Playing Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

I haven’t really figured out copyright law, so I guess I can’t throw out any tab or note-for-stuff. I hope this helps. In some ways figuring out the song from a basic framework may allow you to improve your ear and in the end gain a better feel for the intentions of the artist.


The two main parts of the intro are the very beginning with the intense riff and then the blues licks. The first riff consists of two notes. Bb and E. It’s a tritone. The song is in E, so it’s a pretty intense way to start a song! The next part is some cool riffs using the E minor blues scale. Figuring it out might be a little hard at first because some of the intervals are unexpected. But you will be pscyhed when you get it! Try using

You can actually check out Jimi playing the intro in this movie.

Chords for the song

The three chords are E7#9, G major and A major. The E7#9 you play twice as long as the other chords. If you watch Jimi’s hands, he doesn’t play a full bar, instead he uses his thumb to play the low note.

The breaks

There are several different breaks between the singing. There’s one main riff that is using the E blues scale. You can actually see him play some of the breaks. If you don’t know the breaks, definitely try to learn them. But you can play a decent version of the song if you know the intro and the chords. If you learn the breaks, that’s awesome but try coming up with your own breaks, try going for your own vibe. Or pay homage to Jimi’s energy and style.

The solo

The solo on the video above is cool. The main things that popped out at me:

  1. He plays the riff and then moves it up, twice (around 1:20)
  2. He marks the 1 of the phrase by playing the bottom part of E7#9 (1:25, 1:32, 1:36)
  3. Hendrix is awesome because he’s a great musician with awesome ideas, not because of chops. He’s not really flashy – he’s going for feel and melody and groove
  4. He locks in real tight with the guys
  5. He transitions back to the intro riff really groovily.
  6. He never plays the same way twice – he’s in the moment, not trying to recreate the record note for note!

Hope this helps!

There’s plenty of places to get tab and stuff. But give your ear a chance! And if you do get tab, still slow down the song so you can get real locked in with what they are really doing!

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