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Jimi Hendrix Slow Song Rhythm Guitar Fills Technique for Little Wing, Wind Cries Mary & Castles Made of Sand

Updated on June 15, 2015

YouTube Guitar Lessons

Source

Hendrix Slow Song Rhythm

One of the staples of Jimi Hendrix's rhythm guitar in his slow songs was his use of two-note chords embellished with hammer ons and pull offs.

These two note chords are called double stops or diads and are usually 4th and minor 3rd interval combinations.

The majority of these fills come from major and minor pentatonic scales with an occasional embellishment from related scales thrown in. The examples in this article are pentatonic scale derived only.

The key behind this technique is the 4th interval going to a minor 3rd interval and back to the 4th (or staying on the minor 3rd).

Making That Sound

To get started you can do the following on any pair of adjacent strings.

For example

  1. Bar your first (index) finger across the third fret of the E and B string (1st and 2nd) This is the 4th interval
  2. Pick both strings simultaneously
  3. Immediately hammer the third finger a whole step to the 5th fret of the B string. This is now the minor 3rd interval.
  4. Do not let the 3rd finger kill the sound of the 1st string. Keep it arched.
  5. Repeat several times. Both strings should always sound.


4th Hammer on to Minor 3rd


  • ---3----------
  • ---3(h)5--
  • -------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • -----------

Variation 1: 4th hammer on to minor 3rd back to picked 4th.

  • ---3-------3
  • ---3(h)5--3
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


Variation 2: 4th hammer on to minor 3rd pull off back to 4th


  • ---3----------
  • ---3(h)5(p)3
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


Variation 3: Adding a note


  • ---3------------------
  • ---3(h)5(p)3--------
  • -------------------4---
  • ------------------------
  • ------------------------
  • ------------------------


The following examples aren't in a any particular key, they are just showing how 4ths and minor 3rds are played on a guitar.

4ths to minor 3rds

4th to minor 3rd on B-E string

  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on G-B string

  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---2(h)4---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on D-G string

  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5----
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on A-D string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5---
  • ------------

4th to minor 3rd on E-A string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3-------
  • ---3(h)5----

4ths on Each Pair of Strings

4th on B-E string

  • ---3--------
  • ---3--------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on G-B string

  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---2--------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on D-G string

  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3--------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on A-D string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3-------
  • ------------

4th on E-A string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3-------
  • ---3--------

Major & Minor Pentatonic Scales and CAGED Chord Shapes

The following examples demonstrate the five positions of the the E minor chord and the related rhythm fills and then the five positions of the the E major chord with their related rhythm fills using the C, A, G, E and D bar chord shapes matched to the appropriate pentatonic scale patterns for reference.

Emi Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

Emi Rhythm Fill


  • ---3-------3------
  • ---3(h)5--3------
  • ----------------4--
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------



  • ------------
  • ---3-------3--
  • ---2(h)4--2--
  • ----------------5--
  • -------------
  • -------------

Emi Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---5-------5--
  • ---5(h)7--5--
  • ---------------




  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---5-------
  • ---5(h)7----

Emi Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • ---8--------
  • ---7(h)9---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------




  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---7--------
  • ---7(h)9----
  • -------------
  • -------------



Emi Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ---10--------
  • ---10(h)12----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---10--------10--
  • ---10(h)12--10--

Emi Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---12---------12
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------14--
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---12---------12-
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------15--

Move It 3 Frets To The Left = Major Pentatonic

If you move any of the previous E minor rhythm riffs three frets to the left then they become E major rhythm riffs.

E Major Pentatonic Scale & Matching Chord Shape

Source

E Major Rhythm Fill


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---2-------2--
  • ---2(h)4--2--
  • ---------------




  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---2-------
  • ---2(h)4----

Scale & Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ------------
  • ---8--------
  • ---7(h)9---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------




  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---7--------
  • ---7(h)9----
  • -------------
  • -------------



Scale & Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ---10--------
  • ---10(h)12----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---10--------10--
  • ---10(h)12--10--

Scale & Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill

  • -----------------------
  • ------------------------
  • ---9--------9----------
  • ---9(h)11--9----------
  • --------------------11--
  • --------------------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---12---------12-
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------15--

Scale & Chord Shape

Source

Rhythm Fill


  • ---12--------12------
  • ---12(h)14--12------
  • ------------------13--
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------



  • ------------
  • ---12--------12--
  • ---11(h)13--11--
  • ---------------------14--
  • -------------
  • -------------

Summary

  • Starts with perfect 4th interval
  • Hammer-on the lower note a whole step (becomes a minor 3rd)
  • The top note sustains
  • Based on major or minor pentatonic scale

The Exception

When barring the G and B string you get a major third. When you do the hammer-on it create a major 2nd.

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 14 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Great Hub and very easy to follow. Stella