Jimi Hendrix

From a child who couldn’t afford a ukulele, to the main act at Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix is the most incredible guitar player that has ever lived. Although Jimi only had the privilege to see a few years of his own fame, his legacy and the way he expanded and experimented with the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar has been left behind, and will be remembered forever.

As a young boy, Jimi was very underprivileged. His father suffered with alcoholism and consistently struggled to make ends meet. He was frequently moved from home to home while his

Jimi plays the uke live
Jimi plays the uke live

parents separated, leaving Jimi in the care of his grandmother in Vancouver. While helping his father with a side job, he found a ukulele with one string amongst a pile of junk they were removing from a woman’s home. Upon seeing Jimi`s fascination with the ukulele, she let him bring it home. He learned by ear single notes on the one string uke and gained the ability to play along with his favorite songs, especially Elvis Presley’s rendition of “Hound Dog”.

Jimi acquired his first guitar when he was 15 and quickly mastered the instrument. The guitar was right-handed, although Jimi was left-handed. To accommodate this, Jimi flipped the guitar around a played it upside down, which is how he played his guitar for the rest of his career. Jimi`s hands were so big that they wrapped around the fret board completely,

You can see how Jimi has the guitar flipped around in this picture. This is how he always played guitar.
You can see how Jimi has the guitar flipped around in this picture. This is how he always played guitar.

allowing him to play the top 3 strings with his thumb to create the effects of two guitars playing at once, a feat impossible for guitar players with normal sized hands. He also used normally undesired side effects of an electric amplifier like gain and feedback to his advantage, producing never before heard masterpieces.

 

Gig after gig, band after band, Jimi worked his way up the ladder all the way to the top, although he didn’t like playing the same set over and over because he thought it was boring. With gaining popularity, Jimi hooked up with a British producer who helped him produce “Hey Joe”, which skyrocketed his sound and style even further. He

hooked up with bass player Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, who complemented his folky blues style. Together they formed what is known as “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”.

The Experience was a huge hit and skyrocketed to the top of the charts, earning 1st on the list most of the time,

Jimi plays with Billy Cox
Jimi plays with Billy Cox

sometimes falling behind to songs of The Beatles. However, Redding had grown tired of Jimi`s style of jamming and left the group, in which Jimi claims is a “completely new, never before heard” version of the songs preformed. Redding was quickly replaced with Billy Cox.

By 1969, Hendrix was the highest paid rock artist in the world. That year he was asked to headline the Woodstock music festival. Upon Jimi accepting, he was given the very last yet most anticipated performance of the event. His performance included a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”, in which he used the feedback from the amplifier to replicate sounds of explosions and rockets flying. After playing the song in red, white, and blue and not having slept in 3 days, Jimi walked off the stage and collapsed of exhaustion.

Like most musicians during the 60`s and 70`s, Jimi was a heavy user of almost every type of drug. He enjoyed everything from pot to cocaine, but gave way to his girlfriend’s sleeping pills. After taking 18 times the recommended dosage of the barbiturate, he died from asphyxia at age 27. Although Jimi`s living popularity only lasted a few years, his legacy and the way he opened up new possibilities in music has changed the world forever.

Jimi`s legacy still lives on today
Jimi`s legacy still lives on today

 

 

Works Cited

Unknown. Hendrix Uke. Digital image. Pinterest. Pinterest, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <https://www.pinterest.com/pin/117726977733159267/>.

“12 Things You Never Knew About Jimi Hendrix.” Clash Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://www.clashmusic.com/feature/12-things-you-never-knew-about-jimi-hendrix>.

“Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hey Joe Live.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3JsuWz4xWc>.

“Billy Cox – The Woodstock Whisperer.” The Woodstock Whisperer. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://woodstockwhisperer.info/2015/10/18/billy-cox/>.

“Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock 1969).” Vimeo. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <https://vimeo.com/90907436>.

“Jimi Hendrix: The Legacy.” Rolling Stone. N.p., 06 Feb. 1992. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jimi-hendrix-the-legacy-19920206>.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix>.

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2016. <http://www.biography.com/people/jimi-hendrix-9334756>.

4 thoughts on “Jimi Hendrix”

  1. I really love this article! it was really interesting, and one of my favorite things about it is that you included videos, and music to really let the reader get a deeper feel for how well he played. From this i learnt quite a lot about him, like how he started playing (which was super interesting) and also how he died. I would like to know how old he was when he died, but thats about it! and i think you really worked with your pictures and videos/music clips very very well! and i can’t really give you my own experience with the topic, but i have tried to play guitar, and I’m jealous that he has big hands because i can’t really play that well because my hands aren’t that big. Really found this article cool tho!

  2. I really liked this article! I really found the most interesting was how you included his influences on many genres of music and how he even added his own unique style to them as well. I also learned a lot more about Jimmy himself be cause I did not know a whole lot about him before reading this article. I would like to know more about his life in general and understand how he lived and what not. I really like the images and the soundbyte you included because it helped me understand who he was and what he sounded like. I honestly thought the images were spot on and you couldn’t really have done any better, maybe included one when he was but kid but thats about it. My dad listens to Jimmy Hendrix but I never really listened to it so this definitely a very informative and interesting article.

    1. Thank you for your feedback john. I would also like to know more about Jimi`s life. Unfortunately, he died far before he was able to reveal more information about his life.

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