By Chris Elmore
Who would have thought that a self-taught musician who, as a boy, wanted a guitar so desperately he made one out of a broom before acquiring a one-stringed ukulele, would eventually be hailed by many as one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in rock music history?
Jimi Hendrix, born in 1942, served in the US army as a paratrooper in his youth. Having taught himself the guitar, he played the US' 'Chitlin Circuit' of clubs before moving to New York, earning a spot as the new guitarist for the The Isley Brothers' band before joining Little Richard's back-up band and others.
On moving to London in 1966, he formed a trio - The Jimi Hendrix Experience - which gained rapid popularity in Europe. Jimi became known for entertaining showmanship, which sometimes included setting his guitar on fire! With a landmark appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and huge success of album 'Are You Experienced?' Jimi became a world-wide star. Hendrix was the headline artist at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, where he played his controversial war-like fuzz-guitar version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner'.
Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 in 1970, having recorded only three fully-conceived studio albums and more than 300 unreleased recordings. With his unique style of playing guitars upside down ('left-handed') and restrung to suit him, Hendrix is credited with taking the electric guitar to a higher level. Hendrix aimed to mix what he called 'earth', a blues, jazz, or funk driven rhythm accompaniment, with 'space', the high-pitched psychedelic sounds he improvised on his guitar.
Hendrix played a key role in making the Fender Stratocaster the biggest-selling electric guitar in history and making popular the use of guitar distortion using effects pedals, including the wah-wah pedal, and units. He pioneered in the recording studio, experimenting with stereophonic and phasing effects. With his albums among the most influential of the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix changed rock music as the world knew it.
If you've always wanted to learn lead guitar and blow away your audience, Elmore Music has developed a site that shows you how to play advanced lead guitar in an easy step by step format that bypasses traditional guitar lessons.
Go to: http://www.guitarleads.com.au/ and sign up for free online guitar lessons via email.
Chris Elmore is a pro guitarist who has featured on Channel 7 News, produced 3 CD's, and appeared on Hits FM Radio... as well as performed live on stage to thousands of people.
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