Jimi Hendrix Rhythm Methods


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JimmyStradlin33
10-16-2007, 04:43 PM
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942. His unique style came from a miriad of influences, from Elvis Presley to BB King, to T Bone Walker to Curtis Mayfield. Although Hendrix did not know any formal theory it is a mistake in my opinion to say he didn't know any theory and i hope to show hear amongst other things that this is not the case.

Rhythm playing.
For me Hendrix's rhythm playing is more interesting and innovative than his lead playing. He derives his unique sound from what i'm going to call his broken chord technique.
6 String Barre chords

Take your simple A major barre chord

--5--
--5--
--6--
--7--
--7--
--5--


Hendrix often used major chords using the six string barre chord shape, such as this. But rather than playing the whole chord in one strum he would split it up and add notes to it.
This is an example of what i mean.


---------5-h-7-p-5------
------5--5----------------
------6-------------------
------7-------------------
--------------------------
--5-5--------------------


Here the chord is split into effectively 3 sections. The root, played on the low e string twice, followed by the heart of the chord if you will, being the 1st the 3rd and the 5th, in this case A C# and E. The final section is a very Hendrixy idea which involves the double stop hammer on pull off. This uses the E on the B string, and replacing the A on the top E with a B before coming back to the A. This adds the 9th to the chord, before coming back to the standard major. Hendrix used this technique by playing the low e with his thumb. This freed up his fourth finger to perform hammer ons and pull offs on the bottom 3 strings. Although i have only given one example in tab, using the hammer on/pull off on the top e string, he used variations of this idea in almost all of his songs particuarly his ballads. One of the best songs to look at this technique is The Wind Cries Mary, in the pre chorus and chorus.

Some other examples of this technique


-----------------------
---555-H-7--5------
---666-------6-------
---777-------7------
----------------------
-5-------------------



-------------
--5---------
--6-7p6---
--7----7---
------------
------------


Although all the examples i've shown are using A major, this technique applies to all 6 string barre chords.

5 String barre chords

Using d maj as a basis i'm now going to talk about some of Hendrix's techniques when using 5 string barre chords.

----5---
----7---
----7---
----7---
----5---
---------


For 5 string barre chords Hendrix would often invert them, using the first inversion, so he would play d major like this


--------------
---------7---
---------7---
---------7---
--5/9-------
-------------


Here he is sliding up from d to f#, the third of the chord changing the root and enabling you to bar the D, G and B with your index finger.
This enables many combinations of hammer ons and pull offs on the D,G and B strings such as


-----------
-----------
--7--------
--7-h--9-
-----------
-----------


and


------------
--7--------
--7-h--9--
-----------
-----------
-----------

One of the best examples to see evidence of his playing using this technique (and the 6 string barre technique) is in Hey Joe.

Bass Notes

Hendrix used to use bass noes a lot in his compositions, particularly his wilder songs. This gives his music a clear pulse, and provides a more driving/powerful sound.


----------------
--------3-------
--------4-------
--------5-------
----------------
--3--3---------

This is an example from Purple Haze. Hook your thumb round to the low e string to play the third fret. This is the root of the g major chord that he plays later on on the D,G, and B strings.

Another example is from Hendrix's version of the Howling Wolf song, Killing Floor.
(Although this might not be the exact phrase he plays it is something along these lines)

----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------7---5-----
---5h7---5h7-7-----------5h7-------------------7---5-----
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------8--------------5--5---------------

One of the most obvious of his songs showing this technique is Foxy Lady.

---------------5---------
---------------5---------
-------------------------
-------------------------
-------------------------
----2----2--------------

This gives the power to the riff.

Chords
Although not strictly chords Hendrix used many combinations of two notes in his songs.


---3------ ----------------
----------- ----------------
---3------ ---3------------
----------- ----------------
----------- ---3------------
----------- ----------------

TThese are used in songs like Bold as Love and Voodoo Child Slight Return. These can be shifted up and down those two strings, as Hendrix did in those songs to create tension.

The Hendrix Chord

------------
------8----
------7----
------6----
------7----
-----------

This is E7#9, sometimes reffered to as the Hendrix Chord due to its use in many of his songs including Purple Haze. It makes a nice change from the standard E7 you come to expect and adds a slightly chaotic feel to the chord.

R4STA
10-16-2007, 05:04 PM
Cool nice lesson.

HawkaLuigi
10-25-2007, 11:03 AM
Why don't you post some links within the lesson to sample bits of the music being played?

Ceresz
10-27-2007, 04:58 AM
Nice lesson. Keep going :)

cokeisbetter
10-27-2007, 02:59 PM
I definitely like what you've got going so far, but it does need to be expanded a bit. :cheers:

glennthrower
11-02-2007, 02:50 PM
I never noticed that, thats really good, well done. Top MArks

Fragmented
11-02-2007, 03:49 PM
Clean post. Good lesson.

pe4c
11-04-2007, 12:52 PM
Very cool. Hendrix's chops as a rhythm player are often overlooked. Good lesson.