By the early Sixties, the blues branch of the popular music tree was rapidly thinning. One of the main factors contributing to its demise was rhythm. After decades of dance-floor popularity, triplet-based shuffles and swing grooves had started to be viewed as decidedly old-school, eclipsed by the straight-eighth-note-based rhythms of R&B and rock and roll.
When writing on a standard-tuned six-string guitar, I tend to move my fingers in familiar patterns and reach for the same chords and shapes. To break this habit, I employ a few go-to devices, including using alternate tunings, composing guitar riffs on a keyboard and introducing the extra range of a seven-string guitar into my writing. I used this last method to great effect on the final Emperor album, 2001’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise.
As 1969 dawned, Jimi Hendrix had just come through three of the most incredible years of his life. In 1966, after years of struggling on the black entertainment chitlin circuit, he had been plucked from a New York nightclub by Chas Chandler, former bassist with British hit makers the Animals, and whisked off to London, England, home of the Beatles, Stones, Who, Cream and all things groovy in rock.