Jimi Hendrix Listening guides: technique, style, examples, musical influences, etc.

Essay by edwardcavHigh School, 10th gradeA-, June 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

(this text is a very rough listening guide, but should provide a stepping stone to further study of the music of Jimi Hendrix)

Jimi Hendrix, born James Marshall Hendrix in 1942, was an American rock guitarist, singer, and composer who fused traditions of blues, jazz, rock, and soul with techniques of British rock to redefine the electric guitar in his own image. Jimi's impact on music, Pop in-particular, has become more apparent in recent times as his music has become more appreciated. Pop/Rock musicians Lenny Kravitz, Slash, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, John Mayer and John Frusciante from RHCP are some of the many famous guitarists whom admit Jimi's musical influence.

One of his most influential and individual techniques, was Jimi's improvisation, using complex guitar effects and his own bluesy style in the rhythm sections of his softer songs. This technique he did very effectively. This previously-never-heard sound was complemented by Jimi's choice of neck pick-up on his Fender Stratocaster; played through a Fender Twin reverb Amp - also known as the Blackface sound.

Blackface provides the guitar with a warm, thick and accented texture. This style is evident in songs such as "Little Wing" and "Castles Made Of Sand". It is essentially this style which has had a significant influence on modern popular music. It is heard in Lenny Kravitz's "Magdalene", Stevie Ray Vaughan's "?????", Eric Johnson's "Manhattan", John Mayer's Hendrix cover of "The Wind Cries Mary" and John Frusciante's "Soul To Squeeze", "Under The Bridge" and "Sir Psycho Sexy".

Here is an example of this style over an F Major chord. (0:15)

Jimi would usually incorporate aspects of the Major and Minor Scales (depending on key) and Blues Scale to improvise throughout the rhythm sections. He would also use guitar effects such as double-stop form, hammer-ons...