Guitarist

Hendrix On Rhythm

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Tutor Richard Barrett | Gear used Lewis Guitar Works Pequeno Bastardo & Marshall JTM45 MkII Reissue Difficulty ★★★★ | 20 mins per example

IT’S WELL KNOWN that Jimi earned his living and learned his trade as a sideman before stepping into the spotlight himself, though there had already been times he’d been in trouble for upstaging the main act. To the mainstream press, Hendrix became the guitar-burning wild man of rock – the result of orchestrat­ed publicity stunts to capture the public’s imaginatio­n and compete with contempora­ries such as The Who.

However, to those in the know he combined an unpreceden­ted range of influences from Elvis through to Albert King, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan. His overdriven Strat tones, delivered through walls of blistering­ly loud Marshall stacks, were magnificen­t, of course,

but that was far from the only colour in his palette. To this day, there are chord voicings and guitar styles indelibly associated with Jimi. Lots of fantastic guitar music has been made in this style by subsequent players such as SRV, John Mayer and Eric Johnson, but all of these freely acknowledg­e Hendrix as their inspiratio­n.

Now, down to some practicali­ties, I view the example piece as a highly embellishe­d chord progressio­n, though it does contain pentatonic elements – most obviously in its final moments. Certain voicings or inversions of the chords particular­ly lend themselves to this style, which draws from the CAGED chord approach (shapes that recur all over

the fretboard but can all be related back to these open chords). Sometimes it can be better to ‘reverse engineer’ a piece of music that appeals to us and recognise the patterns, rather than learn the patterns then try to ‘break’ them to make music. I’m looking to take a balanced approach in this example solo, which is a very concentrat­ed ‘study’ in this style. Don’t feel you should be playing this busily all the time! I hope this is useful and enjoyable and I’ll see you next time.

Richard Barrett’s album, Colours, (complete with backing tracks), is available now from iTunes and Amazon

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