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Michael Johnson >> Guitarists Influenced by Hendrix >>
Lesson Subject:
Guitarists Influenced By Hendrix II
What you learn: Vernon Reid Style - Riffs
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome class, great to see you! Our interactive lesson continues the Guitarists Influenced by Hendrix series, this lesson featuring the style of Vernon Reid of Living Colour. Vernon and Living Colour exploded on the music scene during the '80s with their very unique blend of hard rock and heavy funk-rock sound. The band would morph the sounds of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone to create their own unique style. For this lesson we'll cover riffs in the style of the band and in the next lesson feature the licks of Vernon Reid. Check out the lesson sample of what you'll learn in this lesson:

Lesson Sample

Michael: OK, let's start with the first riffs:

Part 1 - Intro 1

Michael: This opening riff uses an interesting arpeggio pattern, it's basically an A7 add 11.

Michael: This is a very cool sounding pattern with a unique sound, Neil Schon of Journey/Santana uses this pattern at times.

VB1: How do you differentiate this from A7 sus 4?

Michael: VB, the 4 would substitute the 3rd in that case, but you notice we're using the 3rd and 4th notes at the same time, the 4 = 11 in this case, they're the same notes (D).

Michael: You might notice the effects setting using a delay set on 400ms and 50% on the feedback control to give a fatter tone. Here's the next section:

Part 1 - Intro 2

Michael: Notice the arpeggio sounding riffs using the chord pattern which starts with the A/A9, F/F9, back to A and the G. Here's a jam track using Riffs 1 & 2:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Playing these chords with the delay have kind of a U2 type sound.

VB1: It reminds me a bit of Eric Johnson too.

patrick: Yeah it does, like a slow Joe Satriani song.

Michael: Oh yeah, those are two other amazing guitarists heavily influenced by Hendrix! Let's move to the next part:

Part 2 - Riff 1

Michael: I had the honor of introducing Al Hendrix to Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson when I worked for the Hendrix family at one time. I met Vernon Reid as well through the Hendrix estate, he is a HUGE fan of Jimi! 

Michael: OK, this section has kind of a funky Hendrix/Zeppelin sound. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2

Michael: This lick actually uses a kind of major pentatonic scale pattern in E.

Michael: This is the E Major Pentatonic with a b7th note added. It's pretty standard with blues progressions. I highlighted the b7th note for you. The next section uses barre chords and then using a Major Pentatonic type run, pretty much how Hendrix use to play:

Part 2 - Riff 2

Michael: Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 3

Michael: Here's an example of how the F, G & A chords work with the Major Pentatonic scale patterns for each chord.

Michael: Now let's jump to the riff's for the next section:

Part 3 - Riff 1

Michael: This riff has some very cool intervals happening throughout the riff. You're using the key of B, starting with a B Maj 3rd, C# min 3rd & F# min 3rd and then G# dim 5 intervals. You then use a chromatic run descending on the 6th string.

Ralph: A lot of tension, then resolves well to the low E Riff.

Michael: Yes Ralph, you then use a A dim 5, Ab dim 5, Eb min6, playing around with the intervals that sound really cool as well! Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 4

Michael: This section might take a little while to get use to playing, these aren't standard chords as you may notice. Here's the next part:

Michael: Here are some standard chords, now let's get into a little more Hendrix sounding type licks.

Part 4 - Riff 1

Michael: Pretty standard Hendrix sounding riff, here's the next section:

Part 4 - Riff 2

Michael: Notice how you start with a A, E, D, C, A, you use the same type of Major Pentatonic patterns off of each chord like we covered in the earlier examples I gave. Here's the jam track with both riffs.

Looping Jam Track 5

Michael: Vernon uses these Hendrix techniques for some of their ballads as well. This should help give you deeper understanding on how Vernon Reid uses his Hendrix influences to create riffs for Living Colour. Next week we'll cover Vernon's lead licks.

Ralph: Great Lesson

VB1: Thanks!!!!

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