Someone help me learn Jimi's Castles Made of Sand....

rick66

Silver Supporting Member
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123
I've been trying for a long time now, using tab available on the net, to lean the opening bars of this song. Specifically, the beginning part when he begins in the neck pick up position. I'm just not getting it with the tab and was wondering if maybe one of this forum's more experienced players could maybe post a video of a close up of the chording progressions so I could see just where I'm going wrong/getting confused. Any help would be most appreciated.
 

CharlieNC

Member
Messages
651
well, i'm not going to tab anything out since you've tried that, but the style is an easy one to imitate (but soooooooooo hard to perfect)

it works like this, basically Jimi is holding down the triad portion of the chord with one finger and playing improve licks on top of it with most likely the third or middle finger.

try this: bar a C chord with your first finger by pressing down the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings at the 5th fret. while holding all of those strings down, hammer on at the 7th fret with your ring finger striking 1, 2, or all three of the fretted strings at the same time. this in combination with various slides in the bass register of the given pentatonic scale is the basic style. making sound good just takes practice.

but definitely give it a whirl. the most important thing is finding a way to play those three main notes from the chord and adding fills on top of them. a lot of Motown songs have these kind of licks in them.
 

da-boogieman

Member
Messages
290
If you don't mind spending a few bucks, Andy Aledort did a Hendrix signature licks for Hal Leonard copyright 1996. It includes a CD and nails this intro and many other Hendrix "must knows". I'm sure you can still get it with a Google search. As an earlier replier said, the licks are technically simple, but getting them to sound perfect takes a lot of practice.

My Little Wing intro learned from above:

http://mysite.verizon.net/res03exk/id2.html

A little "mechanical" sounding, but I'm inexperienced as a guitar player. Any reasonable intermediate could do much better with the learning material I referenced.

Good luck:)
 

rick66

Silver Supporting Member
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123
wow, didn't sound very mechanical to me :)

i'll research your suggestion. hopefully it will help me. thanks!!!
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
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6,914
I would suggest getting the Amazing slow downer. Its time stretch software that slows down the speed of a recording without changing the pitch. Work like a charm and the side benefit of working this stuff out yourself is that it improves your ear. Also Most transcriptions contain multiple errors IME. That goes for commercial tab and moreso for internet tab. YMMV
 

da-boogieman

Member
Messages
290
Originally posted by fr8_trane
I would suggest getting the Amazing slow downer. Its time stretch software that slows down the speed of a recording without changing the pitch. Work like a charm and the side benefit of working this stuff out yourself is that it improves your ear. Also Most transcriptions contain multiple errors IME. That goes for commercial tab and moreso for internet tab. YMMV
As a beginner I use both ASD and TAB and I can heartily support the Amazing Slow Downer recommendation. It is also very nice for shifting the pitch of a song: Some Hendrix stuff is tuned down to E-flat. With ASD you can adjust the pitch back to E and play along at any pace you want without the hassle of re-tuning or having a guitar always tuned a 1/2 step down. This a seldom mentioned gem of a feature IMO ;)

The guys on this board know a LOT. I transcribed Alvin Lee's intro to I'm Going Home with ASD (Woodstock version) and some of the techniques he uses are ingrained into my mind! fr8_trane is right about the mistakes common in TAB too. The Hendrix Licks I suggested won't disappoint though;)
 

Zexcoil

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5,697
Try this (especially with the comments above in mind).

These all slide up and down:
5 3 5 8 10 8 5 3 5 3
3 1 3 6 8 6 3 1 3 3
- - - - - - - - - -
5 3 5 8 10 8 5 3 5 5
- - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - 7 10 7 -
- - - - - - - - - - 7
- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - 5 7 9 - - - -
3 3 5 7 - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - 7 - - - 5 5 5 - 5
7 5 7 7 - - - 5 7 5 - 5
- - - - - 3 - - - - 7 -
- - - - 5 - 5 - - - - -

- - -
- - -
- 3 3
- 3 5
5 - -
- - -

- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - 3 3 - - 5 5 - -
- 4 - - 3 3 - - 5 5 - 4
- 5 - - 3 3 - - 5 5 - 5
- - 3 5 - - 5 7 - - 6 -
3 - - - - - - - - - - -

repeat last bit

Sorry about the format. You'll have to count spacing a bit but I think most of it is aligned. These are just the fingering positions in sequential order. Timing transcription not even attempted. There's some hammer-ons, pull offs and slides in there but if I tried to show them the spacing gets messed up. Note that the first row is sliding that chord shape up and down the neck.

You might try to paste this in to word and change the font to something with even spacing like courier. Add a space on every column that has a "10" (on every fret but the one with the "10") to account for the extra character. Then it will all line up nice.

I think this is pretty close. Definitely gives you a strong flavor for what he's doing.

Tune down a half step if you want to play along with the record.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 

rick66

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
123
a big thanks to all who have responded. haven't had a lot of time to practice as my 9 year old's hockey season is in full gear and i'm the coach. the slow down software seems really interesting; i'll have to investigate that.

scottb: on my way out the door for turkey day, but i'll give your suggestions a shot this evening.

got my trusty TM10 to practice through. BUT, hooked up with another "forumite" and we made a deal which will soon provide me with an aiken tomcat :dude

thanks again everyone :)
 

retro

Member
Messages
1,685
Yeah I should have said a slight variation...rather then different version.

Wanted to see if I could tab something in a post that looked reasonable, as I've never tried...:D


And Little Wing sounded good.
 

Zexcoil

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5,697
Just to clarify, that was meant as more of a positive comment, guess I was a little too brief.

I think your detail on the hammers, pulls and slides should really help him.
 

retro

Member
Messages
1,685
Hey Scott,

Thanks for the comments.


For me Jimi is such a unique player that I've always enjoyed finding and trying any info I can get on how he played things. So I thought to add a little and I am certainly no expert. But with all the good suggestions here I think it should be helpful.


I've never seen the Hal Leonard pub with Andy either and I'll have to check that out.


And I agree ASD is a great tool. Back when I was starting I had to use a finger to slow down the turntable...:dude
 
H

Heavy Soul

the tricky thing about learning jimi's songs is getting that simultaneous bass/rythym/lead stuff. he had such large hands and he'd wrap his thumb around the neck for bass lines while playing rythym AND he'd throw in single notes.

castles made of sand and little wing are some examples of this virtuoso technique.

oh! there's also "electric ladyland". if you have the making of electric ladyland dvd, they isolate his guitar track of the song at the end and it is beautiful.
 

Brion

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,935
On those first chords that slide around, the 3rd string should remain open for all of them. Just slide into each one but let that G string ring.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,914
he had such large hands and he'd wrap his thumb around the neck for bass lines while playing rythym AND he'd throw in single notes.
This is an essential technique for all guitarists AFAIC. I don't have huge hands but through learning Hendrix tunes I can do this easily now. Using your thumb as a 5th fretting finger allows you to do a lot of cool stuff.
 

PlexiBreath

Member
Messages
1,205
Originally posted by fr8_trane
This is an essential technique for all guitarists AFAIC. I don't have huge hands but through learning Hendrix tunes I can do this easily now. Using your thumb as a 5th fretting finger allows you to do a lot of cool stuff.
This is absolutey a valuable and freeing technique. It's something I learned from watching footage of both Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. The "thumb-over" chording technique frees up your other fingers to do other things. It has limited use outside chords with the root on the 6th string but still a powerfull tool. The hardest part for me was getting to where I wasn't pushing the string making it go sharp, but after a while I got it down, I no longer play the standard barre chord grip.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,914
The hardest part for me was getting to where I wasn't pushing the string making it go sharp, but after a while I got it down, I no longer play the standard barre chord grip.
Yup, theres a bit of a learning curve but once you get it you won't even think about it. SO MUCH of my rhythm playing is directly taken from Hendrix. From the #9 chord which is EVERYONE'S introduction to altered dominants (even if they don't know what that means), to the cool sound of tritones (intro to purple haze) and octaves (3rd stone from the sun), to the R&B fills of Little Wing, Bold as love, Wait till tomorrow, Angel and Castles made of Sand. Everyone should have a little Hendrix in their bag.
 

PlexiBreath

Member
Messages
1,205
Not specific for Castles, but just something to keep in mind about Jimi's style of rhythm, which is really an imaginative derivative of Mo-Town. Jimi will hit the root of the chord only on beat counts of 1 and 3 and on beats 2 and 4 hit the rest of the chord with hammer-ons and pull-offs for embellishments, often on 2 and 4 he doesn't even play the chord outright, just the embellishments built off the chord. Listen to Bold As Love and Wind Cries Mary as examples of this. Note that I'm not claiming that this is all he does, I'm only making a generalization as a way to approach learning a Hendrix piece, a starting place to get a handle on it.

There is so much more to what Jimi is doing than what is apparent. Years ago I sat down to learn and hopefully master Bold As Love. It took me about two weeks to perfectly find all the correct notes on the fingerboard, however it didn't sound right, it took me almost 6 months to get it to where I was happy with the feel of my performance, that's not even changing what I was playing, just how I was playing it. I had already been playing for many years and was a damn good rhythm player, but in those 6 months Jimi taught me more about rhythmic playing than everything I knew in all the previous years. Jimi Hendrix is guitar school. Jimi was a genius.
 
Messages
3,977
Jimi's playing is all about feel... his licks aren't that hard to find the position for most of the time, it's usually a pentatonic minor shape with the root on the low E string like most blues, though there are also a lot of licks in a major pattern with the root on either the low E or A string. Holding down a bar chord with one finger and embellishing on top of that with the other fingers isn't as bad as it sounds... the hardest Hendrix stuff is getting that vibrato down, learning the bent double stops is hard when you first start with that stuff, but mimicing his bends, touch, vibrato and whammy bar (yes, you can get some of it down even if you play with a hardtail- maybe not the divebombs, though)...

In my complete opinion, learning anyone from Hendrix to Eric Clapton is FAR easier if you start where they started- Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, BB King, Otis Rush... Then all of the later guys' licks just seem to make a lot of sense because you already know where they were coming from. For example, 1960s Eric Clapton is 97.5% either Freddie King or Albert King licks.
 




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