his lefthandedness. Just makes me apreciate his talent that much more.

No, that is not the case. Jimi used a right-handed guitar, but it was strung in reverse, allowing him to use characteristic techniques such as fretting bass notes with his thumb.

When some friends and I decided to start a band back around '85, I was informed I would play bass. Having no musical experience whatsoever, I agreed. I went out, bought a cheap bass, and locked myself in my room for a week or two while I taught myself the basics.

I then presented myself to my friends…I laid down some Dazed & Confused (of course), Cat Scratch Fever, Looks That Kill…oh yeah, I was rockin’.

I was then informed that I was holding my bass upside down.

I’m a righty, but it seems that I play bass lefty. It never occurred to me that I was doing anything wrong…I just picked up the bass and played the way that felt natural.

Since I learned that way, I had to spend my entire bass-playing career with upside-down righty basses, keeping the low-E sting on the bottom.

Who else famous besides Jimi and Paul held their axe backwards?

Jimi was left-handed. He did what Biffy said: took a right-handed guitar and restrung it to the “normal” string arrangement. That also made it easier to reach the buttons and the tremolo. I don’t think it’s objectively more difficult.

But there are people who took righty guitars and played them upside-down without restringing them. Albert King was one.

The only things I can imagine that would really make a difference would be the electronics placement. I also can’t believe that it’d be easier to use the tremelo and the knobs since if that were the case, that’s how they’d be placed normally. I’ve never had any problems hitting the trem bar playing a normal guitar - if it were on the other side, it’d probably be more difficult. The pickups would definitely sound different though.

So that’s why you didn’t make it into 'N Sync.

It’s on The Cry of Love.

That’s where it first appeared, but that album is no longer available on CD. “Angel” can now be found on First Rays of the New Rising Sun.

Ah, I missed this part. You probably have the solo demo that was available on the Lifelines box set, now out of print. There’s another demo version on South Saturn Delta, but that one has Jimi playing along with a rhythm box.

For the record, if you’re only interested in the one song (“Angel”), you can get it via iTunes Music Store (along a good chunk of the rest of his catalog, mostly from compilations).

Hendrix played “upside-down” in that he played a right-handed Fender, left-handed. But he had it strung left-handed, bass strings on top. Trust me, I’ve watched plenty enough video to know this is true.

IIRC, I read in one or more of the Hendrix biographies (cant’ remember which - it’s been a while) that he first learned to play with the guitar still strung for a righty, a la Albert King, then only started restringing the guitars when he started playing Strats, since the upper cutaway allowed him to reach the higher notes easier - when playing on an upside-down Tele or LP, why even bother restringing when you can’t reach a third of the guitar’s range easily for lack of cutaway?

In fact, it’s been posited that without the Strat, he wouldn’t have really developed into the player he did. The Gibson guitars like the SG and Vee - while they had easy access to the upper registers on both sides of the neck - had an offset, fixed bridge that didn’t allow him to reset the intonation for in-tune lefty playing, plus the trem units available weren’t that great (mostly Bigsby variants that went out of tune when you winked at them). Ditto for the DanElectro Longhorn, and other more esoteric models at the time. The Strat, with a relatively stable tremolo, long string saddle screws allowing decent variation of string length, and angled cable jack, was almost made to be played the way Hendrix wanted to play.

As a lefty myself, I’ve only had two guitars that were actually left-handed (an LP copy and an Epi Joe Pass jazzbox), the rest were an eclectic combination of righty-and-lefty strung right-handed guitars - currently I play a restrung Tele - however, playing with the low E on the bottom certainly lets you do some rythm things nearly impossible when strung correctly.

Interestingly, I think surf guitar great Dick Dale plays right handed, but strings his guitars lefty. And Stevie Ray’s main guitar, while right-handed, had a lefty tremolo. . . illustrating that there can be different advantages with an opposite-hand setup.

D’oh! I meant to say that Dick Dale plays a left-handed guitar, but strings them righty. Same diff, though. Although it is intersting that he chooses a more expensive left-handed guitar instead of opting just to get a cheaper off-the-shelf righty - better access to the upper frets on the lower strings, I guess, which is a hallmark of his sound. And of course the guy can afford it.

I can confirm what these posters have said offering this. This thread blew my mind because I had thought he played a right-handed guitar upside down with the high E string on top. In other words, I thought he took a right-handed guitar strung normally and flipped it over to play it left. I suppose this would cause all sorts of problems.

But if he had strung it the way they say, would he have had to change the nut and the bridge? I mean, the smaller diameter strings would swim in the larger grooves creating buzz and other problems.

As someone who has made the same changes to right-handed guitars, I can say that the guitar does have to be modified to a varying extent, depending upon the make and model - at the least, a new nut needs to be made.

A Strat is actually easiest, to flip over, because most versions have the same nut width and thickness - you just cut a new blank and glue it on. In fact, with a Strat, you can even pry out the original nut, flip it around, and it’s servicable - although the peak is facing the pegheads, because the strings are under downward tension it’s not a huge deal. Although the way Hendrix abused his strings, he probably didn’t do this, or else the high-E would skip out of its groove when he bent notes.

The bridge only needs to be adjusted, not altered, because of the flexibility of the Strat tremolo - all six bridge saddles are length-and-height adjustable. Most Telecasters have the same types of saddles in a fixed-bridge configuration, which is why I play a Tele (for the strings-through-body sustain).

Probably way more info than anyone asked for - sorry. Mention guitars and I geek out.

According to Guitar Player magazine, all of these answers are true. Jimi played RH guitars strung LH, he played LH guitars, and he played RH guitars strung RH. They quoted Pete Townshend, who said Jimi borrowed his RH guitar once for a show. He destroyed it, after destroying the audience.

Fender’s custom shop has a Stevie Ray Vaughn signature model of the Strat. It has a lefty tremolo bar, which SRV used so that he could sound more like Jimi.

I may be mis-remembering this, but the only left-handed guitar I ever saw Hendrix play was a Gibson Flying V.

I am happy to see so many guitarists on the boards. I knew I liked it here for some reason. We should take over the world.

Hawk