Jimi Hendrix Inspired Set of Electric Guitar Strings

Written by Guest Blogger, Matt Hathaway – Head of Customer Service for Strings By Mail

We at Strings By Mail put together the Jimi Hendrix Inspired Set to try and recreate the feel and sound of one of, if not THE greatest guitar players of all time.

As the Head of Customer Service for Strings By mail, I get the opportunity to test and experience a vast array of strings. I really wanted to select a set that would be as close as I could get to the sound and feel of the set Jimi was using back then. I chose Pyramid strings because they had a round core, giving them a warmer and fuller sound, and since hex core were just coming onto the market during Jimi’s career, it is most likely he used round core strings. Also, the Pyramid strings have a higher content of nickel, which also helped to keep these thin gauges sounding warm, and full. These strings are some of the best strings being made today.

WOW!! What a set. This was one of those sets that I had to have everybody try. The feel of these strings is very different and unique, yet extremely comfortable.


The gauges are:

.010, .013, .015, .026w, .032, .038

They have  very low tension basses (wound strings), which are very expressive, and also seemed to even out the sound between the wound strings and the plain steel strings. Knowing that Jimi loved to us this thumb to fret the bass notes, I can see why he used such low tension wound strings. Also, the 3rd string is a very low tension which makes bends effortless. By beefing up the first string, it really brought the high melody notes. One of the coolest sets I have ever played.

Caution: You will most likely have to have your guitar set up after installing these strings. If you are not comfortable setting up your guitar, take it to a professional Luthier for a quick set up to really get the most out of this set.

28 thoughts on “Jimi Hendrix Inspired Set of Electric Guitar Strings

  1. This is Fender’s standard Rock n Roll set, gauges not chosen by Jimi Hendrix himself they were only choice for light gauge strings at the time. Used by many blues and rock guitarist.

  2. Thank you for pointing our the Fender Set so we can do some clarifying.

    Indeed Fender did have a Fender Pure Nickel Bullet End 3150TR Traditional 10-38, but that set has been discontinued for quite a few years. After reading an article with Jimi’s guitar tech explaining the gauges I thought it would be interesting to try them. I also was unaware of the 3150TR and had never heard of them. I can only imagine I was not the only player to have never heard of or had tried a set with gauges. 010 to .038. After playing them I was so impressed by how they felt and sounded that I wanted more players to know about them, and be able to get a set on today’s market, so anyone would be able to give them a try. One important difference between our Pyramid JHI set and the Fender 3150TR is the round core we choose to use. Since Hex core were just being developed during Jimi’s career it is likely he was using round core strings. But either way this does help these light gauge strings have a more warm and full sound.

      1. Our information indicates that D’Addario pioneered the hex core and their current experts recently told us that was in 1974. But we would be very interested in any available research indicating someone else started the hex core sooner.

  3. I am a vintage string collector, having strings that go back to the 1940s, so perhaps If I may offer some more insight here.

    Fender originally issued this set in the ’60s as the SPANISH GUITAR Light Gauge Rock ‘N Roll No. 150 Complete Set. The individual gauges are correct according to the description above. This set was available well into the 1980s when Fender was selling string sets in the gray with rainbow packaging. Fender still uses the “150” designation, but with different gauges: .009-.042; .010-.046; .011-.049. As for when this change took place, I can’t say, because to me, in-my-far-from-humble-opinion, this set was not only way to light for me (I like a .012 or .013 high E string), but I felt that the gauge selection was “whacky”, or even “wacky”! That being said, there are plenty of users out there who really dig ’em, and that’s fine.

    Fender strings were originally produced by V.C.Squire which morphed into GHS. Most of the vintage fender pure nickel sets are actually burnished, which makes them slightly smoother than a round-wound, but rounder than a flat-wound.

    To the best of my knowledge, Hendrix used this set in America until Fender started making their strings with less nickel content. (Nickel-plated steel?) When in the UK, he was known to use Rotosound .009-.038, and in America Ernie Ball .009-.0038. (Confirmation needed). Ernie Ball changed to nickel-plated steel circa 1972, as did other manufacturers.

    Hope this helps. If anyone has any questions for me, or wishes to discuss strings further, feel free to contact me at [email protected].


    According to the Rotosound website, Hendrix used .either a 006 or .007 for high E. According to Roger Mayer, Jimi used the .010-.038 set.

      1. In 2014 we sourced worldwide for a .006 and could not find a manufacturer that makes one. La Bella relayed to us that .006 is too thin and hard to manufacturer, they themselves can only get down to a .007.

  5. Greetings from Ohio! I’ve been using 8-38 for so long,I forgot when I started.Now being 63 years old,bone issues,even these seem tough to bend at times.I refuse to go any lighter.I forgot to mention that the 8-38 is only used on 25.5 scales guitars.I’ve been using the exact Jimi set on 24.75 scale guitars.They just felt right to me,I had no idea about the Jimi reference.

  6. WOW!, They not only get Hendrix down pat, they are doing everything we’ve thrown at them and sounding better then anything we’ve heard too! It was hard to admit (being a pickup designer) that STRINGS really can have THIS MUCH to do with electric guitar tone.. we were used to them having a little bit of effect.. but nothing like this Hendrix Inspired set does _ was to be found.

    I’m planning to also try them on the Tele’s and Les Paul’s this week!


    1. I was ready to sell my beautiful 1955 tribute partscaster that I put together. I had been using DR Pure Blues 10s on all my guitars but on my Strat they jus seemed ok. I was not bonding with it at all. I just put on a set on my partscaster which is loaded with some of Don’s White-0-Tones. The guitar has come alive. Absolutely the most playable strings. And the tone immediately conjured up Jimi Hendrix for me. I am switching to the JHI strings for my Don Mare Hayride loaded Tele tomorrow!

  7. I used that Fender 150 set on at least one Strat through much of the 90s and 00s as nothing sounds quite the same. My two favorite guitarist used this set, Jimi and Rory Gallagher, and now that you are offering a high quality set I may have to set one of the Strats up again. Especially for days like today when my hands are swollen from playing on standard 10 and 11 GHS pure burnished nickel (I wish they offered more gauge choices) and Martin 13s on my acoustics.

  8. FWIW light gauge strings, even 0.010s, were not readily available in all markets, even some larger cities until 1969. Commonly we bought regular sets that used 0.012s for High E (1st) and also bought a Tenor Banjo A string which is a loop-end 0.010. After twisting a ball end from a broken string (or the throw away 6th string) we used the Tenor Banjo string for High E and moved each string from the set up one to complete a low gauge set.

    1. Jimmy H – Experimenting is truly the best part about creating music. From frets to woods to pickups – strings are the gatekeeper to personal taste and feel. Fun to hear about your personal experience and mixing sets to achieve custom gauge sets… You answered the question and yes “You ARE experienced!”.

  9. I love these strings….For what they do, they’re my favorite.Makes me wanna check out more Pyramid strings.I think Millstap on Youtube turned me on to these.Boy, he wasn’t kiddin, GREAT 👍 👍 👍 strings!!!Out of all the strings I’ve tried best for the Hendrix sound.They’re alot louder and fuller sounding than I thought they would be too, especially with high action!TRY EM

  10. I ordered 2 sets if these JH strings last year. And just tried then out the past few weeks. And on the first set the high E string unwound off of the oh ring as well as the G string did the same. They did not snap just unwound off the end of the string that goes into the guitar. So I put the other set on my other guitar. Same thing is happening. Never had this happen before on any of my guitars.

  11. I have been playing my ’53 telecaster now almost 40 years and was looking for a set that reminded me of the 150’s I used to use. I play a lot of chordal bends and always found some sets to have a sound that was too thin on the E & B string. I saw this set a little while back and thought I give them a try. I use a filed down thumbpick and the 46’s that usually come with 10″s is just too boomy. I love these strings. Fantastic tone, good resistance and long lasting. Yes, I will order more. I might try a 16 on the third or do a little nut maintenance so I don’t pop out the 3rd string on extreme bends. SBM is very nice to work with and I highly recommend this company. They even wrote me a very nice note on my order.

  12. I played Fender 150s, with exactly the same gauge, throughout the late 60s and most of the 70s. Always loved the feel, will definitely give these a try.

  13. JH played a reversed neck so maybe the tension was not the same, I’m not sure the normal headstock will produce the same tension so ?

    1. Hendrix favorite guitar, which he called his “Black Beauty”, was found in the flat with his dead body. After carefully examining the guitar string gauges, it was found to have a standard light .09-.42 set of strings on it (supposedly – forget where I saw that)..?

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