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Michael Johnson >> Guitarists Influenced by Hendrix >>
Lesson Subject:
Guitarists Influenced By Hendrix I
What you learn: Randy California Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson covers more on Guitarists Influenced by Hendrix, this series covering the style of Randy California of the '60s band Spirit. Randy "California" (nick named by Jimi Hendrix) actually met Hendrix at Manny's Music in NY when he was 15. Hendrix was so taken by Randy's guitar skill and personality that he invited him to open Hendrix's shows (Jimi James and the Blue Flames) for the next 3 months. Hendrix later moved to England to start the Jimi Hendrix Experience which launched his career. Hendrix even invited Randy to go England, but Randy's parents wouldn't allow it, Randy later moved to the west coast and started the band Spirit who made their fame from songs like "It's Nature's Way" and "Time of the Seasons," Randy was one of the first guitarists to wave the Hendrix flag, using techniques that he picked up from Jimi while they were on tour.  You might notice most of these riffs are basic, but sound cool, here's the lesson sample of what you'll learn:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Here's our first riff, you might notice how the various section move to different chords.

Part 1

Michael: In the notation you'll notice you start in B, then move to F#, E, then G and A, the first few licks are based on octaves and then use a Major Pentatonic pattern off the various root notes. First here's a jam track.

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Now here's the first part, but this time I highlight the octaves for each root note of the progression.

Michael: I also mentioned that you use the "Major Pentatonic" pattern form each of these root notes as well.

Michael: These techniques were picked up by Randy when he played with Hendrix and used in his style. OK, now let's try a few Hendrix influenced licks Randy would use.

Part 1 - Lick 1

Michael: You can use the last jam track to practice these licks over. Notice we're using a basic Minor Pentatonic scale pattern in B.

Michael: Remember guitarists played more basic during the '60s, Randy (and Jimi) would use his vocal to match the lead licks he played. Here's another lick using the same pattern.

Part 1 - Lick 2

Ralph: Like a question and answer thing.

Michael: Yes and sometimes he would play and sing in unison.

Ralph: Blues influenced, a typical approach, lick 2 is signature stuff.

Michael: Yes Ralph, Hendrix passed all kinds of blues tricks to rock guitarists of that era
notice all the double-stop hammer/pull-off licks, it sounds very rich. Randy was one of the first guys on the west coast to use Hendrix techniques like using feedback, long sustaining leads, effects, etc. From what I understand it caught on like wildfire, like when Eddie Van Halen came out with the finger-tapping, everybody was trying to play these techniques, you have the remember the sound of the '60s guitar at the time, raw, not much vibrato and expression. The guitar sound was really starting to change. Here's our next part.

Part 2

Ralph: Very simple yet a modern sound.

Michael: Funny you point that out Ralph, these kind of licks were used often in the '60s and now used in 2000. This phrase starts with a pedal tone (G# - 5th fret/3rd string) and skips strings while the notes descend on the 1st string, later on in the phrase you play the C5 chord and a series of chords towards the end, try playing to this jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2

Ralph: Very melodic, with a push, very cool approach.

Michael: It's interesting how all these parts fit together and can actually make a song. You can try using this technique as well to make up your own songs. Now let's jump to another part.

Part 3 - 1

Michael: The first chord stats in E, using the open notes only and then D, to C, which uses the major pentatonic lick we covered earlier. This riff sounds kind of like a Lynyrd Skynyrd song to me. Hendrix used this technique in his songs all the time, something Randy California caught onto. As I mentioned before Randy met and hung out with Hendrix when he was 15 and took him under his wings. Here's the jam track you can play over.

Looping Jam Track 3

Michael: Here's the next part.

Part 3 - 2

Doug: Sounds like the Stones to me, sounds cool though.

Michael: You bet Doug, Keith Richards also picked up on Hendrix's licks. Can you imagine what the guitar would sound like if Hendrix never existed! Nothing like it does today, that's the very point of this lesson series; to study how Hendrix influenced other guitarists and how they passed there sound to others. The chain keeps on going, time to go class, I hope to see you next lesson!

Doug: Great lesson thank you!

Michael: Thanks, bye!

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