Here’s a Super Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners – a “chromatic guitar riff” Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix.

Yours truly! Will Ripley (Campfire Guitar Star)

Hey Joe

Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “Hey Joe” is so good, it’s hard to think of any other version.  Despite its initial copyright in 1962 by Billy Roberts (a California folk singer) the original songwriter seems to be up for debate.  Hendrix, with his signature style, used “Hey Joe” to introduce his band “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” to the world.

Hendrix was a left handed player (Hey! Like Albert King & Kurt Cobain!). He played a right handed Fender  Stratocaster but strung it upside down.  Apparently, it was difficult to find left handed guitars in those days…

Before he was famous, he was “Jimmy James” – a working session guitarist that played behind many other very recognized musicians. Hendrix’s mainstream career lasted only 4 years up to his death at the age of 27. He is known as one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived.

This heavy, ascending style riff happens a few times throughout the song and shares a lot of similarities with your “warm-up scale”. We’re going to apply this “one-fret-at-a-time” movement to an actual, cool song. This will still act as a great warm-up scale too!

If you have been practicing these riffs and your warm up scale, consider this your first official warm-up scale graduation!

*By the way, we’re using what in musical terms we would refer to as “chromatic techniques”. Chromatic movements on the guitar are best described as one-fret-at-a-time movements.

Tips To Play This Riff

  • Start on your third finger for that first note – the 3rd fret of the A string.
  • Incorporate the alternate picking technique right from the beginning – When you switch strings it will always start on an upstroke for this riff.
  • Make sure you’re using all 4 fingers!

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Thanks and keep on rippin it! – Will Ripley & Mike B