Whenever we talk about Jimi Hendrix, we always talk about his blazing lead guitar licks and wild on-stage antics, but underneath the wild guitar heroics lives a rhythm style that is unique and inimitable.
Here are four chords that Hendrix used on a regular basis to craft his ferocious rhythmic style.
This chord is known as The Hendrix Chord. It’s a dominant 7 chord with an added #9. The #9 is a note we typically view as a minor note, it’s also the note known as the b3, but played an octave higher.
This can most famously be heard in Purple Haze and is often paired with the open Low E string.
If we look at this chord based on the notes present, it’s just an A Major Chord with the major 3rd, C#, placed into the bass. However, the sound of this inversion is something Hendrix uses to great effect. Check out the intro for All Along the Watchtower to hear this in action.
These sus2 triad shapes can be moved around easily. They’re rooted off the D string but the G is left muted. Sus2 chords are useful for creating tension inside a chord progression, but Hendrix would also use a series of these chords to create melody inside chord lines, as he does in Little Wing.
Barre Chords as Triads
Ok, so this one is two chords for the price of one. Hendrix would always play major and minor chords as a triad with his thumb playing the root note. This frees up the little finger to add extensions and embellishments. Any Hendrix song will have these chord shapes present, including Bold As Love.