How Jimi Hendrix inspired Paul McCartney to buy his favourite guitar

paul mccartney and jimi hendrix

During the mid-1960s, it was hard to overlook the impact of Jimi Hendrix, even for stars like Paul McCartney.

For British rock musicians, Hendrix emerged as a trailblazing figure right from his start in London’s clubs. He was a left-handed legend of African-American origin who revolutionized sound in ways never seen before. Even the biggest bands had to pay their respects, and this includes none other than The Beatles.

On June 4th, 1967, John Lennon and Paul McCartney witnessed the magic of Hendrix live at the Saville Theatre in London. Yet, they weren’t the sole notable figures present. Pete Townshend from The Who and Eric Clapton from Cream were also among those in the audience. To their combined surprise, Hendrix opened his performance with a rendition of The Beatles’ iconic track, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

jimi hendrix

Looking back on that moment, McCartney recounted, “Jimi took the stage, the curtains drew back, and he walked forward, playing Sgt. Pepper” McCartney humorously noted, “And we thought, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic! But we knew he was out of tune now. Because if you stretched the strings in those days, they would send you out of tune! And it’s his opening number.”

The memory of that instance remains vivid for McCartney due to his immense admiration for Hendrix’s talent. “To think that the album meant so much to him that he played it by Sunday night, just three days after its release,” McCartney expressed. “He must have been so into it because normally, a day of rehearsal might be needed. And you might wonder whether to include it. But he simply started with it.” According to McCartney, this act was a significant compliment and a highlight of his career.

Hendrix’s influence on McCartney extended beyond that performance. The iconic guitarist even played a role in inspiring McCartney’s choice of an instrument. In search of a guitar capable of replicating Hendrix’s mastery of feedback, McCartney was persuaded to acquire a semi-hollow body Epiphone Casino. Though not the same model Hendrix favored, it allowed McCartney to achieve similar effects.

Sharing the story, McCartney stated, “I have an Epiphone Casino, which is one of my favorites.” He clarified that he acquired the guitar in the 1960s, recounting, “I entered a shop on Charing Cross Road and asked the staff if they had a guitar that could produce feedback because Jimi Hendrix and that sort of thing greatly influenced me.”

However, the timeline of McCartney’s guitar purchase doesn’t align precisely with historical records. Most sources place McCartney’s acquisition of the Epiphone Casino around 1964 or 1965. At the latest, Paul McCartney played the guitar in April 1966, months before Hendrix arrived in London.

McCartney enthusiastically shared, “Because it has a hollow body, it produces feedback more easily. I had a lot of fun with it. It’s the guitar I used for the ‘Taxman’ solo, and it’s also the guitar I used for the ‘Paperback Writer’ riff. It’s probably still my favorite guitar.”

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like