Anthony Xiong Professor Applegate AEP2
25 December 2013
Jimi Hendrix: The God of Guitar
“Everybody come alive, everybody live alive, everybody love alive, everybody hear my message.” Although died at 27, the golden age for an excellent genius, Jimi Hendrix will always stay alive in the music world. The Experience's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography states: “Jimi Hendrix was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound ...view middle of the document...
It was an English-American rock band composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Recognized as hugely influential in the development of the hard rock and heavy metal music genres during the late-1960s and beyond, the Experience was best known for the skill, style and charisma of their frontman, Hendrix. He held a concurrent post as lead and rhythm guitarist, which provided more room for musical creation. All three of the band's studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968), were featured in the top 100 of the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at positions 15, 82 and 54 respectively.
His rock and roll style is impressionistic, with strong symbolization and rich expression of beautiful things. In an interview with Dick Carvett on September 9, 1969, Jimi performed “Izabella & Machine Gun” in a “heterogeneous” style, integrating African tribal rhythms for better live performance. In his mind, different styles showed a diversity of melodious symbols. Cavett called the style “unorthodox”, but Jimi commented that the song was "not unorthodox" and that what he played was
beautiful. In the meantime, unlike the Beatles who used unusual instruments such as copper tube and Indian sitar, Jimi described distinct voices only in guitar. In his rendition of the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, he simulated the sound of war with guitar (including machine guns, bombing and people screaming), which revealed the general wave of anti - Americanism. This piece of impressionist techniques also became the inner monologue of many Americans in turbulent times.
Influenced by blues artists such Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix absorbed elements of blues in his masterpieces. On one hand, in order to achieve a greater sense of emotional outlet, he inherited the “call and response” scheme, commonly found in African and African-American music. On the other hand, improvisation accounted for a large proportion in his music, representing a free, unconstrained spiritual level. With a perfect fusion of root music and modern forms, Jimi made a great contribution to the development of blues rock music.
After his death, Led Zeppelin, Bod Dylan and Stevie Ray Vaughan found a lot of inspiration from his work and gave salute to him in many occasions. Eric Clapton, another legendary guitarist commented: “He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn't in an upstaging sense at all, and that was
it ... He walked off, and my life was never the same again.”
Distortion or Feedback? A Piece of Cake!
Invented in 1931, the electric guitar became a necessity as jazz musicians
sought to amplify their sound in the big band format. After years,...