Jimi Hendrix’s 10 Favorite Guitarists of All Time


“It all has to come from within, though, I guess.” – Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is ​​the ultimate guitarist who, with his genius talent, elevated the instrument to dizzying heights that had never been reached by anyone before him. The performer transformed the weapon of choice for street thugs and dastardly rock and rolls into the kind of golden brush that Michelangelo or Da Vinci did. In the fifty years since his untimely death, question marks remain whether any artist has ever surpassed Hendrix technically.

The praise doesn’t come much higher than Hendrix admiring your ability to play the guitar, a distinction that equates to Michael Jordan publicly declaring that he admires you for being an amazing basketball player or Pelé thinking you have shooting booths. Some of the guitarists considered to be Hendrix’s idols are musicians who didn’t receive as much praise as he did and, to rectify that, here we are going to take a look at some of the reasons he loved these nine artists and one so much. just perfect playlist for adding a little extra color.

The only place we could start a Hendrix favorites list is with the musician’s musician, Rory Gallagher. The Irish guitarist was a wildly successful musician who recorded 14 studio albums which sold over 30 million copies worldwide, garnering him a series of historic fans. His esteemed solo career began after he left Taste in 1970, the group he had founded four years earlier. Gallagher, who is considered a key player in the blues movement, tragically died in 1994, at just 47, after a failed liver transplant.

Hendrix spoke of his appreciation for Gallagher’s talents when he appeared on the longtime popular afternoon show, The Mike Douglas Show. Douglas asked Hendrix, “How does it feel to be the best rock guitarist in the world? Jimi then responded beautifully: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Rory Gallagher.” For that reason alone, he could easily be considered Jimi’s all-time favorite. Just imagine.

Sadly, a musician is far from a household name, but his place on Hendrix’s list is the mercurial and magical talent of Otis Rush. The guitarist was a figure who played an influential role in shaping the musical DNA of Jimi Hendrix, and he was also cited as an influence on the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Buddy Guy.

Rush helped create a modernized R&B merged Chicago blues sound that would later be labeled by industry types as “West Side Sound” and ultimately change guitar playing forever. Like Hendrix, Rush was a left-handed guitarist. Although he did not enjoy commercial success, Rush remains one of the great pioneers of the instrument and is considered an icon who helped shape the image of Chicago.

The next name on the list may also suffer from not being recognized for his craft as often as he should have the wonderful talent of Steve Cropper. Known as “The Colonel”, the guitarist performed with Booker T. & the MG’s who, remarkably, are still active today despite their formation in 1962. The two styles of Cropper and Hendrix are incomparable. The former opted for a minimalist style while Hendrix is ​​all about expression – it shows the guitarist knew the talent everywhere he saw it.

Hendrix bassist Billy Cox revealed in 2014 Cropper’s influence on Jimi’s early sounds: At that point, and we copied it before we became our own character. When Cropper was in Memphis on a tour with Sam Cooke in the early ’60s, Hendrix sought him out and the two spent the day befriending each other over their mutual love for their dear instrument. Hendrix once said, “Steve Cropper turned me on millions of years ago and I turned it on millions of years ago too, but because of different songs. He made me discover a lot of things. “

Of course, a personal favorite was also Jimi’s personal friend. When Hendrix first moved to London he made an immediate impact and managed to prove to his then idol Eric Clapton within days of his arrival that there was a new king of the guitar. in the city. Cream had heard awesome things about the last London import and invited him on stage to jam with them in 1966, a move that saw Hendrix bring the group to shame. Jimi, encouraged by the cordial invitation, took the stage and grabbed a guitar to cover “Killing Floor” from Howlin ‘Wolf, Eric Clapton told Planet Rock: “We took the stage and Chas Chandler said:” J ‘have this friend who would love to jam with you.’ ”

Adding: “It was funny, back then, anyone could get along with anyone if you were convincing enough to be able to play. He stood up and wowed everyone. I just thought ‘ahh, someone who plays the stuff I love in the flesh, on stage with me’. that incident that night is historic in my mind, but only a few living people would remember it.

Keith Altham from The Guardian, and famous rock journalist, notes of the meeting between Clapton and Hendrix saying that he remembers: ‘Chandler going backstage after Clapton left in the middle of the song’ which he had not yet mastered himself ‘; Clapton would pull furiously on a cigarette and say to Chas, ‘You never told me he was that good.’ he’s as good as he thinks I am ”.

(Credit: Bent Rej)

Another name we are more than happy to offer a little education on is the great Albert Collins. Known as “The Iceman,” Collins was a pioneering figure who shaped the Texan blues scene in the 1950s and 1960s, and his influence extended far beyond the Southern State, though his name did not exist. maybe wasn’t. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix declared his love for the underrated mainstay of the Houston blues scene: “There’s a cat I always try to get people to understand. He added: “He’s really good, one of the best guitarists in the world.”

Elmore James sadly passed away at the age of 45 in 1961 before he could measure how much influence his skills would have had throughout the Sixties and beyond. Many have tried to reproduce the sound of the slide guitar which he had not only perfected but pioneered. The impresario is also a central figure in the development of Hendrix.

Early in his career, Hendrix called himself “Maurice James” and subsequently “Jimmy James”, which came as a tribute to James according to former bandmate and recording partner Lonnie Youngblood. Jimi Hendrix frequently cited Elmore James as an influence and even went so far as to record several different arrangements of James’ ‘Bleeding Heart’ which would become something of a legend among Hendrix fans as various bootlegs were released at the end of the sixties before that. was officially released posthumously.

Of course, no guitarist worth his salt will leave BB King off his list of his favorite guitarists. Hendrix, of course, was a huge fan. Not surprisingly either, BB King is a true blues icon which is one of the most influential names in the genre, and his iconic style is still felt in music today. Hendrix would regularly cover “Every Day I Have the Blues” as a member of the Rocking Kings and crank up the bass on his amplifier to sound like King.

During Hendrix’s stint in Little Richard’s group, he received a lot of criticism from Richard for trying to copy King’s style, and once he went solo he returned to emulating King, this which is perhaps most notable on “Hey Joe” or “Voodoo Chile”. . Likewise, Hendrix shared the mutual admiration of all 60s guitarists for Muddy Waters.

The legendary Muddy Waters is one of the very first artists Jimi Hendrix remembers listening to as a child. Many have argued that Waters’ music is what first captured Hendrix’s imagination and inadvertently put him on the path to stardom. The blues legend played a key role in reshaping post-war culture and without him who knows how different the culture would be today. Hendrix pointed out this to Rolling stone in 1968: “The first guitarist I knew was Muddy Waters. I heard one of his old records when I was little, and it scared me a lot because I heard all those sounds. Wow, what is this? It was great.”

The kings of rock’n’roll are here. Another pioneer king, the one who helped put the blues scene on the map, also had a huge influence on Jimi Hendrix, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, with Rolling Stone naming him. 13th best guitarist. never in 2011. Hendrix had this to say about King’s immense talents: “I love Albert King. He plays completely and strictly in a way, just pure hard blues funk. New blues guitar, very young, funky sound, which is awesome. One of the funniest I’ve heard. He plays it strictly that way, so that’s his scene.

The first came during The Mike Douglas Show when Hendrix had become the toast of the city. Douglas asked Hendrix, “How does it feel to be the best rock guitarist in the world? Jimi then responded beautifully: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Rory Gallagher.” For that reason alone, he could easily be considered Jimi’s all-time favorite. However, most believe that the title of Hendrix’s ultimate favorite is reserved for another man with the burning ax, Billy Gibbons.

ZZ Top powerhouse has long been underestimated as one of the best rock and roll players. Understandably, Gibbons was stunned when he first met Hendrix. In an interview with Express, Gibbons said, “We hit it off in a rather unexpected way.” Gibbons goes on to describe what his first meeting with Hendrix looked like, “Our contract required us to play for 45 minutes, and at that point the only way to end the race was to include two numbers from Jimi Hendrix. Which was a bit hit and miss I have to say.

“I remember finishing the shoot, leaving the stage there was Jimi in the shadows – to the side, arms crossed. But he was smiling, and as I walked by, he grabbed me and said, ‘I like you. You have a lot of nerve, ”he said. Ultimate classic rock of their first meeting. Gibbons clearly found himself a mentor on the guitar that he could seek out over the course of his career.

“He was a real technical wizard. He was inventing things to do with the Stratocaster guitar. I am convinced that the designers had no idea what would happen in the following years. Jimi had the talent to make it work for him. His technique was very particular in that he played a right-handed guitar in a left-handed style, backwards. Watching him and trying to figure out what he was doing was very intimidating, ”Gibbons said in an interview with Rolling stone.

We’re probably as sad as you are that Hendrix was never able to compile a list like this on his own. Likewise, many artists and musicians on the list may soon be forgotten.

So we thought we’d put together an almighty playlist that offered a brief education on why each of these incredible talents could be counted among Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitarists.

Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitarists:

  • Albert the King
  • Muddy waters
  • BB King
  • Elmore James
  • Albert collins
  • Eric Clapton
  • Steve cropper
  • Otis rush
  • Rory gallagher
  • Billy Gibbons


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