Way to “Ladyland”

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Way to “Ladyland”
All
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Hendrix
the Way to “Ladyland”
ore than two decades after his
tunes overtly modeled
after clean-toned
death, Jimi Hendrix’s remark-
Hendrix classics lie “Castles Made Of Sand”
able rhythm guitar style still
and “One Rainy Wish,” while navigating the
grips the souls and fingers of contemporary
sultry voicings of “Little Wing” remains a rite
players. Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric
of passage for aspiring rock players, even
Johnson, and others have recorded original
those born well after Jimi’s demise.
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The Hendrix rhythm style shatters the Ex. 1 ”
frozen structures of standard barre chord
voicings into a thousand melodic shards.
Rhythm and lead become one. By deftly juggling these harmonic fragments, the player
can create intricate webs of moving lines
that reinforce the underlying chordal skeleton-an indispensable skill for playing in
situations where there’s no keyboard or second guitar to hold down the harmonic fort.
Hendrix didn’t invent these techniques:
like most aspects of his music, their roots lie
in African-American blues and R&B traditions. (Jimi owed a particular debt to Curtis
Mayfield-just
listen to the Impressions’
“People Get Ready.“) But Hendrix introduced
more flexible harmonic schemes, new
added-note sonorities, and an unprecedented fluidity of execution. He twisted R&B’s
somewhat standardized vocal accompaniment techniques into weird new shapes.
Chordal ideas that might have generated an
entire song were toyed with and abandoned
Ex. 3 ,,
in seconds as he hopscotched from idea to
idea without tangling the musical thread.
Hummers
and pulls
Beforediving into the “(HaveYouEverBeen
To) ElectricLadyland”transcription,testthe
waters with these rhythm etudes.Ex. 1,
derivedfrom the familiarE-type barrechord,
demonstratesa key technique:replacinga
fixed-position chord with two- and threenotevoicings,freeinga finger or two to play
addedmelodicfigures.The examplemoves
through different inversionsof the A chord,
addinga hammered-onnon-chordtone at
eachstage.Youcan’tplay it with a flxed slxnotebarre;instead,barrethe top two strings
for the first two beats.Shiftyour 1stfingerto
the 6th fret of the third stringfor beat 3, and
then barrethe fourth and fifth stringsat the
7th fret for beat 4 beforereturning your 1st
fingerto the 5th fret for the final chord.This Ex. 5 ,x
islabor-intensivestuff-three positionshifts
in one bar.
Finger the chord diagramshownabove
Ex. 2 by fretting the bassnote with your
thumb in true Hendrixfashion.Raisingand
loweringyour 3rdfingerintroducesan added
note (B, the 9 of A) situatedbelowthe standardbarredA position.Nowtry the example.
(Again,you can’tjust hold downthe chordin
the diagram:you must continually modify
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HOW TO PLAY GUITAR
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Ex. 6
Ex.
Ex. 10
your left-hand position.) Compare these
added-note voicings to those in Bx. 1 and try
scrambling the two exercises.
Ex. 3 transports the same idea to another fretboard location. (Slide the chord in the
diagram down two frets to open positionyou’ll see that it’s based on a barred version
of an open-position G chord.) Like the previous examples, Ex. 3 is based on the A major
pentatonic scale. But pentatonic scales are
harmonically ambiguous: the first measure
of Ex. 3 can imply A major or F# minorcompare the two endings. (If you don’t
understand the relationship of these two
keys, consult a good theory text or teacher.)
We don’t have to restrict ourselves to pentatonic scales, of course. Ex. 4 encompasses
every degree of the A major scale. (That G#/A
crunch is lovely, ain’t it?) The voicing on the
fourth beat of bar 1 is a stretch, but it sounds
great. You’ll find it in bar 9 of “Electric
Ladyland” and in the intro to the live version
of “LittleWing” on TheJimi Hendrix Concerts.
Ex. 5 shows the same idea in yet another
position, one that corresponds to a C-type
barre chord at the 9th fret. Again, the diatonic
motion can imply either A major or F# minor.
Slip sliding
So much for hammer-ons and pull-offswhat about the sliding harmonies that make
Jimi’s rhythm work sound so liquid? The sliding fourths in Ex. 6 are as old as blues guitar
itself (older, probably-they
sound distinctly
African). At any rate, they’re an R&B staple.
The sliding fourths in Ex. 7 are situated
higher on the neck. Ex. 6 and Bx. 7 are 100%
pentatonic,
so they suit many chord
sequences in both A major and F#’ minor. ‘By
playing them over these progressions: A-D,
A7-D7,A-F#m, F#m-D7, and F#m7-Bm7.
The sliding fifths in Ex. 8 sound a bit
weirder. Try replicating them in other positions and across three strings (for example,
play the first notes of the example at the first
string, 12th fret and third string, 14th fret,
damping the second string).
Jimi often fattened these open fifths with
lower notes. Adding a lower third creates the
minor 7th chord fragments shown in Ex. 9.
The Bm7 and F#m7 are built from the same
harmony, but situated on diierent strings.
Play the low F# with your thumb. (This voicing appears in bar 7 of “Electric Ladyland.“)
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HOW TO PLAY GUITAR
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“Electric Ladyland,” a tune that contains
some of Hendrix’s most bizarre extensions
of these concepts. Harmonic, rhythmic, and
melodic weirdness abounds: The chord progression sidles though several keys via clever
enharmonic tricks; the rhythms often imply
3/4 time (though it’s notated in strict 4/4 for
simplicity’s sake): and the oddball solo
emphasizes the dissonant 7th more than the
tonic. The falsetto vocals are a zonked-out
tip of the hat to the Impressions, and the
twin guitars do-s&do from foreground to
background (though most of the techniques
we’ve covered are played by the first guitar).
It’s notated in A, but Jimi tuned down a half-
Now things get curiouser and curiouser.
Adding a fifth below the fifth creates a
sonorous, but harmonically
ambiguous,
structure-the
first chord in Ex. 10 can
imply Gudd9, Em1 1, C13, Amll, and other
chords. (A favorite of Andy Summers, this
stack-o’-fifths powered many a Police hit.)
Hendrix often reinforced the lowest note by
fretting it an octave below with his thumb,
sometimes adding an open third-string
drone, as shown in the second measure.
Slide this chord up and down the neckyou’ll be playing the “Castles Made Of Sand”
intro before you know it.
You’ll find all these techniques
in
“(Have
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0 1968 Bella Godiva Music, Inc. This
HOW TO PLAY GUITAR
......................”..............*.............*......**.
Joe Gore is the Senior Editor of Guitar Player
You Ever Been To) Electric
By Jimi Hendrix/Transcribed
D
step to Ab. Chords that are merely implied
are indicated in parentheses.
The transcription
comes from Hal
Leonard Publications’
Electric Ladyland
transcription
book, which, together with
their Are You Experienced? and Axis, Bold As
Love volumes are the finest Hendrix transcriptions available (despite a shocking
number of music typos). Finally, don’t miss
the solo guitar version of “Electric Ladyland”
on Hal Leonard’s ]imi Hendrix: Rhythm
instructional CD. Have at it.
l
(Bm7)
arrangement0
/ BLUES
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by Jeff Jones
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1990 Bella Godiva Music. Inc. AU rights reserved.
Ladyland”
International
copyright
(C#m7)
secured. Used by permission
G#m7
of Hal Leonard
Publishing
Corp.
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