Jeff Beck: Remembering Jimi

Guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck talks to WSJ’s John Jurgensen about bonding with Jimi Hendrix and what Hendrix thought of Beck’s guitar playing. Photo: AP

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Comment (98)

  1. "almost beyond human"

    "you didn't do anything except stand and listen when he was in

    full flight"

    "anything off the scale was what Jimi liked…"

    Jeff Beck talking about Jimi Hendrix

  2. when jimmy was awarded best guitar player in the wold he was asked how he felt being the best player ………his answer…Ï don't know man, ask Rory Gallagher !!!!!

  3. jimi would be blown away at how you play today Jeff! I'd love to see and hear you two up and stage today. Both of you took it to the next phase 🌠⚡🎸

  4. Oh come on Mr Humble i seen n heard both of you not together mind you but I've been fortunate to see n hear whats what n Jeff your smiply amazing man you always bring it home. Im lucky

  5. Jeff is being very diplomatic here, helping the music business. Nobody can sound like Jimi onstage,
    not even Jimi, because his albums were produced by using all the modern scientific methods and guitar
    technique, with other guitar players dubbing in. Jimi was part of the British Invasion we still get to hear.
    Jeff! It might be time for you to do a better Greensleeves. no… no… don't go acoustic…

  6. I like Jeff like I like many other guitar players. That said Hendrix has always been my favorite. Came across this subjective opinion the other day on a site called Quora. Everyone has an opinion. Here's one

    From Alex
    Updated May 30, 2018BA Hons in music theory, technology of music and musicology

    Was Jimi Hendrix a significantly better guitarist than his contemporaries?
    Yes, with some very minor reservations which I’ll get to in a minute.
    Hendrix raised the bar and changed the game, when it came to electric guitar. Jazz musicians like to talk about a musician’s ‘conception’, meaning that musician’s general approach to the instrument, and to making music. Another musician might find it difficult to play with someone whose conception they couldn’t understand. (Ornette Coleman sometimes had this problem, until he attracted musicians like Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry and Charlie Haden, who grasped his conception very well.)
    The recorded evidence shows that, in terms of his conception—his understanding of what the electric guitar was good for, and could be made to do—Hendrix was simply head and shoulders above his peers. He effortlessly incorporated controlled noise and feedback into his playing, when his peers were tentatively mucking about with them. He was a superb rhythm player: most of the other guitar heroes of his generation were at best workmanlike rhythm players, and not even the best rhythm players of the time (Townshend, Page) could match the fury and precision of Hendrix’s part on ‘Killing Floor’—there’s a reason why he chose that song to introduce himself to American audiences at the Monterey festival. His leads were almost endlessly inventive and expressive: listen to what he can do with just one chord in ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’. His expressivity on guitar was supreme. Other guitarists, like Clapton, took a plank of wood and an amp the size of a fridge, and in the words of Philip Norman, made it sound like some kind of strange but haunting wind instrument, but Hendrix made it sound like a whole orchestra, playing in a hurricane.
    With all respect to other answers to this question, and their authors, many of whom are people whose other answers I have enjoyed and admired, I have to laugh when I see Hendrix being considered as if he belonged in the same company as players like Clapton, Mike Bloomfield or even Jeff Beck. They belong in each other’s company; they do not belong in his.
    One answer comments ‘Lots of players knew their way around a fretboard better than Jimi.’ Well, no they didn’t. His understanding of harmony and scales was, again, far in advance of the white blues-rock guitarists that he is routinely diminished by being compared to: listen to ‘Rainy Day, Dream Away’ on Electric Ladyland, and consider the majesty of the chord progression on ‘Little Wing’. In order to find players whose knowledge of the fretboard was better than his, or perhaps it would be more fair to say other than his, you have to look among musicians who consciously rejected his approach and made a deliberate decision to explore musics that he wasn’t interested in. Robert Fripp comes to mind, but few rock musicians have his knowledge of things like the whole-tone scale, and almost no guitarists before the metal era had Fripp’s ruthless focus on the the technical aspects of playing, such as precision crosspicking at fast tempi.
    Hendrix was a better guitarist than his contemporaries because he was a better musician than them. He was a singer, innovative songwriter and composer as well as just a player of guitar solos, and his compositions drew on a wider range of influences than most of his peers. Some guitarists, such as Alvin Lee, may have been able to play faster. Some, such as Jeff Beck, may have been able to make their way around a Mingus tune, but when Hendrix was alive Beck was making plodding heavy blues albums like Truth and Beck-Ola, not glittering jazz-rock masterpieces like Wired or Blow by Blow.
    Hendrix’s impact on rock guitar was comparable to that of certain composers on their respective fields of influence: Haydn on the string quartet and symphony, for example. He showed us new directions, and he made himself an example to emulate. For some strange reason, he is persistently denied his due and is placed in the company of musicians that were simply not of his stature. His appeal is put down to ‘flair’ and ‘theatrical talent’. This is nonsense. The music speaks for itself, for those who have ears to hear it.
    Of course he wasn’t infallible. He could and sometimes did play very badly: the entire Isle of Wight gig is just depressing. But at his best, he was a different order of musician, the kind that only comes along once in a generation. Performances like ‘Machine Gun’, ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and the Albert Hall 1969 version of ‘Bleeding Heart’ are among the greatest performances of the era.
    Robert Fripp, with justifiable proudness, tells the story

     of playing an early King Crimson gig which Hendrix attended. Backstage, the nerdy Fripp met the great man, who smiled at him and said ‘Shake my left hand, man. It’s closer to my heart.’
    72K viewsView UpvotersView Sharers

  7. Jimi worshipped Jeff Beck. He admitted it. He saw the Yardbirds and it changed his life, Next thing you know he turned up his volume and started doing cosmic guitar too. Jeff is modest.

  8. I love those recordings in which JB makes that sitar sound. Always loved that. Jeff is another sound innovator – so special as Jimi was. Glad that Jeff Beck is still with us. I went to see him in what used to be called in The Palladium around the time "Wired" was out and "There and Back" had been just released ( I believe ). I would like to see him again.
    I have been fortunate to see the Trinity that came out of the Yardbirds – Page, Beck and Clapton at various points in my life and I am so grateful that I have. Jimi was already gone by the time I was 11. I never tire of seeing him on film, however.


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