Over the years I have taught guitar, there is one request that just keeps coming up amongst students – ‘How do I play like Hendrix?!’. Well, as you can imagine there is no one simple answer, and his overall ‘feel’ for the guitar came from raw talent, years of playing and a lot of experience. However, there are certain theoretical ideas and techniques that once learnt, can help you on your way to playing like Hendrix.
With my students at Brighton Guitar Academy, we would begin by learning the pentatonic scales. Now for the purpose of this lesson, I am going to assume that you know your pentatonic shape 1, and if you don’t then here it is:
I am also going to assume that you know how to play an A shape barre chord. I call it the Jimmy Page barre chord, and it is pictured below:
If you are unsire of either of these, then this lesson may be a tad too advanced for you, and I would suggest looking into pentatonic scales and barre chords.This lesson is all about combining those two elements to create licks as part of your chords. If you listen through any good Jimi Hendrix song, you will here that Jimi’s rhythm parts tend to be more complex than just a strumming pattern, and there seem to be melodies within the chords. What you are hearing is Jimi playing the chord, and then using the pentatonic that falls around that chord to play a lick. The pentatonic shape 1 and the A shape barre chord can be used in this way. Look at this diagram:
The barre chord and the pentatonic shape 1 share certain notes, as pictured. What this means is that anytime you play that barre chord shape, the pentatonic shape 1 is right next door. This is true no matter what major chord you do, as long as you use this major chord shape. So if you play C major down on the 3rd fret of the A string then your pentatonic shape 1 will be next to it, starting on the 5th fret! The best thing about this technique is that once you have a few lick ideas based on this theory, you can re-use them anytime you play that chord, in any musical circumstances! How cool is that?!
Here is a lick example for you using C major to Famjor. The trickiest thing can be learning the rhythms of the licks, so try to make sure you can sing or hum the rhythm before attempting it.
The video file above has this whole lesson explained, so please watch that. Learn this lick well and then have a go at coming up with your own.
If you want to arrange some guitar lessons with myself or any of the other Brighton Guitar Academy tutors then please check out our website: Brighton Guitar Academy and get in touch. If you don’t live anywhere near Brighton, then check out our Skype guitar lessons. All you need is a decent web cam, an solid internet connection and you can get the same quality tuition from the comfort of your own home, anywhere in the world!
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