The Hendrix Chord: E7#9
Lots of guitarists call the 7#9 chord – the “Hendrix” chord, after the legendary Jimi Hendrix who employed it often, but you can really hear it loud and clear on “Foxy Lady”.
Another Useful Hendrix Chord: Eb/G
But there’s another chord that I associate with Jimi, and you can hear this all over “The Wind Cries Mary” – especially the intro. It is a major chord that replaces the root note with the major 3rd on the bass string.
To see how to make this chord form, first play a 5th string rooted power chord (Fig 1).
Replace the root with the major third of the chord (Fig 2). This chord is named Eb/G – indicating to play an Eb major chord, but to play a G in the bass.
Fig. 1 root on 5th string
Fig. 2 – 3rd on 5th string
The chord in Fig. 2 sounds great – your bass player will love it as you’ve given up the root note, and the chord quality has not changed, it’s still a major chord.
You can check out this YouTube video on how play the whole intro.
the Eb/G chord from Fig. 2 is explained at 1:07.
But what I love in this chord shape is that the related major pentatonic box is laying right under your fingers to add tasty fills over the chord. Figure 3 shows the perfect pentatonic box shape that is there for the playing. Check out the 2:00 mark on the above video to see how Hendrix accessed that pentatonic form to play a fill, which leads into the first verse.
This major/3rd bass chord shape from Fig 2 also works well on country-flavored tunes. Finish a verse or chorus with the shape and try playing a fill from the pentatonic box to finish it up.
Try substituting this major/3rd bass chord for your traditional power chord, or open-voiced major chord. Open up your ears and see if this sound is something you like!