Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Great Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar

As a young gui­tar play­er, per­haps no one inspired me as much as Jimi Hen­drix, though I nev­er dreamed I’d attain even a frac­tion of his skill. But what attract­ed me to him was his near-total lack of formality—he didn’t read music, wasn’t trained in any clas­si­cal sense, played an upside-down right-hand­ed gui­tar as a lefty, and ful­ly engaged his head and heart in every note, nev­er paus­ing for an instant (so it seemed) to sec­ond-guess whether it was the right one. I knew his raw emo­tive play­ing was firm­ly root­ed in the Delta blues, but it wasn’t until lat­er in my musi­cal jour­ney that I dis­cov­ered his return to more tra­di­tion­al form after he dis­band­ed The Expe­ri­ence and formed Band of Gyp­sys with Bil­ly Cox and Bud­dy Miles. While most of the record­ings he made with them didn’t see offi­cial release, they’ve appeared since his death in com­pi­la­tion after boxset after com­pi­la­tion, includ­ing one of the most beloved of Hendrix’s blues songs, “Hear My Train A Comin’.”

Orig­i­nal­ly titled “Get My Heart Back Togeth­er” when he played it at Wood­stock in 1969, the song is pure roots, with lyrics that bespeak of both Hendrix’s lone­li­ness and his play­ful dreams of great­ness. (“I’m gonna buy this town / And put it all in my shoe.”) Sev­er­al ver­sions of the song float around on var­i­ous posthu­mous releases—both live and as stu­dio out­takes (includ­ing two dif­fer­ent takes on the excel­lent 1994 Blues). But we have the rare treat, above, of see­ing Hen­drix play the song on a twelve-string acoustic gui­tar, Lead Belly’s instru­ment of choice. The footage comes from the 1973 doc­u­men­tary film Jimi Hen­drix (which you can watch on Youtube for $1.99). Hen­drix first plays the intro, seat­ed alone in an all-white stu­dio, play­ing folk-style with the fin­gers of his left hand. It is, of course, flaw­less, yet still he stops and asks the film­mak­ers for a redo. “I was scared to death,” he says, betray­ing the shy­ness and self-doubt that lurked beneath his mind-blow­ing abil­i­ty and flam­boy­ant per­sona. His play­ing is no less per­fect when he picks up the tune again and plays it through.

Solo acoustic record­ings of Hendrix—film and audio—are incred­i­bly rare. If like me you’re a fan of Hen­drix, acoustic blues, or both, this video will make you hunger for more Jimi unplugged. While Hen­drix did more than any­one before him to turn gui­tar amps into instru­ments with his squalls of elec­tric feed­back and dis­tort­ed wah-wah squeals, when you strip his play­ing down to basics, he’s still pret­ty much as good as it gets.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jimi Hendrix’s Final Inter­view Ani­mat­ed (1970)

‘Elec­tric Church’: The Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence Live in Stock­holm, 1969

Jimi Hen­drix Plays “Sgt. Pepper’s Lone­ly Hearts Club Band” Days After the Song Was Released (1967)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

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Comments (19)
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  • Steven Brooks says:

    How are these ‘extreme­ly rare’ when they’re read­i­ly avail­able on home video and have been for decades?

  • voots says:

    No these are not rare! It is a shame that after Jimi passed that his fam­i­ly was active or at least com­plic­it with releas­ing every lit­tle poop that Jimi made just get bring more mon­ey to the estate.

  • Tirtha says:

    Wow, the par­ty ‘Hound dog’ video is indeed extreme­ly rare. Thank you so much for shar­ing it with the world. God bless you!

  • Christopher Pappas says:

    I’m a HUGE Hen­drix fan! Have seen his doc­u­men­tary dozens of times. I play an old fend­er Strat and have stud­ied his approach on gui­tar, (most notably his rythym play­ing). A very rare shoot­ing star. Where might I find that par­tic­u­lar doc­u­men­tary?

  • Josh says:

    Hear My Train A Comin’ was released on Jimi Hen­drix, Blues in 1994; and it was acoustic, this sounds like the same take even (with­out the out­take intro). It was con­sid­ered a rar­i­ty when released, it seems that they had to take the audio from this clip for it. Great album, buy it!

  • Shelley Byrd says:

    Thanks for shar­ing:-)

  • apm says:

    Hear My Train a Comin’ was a orig­i­nal­ly on the sound­track to the film Jim­my Hen­drix. I was total­ly amazed when I first had a chance to see him play that track from the album (in the movie). The fun­ny about the stop and restart is that he is play­ing song com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent­ly the 1st time through. It even sounds in a dif­fer­ent key. I always won­dered about that stop and retake and what the first ver­sion real­ly was.

    When this obscure song comes up now and then I always have to stop and lis­ten to it. The video of course is a must see. It real­ly is an amaz­ing lit­tle bit that Hen­drix makes look so easy. I’ve tried to play it and have the tran­scrip­tion in great detail from Gui­tar Play­er mag­a­zine but its so damn com­pli­cat­ed because there is a lot of lit­tle detail to get it to come out sound­ing so great. Let alone try singing to it!

    Thanks for post­ing and your com­men­tary is very inter­est­ing also.

    I’ve nev­er ever heard or seen the 2nd video. Also an inter­est­ing nugget!

  • Me says:

    @APM. You have no busi­ness com­ment­ing about Jimi if you don’t know how to spell his name! JIMI. NOT Jim­my WTF

  • Chris says:

    “Hear My Train A Comin’ was released on Jimi Hen­drix, Blues in 1994; and it was acoustic, this sounds like the same take even (with­out the out­take intro). It was con­sid­ered a rar­i­ty when released, it seems that they had to take the audio from this clip for it.”

    That in itself does not make it even close to rare. It, the footage, is sourced from a 1974 doc­u­men­tary which is by no means a hard to find doc­u­men­tary. The footage itself is used in a num­ber of doc­u­men­taries.

    An inter­net arti­cle with­out an overblown click­bait head­line is as close to what you could call ‘rare’ these days.

  • Rick says:

    I loved the guy! man, this is rare footage, and extreme­ly appre­ci­at­ed!! Thank you, Jimi, for such great music; so much tal­ent, such a great loss. Wish we could have met and jammed. Peace in death, that allud­ed you in life, my broth­er.

  • James Turnbull says:

    Jimi Hen­drix has to be one of the great­est gui­tar play­ers to have ever lived!


    Jimi Hen­drix, undoubt­ed­ly is the great­est gui­tarist of all time. The lyrics to his songs bounce around in my head.
    Died too young.

  • GLYN KNIGHT says:

    I was wait­ing to play at a local club in Octo­ber 1966, Jimi was on Top of the pops per­form­ing ‘Hey Joe’ I was mes­mer­ized. Jimi will always be my ulti­mate Gui­tar hero, I will always play his music with my band ‘Stone Free’ Jimi Hen­drix, The ulti­mate guitarist/lyricist/performer ever,

  • Roger Fullilove says:

    I thought the Hound Dog tape was a fake.

  • Piotr says:

    Inter­est­ing. Sor­ry that’s strong­ly out of tune.

  • Brgy.2 Laoag City Philippines says:

    He is not an amaz­ing play­er but he can sing and got some tricks

  • Randall S Feuers says:

    Jimi hen­drix was out of this world before he left plan­et earth 🌎 and was the great­est soul­ful blues gui­tarist singer of all time.

  • Kathleen Rodrigues says:

    ❤️❤️❤️BEAUTIFUL ❤️
    I LOVE HENDRIX! Since 1969! I am so sad he died. Too too young! I lis­ten to his music 🎶 every chance I get. Flaw­less, effort­less, time­less.❤️

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