Hendrix - was he really that good?

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Vic Lewis VL
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Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 22nd, 2012, 3:31 pm

Disclaimer - I've never been a big fan of the so-called shredders. EVH, SRV, Yngwie, Satriani - without exception, they leave me cold. 30 seconds, I've got to find something with a melody.....

Now, there are guitarists who can really tear it up - Knopfler, Gilmour etc.

And then there's the guy who seems to top most polls which ask you to vote for all-time greatest guitarist....that's Hendrix. Personally, most of his music leaves me cold - All Along The Watchtower, Hey Joe, Angel, Wind Cries Mary and Little Wing are about the only JH songs I actually enjoy. As for the rest...over the top shredding, lots of FX, lousy vocals, man I could find a HUNDRED faults if I listened long enough.

He re-defined the electric guitar....he showed us what was possible.....nobody else could do what Jimi did....

Fair enough, but why would anyone want to do what Jimi did? To me, most of his musical output was just a noise...almost white noise....for example, Machine Gun - the Hendrix fans will tell you, "man, watch his technique....that's amazing guitar playing!" I can listen to it for about 10-15 seconds, then I have to put some proper music on...something with melody, something with a beat, something tasteful.

Sorry....I just don't get it. I can appreciate how skilful he was - I can appreciate how influential he was. But...musically? Forget it, whenever I hear a Hendrix record on the radio I tend to look for another channel....am I alone in this?

:D :D :D

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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by Alan Green » August 22nd, 2012, 10:51 pm

It would be good to hear something that's not one of the Big Four on the radio.

I've heard worse vocals but I agree that JH didn't have the world's greatest voice. Technique-wise, we can all do what he did, and these days of computer-based recording systems and multi-FX boxes mean we can all sound like that. Where he did raise the bar was his use of the guitar as something which wasn't just a tool to strum chords on.

It's popular these days to rubbish Andres Segovia's classical guitar technique, his "slowing down" of the difficult parts of a tune, and his over-use of the idioms of the day. Where he still stands head and shoulders over everyone else is for what he left behind - acceptance of the guitar on the concert stage, an ever-expanding repertory and a big new audience. If you consider JH in the same way you'll find he was a similar influence. It's not always about technical skills.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by almann1979 » August 23rd, 2012, 3:29 am

Vic I would struggle to name more than a handful of Hendrix songs, but for me, songs like little wng really helped my own playing.

I really studied how he made the chord progression sound interesting and it has really helped me create rhythm parts that are intricate and add something to a song, rather than just strum along.

On YouTube there are endless "Hendrix chord tricks" lessons, and what he did wa not too different to the likes of Eric Johnson.

I am not a fan of his music, although, I do like little wing... But I did learn a lot from him, perhaps more than any other player I have looked at.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by EzraplaysEzra » August 23rd, 2012, 4:47 am

There are a lot of faults with Hendrix recordings but I don't think he was overly concerned with the minute of perfection, his concern was his musical expression. I hear well crafted songs, original and colorful subject matter, amazing use of rhythm and time and boundless creativity.
The "over the top shedding" was unheard of in pop music and more akin to what Charlie Parker and Miles Davis were doing at that time, "Lousy vocals" maybe, but completely original and impossible to evoke with out sounding like a cheese ball - who could have pulled that off for him? Lots of effects, that he pioneered, explored, developed and introduced - that we all use today live and in the studio. (the fuzz face, rams horn, wah, back masking, tape flanging, the marshall stack - the first place most anyone heard or seen any of those things were through Hendrix - and try to name three rock guitar players associated with the Strat between Holly and Hendrix)
Not to mention personality, swagger, performance, drama...
"most of his musical output was just noise..." With all do respect, Vic, everything I read from you from this point forward is suspect. You don't like his music, fine, I haven't listened to Hendrix in years but if you don't get why its good (or relevant and appreciated) you might want to take up collie breading or something less inspired. I jest, but seriously the next time I read a post from you I'll think; sure, vic makes an interesting point... but he thinks Hendrix is just a punk kid making noise... so...

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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by cnev » August 23rd, 2012, 11:18 am

I think Vic that because you don't like his music you don't see the talent that he brought to the table. I think that's the way most people look at music.

Personally I'm not a big fan of Hendrix don't hate his voice but it's not that pleasing to my ears to listen too. I wouldn't consider Hendrix a shredder per se. Many of his recodings are out of tune etc but like Ezra said I don't think that was his concern. I will say he opitomozed rock n roll back then.

But I don't think an argument anyone can raise, will change your opinion much. You like what you like there's nothing wrong with that.

Maybe Mark Knopfler can tear it up but his music never did much for me either, he had a couple hits and if he hadn't come out with Money for Nothing right when MTV was born he probably wouldn't have half the audience that he has.

And as much of an argument you might have as to way he can tear it up still won't change my opinion of him. To me his rock n roll was on the light side.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by fleaaaaaa » August 23rd, 2012, 11:38 am

Vic Lewis VL wrote: And then there's the guy who seems to top most polls which ask you to vote for all-time greatest guitarist....that's Hendrix. Personally, most of his music leaves me cold - All Along The Watchtower, Hey Joe, Angel, Wind Cries Mary and Little Wing are about the only JH songs I actually enjoy. As for the rest...over the top shredding, lots of FX, lousy vocals, man I could find a HUNDRED faults if I listened long enough.



Vic
I am a massive Hendrix fan..... I think everyone here knows that and he practically taught me how to play. However before I played guitar I listened to Hendrix and I loved him then and now and always. What strikes me about what you have written is that you seem to have half-arsed this whole thing. You say the only Hendrix tracks you like are Hey Joe, Angel, Wind Cries Mary and Little Wing and I don't believe that. I believe you would also enjoy these:
Castles Made of sand
Bold As love
One Rainy Wish
Wait til tommorow
51st Anniversary
Remember
Have you ever been (to electric ladyland)

Maybe I am wrong on that....... the other thing it seems to me is that from what you have posted that you prefer soft safe stuff I mean I love Pink Floyd... but they never rattle the cage (not in their most famous stage anyway) and Dire Straits is also soft so.... do you listen to any visceral noisier rock? Anyway I suggest opening your mind a little because Hendrix is not noise :P never was. He was however...... the godfather of hard rock and I listened to him alongside the 90s bands I got so heavily into.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by almann1979 » August 23rd, 2012, 12:05 pm

Music is a very personal thing. it is easy not to like somebody's music, but still appreciate they have talent.

Personally, I hate Malmsteen, but obviously recognise his talent.

I don't think this is any different. Hendrix is a big guitar influence to me, I have learned a huge amount from the way he played (via YouTube video lessons in his style). But.... Apart from little wing, I would turn the radio off if one of his songs come on, I find them boring.

That is by no means to say he isn't worth listening to.. It's just my personal taste.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by greybeard » August 23rd, 2012, 12:12 pm

I understand what Vic is saying -- and I agree with him.

We both grew up in the North of England around the same time (I come from the best side of the Pennines, though...)

We were spoilt rotten with music. There was a burgeoning live music scene - just about every pub and club had live music at least once a week. The music that was popular was melodic - people could sing or whistle most of the well known tunes.

Hendrix changed all that - he turned it into listening music. You don't hear people whistling Hey Joe or singing Voodoo Chile in the shower.

He may be credited with certain "toys", but was it really Hendrix that popularised fuzz?? No - the Stones have that with Satisfaction.

Did Hendrix popularise the stack? No - the Who take that honour (Jim Marshall built the stack for Pete Townshend, so that he could compete with Moonie).

To be honest, I can say the same about Clapton and SRV. Some of their work is brilliant, but a lot of it is dross and only there to fil the tracks on a record.

The trouble is that "huge fans" can only see what they want to see. Any dissenting voice is dismissed.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by fleaaaaaa » August 23rd, 2012, 2:20 pm

Almann - Throw your radio in the bin and put a CD on - or get on spotify - I think there will be more tracks on Bold as love that you do dig! Castles made of sands definitely comes to mind. If you don't like it, that's fine too I will consider it your loss. I feel that the people who are putting Hendrix down here haven't heard all the music like I have. Oh and Angel is another wonderful track too that I think if you like little wing you will probably dig.

Greybeard - If you are a fan of any artist in a big way, you will understand why people who are fans do not see huge portions of a record as "filler". Of the three Hendrix records released with in his lifetime there is very little which I do not see as worthy of having a place on the record. Even those which are not my favourites - I know for a fact that other people who love Hendrix enjoy those tracks that I like less. New Rays is a bit hit and miss but its a posthumous scramble and still gives out many Hendrix classics (Freedom, Dolly Dagger - which by the way is very hummable, Angel, Ezy Rider, Nightbird Flying - all but one of these were included in the "Experience Hendrix" collection)

Maybe you will say I am just seeing what I want to see and that I am dismissing your dissenting voice. However, you are not a fan and I am so of course I think more of what you might see as filler or irrelevant. Is that not how it always is? If you were a great connoisseur of wine and I thought every wine was worth spitting out on the floor would it make it any less wonderful to you? Of course not...... there's that old fashioned idea anyway which says if you don't like it, don't listen but leave those who do like it be. If you want you can continue to talk about how most Hendrix is filler, you can hate it if you want but it won't change the views of any of us who were baptised in Hendrix's Electric church.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 23rd, 2012, 4:08 pm

Hey, I'm not asking you guys who love Jimi's music to stop listening.....it's just that to my ears, he had all the talent in the world but chose to waste it. It's true, I don't like much of his music - but then, I'm not a big fan of heavy metal either. Hendrix, for me, was all about FX and flashy guitar pyrotechnics.....never played one note where he could play ten. I dunno, it's hard to define what I dislike about him....maybe it's the fact that he squandered his talent with his drug abuse, in much the same way that George Best did with his abuse of alcohol.

I do wonder, though, how Hendrix's career would have developed had he lived - perhaps he'd have outgrown the overblown guitar histrionics and diversified? He had the talent to have been a success in whatever branch of music he'd have tried.... maybe I'd be writing something like, "well I wasn't that keen on his early albums, but after about '72 or so, he really matured and created some amazing music...."

I'm not trying to say he was a BAD guitarist - far from it. He was a genius, but I wish he'd used his talent to its full potential instead of, well "showing off" - I'm going to play this song so fast because I'm the only guitarist in the world who CAN play it like this! His songs, to me, weren't really written as songs - they were just vehicles to showcase his guitar playing.

By the way, most of the effects that JImi "pioneered" had been done before.....I'd go so far as to say that about 90-95% of them were pioneered by the Beatles, with the help of Sir George Martin. Jimi just took them further, louder and overdid them....IMO, he didn't NEED all those effects.

Fleaaaa, maybe I'll listen to some of the songs you mentioned - there might be something I'm missing, but I honestly can't see myself starting to love Hendrix's guitar playing in the same way as I love Paul Kossoff, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Manny Charlton, George Harrison, Pete Townshend, Ry Cooder, Billy Gibbons,Rory Gallagher etc etc etc.....

Oh and as for Strat players between Buddy and Jimi....how's about D.ick Dale, Buddy Guy and Hank Marvin for starters? Lennon and Harrison also used Strats on Rubber Soul and Revolver. I will admit, though, that a lot of Strat players - Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Ritchie Blackmore...to name but four - were hugely influenced by Jimi.

And I'll also grant you that his music has stood the test of time.....40-odd years on, he's still heavily played on Classic Rock AND pop music stations. Funny thing though, it's always the same few songs I hear....Hey Joe, Wind Cries Mary, All Along The Watchtower, Voodoo Chile, Purple Haze, Crosstown Traffic.....

:D :D :D

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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by tinsmith » August 23rd, 2012, 5:13 pm

Hendrix did it first......
That makes him royalty, IMHO

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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 23rd, 2012, 5:58 pm

No, he DIDN'T do it first - but he took it further than anyone else ever did at the time. THAT'S what lifts him into the "royalty" category....feedback? Townshend did it first. Wah-wah? Big Jim Sullivan beat him to it. Tremelo arm? Hank Marvin beat him to that one....phasing, flanging, etc....Beatles & Sir George Martin did that first.

Where Hendrix did score heavily, IMO, was in pushing back the boundaries - he went further and louder than any man had ever gone before. Visually, his stage act way way ahead of the times - although, again, his guitar-smashing was borrowed form Pete T.

Guitar genius, yes - innovator, hmmm....judge for yourself. Pusher of boundaries, definitely....on my playlist, well, not very often.

:D :D :D

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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by greybeard » August 23rd, 2012, 10:50 pm

fleeaaa,

you confirm what I believed - a '"huge fan" will gloss over weaknesses in his hero's work, simply because it is from his hero. Worse still, you are dismissing my view because I'm not a "huge fan".

Your post comes across as "I'm a huge fan, therefore, I have an opinion. You are not, so you don't have the right to an opinion - and, certainly, not about my hero".
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by fleaaaaaa » August 23rd, 2012, 11:20 pm

greybeard wrote:fleeaaa,

you confirm what I believed - a '"huge fan" will gloss over weaknesses in his hero's work, simply because it is from his hero. Worse still, you are dismissing my view because I'm not a "huge fan".

Your post comes across as "I'm a huge fan, therefore, I have an opinion. You are not, so you don't have the right to an opinion - and, certainly, not about my hero".
Maybe you didn't read it

"If you want you can continue to talk about how most Hendrix is filler, you can hate it if you want"

I really do mean that, it isn't me being snide or sarcastic. If you want to hate it, fine! If you want to talk about how much you don't like it or that Hendrix is filler that is okay too. I will disagree with you but you have your own opinion. However what I said is true that if you are a fan of a band or artist you will most likely give it more of a fair chance than if you are a critic. I believe if you don't like someone, many times you don't keep an open mind and you will quickly dismiss their work. At least as a fan I will keep trying it even if in the end I decide I don't like it. I wasn't always a massive fan though - though I always did like him from the first I heard him in about 97. His music affected me in a very big way so perhaps you are right that I might have some kind of Hendrix fan tinged spectacles when viewing his work, but I simply can't help that. Anyway most people view Electric Ladyland as his greatest work but I don't, even though I see Hendrix was pushing his own musical boundaries and I respect that I just find that the guitar work takes over the songs so unless I am really in the mood to hear some great guitar playing I always favour Axis:Bold as love which relies heavily on the songs and the guitar work (the solos) are short and sweet.

I think you are right about me being a fan and therefore liking more of what he does or at least giving it a fair chance (which is something that someone who is a critic of his would not do). I am a big fan of "Bloc Party" and I don't understand the "fans" who only like the first album because Bloc Party refused to put out another album that sounded like that and they kept progressing. I love the progression and the album that is most people's least favourite was one of the best in my opinion (Intimacy). I do believe that if you are a fan you will give the new releases are fair try and if I didn't feel that way I would have given up on Radiohead years ago.
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Re: Hendrix - was he really that good?

Post by greybeard » August 24th, 2012, 2:51 am

fleaaaaaa wrote:Maybe you didn't read it
I read it - twice. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't misreading what you'd written.

"If you are a fan of any artist in a big way, you will understand why people who are fans do not see huge portions of a record as "filler". Of the three Hendrix records released with in his lifetime there is very little which I do not see as worthy of having a place on the record. "

"Maybe you will say I am just seeing what I want to see and that I am dismissing your dissenting voice. However, you are not a fan and I am so of course I think more of what you might see as filler or irrelevant. "

Those are your words.
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