JIMI HENDRIX: "Handel and Bach and Muddy Waters, Flamenco Type of Thing-If I Can Get That Sound, I'd Be Happy"

By Obrecht, Las | Guitar Player, January 1992 | Go to article overview

JIMI HENDRIX: "Handel and Bach and Muddy Waters, Flamenco Type of Thing-If I Can Get That Sound, I'd Be Happy"


Obrecht, Las, Guitar Player


A GENERATION has passed since his death, but Jimi Hendrix remains the consummate rock guitarist. He was interviewed twice for Guitar Player.

On October 10-12, 1968, the Jimi Hendrix Experience gave six concerts at San Francisco's Winterland. Between performances, Jimi was interviewed for the December '68 cover story. Here are excerpts.

Soloing: I like to play lead sometimes so I can express myself. But the way I play lead is a raw type of way; it comes to you naturally. You can't just get stuck up on guitar; you have to use a little bit of imagination and break away. There's millions of other kinds of instruments. There's horns, guitars, everything. Music is getting better and better, but the idea is not to get as complicated as you can, but to get as much of yourself into it as you can. Music has to go places.

Elettric Ladyland sessions: All my songs happen on the spur of the moment. On some records you hear all this clash and bang and fanciness, but all we're doing is laying down the guitar tracks and then we add echo here and there, but we're not adding false electronic things. We use the same thing anyone else would, but we use it with imagination and common sense. Like "House Burning Down," we made the guitar sound like it was on fire. It's constantly changing dimensions, and up on top that lead guitar is cutting through everything.

Naked feelings: When I don't say "thank you" or I turn my back to the audience, it's not against them; I'm just doing that to get a certain thing out. I might be uptight about the guitar being out of tune or something. Things have to go through me, and I have to show my feelings as soon as they're there. Like these two guitars I have now, they've been around for a while and they just don't stay in tune. They might slip out of tune right in the middle of the song, and I'll have to start fighting to get back in tune. We tune up between every song because it's not a Flash Gordon show--everything all neat and rehearsed--it's not one of those kind of things. It's important for us to get our music across the best way we can. It means we have to do it natural, like tuning up before songs.

Watching others: When I see a group, I look for feeling--and not the jump-around kind of feeling. And then I look for togetherness, a communication between the musicians. Originality comes about fourth or fifth.

Advice for struggling guitarists: It's pretty hard to give advice, but if these guys have really gotten into it and everyone--mothers and friends--have said "Wow," then they should try to get in touch with a major musician or have a representative of a record company come to one of their gigs. …

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