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I still got my guitar ...

01:00 Mon 22nd Apr 2002 |

Q.� Has the computer revolution changed the way musicians learn to play < xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

A.� The advent of technology has resulted in some significant changed within the music industry, especially with regard to the ways in which music is made.

Q.� For example

A.� The most obvious changes are the variety of musical formats available now,�a choice that was unheard even ten or fifteen years ago�- CD, Mini-Disc, MP3, as well as the continuation of vinyl and cassette tape.

The revolution has also influenced the way in which amateur musicians can learn the tricks of the trade from the original masters�- and the pioneer in this area, as indeed he was during his lifetime, is Jimi Hendrix.

Q.� This sounds intriguing, what's the story

A.� More or less anyone who has learned, or even tried to learn to play an electric guitar has listened to the majestic genius of the instrument that was Jimi Hendrix.�

Without Hendrix's revolutionary playing techniques, combined with unique amplification and tonal explorations, the electric guitar would not be the musical force it has been, and continues to be, within popular music.

Anyone who has tried to play along with the master will have hit a variety of stumbling blocks�- technical as well as inspirational.�Hendrix's instinctive mastery of his craft makes him a very hard role model to follow, and all the more sought after because of that.

Q.� Is there a change around the corner

A.� There is, and it directly involves the computer technology that gives access to Hendrix's material in a way that nobody would have ever though possible.

Q.� What's involved

A.� The computer company Line 6 who are the inventors of digital modelling guitar amplifier technology have collaborated with the band Experience Hendrix on an exciting new project that will see budding maestros queuing to sign up and access the software on offer.

Legendary producer and engineer Eddie Kramer has been drafted in to re-record material from the highlights of Jimi Hendrix's recording career. Kramer has recorded Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, the rhythm section in Hendrix's Band Of Gypsies period, together with guitarist Andy Aledort.

Using the technology developed by Line 6,�the trio have re-recorded selections from the Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, and Electric Ladyland albums. These albums were, of course, recorded by Hendrix's first band, the Experience, which featured Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.

Q.� So what's on offer

A.� The deal is, on-line subscribers will be able to access the Line 6 database and pick up the re-recorded tracks, but with the option of removing sections of the recording, and substituting their own instrument. This means that it will be possible for a subscriber to play lead guitar on songs�such as The Wind Cries Mary, and even Purple Haze, with the Hendrix rhythm section playing along. Other options are removing one or more lines of double tracking, or taking out Jimi's rhythm parts and playing along with those parts�- it's effectively a guitar master-class in cyberspace.

Q.� It sounds fabulous, is there anything else

A.� There is. Hendrix's unique experiments with varieties of amplifiers and speakers, tone controls and effects pedals will also be available to subscribers, so they can try out their own particularly favourite sounds and mix them into their favourite Hendrix songs.

Q.� This could be popular!

A.� Line 6 think so�- they've begun at the top with Hendrix, but plans are in the pipeline for a variety of other musicians' works to be re-recorded in a similar fashion, allowing subscribers to improvise their own solos, or learn the original guitar parts and practice them with the original backing sounds.

Q.� Doesn't this infringe copyright

A.� Line 6 will obviously have to secure the agreement of relevent�copyright holders, and pay appropriate royalty rates, but the subscription fees from visitors to the site will, it is hoped, cover this.

Q.� So everyone will be able to play like Jimi Hendrix

A.� Well, no. What you get is the finished product, arrived at after Hendrix had written the material, rehearsed it, sifted through bewildering varieties of amplifier, tone and effect combinations, and then added a sprinkle of his unique genius as a musician, and you can't put that into a programme and download it!

Subscribers will be able to enjoy the experience of playing 'alongside' Cox and Miles, but that doesn't mean they will be Jimi Hendrix, or come close the encapsulating the innovative and breathtaking aspects of Hendrix's music.�

That is why Jimi Hendrix is the legend he is, and whatever that vital spark was that made him unique, he has taken with him, leaving only the sonic fallout to be enjoyed by those who would follow in his footsteps.

Q.� Is it a con

A.� By no means, but you have to keep a sense of perspective. What's on offer is a microchip jam session, which will enable you to figure out some, but by no means all, of the ways in which Jimi�Hendrix. and eventually others,�constructed their recorded output. What is not on offer is the driving talent and vision that meant Hendrix could create such material in the first place�- that is inspiration, and to date, there is no way of capturing that on any download programme.

Q.� Sounds like fun though!

A.� It does�- treat it as just that, and you won't be disappointed.

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Andy Hughes

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