James Marshall (born Johnny Allen Hendrix), also known as Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington. He had quite a rough childhood given that both his parents had marital issues and had to go their separate ways.

Hendrix was born a southpaw (left-handed) but that did not stop him from becoming unarguably the best rock and roll guitar player of all times. Everyone who is great has something they do/did to get to the top; by watching and studying their lives closely, you will gain access to those intricate details that defined them and caused their names to be on the lips of everyone who talked about them.

In the days when Hendrix began his music journey, guitars were usually made for right-handed people, and as he was a left-handed person, getting a guitar specially customized for him was more expensive considering the poor financial status of his family. Instead, he bought the regular right-handed guitar and reversed the strings.

Even with his untimely demise, he is still able to capture the hearts of many guitarists and musicians all over the world. Hardly will you talk about anything in the world of guitar without mentioning Jimi Hendrix. He was a legend and there are some take home lessons from his life.


Everyone talks about how fantastic a player Hendrix was, but no one really talks about how much effort he put in to achieve this awesomeness. Let’s face it! No serious guitarist will ever get to where Hendrix got to without a “painful” amount of sacrifice which includes intense practice. Yes, I said “painful”, you thought it came easy? Or it was rocket science? Not at all, buddy. To be the next Jimi Hendrix, when others practice for 2 hours daily, you should be practicing for 4 hours and doing your best to maximize your practice time. Attaining stardom and excellence is hard work, only few are able to ply this route and arrive at success. Jimi Hendrix was one of such people.


Hendrix was left-handed and guitars made for his kind were more expensive but did that deter him? Of course not. He bought a right-handed guitar and changed the position of the strings to enhance his own playability of the instrument. I have seen and heard cases of people who have built their own instruments from scratch, more like a mockup and worked with it until they could afford their choice instrument. Improvisation cuts across every aspect of life, not just building instruments alone. What do you have and what do you want? How do you use what you have while anticipating or aspiring towards what you want? Answer these questions and your improvisation game is just about to climb a step higher.


Shall we now begin to ponder upon the fact that he was entirely self-taught? He could not read music at all, but he could hear music, he took advantage of the music he could hear and gradually built himself up with it. I am a self-taught guitarist and I know the level of focus and discipline you’ll need to teach yourself something and get through with it. A lot of self-taught musicians often give up within the first 2 to 3 months of their beginning because there’s no motivation from external sources; you’re almost always your own cheerleader, there is no teacher around to monitor your progress so you can as well skip practice today, maybe tomorrow also, and the day after that, until you eventually stop. This is one huge life lesson to learn from Hendrix; you have to learn to inspire yourself and draw inspiration from those above you whether they are aware of you or not.


There were other rock and blues guitarists in his time, but no one else redefined the face of rock music and fused blues, jazz and soul like Jimi Hendrix did. Don’t also forget that he played for small clubs and with small bands until he gradually made his way to the top without changing his style or passion for his music. Keep being you, keep doing you even if you get discouraged, you will be recognized eventually. Everyone is everyone. Be you!


This is the saddest lesson to learn from Jimi Hendrix. He died too early and his music career spanned for only 4 years. Imagine what he would have done and where he would have been by now had he not ended his life untimely by excessive intake of marijuana, sleeping pills and too much alcohol. I’m sure we would all rather stay alive and see our future accomplishments.

the legendary jimi hendrix

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