The Jimi Hendrix Scale - Part One


The minor pentatonic scale is pretty much a sacred scale when it comes to playing blues and rock guitar. It's simplicity can go a very long way. But, check out what happens when we lower all the roots down a half step...




Everyone has played it, and everyone knows the shape. This is the Minor pentatonic scale (below). Have a run through it off of the 5th position to create the "A Minor Pentatonic."...

MINOR PENTATONIC:


There's no arguing that this scale is great, and it has hundreds of uses. But, things change a little with all the roots are dropped down a half step.

THE JIMI HENDRIX SCALE:


You can see right away that there's a strong visual resemblance to our original A minor pentatonic shape, (as it looks nearly identical).




But it’s also easy to spot where our roots have shifted down by one fret on the 1st string, 4th string, and 6th string. By making that change, our A minor pentatonic scale has transformed into an E7#9b13 arpeggio. This makes it an excellent choice for use over Jimi's favorite chord type... the "E7(#9)."

The "Hendrix" Chord:
The shape of the Jimi Hendrix chord includes the "E, G#, D and G." These tones also exist inside of the "Jimi Hendrix" scale.

If we play the “Jimi Hendrix Chord” off of an "E," and then follow it with the scale built from the chords "major 3rd," (G#), we get a sound that is instantly recognizable as the "Hendrix" sound. Try it for yourself below...




The "Hendrix" Sound:

Click on image to enlarge full-screen

I hope this gets you started in playing over the Hendrix Chord chord with more interesting melodic intention and sophistication. 

The straight-forward pentatonic scale is always great, and none of us will ever stop using it, but discovering a new place to go with chord sound is not only a lot of fun but a fantastic way to expand what your ears are hearing.

Click here to view Part Two of this lesson. 
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