Purple Haze guitar TAB lesson and guide Jimi Hendrix guitar lesson

Here you’ll find the Purple Haze guitar TAB and guide on how to play this Jimi Hendrix classic.

Welcome to the very first and one hundred percent not the last Jimi Hendrix guitar lesson for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. Jimi Hendrix is unquestionably one of the greatest guitar players of all time and naturally has a vast selection of iconic songs each as good as the last so choosing which one to do first should be a tricky task for me. Or so you’d think.

The decision to write a guitar lesson for Purple Haze before any other Jimi Hendrix track was actually quite an easy one and for two very good reasons. Firstly, Purple Haze is a very fun song to play on the guitar and secondly, it’s actually quite an easy song to play for anyone at the lower intermediate stage or later and can therefore be tackled by most guitar players out there. There’s also the little fact that it’s in my top five favourite Jimi Hendrix songs as well and from a sentimental perspective, it’s also the first Jimi Hendrix song that I learned.

jimi hendrix purple haze

Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze guitar TAB lesson and guide

Purple Haze is for the most part built around three sections. The riff, the verse and the solos. There’s some variation in the sections but before we get started with those, we first have to tackle the introduction of the song. The intro is quite simple and only lasts for two bars. See the TAB below.

Purple Haze intro TAB

It’s actually quite easy also to add the bass guitar notes to this as you can finger a full chord as seen below.

Purple Haze intro TAB (variation)

Which version you play is really up to you. If you go for the variation, you finger the chord with you first finger on the E string, your second on the A, your third on the D and your fourth on the G. Also notice the staccato marks that are present in both versions. These notes are performed in an abrupt manor as you can hear in the track.

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The intro is followed by the main riff. It’s one of those Hendrix riffs that we guitarists are all familiar with and is likely one of, if not the main reason that you’ve decided to learn Purple Haze in the first place. The riff is the main hook of the song so be sure to get this spot on. One of the most fun things about this particular guitar riff for me at least is the little slides between some of the phrases that I’ve included in the TAB. Great fun to play and they sound great.

Purple Haze guitar riff TAB

The slide notes from the 12th fret on the low E are a guide. You can play around with them as much as you like. Sliding at those points just sounds cool and in groove. The fingering from the intro leads into this riff very neatly with that first slide in with third finger beginning a section that’s very flowing and natural feeling. The string skipping may feel a little awkward but overall, this is a riff that you’ll get the hang of relatively quickly.

The next section that we have to learn is the first verse. It’s nice and straight forward and is based around three simple chords. The E7#9 chord or “Hendrix chord”, the G major chord and the A major chord. The strumming isn’t crazy important while covering this song in my opinion as long as you’re in groove and just like the intro I’m going to provide you with variations of how to play this section.

Purple Haze verse 1 TAB (version 1)

This first version of the Purple Haze verse is a closer representation of how Hendrix played it.

Verse 1 is followed by verse 2 which is performed slightly differently. Everything is the same apart from the repeats. The chords are only played through 3 times instead of the previous 5 as the vocals come in straight away. See the TAB below. Verse 2 is also the same as verse 3 which comes later.

Purple Haze verse 2 and 3 TAB (version 1)

Verse 2 and 3 (version 2)

We’re getting toward the tail end of this one now. There’s only 3 more parts to learn and next up is the main solo. Here’s the TAB. This follows on immediately after the final bar of the verse.

Purple Haze guitar solo TAB

There you have it. The solo can feel a little tricky but there’s nothing intense in there and it’s not that long either. After the solo we move back into the main riff but there’s some slight variation so it’s worth having the TAB for it.

Purple Haze post solo riff

Very close to the end now. There’s another verse between this section and then after that is the last part of the song that we need to learn. That section is the outro of the song which is effectively another guitar solo which fades out gradually.

Purple haze outro guitar solo

Now like I said, this is a fade out outro so this isn’t exactly what goes on. You basically need to learn those first 4 bars and then know that for the rest of the outro Hendrix played around with that 15th fret bend, at times with a lot of crazy and wide vibrato.

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When you play the song you’re obviously not going to be playing a fade out so you can end as soon or as late as you like. If you want to go crazy with that bended note and play around with it for a while then go for it but don’t drag it out for too long and have a set amount of bars that you’re going to play around with it for. Alternatively you could even end with a dotted half note in bar 4 with the first bend or even copy the bars exactly as written above.

It’s a song where you’ll have to play with the ending a little bit to find what works for you. You could even try transitioning into another song or incorporating one of those low E slides back into the riff for the first two bars and ending on an E7#9 chord. These are all ending methods I’ve used which work well.

And that’s it! You now know all the parts to Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. A real fun track to play and also to listen. Just don’t fall into that trap of trying to perfectly match that Jimi Hendrix tone.

What next?

Are you a massive fan of Jimi Hendrix? I’m willing to bet that the answer is yes because most guitarists are. I don’t have any other Hendrix related guitar lessons (yet), but I do have a couple of articles that may prove interesting. Take a look at these which you may find interesting. 

Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland Review

Jimi Hendrix Red House Review

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