Style Study - Jimi Hendrix

  • 01/18/2016
  • JamPlay, LLC
In this article we are going to look at the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Jimi was a true innovator and well ahead of his time. He pushed guitar playing to a new level and utilized what were seen as disadvantages and turned them into advantages, namely using the "feedback" of a guitar to great musical effect.

In this article we see his use of double stop slides, pre-bending and chordal accompaniment playing. There is so much to take from a player like Jimi, and remember to take the ideas from the licks and incorporate them into your own playing style. As with all licks, they should be a catalyst to fuel and derive other ideas from. I suggest you take a lick and try to figure out various places to play it on the neck, remember it is possible to find the same notes in the same octave in more than one place on the guitar.

Below I will provide you with three licks with tablature and audio samples that demonstrate various Hendrix techniques.

The Licks

Lick 1 This lick is based around E minor pentatonic and makes use of a variety of techniques, namely double stop slides. Remember, a scale is a group of notes, so it is possible to play more than one note at the same time. This is something that Jimi used a lot and to great effect!

Lick 1

Lick 2 The next lick makes use of pre-bends giving an almost country flavor. It is essential you pitch these correctly and remember to isolate any problems and make an exercise from them. I would suggest you spend a lot of time working on really pitching those bends accurately until you get a real feel for how much force you need to exert!

Lick 2

Lick 3 The final lick is an insight into Jimi's accompaniment style. We see a use of hammer-ons in conjunction with major triads. This is an idea derived from the major pentatonic scale, a sound that Jimi used a lot for his more melodic playing. Also notice the use of double stop pentatonic slides from the E minor pentatonic in the last bar of this example, mmm red-hot, daddy-o!

Lick 3