Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced": A Deep Dive for Guitarists

"Are You Experienced" is not just an album; it's a monumental chapter in the annals of electric guitar. Released in 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, this debut album is a seismic event in rock music, showcasing Jimi Hendrix's innovative approach to guitar playing. This analysis is tailored for guitarists eager to delve into the techniques, scales, and solos Hendrix employed across each track. Additionally, we'll explore Hendrix's unique contributions as a guitarist that have cemented this album as a cornerstone of guitar mastery. This course is taught by Danny Gill.

Songs Included in this Course

  • Purple Haze
  • Manic Depression
  • Hey Joe
  • Love or Confusion
  • May This Be Love
  • I Don’t Live Today
  • The Wind Cries Mary
  • Fire
  • Third Stone from the Sun
  • Foxey Lady
  • Are You Experienced

Song Breakdown

Guitar Lesson 1: "Foxy Lady"

Opening with the iconic track "Foxy Lady," Hendrix immediately sets a high bar. The song is based around a gritty, sexy riff that utilizes the E pentatonic minor scale. This riff is a perfect example of Hendrix’s mastery of power chords and string bending. The solo in "Foxy Lady" is a fiery display of his aggressive vibrato and dynamic string bending, seamlessly blending the minor pentatonic scale with bluesy bends.

Guitar Lesson 2: "Manic Depression"

"Manic Depression" is a compelling waltz-time odyssey that showcases Hendrix’s ability to blend rhythm and lead playing seamlessly. The track is a whirlwind of rhythmic strumming and explosive runs using the E minor scale. Hendrix's solo here is characterized by rapid-fire hammer-ons, pull-offs, and an exquisite use of the whammy bar, creating a sense of manic urgency.

Guitar Lesson 3: "Red House"

"Red House" is where Hendrix’s blues influences shine brightest. This 12-bar blues in the key of B flat is a masterclass in blues guitar playing, featuring slow, soulful string bending and vibrato that speak directly to the listener's soul. Hendrix uses the blues scale extensively, with his solo including double stops and expressive vibrato that make his guitar sing with melancholy.

Guitar Lesson 4: "Can You See Me"

In "Can You See Me," Hendrix integrates elements of rock and psychedelia. The song is propelled by energetic strumming of barre chords and features a solo that leverages the A pentatonic minor scale. Hendrix employs alternate picking and syncopated rhythms to create a driving, rhythmic force.

Guitar Lesson 5: "Love or Confusion"

This track is a psychedelic tour de force, with its swirling, phase-shifted guitar sounds creating a disorienting effect. Hendrix uses the E minor scale throughout, with heavy use of chord progressions and arpeggios. The solo is a mixture of legato slides and subtle hammer-ons, showcasing Hendrix's fluidity and control.

Guitar Lesson 6: "I Don't Live Today"

"I Don't Live Today" is another showcase of Hendrix's use of guitar effects to create a soundscape that extends beyond traditional guitar sounds. The song features riffs in the E minor pentatonic scale, characterized by short, sharp bursts of tremolo picking and dive bombs that give it a sense of desperation and chaos.

Guitar Lesson 7: "May This Be Love"

A more subdued track, "May This Be Love" features lush, clean tones and gentle finger-picking. The use of the whammy bar and subtle vibrato adds a dreamy quality to the melody, which is predominantly based on the G major scale. This track is an excellent example of Hendrix’s ability to convey emotion through subtlety as well as intensity.

Guitar Lesson 8: "Fire"

"Fire" is an up-tempo track characterized by its driving bass line and energetic riffing. The song is primarily in E major, with Hendrix utilizing quick alternate picking and syncopated rhythms. The solo section features rapid string bending and dynamic phrasing, highlighting Hendrix's skill in creating excitement through his playing.

Guitar Lesson 9: "Third Stone from the Sun"

This track is an experimental journey, combining spoken word with a slow, spacey guitar that uses a variety of effects. Hendrix employs the E minor scale, with his solo featuring tapped harmonics and extensive use of the whammy bar to create otherworldly sounds.

Guitar Lesson 10: "Foxey Lady"

Returning to "Foxey Lady," we see Hendrix's use of the pentatonic scale to craft a riff that is both powerful and catchy. The solo showcases his aggressive string bending and the seamless integration of various effects to enhance the expressiveness of his playing.

Guitar Lesson 11: "Are You Experienced?"

The title track, "Are You Experienced?", is a psychedelic masterpiece that uses reversed guitar solos and advanced recording techniques to create a surreal sound landscape. Hendrix's use of legato and arpeggiated chord progressions creates a flowing, almost liquid quality to the guitar work.

Jimi Hendrix: The Guitarist

Before diving into each track, it's essential to recognize Hendrix's background and his revolutionary impact on guitar playing. Hendrix was not just a guitarist; he was a pioneer who expanded the horizons of what could be achieved with an electric guitar. His use of overdriven amplifiers, feedback, and a range of effects like wah and fuzz, combined with his dexterous finger work and emotive vibrato, pushed the boundaries of the instrument's sonic possibilities.

Guitar Techniques Used in "Are You Experienced"

Throughout the album, Hendrix utilized a vast array of guitar techniques, each adding a unique flavor to his music. Here are some of the prominent techniques featured in "Are You Experienced," with links to further explore each method:

This in-depth exploration highlights how Jimi Hendrix not only used his technical skill to create engaging music but also pushed the expressive possibilities of the guitar to new heights. "Are You Experienced" remains a pivotal resource for any guitarist looking to understand the fusion of technical skill and artistic expression.

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Danny Gill

Danny Gill is, without a doubt, the most loved tutor by our community. With an incredible array of DVDs and web lessons for LickLibrary covering a wide variety of topics all of which he covers with incredible detail, it's no wonder he carries as much respect as he does. As...

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