James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. Despite a limited mainstream exposure of four years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.
Instrumental in developing the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback, Hendrix favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain. He helped to popularize the use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock and he pioneered experimentation with stereophonic phasing effects in rock music recordings.
In 1957, while helping Al with a side-job, Jimi found a ukulele amongst the garbage that they were removing from a wealthy older woman's home. The woman told him that he could keep the instrument, which had only one string. Learning by ear, he played single notes, following along to Elvis Presley songs, particularly Presley's cover of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog". In mid-1958, at age 15, Hendrix acquired his first acoustic guitar, for $5
Soon after he acquired the acoustic guitar, Hendrix formed his first band, the Velvetones. Without an electric guitar, he could barely be heard over the sound of the band. After about three months of being drowned out, he realized that he needed an electric guitar in order to continue. In mid-1959, his father bought him a white Supro Ozark, his first electric guitar.
In September 1963, after Cox was discharged from the Army, he and Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and formed a new band called the King Kasuals. Hendrix had watched Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and by now Alphonso 'Baby Boo' Young, the other guitarist in the band, also performed this guitar gimmick. Not to be upstaged, it was then that Hendrix learned to play with his teeth, according to Hendrix: "the idea of doing that came to me in a town in Tennessee.
In January 1964, feeling he had outgrown the circuit artistically and frustrated by having to follow the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to venture out on his own. He moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he soon befriended Lithofayne Pridgeon, known as "Faye", she became his girlfriend. Pridgeon, a Harlem native with connections throughout the area's music scene, provided Hendrix with shelter, support, and encouragement.