Are You Influenced: How Jimi Hendrix Influenced Modern Music 

Topics: MusicPink Floyd

Jimi Hendrix, born James Marshall Hendrix, was a singer and songwriter, and most notably a guitarist. Hendrix began his career in music by playing guitar for other bands. Later on, he helped form the Jimi Hendrix Experience in which he was the singer and guitarist. Jimi had a large impact on music during his short career in the 1960s. He influenced later musicians, changed the sound of guitars in music, and had an impact on the techniques that later guitarists use.

Hendrix influenced many guitarists. According to The Top Tens, he influenced guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, and John Mayer, just to name a few of the many people that have been influenced by him. Jimi’s style and technique are apparent in their playing. Stevie Ray Vaughn even covered one of Hendrix’s songs “Little Wing.” Vaughn plays the song in the manner that Jimi did with his touches on it. Vaughn has an unmistakable type of bluesy riff that he will add into songs which often includes quick hammer-ons and pull-offs.

The influence of Hendrix is still apparent in the song. John Mayer has even been known to cover some of Jimi’s songs on stage. Mayer uses the thumb over neck technique just as Jimi did. Many guitarists do not use their thumbs, but Jimi was known to play chords and use his thumb on the top string to add to the chord. Using the thumb on the top string gives a guitarist the ability to add more bass to a chord that doesn’t use the top string.

Get quality help now
Bella Hamilton

Proficient in: Music

5 (234)

“ Very organized ,I enjoyed and Loved every bit of our professional interaction ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

A simple d chord can be given more character by adding in the second or third fret on the top E string in standard tuning. Standard tuning consists of the tunings, starting with the top string, “EADGBE.”

Hendrix influenced music in many ways, one being his sound. Jimi, a lefty, often played a right-handed Fender Stratocaster strung upside down and played as a left-handed guitar. The Stratocaster helped Jimi create a small part of the sound that he is iconic for. The Stratocaster often has three single coil pickups wired to a selector switch with two tone knobs and a single volume knob. The single coil pickups have a very bright almost “quack” like sound when compared to a humbucker pickup which is often a deeper, clearer sound. The selector switch let him choose which pick-up he wanted to play through. Each of the three pickups on the guitar has the potential to create a different sound. Many of the guitarists influenced by Hendrix use a Fender Stratocaster. John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughn both used a single coil, Fender Stratocaster as their main guitars. The Stratocaster is one of the most prominent guitars in the world of music. It’s the guitar that the controller for the video game “Rock Band” was modeled after. Along with his guitar, Hendrix often used effect pedals. He helped popularize the use of pedals such as the Wah pedal. The Wah pedal can be heard being used by Jimi in songs such as “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and his renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. The Wah pedal is a pedal that almost makes a guitar sound like the sound is inside of a bucket when the pedal is let back. When the pedal is in the down position it adds treble to the sound, it makes a guitar sound very bright and “quacky”. When the pedal is pressed down and let back repeatedly it gives the guitar a sound that can be described as going in and out of a bucket. The Wah pedal can be heard in many newer songs such as “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine, “The Needle And The Spoon” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and many more.

Along with his sound, Hendrix used unique techniques that have carried into newer music. Hendrix was known to play with his thumb over the top of the guitar neck to hit his top string. Along with this, he was known to use pentatonic scales, octaves, sharp 9 chords, and many others. A basic pentatonic scale can be played starting on the top string on any fret. It starts on the top string and will work its way down to the bottom string. He also used octaves which are the same note but in a higher key. His use of octaves can be heard in the song “Purple Haze” where Jimi uses the octave of the sixth fret on the top string which is the eighth fret on the third string down from the top. Octaves can be heard in way too many songs to count. They can be prominent or very subtle. Hendrix was also known for using sharp 9 chords. Most notable is the “E7#9” chord or as some may call it the “Hendrix Chord.” According to Fender, “The 7#9 chord is an extended dominant 7th chord with an augmented (sharpened) ninth. This chord form got its nickname because it was a favorite of Hendrix, who did a great deal to popularize its use in mainstream rock music.” Jimi can be heard doing this in many songs, namely “Purple Haze” which uses the “Hendrix Chord” as one of its main chords. A variant of the sharp nine chords is used in “Breath” by Pink Floyd.

All in all, Jimi Hendrix was very influential in his short career. He inspired many well-known guitarists, influenced the sound of guitars in newer songs, and influenced the techniques that many newer guitarists use. Most people know Jimi Hendrix, even if they are not big classic rock fans. His name and his legacy have survived the years and his career, though short, left its mark on the history of music. For years to come, the guitarist will continue to influence by Jimi Hendrix. Even myself, I have been playing guitar since I was four. I find myself using my Fender Strat to emulate his sound, using my Wah pedal in songs that may not have even been written with one in mind, and using techniques such as using my thumb to hit the top string, using pentatonic scales, and often using the “Hendrix chord.” New music will come and go, but the music, styles, and techniques of Jimi Hendrix will live on as long as the guitar itself does.

Cite this page

Are You Influenced: How Jimi Hendrix Influenced Modern Music . (2022, Aug 16). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7