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How to Play Guitar Jimi Hendrix Style

Updated on October 20, 2012

You want to play like Jimi?

If you are a guitar lover, you probably have your favorite guitarists. Jimi Hendrix is likely to be one of them. There is no doubt that the man has earned the respect of many musicians, including famous musicians.

Plenty of guitarists form their style with Jimi's influence. For example, Stevie Ray Vaughn has been known to incorporate many of Hendrix's signature licks. John Mayer also admits to loving the sounds of Hendrix and Vaughn. When you listen to these three guitarists play, you can notice the similarities in sound.

Here are some practical tips you can use to help you play in the style of Jimi Hendrix.

Learn popular Blues riffs

Jimi uses very basic blues riffs, but he plays them in a style that his own. The actual style of his playing is very aggressive and in your face. He attacks the strings hard, but he also knows when to play soft. He alternates between dynamics very frequently, and you will hear what I am talking about if you listen to his extended solos in the video above.

Here are some basic riffs that he uses that you can incorporate. I will place them in the key of E minor.

E-------12- E------12----12--------------
B------12-- B---15b--15b--15-----------
G--14b----- G--------------------14b--14--12
D---------- A--------------------------
A---------- D--------------------------
E---------- E--------------------------

My tip to you would be to pick up a book full of popular blues riffs. Additionally, listen to a lot of great guitar players and try to copy the riffs they play. Practice makes perfect.

Special Hendrixisms

Along with playing popular blues riffs, Hendrix throws in a flavor that not many guitar players have ventured into before. His popular use of the multi-note hammerons. It creates a piano feel, and it almost sounds like the guitar is imitating riffs that many pianists use for their blues riffs.

For Example:

E-----------------------
B-----12----------------
G-----12h14p12----------
D------------ -----14--12-----
A-----------------------12h14p12
E-----------------------


Do you notice how he hammers on to the next note, but he also plays a note on top of that? The notes he stacks are usually just thirds, but sometimes you may see fourths stacked on. So, in the above example, the first notes hit would be:

B
G-A

The dash represents a hammeron.

My best advice

If you truly want to play in the style of Hendrix, you'll want to get a stratocaster and a couple pedals, including a wah pedal.

Other than that, the best think you can do for yourself is to listen to a lot of his music and try to imitate what he is doing. Look for those hammerons and see if he's playing any additional notes. The reason Hendrix's music sounds so complicated is because he's playing more than one note at a time during his solos. Most musicians only play one-note solos, but Jimi breaks the mold. Thank goodness he did, or we wouldn't have such amazing music to appreciate.

Why this product

I love this book and it truly helped me get a grasp on different blues licks and how to use them. If you're reading this article, you may want the same book to help you take on some of Hendrix's famous riffs.

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