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How To Play Rhythm Guitar Jimi Hendrix Style • Little Wing Variations • Part Three

With 40 years of teaching professionally, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.


Little Wing With Fills • Part Three

Building further on Part Two, this is the most challenging version to play. Some parts are very close to Jimi's intro. Here is a measure to measure breakdown:

Measure one

As in Part Two, this transcription starts with the open E sixth string, followed by an Em Root 5 barre chord in the seventh position. The muted strokes in the second half of beat two, are easier to execute with the barre shape. Simply release the pressure on the fret-hand to create the 'chuck' sound. Keep your hand in the same position to play beats three and four. These beats are based in Em Pentatonic Box Pattern #4. The sixteenth and thirty second notes are very fast, but the hammer-on makes the phrase a little easier to play.

Measure two

This measure is exactly the same as Part Two, with the fills based in G Major-Em Pentatonic Box Pattern #2.

Measure three

The fills are in C Major-Am Pentatonic. They move from Box Pattern #2, in the eighth position to Box Pattern #5 in the third position. Memorizing these five Major-minor Pentatonic Box Patterns, in all keys, is essential to this style of rhythm playing. These are the most used scales in all genres of guitar playing. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Angus Young (AC/DC), Albert Lee, Stevie Ray Vaughn, all these players have utilized this scale extensively.

Measure four

These notes, as in Part Two, are based in the Em Blues Scale . As stated before, that one note (flat fifth, in this case B flat) adds a huge amount of grit to the Pentatonic scale. This is a dissonant sound, that is, it is not pleasing to the ear, kind of like running your fingers across a chalk board. The opposite of dissonance is consonance. Consonant tones are a normal sound, that the ear recognizes. Major scales are consonant.

Measure five

This measure is exactly the same as Part Two. The dyads are based in D Major-Bm or more precisely, B Aeolian.

Measure six

There are two chords in this measure, Am and it's relative major C. As in measure three, the fills move from Box Pattern #2 at the eighth position into Box Pattern #5 at the third position. The only difference being, of course, that the chord changes on beat three.

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Measures seven

Jimi's playing often involved this kind of chordal movement. The intro to Castles Made Of Sand is an excellent example. The first chord of beat two is actually a G5 power chord. Power chords consist of two notes: the first and fifth interval (in this case: G and D). The next chord, based in the fifth position, can be thought of as another G form: G Major 6/9. It is a bit of a stretch, due to the fact that some of the intervals that are contained in this chord are missing. Chord spelling for the shape in the transcription is G (root), A (ninth), and E (sixth). A full Major 6/9 chord would be G (root), B (third), D (fifth), and E (sixth). The second half of beat three moves to Fsus2 shape from Parts One and Two. The three chords have a suspended, droning sound. The second half of beat four is simply the top four open strings. This chord could be thought of as a G Maj6 ( chord spelling: G, B, D, E) or an Em7 (chord spelling: E (root), G (minor third), B (fifth), and D (minor seventh). Many chords with the same notes have different names.

Measure eight

This is simply an open C major shape, with the fill based in C Major-Am Pentatonic Box Pattern #1.

Measure nine

The fills in this measure are based in D Major-Bm Pentatonic. They move from Box Pattern #2, in beat two, to Box Pattern #5 in beat three and finally Box Pattern #1 in beat four. All the ornaments (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs) are a staple of this style.

Major Pentatonic ScaleRelative Minor Pentatonic Scale

C Major: C D E G A C

A minor: A C D E G A

G Major: G A B D E G

E minor: E G A B D E

D Major: D E F sharp A B D

B minor: B D E F sharp A B


Little Wing With Fills • Part 3

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