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Contributed by: Mason Keyser

The Pantheon of Blues Gods is a crowded place, full of great names and awe-inspiring musicians. It would be impossible to cover them all adequately, but Jamplay has selected a handful that each offer a little something different to the new guitarist or someone returning to the instrument. First we’ll be covering Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix — three great guitarists who have inspired millions of people to pick up the six string. Whether you just bought your first guitar, or you just dusted off the acoustic sitting in your closet, you’ll find something worth learning from these three legendary players.

Let’s talk Jimi Hendrix.

No other musician had more of an influence on the path of the electric guitar in the 20th century than Jimi Hendrix. His legacy is unmatched, especially when you consider how he spent only about ten years of his short life as a performing musician. Nevertheless, Jimi has been an influence on just about every guitarist born since 1955, and we have all tried to channel his sound and his style at one time or another. It is only fitting then, that we try to do so again right here.

Jimi is one of those few guitarists where, if you want to replicate his sound, the guitar really matters. He was known for his flipped ’68 Stratocaster, but you don’t have to bust your 401k to get the sound of that guitar. Because Hendrix was so inspiring and popular among generations of guitarists over the past fifty years, Fender has produced “Jimi” style Stratocasters in virtually every price range of their production. If you can’t get a strat, just aim for a guitar with single coil pickups and a long scale neck. You want the brightness and tonal elasticity that comes with those two features.

Just like our friend Eric Clapton, Jimi used a cranked 100 watt Marshall head with 4×12 cabinets, but I’m willing to bet you can’t play Woodstock level volume. Thankfully, amp companies have developed attenuators so you can get a roaring Marshall tone without ending a marriage or needing to schedule an appointment for hearing aids. 

Alternatively, you can use digital amp emulators with a “crunch” or “British” setting to build the canvas for your tone.  Most modern “solid state” amps feature a wide array of amp emulators, so you should have no trouble finding the necessary amp sound for a good price.

Here’s where you want to spend your money. Jimi liked his effects. He made sure his pedals got played. Jimi favored the temperamental Fuzz Face, Octavian fuzz, Uni Vibe tone, tape delay, and Vox wah pedal. Dunlop released the Jimi Hendrix “’69 Psych Series” micro pedals in 2019 which do a good job of attaining his tone without taking up a whole lot of space on your pedalboard. But if you’re looking for the bare minimum, prioritize the fuzz pedal and wah pedal.

It’s hard to play like Jimi and not feel like an impostor. I’d advise against spending too much time replicating his stage antics and his fashion sense, both of which were extraordinary, and probably very costly. Do not set fire to your guitar. Do not wear platform heels. Instead, focus on trying to further what Jimi did. And what did Jimi do?”

Jimi blew your mind.

Jimi shocked and amazed just about every audience he got his hands on.

But here’s the thing, if you try to go up on stage and play like Jimi, you’re going to sound great, you’re going to feel great, but you’ll never go where Jimi went. Because Jimi Hendrix broke new ground, and he didn’t do that by playing like everyone else that went before him.

So you gotta try something different. That might sound hard at first, very hard in fact, but if you can learn to look at your guitar and think not of what you’ve already played, but what you might play next, you’ll get it. When you’re soloing in a pentatonic scale, try to deconstruct all the little licks and riffs you know by heart and recombine them into some Frankenstein’s monster. Remember, as long as you’re in time and in key, you won’t sound bad!

Most of what Jimi played is well within the physical range of most people. To match his playing ability is a question of dexterity and finesse which, through a few months of practice, you can definitely attain.

In JamPlay’s skill of the week video lesson, focused on fret hand strength, you’ve got a step-by-step guide to get you started. 

What will require a bit more personal practice is a mastery of your wah pedal and your effects. 

Normally I shy away from spending too much time on pedals. Too easily they serve more as a distraction than an aid to the music. In Jimi’s case, they are fundamental building blocks of his sound. So, you want your foot working that wah pedal to be as dextrous and natural as your fingers when you play. You want your fuzz tone to be on point, and your amp and guitar tone to blend in such a way makes the hairs on your neck stand up when you hear yourself play.

Jimi Hendrix was an unparalleled performer, but don’t let that stop you from trying to walk further down the path he created for the guitarists that have come after his death.

You can’t play just like Jimi, but you can play in the style and the same zone, and that’s what it really means to sound like your idol.

JamPlay is home to more than 500,000 guitarists with guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Join at

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