Purple Haze

There's no telling how many lives your spirit will go through-die and be reborn. Like me mind will be back in the days when I was a flying horse. Before I can remember music and stars and planets. I could go to sleep and write fifteen symphonies. I had very strange feelings that I was here for something and I was going to get a chanse to be heard. I got the guitar together 'cause that was all I had. I used to be very lonely.

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The introduction to Purple Haze is probably the most famous examplein music of the tritone, a very harash and dissonant two-note relationship of, in this case, E and Bb. The tritone also goes under the aliases augmented fourth (a fourth raised one fret)or diminshed fifth(a fifth lowered one fret). Fourths and fifths are common in and pleasant to hear, but that note in between the fourth and fifth creates a harmony that will grab you by the collar! Use it only when you want to incite maximum disturbance. Once challenging spot in this tune is the measure following the opening tritones where you apply vibrato following a silight bend on the G. There are different ways to produce vibrato, but the way suggested here involves swiveling or rotating back and forth at the wrist as you fret the note. This motion should swing the pinky side of your band out and in. Yourfretting finger (either the index or middle in this case)will want to follow, bending the string back and forth with it. If this is done properly you will notice a leveraging action on the side of your index, which helps to bend the string. This type of vibrato should be done tastefully. If you overdo it, you will begin to sound like a hawaiian guitar player from the bottom of a lagoon. Just remember that the wavieness of the vibrato is a function of how far your hand flutters.

Electric Ladyland

Electric Ladyland is Jimi Hendrix's masterpiece, the record he was leading up to every time he went into the studio. But this time, he produced a double-record set full of heavenly symphonies. "Produced" is the key word here, since, with the help of Engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix was finally able to create this masterwork acording to the dictates of his own tumultuous soul. The album credit says it all: Produced and Directed by Jimi Hendrix. "For the first time in his short but brilliant career, Jimi was finally taking the reins. He built the studio on Eighth Street that still bears the name of this album and holed up there with some close friends to manipulate the sound he crammed into it. It was a culmination of all his thoughts to that point about what the rock genre could hold. After its completion, he would start to experiment with other forms and new direction that history would never allow him to complete.

Form the opening space-mix of the album's prologue, a fragment called "...And the Gods Made Love," it becomes evident that this is a very "producet" album, in the sense that it is the progenitor of the type of sound-heavy manipulations that Pink Floyd were later to become famous for. Along the way, Jimi accentuates breathing noise, horn files, speaker-bouncing, organ swells on "Rainy Day, Dream Away" (Mike Finnigan) and "Voodoo Chile" (Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce on bass). But the spacinnes is accentuated by some masterful guitar work, sometimes as casually as in the fade, like the one on "Rainy Day, Dream Away," wherein Jimi makes the guitar talk in the song's last minutes. Sometimes in the counterpoint of triple-and quadruple-tracked guitars, or in themore straight-ahead fashion, as on Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," the version of the song that would stick inmusicals history, and on the bluesy hellfire "Voodoo Chile".

1983 ("A Merman I Should Turn to Be") and its companion piece, "Moon the Tides ... Gently, Gently Away" is what the jazz cats now call out playing. Experimentation with water sound and meandering bass lines that seem to go nowhere in particular, until they are summoned into rock'n'roll heaven by the railroad train that rumbles through the track with echoed bells and whistles, squeals and cymbals. In beetween, there is some classic rocking guitar-the chuging beat and sly commentary of "Crosstown Traffic", "ComeOn"'s r&b boogaloo with its effervescent, moving double-pump and the clean break in the midle with its clarity and whammy bar invention, the blues of "House Burning Down" and "Voodoo Chile" - and some hot lickes to get into. Jimi's music lives on today.

Purple Haze

Jimi also got into electronic effects, most of which were primitive by todays' standards, as he searched for new ways to express himself musically. The expertise of Roger Mayer (Jimi's electronics wizard) in this area was a godsend to him and together they came up with many new sounds, creating guitar effect devices that went beyond what was available in the marketplace at that time. The fourth measure of the bridge solo marks the entrance of a second guitar running through one of Roger's gizmons, the Octavia. This sophisticated distortion unit accentuated the first upper partial of the overtone series, thus creating the octave-doubling heard at this point.

Jimi's Masterpiece

"There's no telling how many lives your spirit will go through-die and be reborn. Like me mind will be back in the days when I was a flying horse. Before I can remember music and stars and planets. I could go to sleep and write fifteen symphonies. I had very strange feelings that I was here for something and I was going to get a chanse to be heard. I got the guitar together 'cause that was all I had. I used to be very lonely."

Jimi Hendrix in Life magazine, 1969 jimiadam@simplusnet.pl

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    frigginjerk
    good info, but VERY unorganized. this article could have done with an introduction, and some transitions to make it flow a little better. but once again, the info is great. i like that part at the beginning about the augmented 4th / diminished 5th.
    redwing_suck
    derogative posts deleted. lol, now it looks like HappyClam's post is a response to guitar36's...
    Pagerot
    Yeah, I like it, but it's kind of unorganized and hard to understand at first what it was really all about. But it was an okay read.