Jimi Hendrix’s Wah-wah Pedal and Amp in J. Levine’s New Year’s Day Auction

Dave Weyer, famous “Amp Doctor” to rock stars, says Hendrix used wah-wah pedal at Woodstock and amp was used in early Experience days

 

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 8, 2016) – A part of rock ‘n roll history will be auctioned on New Year’s Day when one of Jimi Hendrix’s treasured wah-wah pedals and an amplifier he used to record hit songs go up for auction at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. The consignor, famous “Amp Doctor” Dave Weyer, built the wah pedal for Hendrix prior to Woodstock and said the amplifier he repaired and modified for Hendrix was originally used to record songs during his early days with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and used as a preamp later.

“We’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the provenance, listening to audio recordings, and examining photos and films from Woodstock, and we are confident that this was the wah pedal Jimi used during Woodstock,” said Antoine Gedroyc, J. Levine’s instruments and audio manager and consignment specialist. “It’s an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent such an important part of music and American history.”

Weyer worked with many great artists, including Hendrix, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Burritos Bothers, Vanilla Fudge, Three Dog Night, Ike and Tina Turner, and other rock legends of that era. Well-respected in his industry for his technical prowess, he started his career working for Thomas Organ Company. After a few years, he had pushed for building tube amps for guitar players for the Vox division of the company. When the company opted to stick with solid state amps, Weyer moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and began working for Jerry Sanders, owner of West Coast Organ and Amp.

Now living in Montana, Weyer credits Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix for making the wah-wah pedal a must-have for every up-and-coming rock musician.

“If you recall seeing the pedal on TV or in film, you will likely associate it with one of these stars, or other mega-acts of the day,” Weyer said. “Perhaps it was symbiotic, because what would Jimi have done without the Wah pedal?”

In 1969, Weyer knew Vox was coming out with a new wah pedal and wanted to create a special one for Hendrix.

“Like many techs of the period, I wanted to keep my secrets for possible future business, or even just to create a mystique around the particular item to create musician interest, so I sanded off the small printing on the transistors, making them a mysterious unknown item. Of course, anyone could have reversed engineered the pedal and discovered what I did, but that was part and parcel of the thinking of ‘garage engineers’ back in those days,” he said, adding that the pedal took advantage of a new transistor by Motorola that set the standard for low noise and gain.

“We were extremely busy that late summer preparing all the equipment for Hendrix, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash and others. West Coast Organ and Amp Service was overflowing with gear, including everything Jimi owned. All of it was to be repaired or modded for the Woodstock concert, including the now famous Stratocaster,” Weyer recalled.

The truckload of equipment included two of Hendrix’s favorite West Coast creations, the V846 “Sepulveda” wah pedal, which was still months from being available to the public, and the

prototype used to create the three-transistor “always on” fuzz pedal which was later built into a standard Arbiter Fuzzface casting.

“Jimi had a box of wah pedals, and I had, over the course of the year, worked on every one. But Jimi’s favorite was the yet-to-be-seen by the public, Sepulveda model with the TDK inductor and the high beta Motorola transistors,” Weyer said.

That “favorite” wah pedal that Weyer built is the one that will be up for auction in J. Levine’s New Year’s Day auction.

“It can be identified by the lack of a Vox logo on the front, the relief where the logo was supposed to be glued on, a West Coast sticker on the bottom, and Jimi’s signature on the inside of the casing wall, applied at a difficult angle, but identifiable nonetheless — and, of course, the things he loved the most, the low noise and the sharp sweep, clearly audible in the Woodstock recordings,” Weyer said.

Weyer asked Hendrix later how all of the equipment performed at Woodstock, and Hendrix responded, “Groovy.”

“I repaired the pedal again in 1970 after many concerts, fully intending to re-gift it back to him, but it all ended when he died in September,” Weyer said.

The amp was used in Hendrix’s early Experience days and played a significant role in his sound.

“The fuzz prototype Dave and Jimi developed together changed Jimi’s sound forever,” Gedroyc said.

 

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The New Year’s Day auction is J. Levine’s biggest event of the year. The upscale auction house holds back the ‘best of the best’ rare antiques, fine art and other luxury items from affluent estates for this special event. This year’s auction includes a 1948 Luscombe SpeedBird airplane, a vintage Hermes Birkin Kelly bag, an unfired John Wayne’s Colt presentation set with matching serial numbers, mid-modern furniture, guitars, estate jewelry and more.

J. Levine Auction & Appraisal is located at 10345 N. Scottsdale Rd., in Scottsdale, on the southeast corner of Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. Doors open on January 1, 2017 at 9 a.m. MT with the New Year’s Day auction starting at 11 a.m. Complimentary Mimosa drinks will be distributed for the New Year’s toast beginning at 10:30 a.m. The auction house is currently open for a free preview from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.jlevines.com or call (480) 496-2212.

Comments 8

  1. I’d like to be added to the bidders for this auction.
    Can I bid online? How do I do that if it is held in real time?

    1. Hi Joey,
      You can register and bid online if you wish, phone bid or absentee bid. Feel free to call us if you need any help. Reception for any general inquiry: 480 496 2212 Antoine for instruments related questions: 480 707 2546

    1. Post
      Author

      Steve, how do we price “priceless” ?
      SRV TS808 and other guitar heroes pedals sold from 10.000 to 50.000. Considering Jimi Hendrix is 10 to 1000 times more famous / significant / known by a much broader pool of potential buyers from private collectors to rock stars but also corporations, I would say 10.000 X 10= 100.000 to 10.000 x 1000 = 10 Million. Some people might think 10M is insane but some people and corporation would consider it anything from pocket change to a solid investment. Owning this equipment could be generating a lot of both money and exposure for the winning party. Imagine setting up a contest worldwide and charge $10 per entry, winner gets a flown in and meets Dave Weyer, gets to record on Hendrix gear. If 100.000 people participate Worldwide, here is your 1M dollars, there are a lot of possibilities and this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Dave Weyer built ONE Wah and ONE Fuzz Prototype, there are no other in existence. We never know and we will let the market speak, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be able to say ” hey back in 2016, I did bid on Jimi Hendrix’s gear”.

  2. Considering that Jimi’s guitars still fetch a premium and do not cross the million-dollar mark, I see absolutely no way that a pedal would approach that sum. IMHO

    1. Kim thank you for your interest and sharing your opinion.
      You may have the wrong information about Jimi ‘s Woodstock Stratocaster because it did break the Million bar. Some of his amps and cabinets also went in the high hundreds of thousands. Also, keep in mind that Hendrix was not very attached to most of his guitars, he saw them as a tool, a paintbrush to paint his sound. Everyone who worked with him, played with him or just knew him told me the same thing, his amps, effects and recording equipment was very important to him and played a key role in what shaped his sound. Since he was always evolving and pushing the limits, new technology would allow him to explore new sounds and inspire him.
      Having one of his main Wah and the very prototype of his Fuzz as well as an early J.H EXP amp is an amazing opportunity, especially coming directly from the man who serviced them, built them and worked with Jimi on making his vision come true. Dave Weyer was one of the few who could translate Jimi’s emotions and feelings into a circuit board, he understood what Hendrix wanted and made it happen, sadly Jimi died before they could finish several projects they were working on.

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