Jimi Hendrix is widely considered one of the most influential guitar players in history. His impact on the course of music in the years since his early death can still be felt in all of the music we listen to today. In this video, we'll be heading down to the Jimi Hendrix Memorial site in Seattle, Washington. We'll also take a look at 3 "Jimi-isms" that can help make you sound more like him.
Jimi's unique vibrato techniques were really exemplified in "Hey Joe". The first of these is bending up to a note and applying vibrato at the peak of the bend. One thing to note is that Jimi tended to use his 3rd finger to bend instead of his 4th. This gives the note you're bending to a thicker, more robust tone.
The other thing he did was pull downwards on a lot of notes when applying vibrato instead of pushing upwards. If you try playing a note both ways you'll notice a subtle difference.
One of the key parts of Jimi's sound was double-stop licks. This involves playing more than one note at a time. And oftentimes, you'll incorporate hammer-ons and pull-offs to one of the notes to create a sense of movement. Listen to the licks in "The Wind Cries Mary", and you'll notice how prevalent it is in Jimi's playing.
The last "Jimi-ism" we'll look at is simply a bend combined with another note standing still. This is done a lot in rock music, but Jimi's playing is the first that comes to mind when thinking of this technique. The key here is to bend the note up so that it reaches the pitch of the note that's standing still. To make this sound good, you want to apply vibrato the bend note so that it goes in and out of tune with the still note.
Jimi Hendrix is such an important part of music history, and I hope you'll try adding at least one of these techniques to your own playing. Jimi evoked a lot of emotion with his guitar playing and adding some of these skills to your own skillset is sure to make your playing sound more vibrant and alive.