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Jimi Hendrix Slow Song Rhythm Guitar Fills Technique for "Little Wing", "Wind Cries Mary" and "Castles Made of Sand"

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This article will show you how to play slow song rhythm guitar fills like Jimi Hendrix in songs such as "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand".

This article will show you how to play slow song rhythm guitar fills like Jimi Hendrix in songs such as "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand".

Hendrix Slow Song Rhythm

One of the staples of Jimi Hendrix's rhythm guitar in his slow songs was his use of two-note chords embellished with hammer-ons and pull-offs.

These two-note chords are called double stops or diads and are usually 4th and minor 3rd interval combinations.

The majority of these fills come from major and minor pentatonic scales with an occasional embellishment from related scales thrown in. The examples in this article are pentatonic scale derived only.

The key behind this technique is the 4th interval going to a minor 3rd interval and back to the 4th (or staying on the minor 3rd).

Making That Sound

To get started you can do the following on any pair of adjacent strings.

For example:

  1. Bar your first (index) finger across the third fret of the E and B string (1st and 2nd) This is the 4th interval.
  2. Pick both strings simultaneously.
  3. Immediately hammer the third finger a whole step to the 5th fret of the B string. This is now the minor 3rd interval.
  4. Do not let the 3rd finger kill the sound of the 1st string. Keep it arched.
  5. Repeat several times. Both strings should always sound.

4th Hammer-on to Minor 3rd

  • ---3----------
  • ---3(h)5--
  • -------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • -----------

Variation 1: 4th Hammer-on to Minor 3rd Back to Picked 4th

  • ---3-------3
  • ---3(h)5--3
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

Variation 2: 4th Hammer-on to Minor 3rd Pull Off Back to 4th

  • ---3----------
  • ---3(h)5(p)3
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

Variation 3: Adding a Note

  • ---3------------------
  • ---3(h)5(p)3--------
  • -------------------4---
  • ------------------------
  • ------------------------
  • ------------------------

The following examples aren't in any particular key, they are just showing how 4ths and minor 3rds are played on a guitar.

4ths to Minor 3rds

4th to minor 3rd on B-E string

  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on G-B string

  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---2(h)4---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on D-G string

  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5----
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th to minor 3rd on A-D string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3(h)5---
  • ------------

4th to minor 3rd on E-A string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3-------
  • ---3(h)5----

4ths on Each Pair of Strings

4th on B-E string

  • ---3--------
  • ---3--------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on G-B string

  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---2--------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on D-G string

  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3--------
  • -------------
  • -------------

4th on A-D string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3--------
  • ---3-------
  • ------------

4th on E-A string

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---3-------
  • ---3--------

Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales and CAGED Chord Shapes

The following examples demonstrate the five positions of the the E minor chord and the related rhythm fills and then the five positions of the the E major chord with their related rhythm fills using the C, A, G, E and D bar chord shapes matched to the appropriate pentatonic scale patterns for reference.

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Rhythm Fill

  • ---3-------3------
  • ---3(h)5--3------
  • ----------------4--
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ---3-------3--
  • ---2(h)4--2--
  • ----------------5--
  • -------------
  • -------------
Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---5-------5--
  • ---5(h)7--5--
  • ---------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---5-------
  • ---5(h)7----
Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • ---8--------
  • ---7(h)9---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---7--------
  • ---7(h)9----
  • -------------
  • -------------
Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ---10--------
  • ---10(h)12----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---10--------10--
  • ---10(h)12--10--
Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Emi Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---12---------12
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------14--
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---12---------12-
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------15--

Move It 3 Frets to the Left = Major Pentatonic

If you move any of the previous E minor rhythm riffs three frets to the left, then they become E major rhythm riffs.

E Major Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

E Major Pentatonic Scale and Matching Chord Shape

E Major Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---2-------2--
  • ---2(h)4--2--
  • ---------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---2-------
  • ---2(h)4----
Scale and Chord Shape

Scale and Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ------------
  • ---8--------
  • ---7(h)9---
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • -------------
  • ---7--------
  • ---7(h)9----
  • -------------
  • -------------
Scale and Chord Shape

Scale and Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ---10--------
  • ---10(h)12----
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---10--------10--
  • ---10(h)12--10--
Scale and Chord Shape

Scale and Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • -----------------------
  • ------------------------
  • ---9--------9----------
  • ---9(h)11--9----------
  • --------------------11--
  • --------------------------


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ------------
  • ---12---------12-
  • ---12(h)14--12--
  • --------------------15--
Scale and Chord Shape

Scale and Chord Shape

Rhythm Fill

  • ---12--------12------
  • ---12(h)14--12------
  • ------------------13--
  • -------------
  • -------------
  • -------------


  • ------------
  • ---12--------12--
  • ---11(h)13--11--
  • ---------------------14--
  • -------------
  • -------------

Summary

  • Starts with perfect 4th interval
  • Hammer-on the lower note a whole step (becomes a minor 3rd)
  • The top note sustains
  • Based on major or minor pentatonic scale

The Exception

When barring the G and B string, you get a major third. When you do the hammer-on, it creates a major 2nd.

Comments

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on July 05, 2016:

Great Hub and very easy to follow. Stella