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#1
Hey!
Now, before i write my question please note that i am NOT trying to start a flame thread and i do *love* a lot of Hendrix's music... (not just Voodoo Child - which is everyones favorite)

I'm a kind of beginner compared to a lot of you, know a few songs, a few scales and still very much learning - but no matter (nearly) which musician you speak to, they all seem to agree that Hendrix was one/is of the greats.

But none can really tell me why. Some say he merged rock and blues, some say his sound was revolutionary some say for his age he had an extremely advanced way of playing (honestly, can you get more vague than that?) and one guy actually told me he made up new chords and scales??!!?

My question is simple (the answer might not be!) :
What was so great about Hendrix?

I wont be arguing on points of whatever you write - I will be getting educated

Thanks in advance!
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#2
Quote by MusicGu7
Hey!
Now, before i write my question please note that i am NOT trying to start a flame thread and i do *love* a lot of Hendrix's music... (not just Voodoo Child - which is everyones favorite)

I'm a kind of beginner compared to a lot of you, know a few songs, a few scales and still very much learning - but no matter (nearly) which musician you speak to, they all seem to agree that Hendrix was one/is of the greats.

But none can really tell me why. Some say he merged rock and blues, some say his sound was revolutionary some say for his age he had an extremely advanced way of playing (honestly, can you get more vague than that?) and one guy actually told me he made up new chords and scales??!!?

My question is simple (the answer might not be!) :
What was so great about Hendrix?

I wont be arguing on points of whatever you write - I will be getting educated

Thanks in advance!



I'll just say what makes Hendrix great to me.....

I love listening to him. No other justification needed.

I mean I could name plenty of aspects of his playing, but those are superficial.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 28, 2010,
#3
innovative and influential.
that is why.
SRV was a better cleaner hendrix then hendrix.IMO
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Last edited by the_white_bunny at May 28, 2010,
#4
He created a new way in guitar arrangement. Look at All along the watchtower. The lead guitar is really amazing and creative!
#5
Alot of the things people do now, were passed down from what Hendrix did. He isn't my favorite guitarist, and I have never really liked most his songs, but I am amazed by some of the stuff he did. I don't think he is the best, but damn, he was good.
#6
He was great at playing by ear. If you look at his background, he grew up with almost nothing, taught himself to play, and became what he is known for today. Personally, I find his playing very sloppy, but tat doesn't matter.

yes people say he merged rock and blues, but the real fact is he made it popular. in the end, it doesn't matter how well you play or what you've done, but the fact that you've inspired many a generation to learn, and that's what he's done.
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#7
Quote by TomusAM
Alot of the things people do now, were passed down from what Hendrix did. He isn't my favorite guitarist, and I have never really liked most his songs, but I am amazed by some of the stuff he did. I don't think he is the best, but damn, he was good.



this!

when i was young i thought he was the best ever, as i got older im kinda like meh.
castles made of sand=greatness
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Last edited by the_white_bunny at May 28, 2010,
#8
He expanded the vocabulary of the guitar far more than anyone before or after him.

That's the main reason IMO. Also, he was an incredible performer and songwriter. "The Wind Cries Mary," so beautiful.
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#9
I always found the rhythm parts of his songs most interesting, but that's just me.
I think(not really sure) he was also the first one to burn a strat live on stage during those days.
#10
he changed the way the guitar was played. the way he used effects, controlling feedback...
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#12
i personally don't care for hendrix, but i can't argue that he was neither innovative nor influential.

Quote by GuitarMunky
I'll just say what makes Hendrix great to me.....

I love listening to him. No other justification needed.

I mean I could name plenty of aspects of his playing, but those are superficial.


listen to this man.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#13
After I read this thread, i sat down and thought about it.

"Why do I love Hendrix?"

And I still have no friggin' clue. He just sounds so great in my ears, that in many songs I can't find even single notes which seem out of place in his playing.

So after all, I just love Hendrix. I can't explain it.
HAHA, no seriously. What DO you use a signature for?
#14
I was actually surprised why I didnt get a single reply in this thread, then i came back and see that "thread notification" is probably not working

>I mean I could name plenty of aspects of his playing, but those are superficial.

But relevant, so mind mentioning just a few?

> innovative and influential.
Care to expand on the 'innovative' part?
Influential, i have no question about, i've seen his influence on nearly every guitist worth their salt after him.

> He created a new way in guitar arrangement.

Expand on this a little bit please.

> Alot of the things people do now, were passed down from what Hendrix did.

and

> I don't think he is the best, but damn, he was good.

Yep, no arguement there.
I'm learning a bit of it from "lick library" myself - that stuff is still going verrrry strong.

> He expanded the vocabulary of the guitar far more than anyone before or after him.

A bit vague... care to explain?

>I think(not really sure) he was also the first one to burn a strat live on stage during those days.

A showman fer sure, and anyone else who did it after that would just be paying him tribute (IMHO)

>he changed the way the guitar was played. the way he used effects, controlling feedback...

Ah! Thanks! Thats one answer that answers the riddle a bit more

>And watch what these guys said about Hendrix "killing" Clapton.
Will check it out, thanks!

>So after all, I just love Hendrix. I can't explain it.

Thats kinda the place I am in
Dont love all his songs mind you, but the ones I do love are hard to explain why but I just do.
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#15
Quote by MusicGu7
> He expanded the vocabulary of the guitar far more than anyone before or after him.

A bit vague... care to explain?
just do.

Ha, well that is kind of hard to explain. He used so many cutting edge effects, often layered on top of each other. His showmanship was unparalleled.

Really, the best way I've heard it described is in that video I posted. The guy says:

"The first time I saw Eric (Clapton), well I thought, 'there's a master guitar player...' but Eric was a guitar player. Jimi was some sort of force of nature."
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#16
His music is great. People just like it a lot, what else is there to it?

Frankly I dont think he did anything new or revolutionary, but he was just a good musician
#17
Quote by hockeyplayer168
Ha, well that is kind of hard to explain. He used so many cutting edge effects, often layered on top of each other. His showmanship was unparalleled.

Really, the best way I've heard it described is in that video I posted. The guy says:

"The first time I saw Eric (Clapton), well I thought, 'there's a master guitar player...' but Eric was a guitar player. Jimi was some sort of force of nature."

Just saw the vid, loved it!

Any idea where i can see the whole bit?

I love Jimmy x10 more than Clapton anyway (and i do like Claption - fact i just spent 2 weeks learning an arrangement to Tears in Heaven)

IMHO Eric C is like Jimmy after taking just enough Valiums a sliver before overdosing - ironic when talking about JH.
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#19
Quote by Chaingarden
In my opinion, Hendrix was as popular as he was because he essentially allowed the guitar to take a place that lead vocals usually do. Never before had so much emphasis been put on guitar playing.


Thanks!

> Also innovative with effect usage.
Yea! Voodoo C really took me by surprise the first time i heard it, and then the Star Spangled Banner was awesome (and im not even American)

I hate seeing VC on youtube though, coz then I have to click on SRV doing VC, and then on G3 (Malmsteen, Vai, Sat) doing VC and there goes 25 mins! (If i dont continue clicking Zakk/Slash etc)


> No, he did not make up any chords or scales.
Thanks
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#20
Quote by Chaingarden
In my opinion, Hendrix was as popular as he was because he essentially allowed the guitar to take a place that lead vocals usually do. Never before had so much emphasis been put on guitar playing.

Also innovative with effect usage.

No, he did not make up any chords or scales.


I agree. He was the first musician that i am aware of that made the guitar sing that effectively.
#21
You have to remember that you're listening to Hendrix filtered through many years. When he hit the stage in the 60s, even "hot" guitarists like Clapton were knocked out. Clapton himself related seeing Jimi in a club in London back then, and being pretty much blown away.
The use of feedback in a creative way, the use of self-generated sound effects, the willingness to experiment... A pioneer.

The Wiki article is pretty complete:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix
#22
I think hendrix is really good because he really captures a mood in the way he plays the guitar.
#23
Not to mention there's probably 30 million people who picked up a guitar because of him...

He was a musician/artist/entertainer/philosopher all wrapped into one package and he was damn good at all of them.
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#24
for someone to inspire a generation, or at this point probably two, is everything. I don't care how "good" you are, if you can make people want to play then you are amazing.

also I find Hendrix similiar to Latin music in the sense of its either pleasing or its not.
#25
I always saw the main attraction of Hendrix as his combination of rhythm and lead playing and his raw energy.

People say that he used the guitar to express more emotion than others, but I disagree. I still feel that Clapton blew Hendrix out of the water with his tone and phrasing. People say that he innovated the use of intentional feedback, but again, I think there were better practitioners of it. Peter Green and Jeff Beck both had great uses of feedback earlier. In fact, many of the things people knew him for were copied from Buddy Guy's playing.

The reason I see Hendrix as a great player is because of his energy. He combined lots of different things (excellent phrasing, feedback, tricks) and then took on his playing full force. He took on live shows at a break neck pace and was able to make his three man group sound like they had a rhythm player as well by his flawless transitions between phrases and great combination of lead and rhythm playing.

That being said, I do think he's very overrated these days. He died in his prime, so not only did a legend spring up around him, but we never had to watch him grow old. I mean, look at his peers. Clapton completely changed his style of playing. I don't think you can even compare young Clapton to his current incarnation. Jeff Beck has gone out into jazz fusion/electronica rock. Page, though he's essentially kept the same style as he had early on, I think most people would agree he is not the player he used to be. I mean, could you imagine a sixty year old Hendrix humping his guitar or playing with his teeth?
Last edited by Warrior47 at May 28, 2010,
#26
There are several aspects of his life and playing that made Hendrix 'great.'

1) The playing aspect.
Hendrix quite simply achieved a level of technical virtuosity that hadn't been seen by mainstream audiences (note that I say mainstream. We'll come to that later). He did incredibly creative things, fusing traditional R&B playing (he toured with many R&B revues and acts before he hit it big), blues, psychedelia, rock, and later on jazz. This was before the 80's when places like GIT sprung up, so his technique was also pretty much ahead of the pack. Shredding was non-existant. Sure, there were other guys like Steve Cropper who were amazing, but they lacked a certain something. Which brings us to...

2) The image aspect. Hendrix was ****ing crazy. He was flamboyant in a way people had rarely seen. He dressed funny. He burned guitars. He talked openly about drug use. He claimed he was from Mars. But, most importantly...

3) The racial aspect. Hendrix was a black man playing for largely white audiences. He didn't break racial barriers. He smashed them. Go back a few years, and the black guys Hendrix admired such as Little Richard were black men who had white fans, but who still appealed to black audiences. Hendrix was living in a time where race was everything (see the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago). And he completely alienated black people. His backing band was white. He lived in London. Hell, his favorite drug was LSD, which black people considered a white drug. He openly dated and slept with white women. He was extremely controversial in both the white and black worlds for this. Which is why he got more attention than somebody like Alvin Lee, who was also a great player. But there was also the...

4) Technological aspect. Hendrix invested in a studio in New York, because he was pissing away tons of money on studio time to achieve the perfect product. That studio (Electric Lady) saw him experimenting with flanging tape, backwards effects, new ways of distorting the electric guitar signal, among many others. Many effects pedals that exist today are a product of his studio experimentation.

He was a culmination of talent, image, ingenuity, and a knack for screwing with the public. That is why he's the greatest of all time. No other guitarist have captured the public imagination as well as he did.
#27
Quote by GuitarMunky
I'll just say what makes Hendrix great to me.....

I love listening to him.

This.

It's really hard to pin down one or to name all the things. The whole is greater than the sum of all it's parts.

What made Jimi great was the same as what makes any great musician great - it was his creative brilliance and unique musical vision combined with his wonderful ability to turn that vision into a reality.

It's not really specific and concrete but that's what I mean. You can analyze his playing in order to learn from specific tricks and techniques that are characteristic of his style even incorporate those things into your own playing. -But none of that will tell you what was great about him. For that you need to listen to his music - then you will either get it, or you won't.

But if I absolutely had to come up with one concrete and specific thing that made Jimi great I would say - practice.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at May 28, 2010,
#28
Quote by koslack
There are several aspects of his life and playing that made Hendrix 'great.'

1) The playing aspect.
Hendrix quite simply achieved a level of technical virtuosity that hadn't been seen by mainstream audiences (note that I say mainstream. We'll come to that later). He did incredibly creative things, fusing traditional R&B playing (he toured with many R&B revues and acts before he hit it big), blues, psychedelia, rock, and later on jazz. This was before the 80's when places like GIT sprung up, so his technique was also pretty much ahead of the pack. Shredding was non-existant. Sure, there were other guys like Steve Cropper who were amazing, but they lacked a certain something. Which brings us to...

2) The image aspect. Hendrix was ****ing crazy. He was flamboyant in a way people had rarely seen. He dressed funny. He burned guitars. He talked openly about drug use. He claimed he was from Mars. But, most importantly...

3) The racial aspect. Hendrix was a black man playing for largely white audiences. He didn't break racial barriers. He smashed them. Go back a few years, and the black guys Hendrix admired such as Little Richard were black men who had white fans, but who still appealed to black audiences. Hendrix was living in a time where race was everything (see the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago). And he completely alienated black people. His backing band was white. He lived in London. Hell, his favorite drug was LSD, which black people considered a white drug. He openly dated and slept with white women. He was extremely controversial in both the white and black worlds for this. Which is why he got more attention than somebody like Alvin Lee, who was also a great player. But there was also the...

4) Technological aspect. Hendrix invested in a studio in New York, because he was pissing away tons of money on studio time to achieve the perfect product. That studio (Electric Lady) saw him experimenting with flanging tape, backwards effects, new ways of distorting the electric guitar signal, among many others. Many effects pedals that exist today are a product of his studio experimentation.

He was a culmination of talent, image, ingenuity, and a knack for screwing with the public. That is why he's the greatest of all time. No other guitarist have captured the public imagination as well as he did.




also, the combination of all of those things. a lot of the things he did may have been done before, but not by one person.
#29
There is a chord that is often referred to as the Hendrix chord, <07678x> of E7add#9 from Purple Haze and Foxy Lady, which is interesting because the #9 is an equivalent to a minor third and the chord already has a major third. So it supports the whole major/minor ideal blues artist have used. The obscurity of the chord would make it very uncommon, but I've heard it had been used previously in jazz, which wouldn't surprise me, but I couldn't tell you any songs. As for inventing scales, I don't think so considering basically every combination of 7 notes has been used from varying parts of the world to accomplish different sounds. Hendrix was very good at incorporating passing tones, and would often use the technique of bending notes up a quarter step. I've also heard that Hendrix had such a good ear that when his guitar would go out of tune, usually from the way he abused the whammy bar lol, he would bend the out of tune strings up slightly so they would reach their intended pitches..
#30
Quote by Kozlic
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#31
IMHO, Hendrix really was a mediocre player. Good, yes, but not brilliant like everyone likes to prattle on about. And the whole "great for his time" is a load of crap - on a technical level, Clapton, Page, Beck played circles around him. Feel? BB King was already the master.

Hendrix' true innovation and gift was the ability to get sounds from the guitar that others had not been able to make useful to a large audience. Yeah, the use of effects, feedback, distortion, etc. Sure, it was done before, but nobody had been able to popularize it in one package the way he did. (the Kinks actually sliced the cone of a speaker to get the distortion on You Really Got Me)

The key to that was that he wrote consistently good songs, and had a wild enough stage presence to be a real "rock star" and have people pay attention.

That package that he assembled was unquestionably influential. You can listen to music and pretty reliably be able to listen to the guitar tones and determine if something was "pre-Hendrix" or "post-Hendrix." THAT is influence.

CT
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#32
Quote by axemanchris
IMHO, Hendrix really was a mediocre player. Good, yes, but not brilliant like everyone likes to prattle on about. And the whole "great for his time" is a load of crap - on a technical level, Clapton, Page, Beck played circles around him. Feel? BB King was already the master.




Quote by MusicGu7
Hey!
Now, before i write my question please note that i am NOT trying to start a flame thread


^^^^

at least it got 30 posts before any negativity. could be a record.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 29, 2010,
#33
Thanks guys, I appreciate both the praise for him and the disagreement among the ranks

I did think of going just through wikipedia but WP does not have the passion that people generally have when discussing JH - on WP there are a lot of facts but in a sterile surgical environment.
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#34
at least it got 30 posts before any negativity. could be a record.

You're quoting him out of context. And, his post in my opinion was much better than yours, where you basically just said "he's good because he's good".
Call me Batman.
Last edited by J.A.M at May 29, 2010,
#35
Excellent posts by Koslack, Axemanchris and Warrior47.
I think his image and stage performance had a big impact on his popularity. I watched Monterey Pop Festival the other day and really enjoyed his version of Killing Floor. The energy and intensity that he played with seemed to stand out from his contemporaries. However, when it came to the amplifier humping and guitar burning/breaking...I found it to be kind of ridiculous. It was stunts like these that got him a lot of attention. I remember hearing somewhere that people were disappointed because they were going to his shows and not seeing him do things like that. Things that had nothing to do with the music. A lot of his music sounds dated now. Band of Gypsies, on the other hand, sounds very fresh to my ears. Machine Gun, Who Knows, Power of Love are some of my favorite songs of all time. Hearing his lead guitar on those songs reminds me of why I liked Hendrix so much. I think someone mentioned on page one about how he made his leads sound like vocals. It was the way he approached his guitar that really made him stand out. Musicians like Hendrix are rare. You can't practice innovation. To do now what he did then would be like finding a cure for cancer.
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Last edited by WesM.Vaughan at May 29, 2010,
#36
Quote by J.A.M
You're quoting him out of context.


No im not. Claiming that XXX is superior to XXX is exactly what this thread is NOT about. (according to the TS)

Quote by J.A.M

And, his post in my opinion was much better than yours, where you basically just said "he's good because he's good".



You're entitled to your opinion, but thats not what I said, and I'm not competing for "best post".
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 29, 2010,
#37
I think what made him so great was the fact that he allowed the guitar to play him, instead of the other way around like most musicians try to do. He understood what the guitar wanted to say was it was gonna say.
#38
It was stunts like these that got him a lot of attention. I remember hearing somewhere that people were disappointed because they were going to his shows and not seeing him do things like that.


It's the same with "The Doors", after a while the band felt that people were coming more to see what Jim Morrison would do next rather than the music.
When I say 'band' I mean other than Morrison, he was too high to have noticed the difference
That being said, I dont even want to think how much I would sacrifice (or which body parts) to have been able to see Jimi playing live...
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
Last edited by MusicGu7 at May 30, 2010,
#39
well, when you hear Hendrix, you also hear his......."Freedom", "Experemental", "Love", "Sadness", I've learned that hendrix had a very rare feeling, which we can feel now through his music. the era had some to do with it. I also fall for his rhythyms. I have definetly listened to enough Hendrix in my time. He never thought about all the scales/modes/all of that, he just felt it with his heart
----------------------
good times

---------------------------

-- A.L.W.--

----------------------

when you just get tired of all the effects and riffs.

#40
he just felt it with his heart


This part I _did_ know, but it didnt explain his greatness to me because a lot of crappy musicians play with all they can give as well, heart and soul - but it does not shine through the way Jimi's stuff does, and this kind of started when a friend had a similar question... but i couldnt explain why (and I didnt know it myself) Jimi is so highly regarded so started this thread.
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
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