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Another Hendrix thread

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Misfit, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Misfit


    Sep 26, 2012
    This question was inpired by the happy birthday Jimi thread here http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f34/happy-birthday-jimi-936179/

    It's off topic to that thread, so I didn't feel it was appropriate to ask it there.

    I would think a lot of people would agree with me, but I'm anticipating this question will lead to a flame war with me being told I know nothing whatsoever about music...ect.

    Here goes:

    Am I the only one who's slightly annoyed whenever Jimi Hendrix tops every single "Best guitarist" list ever made? When in today's era, there are dozens of guitarists who'd run circles around this guy.

    Don't get me wrong:

    Was he the best of his era? Yes
    Was he ahead of his time? Absolutely
    Did we ever witness his full potential due to his career being cut short? Definately not
    Was he a major influence on all those guys who'd run circles around him? Very likely
    Would the guys who can run cirlces around him list him as the best ever? Probably, but it's normal to think your heros are better than you. (That, plus a little bit of false modesty)

    This is my theory as to why he's still regarded as the "best ever".

    1. He was an amazing player (just no longer the best)
    2. His massive popularity and influence (that's undeniable)
    3. He died young, so he's got the "iconic" stature
    4. The world is full of music "snobs" who regard the late 60's as the pinnicle of music (popular music). So, the best of that era is by default the best ever. i.e. Jimi Hendrix
    5. Some people genuenly believe he is the best ever (That's an opinion, and I can't fault anyone for that).

    By the way, I am a fan. "Axis: Bold as Love" is one of my favorite albums from that era. "Are you Experienced" is also very good, but to many of the songs are over played.

    As a side note: I tend to avoid potentially controversial questions like this because I have no use for heated debates over the interent. If you agree with me, great, leave your opinion. If you disagree with me, also great, leave your opinion, but lets all stay civil here.

  2. i think it all depends on what you mean by "best"

    as far as technical perfection goes, he was not even the best of his era.

    someone once asked him what it felt like to be the bast guitarist in the world...his response? (and i paraphrase here because i don't have the exact quote in front of me) "I don't know...why don't you ask Rory Gallagher"....another truly great guitarist BTW

    was he great...oh hell yeah...was he the "best"...don't know, it all depends

    i think John McGlaughlin, al Dimeola, pat metheny, robert fripp, alvin lee, jeff beck and on and on might have something to say about that. PS-edit--Oh, and of course...Roy Buchanen (sic?)...the greatest telecaster player who ever lived!

    let's all just worship him for what he was, a truly innovative and great guitarist, and leave it at that.


    oh, and as far as your number 4 above is concerned...that is so manifestly true it does not even bear discussion...the late 60's and early 70's WERE the peak, pinnacle, end-all and be-all of popular music and if you disagree, i can only pity you for your ignorance. you don't need to be a musical snob to realize this, just have a rudimentary sense of musicality
  3. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Well, you have to factor in, all these 12 year old guitarists that can play everything he ever did have him and all the other players influenced by him, to learn from.

    The difference is that they were in his head and fingers, before anybody else even had them in their head. That counts for something.
  4. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
  5. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    Here's what I can't stand. It's music it's art. There is no better or best in art. It's only what people perceive. Seriously who can runncircles around him and in what way does that make them better?

  6. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    I don't know if Hendrix was the best but I agree with everyone else that he was amazing and I have no problem saying he was one of the best ever. Run circles around him? I don't thing so and if you believe that then yes you don't know much about Jimi.We can talk about guitarists that came before him as well. Django? Hubert Sumlin? Charlie Christian? I am sure that we could come up with lots of people. Maybe some people can play what he did note for note but I guarantee it won't be the same as the original. Was John Lee Hooker a great guitarist? We can debate that endlessly. Yes, there are young kids that can play his stuff and things he never imagined but no one sounds like The Hook. I don't think any era was the peak for guitarists or even musicians there will be many more to come.

    Here is another thread where we talked about this. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f34/ageism-931701/
  7. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O))))

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't know. Sure, there's tons of 12 year olds on youtube that can play his, and far more "technical" things, but they're miming, they don't have the feel behind it. Best is such a subjective thing. Best technically, best creatively, best feeling? I don't think you can say anyone is the best when you get tot he high echelons of any instrument, just differences in their playing and your preferences.

    So for me, for that era, he was one of the best. But there were others that were just as amazing, but different. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are right up there for me, but then I also love Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Cream-era Clapton, Joe Walsh, Robin Trower, Tony Iommi, etc, etc. None of them is THE BEST, they're all just masters of their instrument in their own way.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Being a great guitarist and being a great creative guitar player/singer/song writer are different things. Jimi obviously in the second group. Everyone else who claims to be better than Jimi more than likely falls into the first group.

    From what I've read, Jimi told Terry Kath, the original guitar player for Chicago, that he(Kath) was a better guitar player. Does that make Kath the "best" ever?

    I'm curious, how would TBr's rate the "greatest" guitar players in order, by name? Sure like to hear from the OP. :)
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    1. His phrasing and "voice" on the instrument is what makes him unique. Plenty of imitators and none of them come close.
    2. He WROTE all those songs. Plenty of bass players can play circles around Paul McCartney, but he WROTE all those amazing songs and basslines.
    3. Pioneers always are elevated above the rest and rightfully so.
  10. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Yeah, I'll never be able to buy the "such and such can play circles around them" thing. I mean, who defines that? They can play faster? They can play more bendy notes? Few cats have a feel as great as Jimi. Few cats are as exceptional at lead, as well as rhythm playing. I actually prefer Jimi as a rhythm player, although his lead work is incredibly beautiful. I feel that Jimi is so astounding for the fact that he was a creative force that many musicians, perhaps guitarists in particular, cannot match.

    There are still many, many guitarists today who I consider to be great talents, obviously. But, perhaps due to the power of youtube, and perhaps due to today's preoccupation with electronic music (which I have no problem with, btw) only some of these talents get through, while most are just posterboys who can sell a product poorly packaged as virtuosity (John Mayer).
  11. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Hendrix is widely considered the best for one of a few reasons in my opinion, but a major one being that he made it look easy. I'm way to young to have ever seen him play in person, but every video I've ever seen him in he looks like he's just up there, doin' his thing and having fun doing it, and I think that's what makes somebody truly great at what they do.

    It's rare that somebody comes along like that, somebody who's new and original, makes great music and writes great songs, but who over all can make it look like they're just out there doing what they love.

    It's like a lot of sports, there are many people who are considered the greatest of surfers, or skateboarders, and it's not that what they do or did was phenomenally better than anybody else, infact normally they're out done within a year or two if that, but when you watch them do what they do, it just looks.... good.

    When I see some of those videos of Hendrix play, I don't feel impressed, it doesn't seem like somebody is attempting an impossible feat and it doesn't even appear technically difficult. I'm simply in awe, and every so often in any field somebody comes along who'll have that same wow factor about them.
  12. As a bit of an analogy.

    I've repeated a number of experiments which have historic significance. Often with modern equipment and an ability to get better results.

    Does this make me a better scientist?
    Does this make me a more influential scientist?

    It doesn't.

    What he did was special, the influence of which has reverberated through generations. As others have said, it isn't even that he played his songs, it's that he crafted song which stood out and advanced the creation of music with guitar.
  13. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    Hendrix was a creative genius. But even when he was still alive, there were people who didn't "get" him. I'm paraphrasing, but Lemmy said something to the effect that we'll never see another like him again. Jack Bruce referred to Hendrix as a force of nature.
  14. AnchorHoy


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Jersey
    Numbers 2 and 3 are the ones that make him one of the greatest, if not the greatest guitar player of his time IMHO

    It's easy to follow in someone else's footsteps, a whole 'nother thing entirely to mark out a path that nobody had ever even imagined before

    There's a fairly well known story about the time that Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, and Jeff Beck all went to a club together to see Jimi play during one of his early gigs in England and it threw them all into such a funk that they were literally depressed about it for days afterward. What they had each been groping towards in their own way - and not quite reaching - had been made almost competely obsolete by what Hendrix was doing

    Beck, especially, was very affected by the experience and eventually ended up radically revamping his style: ditched the Les Paul and started using Fenders, threw away his flatpick and developed the bare-handed + whammy-bar approach that he is famous for today. He couldn't possibly compete on Jimi's terms and he knew it. To his eternal credit, he used that insight to develop his own distinctive voice on the guitar and is IMHO rightly praised for what he came up with. Not a copy of someone else's approach, but something very different and uniquely his own
  15. He was original and revolutionary. Name ONE guitar player as inventive as Jimi Hendrix, who single-handedly changed people's perspectives as to what guitar could do. Name one.

    (besides Chuck Berry)
  16. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    Be an informed skeptic
  17. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    This, plain and simple.
  18. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    Point Two is key. Time and again I see such a misapprehension of how important writing is. For instance, you see people who play a note-perfect version of a song and automatically place themselves on the same level as the composer. Wrong. That isn't even the point. To ape something is to copy it. To create it in the first place is quite another thing and always way harder.

    All your points about Hendrix are right on target.
  19. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    When I am asked who I think is the best I always say Roy Buchanan

    The sad thing is, most people have no idea who he was.
  20. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Jimi isn't the best guitar player because he didn't play the guitar. The guitar was an extension of his mind, body and soul. Very, very few people like that.