What Made Hendrix Great?

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We recently ran a poll asking you guys who you thought the most influential Strat player of all time was, and when the polls closed, 38% of you said that Jimi Hendrix was the most influential Strat player, with Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn each getting 18% of the vote.

So what is it that made Jimi Hendrix so influential? What is it about the man that decades after he died he is still consistently voted as the most influential Strat player of all time?

Hendrix is one of the guys who brought the guitar into the light. There were other players at the time who could, from a technical perspective, play just as well as Hendrix, but he had a flare that was unmatched at the time.

More than that, Hendrix incorporated a vast majority of different playing styles in his music. He could jump from R&B to blues effortlessly. With a majority of players at the time, you could listen to one or two of their songs and get a good idea of what they were about, but with Hendrix you would need to listen to his entire body of work to fully understand what he was about.

There is a great story about Hendrix. He would often pitch up to a show without a guitar. He would go to a roadie, give him some money and tell the roadie to go to the closest music store and buy a white Strat. He would then restring the guitar to left handed and go on stage and play.

His style and stage presence was unmatched, and it’s that style that lingers to this day. We’ve all seen the pics or videos of him playing the guitar behind his back, playing the guitar with his teeth (not recommended – it is bad for your teeth) or burning his guitar. He would get on the stage and dominate it, the audience was sucked into the spectacle of the man on stage. During a time best known for an anti-establishment atmosphere, this rebellious showmanship elevated Hendrix to Rock Star status.

Hendrix got his first break because of Chas Chandler, the Bass player from “Eric Burden and The Animals”. Chas took Jimi to England where he formed “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on the drums.

The bands first hit was Hey Joe, recorded in 1966. While touring around London, Hendrix got to meet guys like Clapton, Jeff Beck, ,Brian Jones,Pete Townshend and The Beatles which sky rocketed Jimi’s career.

To this day modern bands name Hendrix as an influence. His songs and image are still recognised by young people. You can go to any music festival and you are almost guaranteed to see someone wearing a Hendrix T-Shirt.


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