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View Full Version : What is Jimi counting?



Purplz
01-17-10, 06:06 PM
http://i383.photobucket.com/albums/oo279/detroitlionssuck/71D5YnLjkSL_SY470_.jpg
http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/7783/count.jpg
(Live in Stockholm: 'One, two, three,four, five.. *plays a chord*.. oh, wrong count. Wait a minute.. *starts counting again then plays a chord*, yeah.. I'll never forget that')

I don't know if anyone noticed but on multiple videos, we can see Jimi counting something on the fret board.

I thought it may be his way of getting to the pentatonic scale root note fret he needed to play a song but it doesn't make much sense because I think somebody like Jimi would know his fret board by heart and even if he didn't, he could just slide till he finds the note he's looking for.

As you can see, i'm pretty much confused about this. :p Does anyone know what he's exactly doing?

karsten
01-17-10, 07:18 PM
He's counting the frets. Joking I guess..

Crdx
01-17-10, 07:23 PM
I believe he is doing this as a joke. If you watch the Stockholm film you wil notice how he also slightly insults the audience before the first number they play (Killing Floor). Jimi rambles a bit about how they are 'just going to jam' but that the audience 'would not notice the difference anyway'. The fret counting seems to be in the same vein.

Purplz
01-17-10, 09:42 PM
Seems weird that he plays 2 different chords before and after counting. If it's a joke, can somebody explain it to me? :p

Voodoo Kush
01-17-10, 09:57 PM
He's just playing around... at Aarus he says ".........mmmmm.............. lost.. count........." followed by long silence. He probably wasn't kidding then.

copen
06-15-10, 02:53 PM
I was watching the wight and woodstock videos recently, and he does the same count on one of those too (i think it was wight). he wasn't joking.

Fenders Fingers
06-15-10, 03:29 PM
Hey, it's tough learning to play guitar ....................... I think as a rule, i.e when he wasn't pissed, he's taking the piss.

manfree
06-15-10, 04:59 PM
Nah!! He was just learning, "Now, whats a chord?"

MourningStar
06-15-10, 05:08 PM
Does anyone know what he's exactly doing?killing an ant.

copen
06-15-10, 05:11 PM
I think it's before red house on the wight dvd.

Purplz
11-03-11, 08:03 AM
Sorry to necro this thread but does anyone have a bit more information about this?

Mysticbumwipe
11-03-11, 09:13 AM
Hi Purplz.

You have already understood it correctly. So no need to necro... :adoration:
He was pretending, as you wrote, that that was "his way of getting to the ....root-note/fret he needed to play a song" .
It was just a sort of sarcastic joke.
That's all.

He was pretending that he needed to count the frets to know which fret to start the song on.
The joke being that he's supposed to be the 'best guitarist in the world' and yet before he starts a song he allows the audience to have the impression he isn't sure where to start it on his guitar.

Not only that but at that Stockholm concert he also pretends that he needed to count it three times, saying after the first time
"oh, ...wrong count" and then says "I'll never forget that" after the third time.

So he's sarcastically pretending that he doesn't really know the guitar that well AND pretending that he can't even count properly.

You will notice he was also sarcastic with Noel when Noel dedicates Voodoo Chile to the Outsiders before they start it.
Jimi says sarcastically (http://his way of getting to the pentatonic scale root note fret he needed to play a song) in reply (22:52)
"Oh yeah. We have to play good [just] for them. Yeah, right."
and then pretends sarcastically that he can't remember what song he's just told them five seconds ago he's going to play.

Background info:
Noel wrote that Jimi was in a bad mood for that first Stockholm concert (he sure looks pissed off at times and it certainly isn't one of Jimi's best).
Compare his mood and playing with the same songs on the Lulu show (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV3fq8ESnMk) five days before.

Noel wrote that it was because they couldn't find any drugs before the show and Jimi had been drinking spirits instead which often brought out the worst in Jimi (as it did with both his parents, so that appears to be hereditary).
The second show was better after they apparently sent someone out to score some hash.

Basically he was just messing around sarcastically and as you point out he sometimes did this 'joke' on other occassions.

kdion11
11-03-11, 01:00 PM
I was watching the wight and woodstock videos recently, and he does the same count on one of those too (i think it was wight). he wasn't joking.

KD: It's the LSD !

MourningStar
11-03-11, 02:27 PM
... and Jimi had been drinking spirits instead which often brought out the worst in Jimi (as it did with both his parents, so that appears to be hereditary). ...Herditary? What a joke and what a lie! I have seen the full moon a good many times and a great number of souls partaking of the liquid 'spirits' and have never seen the 'best' brought out. The 'worst' bats a thousand, hands down.

Sharpstat
11-03-11, 02:49 PM
He's joking around. I swear some of you overanalyze everything. I once dated a woman that gave me excellent advice, she said "don't over analyze the relationship"! You do realize that Jimi is also one of the few guitar players if you really observe that rarely looked at the fretboard while he was singing? 99% of the guitarists can't do that.

MourningStar
11-03-11, 03:51 PM
He's joking around. I swear some of you overanalyze everything. I once dated a woman that gave me excellent advice, she said "don't over analyze the relationship"! You do realize that Jimi is also one of the few guitar players if you really observe that rarely looked at the fretboard while he was singing? 99% of the guitarists can't do that.Excellent point!

gunther
11-04-11, 01:39 PM
Some of you guys should go buy a sense of humour. :numbness: I think they got 'em down at 7-11 next to the track phones and cheese Danish's.

wallybag
11-04-11, 02:44 PM
He used to forget the words of songs and apoligise, maybe he forgot the notes on the fretbord and had to count them to remember were the e or c was. He did not do things they way others did.

dino77
11-04-11, 04:27 PM
I'm not 100 % convinced it was a joke. Maybe sometimes it was, but he does it before Izabella at Woodstock, which was a new song he had never performed live....so he would need to check what key to start off in.

Sharpstat
11-04-11, 05:27 PM
I have a question for those of you that think Jimi is serious and cannot find the correct fret, do any of you play guitar? I know I always use the 12th fret as a reference as to where I'm playing on the guitar. I have another reference as far as Jimi knowing his guitar. Watch the Johnny B Goode performance at Berkeley.It's pretty amazing for a guitar player that can't find the right fret, he sure fools me by playing rhythm and the quick lead while singing "go Johnny,go,go!

Sharpstat
11-04-11, 05:32 PM
I'm not 100 % convinced it was a joke. Maybe sometimes it was, but he does it before Izabella at Woodstock, which was a new song he had never performed live....so he would need to check what key to start off in.


He rehearsed and played Izabella at the Shokan house, and later plays it at Tinker street cinema IIRC? The Woodstock footage is edited as his intro to playing Izabella was longer with in between tuning of his guitar and lots of banter. I'm using the soundboard tape as my reference.

carlygtr56
11-04-11, 06:19 PM
I can think of three situations Jimi started tunes in the wrong key. Red House 1/9/69, Johnny B Goode from Temple Stadium and Watchtower from Atlanta Pop. I always thought his counting was done as a goof, but you never know.

dino77
11-04-11, 06:30 PM
He rehearsed and played Izabella at the Shokan house, and later plays it at Tinker street cinema IIRC? The Woodstock footage is edited as his intro to playing Izabella was longer with in between tuning of his guitar and lots of banter. I'm using the soundboard tape as my reference.

Nope, there's no evidence that he played it at Tinker Street, it's not on the tape.
I trust you about the Woodstock tape.


I have a question for those of you that think Jimi is serious and cannot find the correct fret, do any of you play guitar? I know I always use the 12th fret as a reference as to where I'm playing on the guitar. I have another reference as far as Jimi knowing his guitar. Watch the Johnny B Goode performance at Berkeley.It's pretty amazing for a guitar player that can't find the right fret, he sure fools me by playing rhythm and the quick lead while singing "go Johnny,go,go!

I do play. Can't see what Jimi's incendiary JBG performance has to do with this, IE checking that's you're in the right key. That said, maybe it was one of his standard jokes. Not one of the best in that case.

Sharpstat
11-04-11, 11:53 PM
To quote Jimi, "Anything is possible"!

funkydrummer
11-05-11, 09:51 AM
Actually I thought it was a joke too, for many years, but you need to remember that Jimi was really short-sighted (like me), and couldn't see the DOT on the neck to indicate the fret - so it is not a joke it was necessary...I know from my own experience...once situated, you can play pretty much without looking...
Furthermore, occasionally Jimi will go from low on the neck to high, and he slips into the wrong key, and I think this is because playing without being able to see clearly means a drastic move up the fretboard, occasionally found him in the wrong key...only occasionally...

Mysticbumwipe
11-05-11, 11:02 AM
Holy Moly!
You really think he was THAT shortsighted! (Jeez.)

Well... If this wasn't a sarcastic joke and it was because he was just short-sighted
then please explain why did he have to count THREE times at Stockholm before playing Spanish Castle Magic?
Wouldn't twice have been enough?

And if short-sightedness is the reason, please explain why he didn' t have to count the frets before every song he played that night that wasn't in open E.
(What was so special about SCMagic? That's not the only song that starts on the fretboard somewhere other than in open E)

And how come he could play almost a whole concert on other occassions (e.g. the BoG Fillmore concert filmed in b/w and RAH) without apparently looking at the fretboard much at all?

And why didn't he do that at least once at every concert if this is not a joke?

And how come he could play behind his head, between his legs and behind his back and still be in the right fretting position ALL the time on almost every song. That would be tricky to move around the fret board and find the right frets too, wouldn't it?
Y'see, despite all his on-stage pyro-techincs and acrobatics, how many times have you heard him play out of key in all the many bootlegs out there?
As far as I am aware its not much/ not often. You can probably count the amount of times on the fingers of one hand, possibly two.
And this from a man who has a bootleg of a large part of his concerts that he ever played in the collectors circuit.

C'mon you peeps! :subdued:

Anybody who can play the guitar a bit can find their way around the fretboard without looking.
If we amateur part-time guitarists can do it what to say of someone like Hendrix.

If short-sightedness WAS the reason, then go tell that to Jeff Healey and ask him how he does it without counting before every song...

(Sigh!) rolleyes1

MourningStar
11-05-11, 12:14 PM
heh, heh, I can see Hendrix is grinning right now ...

soccertackle14
11-05-11, 01:38 PM
"This is so silly man"

dino77
11-05-11, 03:34 PM
Maybe he was counting hot chicks in the front rows?

Ezy Rider
11-06-11, 03:59 AM
showing them the size of his . . .?

MourningStar
11-06-11, 01:23 PM
the number of girls in the audience with yellow underwear.

funkydrummer
11-06-11, 10:47 PM
Ok before I go any further with this - someone asked the question, and I provided the most plausible answer...
It may have been that it was something he did due to short-sightedness, which he then turned into a bit of a sarcastic routine...
Who knows - and quite frankly...I don't care...I'm just trying to provide an answer to the question, based on logic and my own personal experience of being VERY short-sighted and playing guitar...



Holy Moly!
You really think he was THAT shortsighted! (Jeez.)

Yes - he WAS that short sighted. Read your Hendrix literature...
You don't even have to be that short-sighted not to be able to see the dot on the fretboard.


Well... If this wasn't a sarcastic joke and it was because he was just short-sighted
then please explain why did he have to count THREE times at Stockholm before playing Spanish Castle Magic?
Wouldn't twice have been enough?

Not if you are distracted - as he was in Stockholm.


And if short-sightedness is the reason, please explain why he didn' t have to count the frets before every song he played that night that wasn't in open E.
(What was so special about SCMagic? That's not the only song that starts on the fretboard somewhere other than in open E)

The intro starts up the fret board...7th fret from memory...


And how come he could play almost a whole concert on other occassions (e.g. the BoG Fillmore concert filmed in b/w and RAH) without apparently looking at the fretboard much at all?

Depended on how stoned he was?


And why didn't he do that at least once at every concert if this is not a joke?

See above.


And how come he could play behind his head, between his legs and behind his back and still be in the right fretting position ALL the time on almost every song. That would be tricky to move around the fret board and find the right frets too, wouldn't it?

If you play guitar you will know that you can solo around a few frets without any problem of visuals...
The whole point is when he makes big jumps around the fretboard - which he doesn't do when being theatrical.


Y'see, despite all his on-stage pyro-techincs and acrobatics, how many times have you heard him play out of key in all the many bootlegs out there?
As far as I am aware its not much/ not often. You can probably count the amount of times on the fingers of one hand, possibly two.
And this from a man who has a bootleg of a large part of his concerts that he ever played in the collectors circuit.

No I said it is not often, but it does happen when Jimi goes from low on fret board and makes a big sweep to a place higher on fretboard.
Message to Love seems to be one where he has slipped out of tune on at least a couple of occasions - from memory...usually when undertaking such a sweep of the fretboard.
Anyway, I wouldn't argue this to the grave. I was just trying to be of assistance.

Mysticbumwipe
11-07-11, 04:55 AM
Hi Funkydrummer. I appreciate you were only trying to be of assistance. Trouble is suggesting Jimi couldn't find his way around the fretboard is a great insult to the man, IMO.

Depended on how stoned he was?


Er... Ok. But Hendrix wasn't at all stoned at Stockholm for the first concert. In fact, just the oppoosite, he was as unstoned as could be. And according to Noel that was precisely the cause of his bad humour and his overly sarcastic behaviour on this particular occassion.

Also the counting for just ONE song a concert doesn't make any sense with the shortsighted and stoned explanations.

And sying that SCM starts on the 7th fret makes no sense. The song is not an exception in that regard. Most of his songs start in the middle of the fretboard. Purple Haze, VoodooChile, also do that, ...etc., etc..
Anyway, this implies that on that night Jimi could find the other frets but not the 7th fret for some reason?

Anyway, I myself don't believe he WAS that shortsighted that he couldn't see two feet in front of himself (couldn't see the dots on his fretboard). :-0

And secondly if its to do with how stoned he was then when he was quite stoned (which if we are to believe Chas and Noel that would be pretty much every concert) then he'd need to be counting almost every song as only a few start in open E (by the headstock).

And even if we assume he was just counting just when he was really really stoned, then just those particular concerts again we would find he was counting before almost every song. Either that or starting in the wrong keys occassionally. And that is clearly NOT the case because that NEVER EVER happened.

I rest my case.
Q.E.D.
Please don't take offence. I'm just attempting to protect what i see as Jimi's musical reputation and legacy... ;-)

funkydrummer
11-07-11, 05:17 AM
Hi Funkydrummer. I appreciate you were only trying to be of assistance. Trouble is suggesting Jimi couldn't find his way around the fretboard is a great insult to the man, IMO.

I didn't say that. You are deliberately misunderstanding/misquoting me.
Quite frankly, I don't want to fight about it.
You obviously know best.

malifax
11-07-11, 05:27 AM
Musicians joke, simple as that. :untroubled:

souldoggie
11-07-11, 10:47 AM
Musicians joke, simple as that. :untroubled:

That is what I always thought it was, too. Simple as that.

exp1969
07-04-12, 03:39 PM
He played right handed guitar upside down and as far as I know, he didn't have dots on that side of the neck ( they are on the other side).
Anyway, I'm sure he was just joking around.

karsten
07-04-12, 04:24 PM
Funnily, the key of Red House usually matched the numbers of groupies waiting after the gig..

amazed
07-04-12, 05:03 PM
He played right handed guitar upside down and as far as I know, he didn't have dots on that side of the neck ( they are on the other side).
Anyway, I'm sure he was just joking around.

Without doubt Jimi relied upon those dots just as any great Violinist or Cellist does!

Jose Felliciano wrote an entire article for Guitar Player Magazine about Jimi's need to count the frets. That issue came out in 1978?

Much of what is considered jimi's improvisational genius is in fact him moving up and down the fretboard attempting to catch up with the rest of the band. He was fired from many bands pre-Experience fame for not being able to stay in key.

I suspect that within 50 years or so it will be discovered that Hendrix, indeed, was a fraud! Had it NOT been for his extreme near-sightedness he would have likely have not even had the chops to perform with bands such as "The Seeds".

Many of the Jams where Jiimi is known to have played Bass were actually the result of him grabbing the wrong instrument.

It wasn't until February of 1967 that Hendrix become aware of the fact that Noel and Mitch weren't Black Musicians.

Fenders Fingers
07-05-12, 03:35 AM
Without doubt Jimi relied upon those dots just as any great Violinist or Cellist does!

Jose Felliciano wrote an entire article for Guitar Player Magazine about Jimi's need to count the frets. That issue came out in 1978?

Much of what is considered jimi's improvisational genius is in fact him moving up and down the fretboard attempting to catch up with the rest of the band. He was fired from many bands pre-Experience fame for not being able to stay in key.

I suspect that within 50 years or so it will be discovered that Hendrix, indeed, was a fraud! Had it NOT been for his extreme near-sightedness he would have likely have not even had the chops to perform with bands such as "The Seeds".

Many of the Jams where Jiimi is known to have played Bass were actually the result of him grabbing the wrong instrument.

It wasn't until February of 1967 that Hendrix become aware of the fact that Noel and Mitch weren't Black Musicians.

By jove, I think you nailed it.

dino77
07-05-12, 11:54 AM
Thanks, now the penny dropped!
:congratulatory:

moggio
07-05-12, 10:18 PM
I've sometimes wondered whether this started as a band in-joke from possibly the time when learning a song with the "Where do we start?" and someone says "On the 7th fret" rather than saying its in E and then counting begins to show how silly that statement could be... then it becomes ingrained and goes on for too long.

Played in bands where we have had more obscure and dumber jokes based on very very little.

zombywoof57
07-05-12, 10:30 PM
i think Jimi prolly was quite buzzed at certain concert's and he didn't wanna start out on the wrong note, i've done that same thing before, and wasn't that buzzed...maybe if he know's its being recorded, like many of the mentioned shows, to me it makes sense:jimi:

Mysticbumwipe
07-06-12, 03:10 AM
i think Jimi prolly was quite buzzed at certain concert's and he didn't wanna start out on the wrong note, ...maybe if he know's its being recorded, like many of the mentioned shows, to me it makes sense

Read this and be wise:



(http://crosstowntorrents.org/member.php?6971-amazed)amazed (http://crosstowntorrents.org/member.php?6971-amazed) wrote:

"Without doubt Jimi relied upon those dots just as any great Violinist or Cellist does!

Jose Felliciano wrote an entire article for Guitar Player Magazine about Jimi's need to count the frets. That issue came out in 1978?

Much of what is considered jimi's improvisational genius is in fact him moving up and down the fretboard
attempting to catch up with the rest of the band. He was fired from many bands pre-Experience fame
for not being able to stay in key.

I suspect that within 50 years or so it will be discovered that Hendrix, indeed, was a fraud!
Had it NOT been for his extreme near-sightedness he would have likely have not even had the chops
to perform with bands such as "The Seeds".

Many of the Jams where Jiimi is known to have played Bass were actually the result of him grabbing the wrong instrument.

It wasn't until February of 1967 that Hendrix become aware of the fact that Noel and Mitch weren't Black Musicians.


14933
"I never had to count the frets before a song.
If only he had asked to borrow my glasses, I had a spare pair."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslSvOKe5Eo&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslSvOKe5Eo&feature=related)

Here at Stockholm January1969 Jimi counted THREE TIMES to find the right key before starting the second song of his set
but then went on to play most of this song with his eyes closed (sheesh, he liked living dangerously, didn't he?)
Still, he miraculously(?) managed to find the right fret AGAIN (at 6:59). What a fluke. ... phewph!
Wow, but he was a regularly lucky guy, right?
Night after night, in fact.;)