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Positive Grid Experience Jimi Hendrix for Spark review

Positive Grid and Authentic Hendrix LLC's collaboration puts Hendrix's tones into a digital format for Spark and BIAS FX 2 users, and it's magnificent

Positive Grid
(Image: © Positive Grid)

Our Verdict

Jam along with Hendrix and use digital emulations of his rig – what's not to like in this innovative little package celebrating 10 years of Positive Grid?

For

  • Six amps, six effects that bring you Hendrix's tones.
  • Interactive features.
  • Official presets offer an excellent entry point.

Against

  • Transitions between presets have a slight hiccup.

If you haven't tried out Positive Grid’s Spark, you really should. So far, nearly 300K users own this state-of-the-art amplifier, which offers a wealth of stellar-sounding onboard virtual guitar amps and effects curated from Positive Grid’s BIAS tone engine. 

Spark also includes advanced features like Smart Jam and Auto Chords, plus a tone library of well over 10,000 preset tones – created by users and artists – that you can access and download when paired with Spark’s free mobile app. This practical combination truly puts Spark in the category of a “smart” desktop amp that serves as an ever-evolving practicing tool for guitarists. 

Considering this, wouldn’t you want the ability to jam along to some classic songs by one of the most influential guitarists of all time while playing through his modeled gear? If you think that makes perfect sense, well, so does Positive Grid. To celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary, they partnered with Authentic Hendrix LLC to release the Experience Jimi Hendrix Official Gear Collection for Spark as an in-app purchase. 

Positive Grid

(Image credit: Positive Grid)

This incredible collection features highly detailed emulations of six amps and six effects that Hendrix famously used throughout his career, all of which you can access from the Spark app. 

What’s cool is you can preview each one, select and learn more about how Hendrix used it, and download its “Official Presets'' to use as a launchpad in crafting your own virtual rig. The models sound convincingly great (I particularly loved the J.H. Axle Fuzz and J.H. D-Show Master), and you can absolutely move knobs and tweak settings to create unique tones that you can save to satisfy your inner-Jimi urges.

In keeping with the enduring legacy of this musical giant, the app contains a “Famous Moments” story section, which takes you on an interactive timeline of Hendrix’s artistic journey. It’s beautifully presented – with iconic photography and a “Milestone Songs” inclusion – and also details how his incendiary style of playing forever changed the guitar world.

I enjoyed the app’s Auto Tone function, where you can jam along to Hendrix’s career-defining songs, from the simple-but-tricky Hey Joe to the more challenging Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Each song calls up Jimi’s specific rig for that track and automatically switches preset sounds as you follow the displayed chord changes measure by measure. Even though transitions between presets have a slight hiccup and the sounds are “close enough for rock ’n’ roll,” Auto Tone is still a great deal of fun. But more importantly, no Monterey Strats were set ablaze as I struggled through the changes. 

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.