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Lyle Ronglien >> Rock Legends >>


Hendrix Lesson Sample

Lyle: Hendrix - possibly the number 1 rock guitar legend of all time. Even though his career was brief, he turned the music world upside down with his music and live performances. Hendrix is my favorite all-time rock guitarist because he made his own rules when creating music and tones from his guitar. He used a Strat and a Marshall amp, and many pedal effects, mainly a wha-wha, fuzz/distortion pedal, and a Uni-Vibe, which simulated a rotating speaker like the Leslie, used on organs. So much is written about his life and his techniques, I suggest you read a couple books that I have enjoyed: Setting the Record Straight by John McDermott and Eddie Kramer, Are You Experienced by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.

Lyle: My favorite recordings are: Midnight from War Heroes, Hear My Train a' Comin' (live) from Rainbow Bridge. He is probably best know for setting his guitar on fire, so for this lesson I'd like to teach you the best and safest way to do this. All you'll need is a can of lighter fluid, matches, and a guitar that you don't care if it gets destroyed....

Lyle: ...just kidding... I'd like to teach you several techniques that Hendrix used in his style. If you listen to the lesson sample, I incorporated several riffs that you'll learn in this lesson. One of the main things to learn is how he used his thumb for the bass notes of many chords. Look at this F#7 chord:

F#7 with thumb

Lyle: Use your thumb to cover the 2nd fret of the big string.

Lyle: For the first part of the lesson sample you'll use these chords:

Lyle: Here's the jam track for these chords:

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: You'll play the F#7 and A7 riff like this:

Lyle: For the C and D chords, the Hendrix style is very clear as you'll use your pinky to add extra notes:

Lyle: The C chord has an added 9, while the D chord has an added 6th. Here's a video clip that shows how to play all of those riffs together:

rhythm riff 1

Lyle: Look at this chord chart:

chord chart - rhythm riff 1

Lyle: You know how to play the F#7 to A7 riff using your thumb, then the C to D chord riff, now you need to learn the final E riff which is built around the E major pentatonic scale:

E riff

Lyle: Notice I'm using a clean sound on my guitar for these rhythm riffs. I'm using a single coil pickup, the middle one on my strat style guitar.

Lyle: The next part of the lesson sample uses the thumb again for the bass notes of these two chords:

major chord with thumb

Lyle: Almost by accident, the 5th string will be muted, you want this to happen. Try playing these two chords to this jam track:

Looping Sound Clip 2

opdev: What key is this song in?

Lyle: It's all based around E, but this section is in B. Here's the Hendrix rhythm style of playing these two chords:

rhythm riff 2

Lyle: Remember to use your thumb for the bass note!

Lyle: You've just learned a bunch of cool rhythm techniques Hendrix liked to use, now you'll learn a couple solos in his style.

Lyle: The first solo from the lesson sample is over the first section you learned, rhythm riff 1 - F#7 to A7, C to D. Hendrix would often play minor pentatonic riffs as he followed the chords. Look and listen to the next tab of solo 1:

Lyle: You can click the loop button above the tab so you can jam along to it. Notice the very basic minor pentatonic shape that climbs the neck, following each chord. I'm also using a slight distortion and heavy flanger effect to counter the clean rhythm sound.

Lyle: If you're feeling brave and ready to try all the parts you've learned against a complete jam track, here ya go:

jam track - riffs 1 and 2

Lyle: The second solo in the lesson sample is against the B to A chords - rhythm riff 2. The scale of choice here is perhaps the B major pentatonic.

Lyle: If you are wondering what effect I used for solo 2, I clicked a button in my audio editor which reversed the wave file. Listen back to this tab file and you'll hear the effect:

Lyle: The last part of the lesson sample changes to the key of E for the final solo:

solo 2

Lyle: This last solo uses many effects and heavy distortion. That's one of the things I like about Hendrix, no rules on tone. Just go for it and try new things with your effects, he did. Here's a jam track for this solo:

Looping Sound Clip 4

Lyle: In measure 5 there is a wild bend and release riff. Here's a close up video clip of it:

crazy bend riff

Lyle: As you bend up the 2nd string 1 1/2 steps, you grab the 3rd string on the way up, then pluck the 3rd string as you begin to release the bend.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson on my favorite rock legend. If you would like to learn more of Hendrix's style, songs or riffs, I can teach you these in a customized private lesson using Riff Interactive technology, just for you, and that you can download to your pc.  Email me at and we'll talk about how I can help you.  Thanks - Lyle

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