Learn the Other “Purple Haze” Chord

Jimi Hendrix
(Image credit: Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images)

Ask most guitarists how to play the chord made famous by “Purple Haze,” and they’ll likely strum the E7#9 grip known informally the world over as “the Hendrix chord.”

Hendrix chord lesson tab 1

(Image credit: Future)

However, other players - such as Chicago, Illinois, guitarist Paul Petraitis, who saw Jimi Hendrix perform four times in 1968 - can attest that in later performances of the song, Hendrix sometimes used an open-position Em7 instead. 

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“E7#9 is so overused in the post-Stevie Ray world, that this Em7 chord makes a nice alternative,” says Petraitis. “It doesn’t have that G#/G dissonance. It’s like the ‘Foxey Lady’ voicing.” 

Hendrix chord lesson tab 2

(Image credit: Future)
Jude Gold
Los Angeles Editor, Guitar Player

Whether he’s interviewing great guitarists for Guitar Player magazine or on his respected podcast, No Guitar Is Safe – “The guitar show where guitar heroes plug in” – Jude Gold has been a passionate guitar journalist since 2001, when he became a full-time Guitar Player staff editor. In 2012, Jude became lead guitarist for iconic rock band Jefferson Starship, yet still has, in his role as Los Angeles Editor, continued to contribute regularly to all things Guitar Player

Watch Jude play guitar here.