Share this page!

Jimi Hendrix is undeniably the greatest guitarist in the history of rock music. His groundbreaking impact on the guitar world can be felt to this day. But every artist has shaped their influences, and in this article, we will dive into the guitarists who had a significant role in shaping Jimi Hendrix’s unique style.

Jimi Hendrix not only revolutionized guitar playing but also had a clear vision, mission, and strategy that guided his musical career. His vision was to push the boundaries of what could be achieved with the electric guitar, creating a new sound that blended rock, blues, jazz, and soul. This vision was rooted in his deep appreciation and understanding of his musical predecessors, as highlighted throughout his career. Hendrix‘s mission was to express himself through music in a way that moved and inspired his audience. By covering songs from artists like Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters, he paid homage to the traditions while also making them his own, thereby fulfilling his mission of bridging the past with the future of music.

His strategy involved immersing himself in various musical styles and incorporating them into his own unique sound. Hendrix was known for his relentless experimentation with guitar effects, which included innovative use of feedback, distortion, and wah-wah pedals, propelling him to the forefront of the rock scene in the 1960s. By examining Jimi Hendrix‘s career through the lens of vision, mission, and strategy, we gain insights into how he not only followed in the footsteps of his musical influences but also charted a new course that others would follow for decades to come.


The Influence of Early Blues on Jimi Hendrix


Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson was a legend known for his vocals and masterful guitar skills. His influence on Hendrix is undeniable Johnson’s intricate picking technique impacted Jimi Hendrix’s approach to the guitar.
Johnson’s songs like “Cross Road Blues” and “Sweet Home Chicago” showcased his virtuosity and innovation, which undoubtedly left a lasting impression on Hendrix.


B.B. King

B.B. King’s vibrato and tone had a profound impact on Jimi Hendrix. King’s expressive playing style and ability to convey emotions through his guitar playing deeply resonated with Hendrix. Songs like “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Every Day I Have Blues” exemplify King’s influence on Hendrix’s soulful guitar playing.


Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters’ slide guitar technique had a profound impact on Jimi Hendrix, influencing him to integrate elements of distortion and feedback into his blues-infused style. Jimi Hendrix’s raw, energetic performances were directly shaped by Waters’ influence, reflected in his dynamic stage presence and explosive guitar solos.

Hendrix’s homage extended to covering Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy,” showcasing the depth of their musical connection.


Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf, a blues giant, significantly shaped Jimi Hendrix’s musical style. Wolf’s powerful vocals and distinctive guitar playing, marked by aggressive slide guitar work, resonated in Hendrix’s compositions and performances.

It was with Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” that Jimi Hendrix astounded Eric Clapton and his Cream bandmates, leaving them in awe. This iconic moment highlighted Hendrix’s mastery and innovation in the blues genre.


Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, renowned for rock and roll, significantly influenced Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, a fan of Elvis since a young age, climbed a building to watch Elvis’s 1957 concert due to a lack of money to purchase a ticket at the age of 15.

Hendrix was captivated by Elvis’s charismatic stage presence and energetic guitar playing. Elvis’s genre fusion, incorporating blues, country, and gospel, profoundly impacted Jimi Hendrix’s musical approach, contributing to the diverse elements in his groundbreaking style.


Innovators of the 1960s


Curtis Mayfield

Jimi Hendrix often hailed Curtis Mayfield as his favorite guitarist. The influence is evident in songs like “Little Wing” and “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” through lyrical hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Curtis Mayfield’s rhythmic guitar style significantly impacted Hendrix’s, inspiring him to incorporate chord inversions and funk-infused rhythms in his compositions.


Eddie Hazel

Eddie Hazel’s psychedelic work with Funkadelic inspired Jimi Hendrix’s experimental side. Hazel’s groundbreaking and innovative approach to guitar playing pushed the boundaries of what could be done with the instrument.

Songs like Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” demonstrated Hazel’s ability to infuse emotion and intensity into his guitar playing a quality that Jimi Hendrix admired and sought to incorporate into his own music.


Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend, the iconic guitarist of The Who had a theatrical approach to guitar playing that resonated with Jimi Hendrix. Townshend’s use of power chords and feedback, elements of his playing style, greatly influenced Hendrix’s musical direction.

The energetic and explosive performances by Townshend inspired Hendrix to explore new dimensions of live guitar playing, incorporating techniques like playing the guitar with his teeth or his back.

The legendary battle at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, where each band aimed to create maximum impact and stage destruction, further intensified the musical rivalry between them.


Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton, the guitar God (until the arrival of Jimi Hendrix in London) was an idol to Jimi Hendrix. Clapton’s bluesy playing style influenced the way Jimi Hendrix crafted his solos and approached improvisation.

Fun fact: One of the reasons why Hendrix agreed to change his life from New York to London was the promise from Chas Chandler to personally introduce him to Eric Clapton!


Bob Dylan

While not primarily known as a guitarist, Bob Dylan’s song and lyrics resonated deeply with Jimi Hendrix. Dylan’s ability to tell stories with his music and his unique approach to songwriting influenced Jimi Hendrix’s compositions and artistic vision.

Later, Hendrix would pay tribute by creating a magnificent cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.”


Jazz and Fusion Innovators


John McLaughlin’s

John McLaughlin’s fusion of jazz and rock profoundly influenced Jimi Hendrix. McLaughlin’s complex improvisational techniques and fusion compositions challenged traditional notions of guitar playing. His album “Extrapolation” highlighted his boundary-pushing guitar work, inspiring Hendrix’s experimental side and exploration of new sounds and musical styles.


Wes Montgomery

The connections with Wes Montgomery endured throughout Jimi Hendrix’s brief career. Jimi Hendrix, with his large hands and long fingers, effortlessly emulated the octave-picking style when needed.

Montgomery’s smooth jazz style significantly influenced Hendrix’s melodic approach to playing. His innovative use of octaves and chord solos resonated with Hendrix, inspiring him to incorporate similar melodic elements into his repertoire.

Tracks like Montgomery’s “West Coast Blues” showcase his exceptional skill and the impact on Hendrix’s playing style.


Miles Davis

Miles Davis, a legendary jazz musician, left a notable impact on Jimi Hendrix. Although they operated in different genres, Davis’ innovative approach to music and boundary-pushing in jazz had a profound influence on Hendrix. Davis’s experimentation with sound, improvisation, and fusion of musical styles likely inspired Hendrix’s own adventurous spirit in exploring new sounds and pushing the limits of what could be achieved on the guitar.

Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis had plans for a groundbreaking collaboration, showcasing the fusion of their unique musical styles. However, this collaboration remained unrealized as Hendrix’s untimely death occurred just weeks before they could bring this musical vision to life. The potential collaboration between these two iconic figures represented an exciting prospect for music enthusiasts, but sadly, it became one of the many unrealized dreams in the history of music.



Jimi Hendrix’s revolutionary impact on the guitar world was by a diverse range of influential guitarists. From the early blues legends like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters to the innovators of the 1960s Curtis Mayfield and Pete Townshend, each artist left their own unique on Hendrix’s musical style.

Additionally, jazz and fusion from guitarists like John McLaughlin and Wes Montgomery expanded Hendrix’s boundaries. The collective contributions of these guitarists paved the way for Hendrix unparalleled virtuosity and his ability to push the boundaries of what could be on the guitar.


YouTube player
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor”




0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments