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

As a guitar instructor at Long & McQuade, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.

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Little Wing • Progression

This is the basic chord progression to Jimi's monster tune, Little Wing.

Based in the key of G Major-Em, this song has been covered many times. Blues players such as Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, even shredders Skid Row and Steve Vai, have had a go at it.

I have transcribed this with rhythm slashes, all downstrokes and a mixture of open chords and barre chords.

Once the chords have been worked out, try to create a full strumming pattern. Since the tempo is slow, try a mixture of eight and sixteenth note slashes:

Example of a strumming pattern

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Little Wing Chord Progression

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Little Wing • Chord Progression

The Genius Of Jimi Hendrix

Little Wing With Fills • Part One

I composed this version from the basic progression using ideas and techniques from the hub Rock Guitar • Jimi Hendrix Chord Fills

Em in measure one is based around the open Em chord. The last eighth note is an F sharp passing tone moving into the G Major barre shape at the third fret. The last two beats of measure two are single note fills from the G Major-Em Pentatonic Scale Box Pattern #3.

Measure three moves into an Am barre shape at the fifth position. The fills are taken from C Major-Am Pentatonic Box Pattern #1 (the second note of beat four is a B, taking the sound back into G Major-Em Pentatonic).

Measure four is a repeat of measure one without the F sharp passing tone.

Measure five moves into Bm9 at the seventh position. The minor 9th chord is a beautiful sounding chord, and the embellishment really adds to the overall sound. The last chord of measure five (A sharp minor seventh) acts as a chromatic passing chord into Am7. Once again, the fill is in C Major-Am Pentatonic Box Pattern #1, with the B and A of beat four moving into the G in measure seven. The fill on the G chord comes from G Major-Em Pentatonic Box Pattern #2.

The F Major in measure seven, has been re-harmonized to form F suspended 2. This is the chord that Jimi played in the intro. It is a true suspended chord, because the third (A) has been replaced by G. The fill is from F Major-Dm Pentatonic Box Pattern #2.

Measure eight is the C Major open shape with the fill coming from C Major-Am Pentatonic Box Pattern #1.

Finally, measure nine is a chord fragment from the D Major barre shape at the fifth position. The fills are played around D Major-Bm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1, with the last note (C sharp), leading into the single note D in measure ten. The trick with this style of playing is to make it sound like it is being improvised on the spot. Take these ideas and try creating your own. A slight change in the phrasing or note choice will make a huge difference.


Major Pentatonic ScaleRelative Minor Pentatonic Scale

C Major

A minor

G Major

E minor

D Major

B minor

A Major

F sharp minor

E Major

C sharp minor

B Major

G sharp minor

F Major

D minor

B flat Major

G minor

E flat Major

C minor

A flat Major

F minor

D flat Major

B flat minor

Little Wing With Fills

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Little Wing With Fills

A more robust version with fret hand muting and more chord stabs. The trick is to make it sound improvised.

Jimi's masterpiece.

Comments

Media Creeks on September 10, 2016:

Thank you for this Hub. this was very great full Hub.