Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

Difficulty: Intermediate

In his brief four-year reign, Jimi Hendrix expanded the electric guitar more than anyone before or since. Hendrix was a master at merging all manner of music into one precise art form, often with experiments that produced high-quality feedback and roaring distortion. His frequent hurricane blasts of noise and dazzling showmanship proved that he could and would play behind his back and with his teeth and set his guitar on fire, and everyone would HAVE to love it. He possessed such considerable gifts as a songwriter, singer, and master of blues, R&B, and rock styles.


The intro to “Purple Haze” is an assortment of bends, hammer-ons, and slides. It has a strange off-the-wall sound, but this intro has inspired thousands of people to begin learning the guitar. It’s a great passage to learn for the beginner too, because you get to use several techniques that help make the guitar stand out from other instruments.

Here is the complete tab for the intro:

Here is what it sounds like at normal speed:

I’m not going to go into detail with the fingerings of this part of
the song, because I feel that with the short excerpt immediately below
that you’ll be able to figure out the rest:

The riff is broken down into two measure segments below. Each segment
has it’s own audio sample played at a slower tempo. This enables you
to isolate each segment one at a time. Practice each segment until
you are comfortable with it, then try playing it at the normal speed.

The segment above is repeated once, only this time we add another
slide from the 5th fret to the 7th fret on the A string to lead into
the next segment below:


For those of you who are having trouble playing the riff at full speed,
try playing along with the audio sample below. At this reduced speed,
you are able to hear the individual techniques used more clearly.

If you’re still having trouble playing the riff at the reduced speed,
then you should practice it two measures at a time until you get a
bit more comfortable with it. It’s not terribly hard to play technically,
so with a little effort and patience you’ll be able to do it!

It’s a good idea to practice the riff without the guitar audio to
guide you, so I’ve included the audio with only the bass guitar and
click track. It will probablly be a lot harder to play like this, but
it makes for great practice!

I’ve included a both track at the normal speed and a slower version.

Normal Speed



Here’s what both the guitar and bass sound like together:


Bass Guitar

Guitar Solo


Bass Guitar

Guitar Solo Breakdown Part One

Guitar Solo Breakdown Part Two

Solo Breakdown Part Three

Solo Breakdown Part Four

Riff Resources

Complete Transcription To “Purple
Haze” (PDF)

Complete Transcription To “Purple
Haze” (Power Tab)