Jimi Hendrix is regarded as the greatest guitarist of all time and will always be. Part of this reason is because of the influence his playing has had even after his death. The influence that has shaped multiple genres and generations of guitarists. So, who did Jimi Hendrix influence?
Jimi Hendrix influenced all blues and rock guitarists post-1967. Three notable guitarists he has influenced are Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, and Gary Clark Jr. The guitarists Hendrix has influenced created their styles off Jimi’s influence, which influences another generation of guitarists.
Continue reading to learn more about how these guitarists were influenced by Jimi Hendrix and the ways in which this influence emulated in their playing.
What it Means to ‘Influence’ a Guitarist
To influence a guitarist means to greatly affect their playing via your playing. There are many aspects of a guitar player that can influence another. Aspects like play style, technique, tempo, tone, original riffs, etc.
When a guitarist is first learning, they will often emulate their guitar hero. Playing their songs exactly as they are on the record. As a guitarist gets better, there is less copying and more emulating into their style. Their own style starts to develop which encompasses both original playing and the style of their influences.
Find Out What The 5 Best Jimi Hendrix Blues Songs Are – Ranked – Today!
When a guitarist can mix multiple different guitarist styles into one, then they become a great original guitarist.
Who Did Jimi Hendrix Influence and Inspire – 3 Blues Guitarists
Post-1967, Jimi Hendrix influenced most guitarists, especially in the blues, rock, and metal genres. All blues and rock guitarists are influenced by Jimi or at least influenced by another guitarist who was influenced by Jimi. This can be through the use of double stops, a Wah pedal, the Hendrix Chord, raking, etc.
If Jimi is not your favorite guitar player, he is your favorite guitar player’s favorite guitarist.
Let’s take a look at three legendary guitarists who were directly influenced by Hendrix.
1. Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan was greatly inspired and influenced by Jimi Hendrix. He is arguably the best guitarist post-Hendrix that was the most affected by him.
Stevie has covered numerous Hendrix songs, two most famously. His cover of Voodoo Child appeared on SRV’s second album. He did it as a dedication to Jimi with his signature SRV flare. The second is Little Wing, which John Mayer describes as the best guitar song ever performed (SRV’s cover).
“I loved Jimi a lot. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist. He could do anything. I was about sixteen when he died. I could do some of his stuff by then but actually I’ve been trying to find out what he was doing more so lately than I was then. Now I’m really learning how to do it and I’m trying to expand on it – not that I can expand on it a whole bunch. But I try.”Stevie Ray Vaughan Interview
Some of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s other influences were Albert Collins, B.B. King, and Albert King. Stevie mentioned how Jimi Hendrix combine all of these legendary guitarists into his music. Essentially creating the Everest of blues music with a Hendrix flare.
Specifically, Stevie mentioned a few aspects of Jimi’s playing that were the most impactful to him. Aspects like his tone, touch, his application of chords, rhythmic playing, and taking old ideas of blues songs and turning them into modern-day creations. Jimi’s inventive nature and soft-touch spoke to SRV as well as Jimi’s tireless effort to take things like tone further.
Outside of Jimi’s guitar playing, Stevie was also influenced by the method of which Jimi learned. Jimi Hendrix was entirely self-taught and did not know music theory to its completion. Stevie connected with this. Stevie failed music theory class at a young age and it never took after. Knowing Jimi got to the top of the mountain without traditional theory was inspiring to Stevie.
2. John Mayer
Jimi Hendrix is a massive influence on John Mayer. It was Jimi’s rhythm and lead-playing combination that spoke to Mayer the most. John took techniques created and mastered by Hendrix and applied them to his playing. Techniques like the thumb overhang on the low E and multiple embellishments on the same chord.
“Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton. I was gonna be that guy. That style was my calling and it still is.”John Mayer, Charlie Rose Interview
John Mayer’s biggest influence was Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is widely publicized and it is obvious in his playing. Although, the base layer of that influence is Jimi Hendrix. Without Hendrix, SRV’s sound would not be the same as John’s as well.
Discover If Jimi Hendrix Truly Was The Best Guitarist of All Time Here
John discovered Jimi Hendrix by way of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s cover of Little Wing. From there he worked backward and dissected each piece of Jimi’s music, starting with Axis: Bold as Love and followed with Electric Ladyland.
John mentioned in a Rolling Stones article that “Who I am as a guitarist is defined by my failure to become Jimi Hendrix. However far you stop on your climb to be like him, that’s who you are.” These words cannot be truer for any guitarist, especially blues guitarists.
3. Gary Clark Jr
Coming in third for notable blues guitarists that were heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix is Gary Clark Jr.
When listening to Gary’s tone, it is easy to see the comparisons between Hendrix and Clark. Gary often uses heavy fuzz and distortion. A blues tone that Hendrix pioneered.
Aside from Gary’s tone, influenced by Hendrix, his style is just as much. Jimi had a way of playing guitar in an ‘organized chaos’ manner. Gary Clark Jr. does the same. His sound is loud and seemingly chaotic, although true guitarists know just how composed and intentional it is.
“Within a day and a half or so, I’m walking down the hallway and he’s in there playing,” his father says. “Wait a minute. Is that the radio or is that him? I called my wife up and opened up the door, and there he was playing note-for-note Jimi Hendrix.”Geoff Edgers, Washington Post
It seems like Voodoo Child always seems to be the stomping ground for blues guitarists to prove themselves and Gary did just that. You can check out his cover of Voodoo Child here.
When covering Hendrix, caution is needed. If the song does not get the respect and rigor it deserves, then hate will follow. It is a tough song to nail and even tougher to make your own, but Gary accomplishes both.
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