The term Hendrix style guitarist refers to those who follow in the footsteps of legendary guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix in mixing psychedelic rock with blues-rock and jazz fusion. Hendrix style guitarists typically play the electric guitar using a wah-wah pedal and effects pedals like flangers, phasers, or fuzzboxes to create unique sounds not found in other styles of music.
Are there Hendrix style guitarists? There are plenty of Hendrix style guitarists because Jimi had a massive influence on countless guitarists after him. Jimi Hendrix was truly one of a kind, and other notable guitarists influenced by him include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, and John Frusciante.
4 Hendrix style Guitarists You Should Know
Here are some Hendrix style guitarists that must be on your radar if you’re trying to become one of them.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray was widely considered one of the greatest guitarists in modern history. Ray was a musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In addition to his own solo career as a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, he was also a member of The Triple Threat Revue and the soul band Double Trouble with his older brother Jimmie.
Jimi Hendrix was Vaughan’s greatest inspiration. Vaughan told Guitar World in 1983, “I love Hendrix for so many reasons. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist—he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact, I’m not sure if he even played the guitar—he played music.”
Like Jimi Hendrix, Vaughan also played his guitar behind his back and plucked the strings with his teeth. In 1984, his band Double Trouble released their album Couldn’t Stand the Weather, which peaked at number 31, and spent 38 weeks on the charts. Vaughan’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” on the album prompted listeners to compare him to Jimi Hendrix.
During the production of Double Trouble’s third album, Soul to Soul, Vaughan appeared at the Houston Astrodome on April 10, 1985, where he performed a slide guitar rendition of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”. The audience didn’t like the performance and he was booed on stage.
When critics compared his performance to that of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969, Vaughan disliked the comparison. He told Guitar World in 1985, “I heard they even wrote about it in one of the music magazines, and they tried to put the two versions side by side. I hate that stuff. His version was great.”
Jonny Lang’s first album was released when he was 13 years old, which isn’t unusual for a prodigy like Lang—but it did bring him some degree of fame. His parents gave him his first guitar when he was 9 years old, and his talent didn’t go unnoticed. Less than five years later, Lang was opening for B.B. King in front of a crowd of 12,000 people.
He performed everything from recent tunes to classics, including an incredible rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s version of the National Anthem. Jonny Lang was also a special guest in the Experience Hendrix tour, an all-star tribute to Jimi Hendrix that features a wide range of guitarists honoring the legend.
When Lang talked about Hendrix’s influence on him, the guitar god hit him early. “He’s got this component to who he is that I’ve never seen anybody be able to emulate,” Lang said in an exclusive interview for the Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour. “I’ve never seen anybody really play like Jimi Hendrix. He’s just amazing.”
Lang also said that Jimi’s “recklessness” inspired him for his own guitar playing. “He’s constantly on the edge and flying by the seat of his pants,” he added. “But it all falls together at the last possible moment in the most beautiful way.”
Johnson is a guitar virtuoso in his own right, and he is revered by many of today’s top guitarists. He started learning the guitar at 11 years old. He rapidly progressed while listening to the musicians who heavily influenced his future style, including Jimi Hendrix. He also appeared in the eighth edition of the Experience Hendrix Tour in March 2014.
Johnson appeared in the theatrical performance Primal Twang: The Legacy of the Guitar in September 2006. It was the first official theatrical journey through the guitar’s colorful and contentious 3,500-year history. Johnson also appeared in a second theatrical performance by the same group in September 2007 entitled Love In: A Musical Celebration. He did a Jimi Hendrix show as a tribute to the year 1967, which is known as “The Summer of Love.”
Johnson told Music Radar in 2010, “Nobody had done anything like what Jimi Hendrix was doing. Hearing him was like seeing a new color or tasting a new food – you don’t have a frame of reference, really, but you know your mind has been altered in some incredible way.”
John Frusciante is a masterful guitarist. He was named one of the greatest guitarists by Rolling Stone, Gibson, and the BBC. He’s probably best known for his work with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but he has also maintained a solo career, performed with bands like Ataxia and The Mars Volta, and done guest spots on albums by artists like KMFDM.
Frusciante’s first major influence was Jimi Hendrix. He was included in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in October 2003. He attributed this achievement to his shift in focus at the time. He said he chose an approach based on rhythmic patterns inspired by the complexity of material that Jimi Hendrix produced. While recording Stadium Arcadium, Frusciante moved away from his new wave influences and concentrated on emulating flashier guitar players like Jimi Hendrix.
Truth be told, there are many great guitarists in history, but none are more influential than Jimi Hendrix. Since his death, countless musicians have copied his musical style and techniques. Many musicians pay tribute to Hendrix’s legacy, including these four guitarists who have been influenced by his music. These Hendrix style guitarists carry on Hendrix’s torch until today.