Jimi Hendrix vs Stevie Ray Vaughan – Who Is Better?

Battle of the greats

Hendrix vs Srv

Two of the most revered guitar players in the blues/rock universe are Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both men helped define the sounds of their respective eras and are icons of the instrument and are most likely responsible for launching more guitar-playing careers (both real and air) than any post-Beatle guitarist outside of Eddie Van Halen. Today, however, your humble man of letters here at Gear-Vault has been given the difficult task of pitting Jimi and SRV in a head-to-head battle for musical supremacy, which is truly no easy task. In the flyover, both men share many similar qualities, from their explosions into public consciousness to their preference for Fender Stratocasters to their untimely deaths. When examined more closely, however, there are some major differences between the two that just might give one the edge over the other. Want to watch the fur fly? Keep reading.

Jimi Hendrix GuitarJimi Hendrix could be said to be the first modern rock guitar player. When I first heard Jimi in junior high school, I didn’t see the big deal; everybody sounds like this, right? What I didn’t realize at that young age was that, before Jimi broke, NOBODY sounded like him. Really, to this day, any rock guitarist standing on a stage in front of a Marshall stack with a bunch of pedals on the floor wearing a flamboyant getup is standing in Jimi’s shadow, whether they know it or not. Before Jimi, blues guitarists played straight blues and rock guitarists ranged in style from The Beatles to the Stones to, at the heaviest, The Who. Jimi changed all that by combining the blues with rock’s raw power and psychedelia to give birth to the modern era of rock guitar and this influence is still being felt to this day. He wasn’t afraid to live and play on the ragged edge and to push the limits of what his guitar could do and what an audience could groove on. Some folks can’t get into his live my-amp-is-on-fire-and-about-to-explode sound, but Jimi’s legacy as an innovator can’t be denied. He changed the way our game is played and music would sound quite different today if he had not come along.

Stevie Ray Vaughan GuitarStevie Ray Vaughan, on the other hand, was bound by tradition to a greater degree than Jimi and, in fact, Jimi’s music was a big part of SRV’s sound. Stevie, in the big picture, was a combination of Jimi and Albert King with a whole lot of Texas thrown in to hold it all together. Stevie’s genius was taking these influences, which were way out of style when he hit the big time, and making them into something that rocked the airwaves and the audiences of the 1980’s. He was also a better technical guitar player than Hendrix and could play with precision as well as abandon and took blues/rock to a higher level than it had been previously. In addition, Stevie was arguably the best Hendrix interpreter to have come down the pike to this day and had the respect and chops to take Jimi’s music to places it had never been. Stevie’s version of Jimi’s “Little Wing” has become, to many, the definitive version of that song and one of the most moving guitar instrumentals ever put to tape. Stevie didn’t change our game as Hendrix did, but he did elevate the level of play, especially when it comes to the blues.

So who wins the fight?

It depends on what you are looking for. Hendrix was clearly the better innovator of the two, establishing a sound and musical vocabulary that has become part of our collective musical selves. Stevie, on the other hand, was a better guitarist and could deliver a more refined and better-executed version of the Hendrix vision, which he also helped keep alive. If you want to witness the ‘big bang’ that launched rock guitar playing onto the path that leads to today, Hendrix is your man. If, however, you want a more sophisticated take on the blues/rock hybrid, it is Stevie Ray all the way. Me? I’d call it a draw.

Hendrix VS. SRV


  1. I agree. Jimi had the writing and creativity skills when it came to writing songs. The two main things I like about Hendrix is his TONE and his songs. His playing is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I prefer Stevie Ray Vaughan’s playing over his. SRV’s technique was literally perfect.

    Writing – Jimi
    Tone – Tie
    Playing – SRV
    Voice – SRV

    That’s my opinion.

  2. well…..first heard jh when i was around 15,the music is alive and well growing,changing everday ,ive heard it said time and time again,he never played anything the same way,always changing,why?because he could.that what an artist does.when u copy or just play close to someone elses level or makeup songs close to someones,then ur just borrowing,now that said,we all borrow but how much!imo stevie borrowed heavy,not to take any thing from him but shit man,get on u tube ,there are a butload of steveies out there, 15 and younger grinding him to pieces,rite place rite time for stevie.i love him ,dont get me wrong,but smooth fluid jimi, constantly going places noone has been and dares to go!!!!!!!!!!!!! i cant even compare the two .look at the recorded original music of hendrix then stevie.remember hendrix had alrady played the circuit before he was jimi hendrix,can u even imagine the material he knew and could play,,i can,,,,anything and everything.thats my opinion. oh and techinal,,ha not even gonna go there.jh rip, hope to see u soon.

  3. I think the comparison is a bit of a shame!hendrix was such an original and introduced many things to the electric guitar.his influence can be heard not only in rock but also in funk,jazzrock,soul,reggae.but how many things did vaughn introduce?did he invent anything?i love his playing.but he’s a terrific imitator.nothing new.of course he’s white!there are and were a dozen black post hendrix guitarplayer that are tremendous players!but of course they are black!

  4. Jimi Hendrix was in a class by himself . It kills me when people say Stevie Ray Vaughn was better than Hendrix or ” SRV was so technically sounded ” and ” Hendrix was a sloppy guitar player ” . People look for any little thing to knock Hendrix . SRV was the perfect mimic with technical ability. Yeah Hendrix may not have been techically sound , but the man took undesirables and made them beautiful to the ear. SRV was a bad guitar player don’t get me wrong, but he was not a ground breaker . The foundation was already set when he came along . He was hardly orignal. Most of his playing style comes from some other blues players. Hendrix was unique ,and a hard act to follow.

  5. Hendrix wasn`t a technical player? Since when? Sloppy? Only when he wanted to be. The same thing is said about Jimmy Page. Nobody seems to hear his fingerpicked acoustic stuff like Bron-yaur when they yell sloppy. There has been a million things released after Hendrix`s death that show the slashing and distortion is the way Jimi LIKED to play. NOT the only way he could play. There are a ton of songs where Jimi`s prowess on guitar more than matches Stevie`s, and I say that with the utmost respect as I am a huge Stevie Ray fan as well. Jimi did the whole wall of sound because he enjoyed it not because he wasn`t good at anything else. Keep in mind that Hendrix also died at 27. Who knows where he could have gone later. Look at Clapton for the perfect example. Slowhand my ass!!

  6. @Uni100 & johnny d: You both hit the nail on the head.I’ve been on youtube talking about this for a while now.Either people don’t get or they don’t wanna get it . Uni100 Hendrix did introduce so many things and he was very vital for music.Like you said his music can be felt in rock, reggae, funk,soul and even hip hop (lol).It’s like sometimes people like to take away from the brotha when they should be thanking him for what he’s done.Johnny d : You too are very correct indeed.SRV was hardly original.He spent most of his time trying to perfect what was already created from the minds of great bluesmen and already in the books,from Buddy Guy to Albert King to Jimi and everything in between. How does that equal greatness? Don’t get me wrong , SRV can play,and had one of the best tones on his guitar around, but he should have spent more time trying create his own “Voodoo Child” or “Little Wing” instead of trying to perfect what was already here.People say he re-introduced blues to a new generation , but that’s like reintroducing the wheel . What was his creation? Where was his invention (like Uni100 mentioned)?Lets look at like this , in music who’s impact would be felt the most of the two artist if they never came along? SRV or Jimi Hendrix?

  7. Lets start with spelling Stevie’s name right…. VAUGHAN.
    Most of the other comments are whiny, it was a great article.
    Hnewdric didnt write all of those songs, catfish blues was by B.B. , and probably other blues players. If your Ipod had as much research songs as Mine did, you would have at least 5 versions of gimme back my wig, which I had never heard unitl SRV did it. Regardless I am glad he did.I am glad for what Jimi brought us as well.

  8. @Ken Loftin : If your comment was directed at me then I have my opinion and you have yours . After what I’ve just posted all you look for is spelling errors in my comment ? For the record , you didn’t spell Hendrix name correctly either. I am aware that Hendrix has done a few covers . Most of them were done completely different. SRV on the other hand was a darn good guitar player but at the end of the day he didn’t have as much of an impact as Hendrix did. Personally, I think it was his lack of ability to compose original songs. When it came to originality Vaughan feel short . In my opinion he had a Hendrix an Albert King obsession . That’s just my opinion . If you listen to his music closely you can hear it too. Now Kenny Loftin , if your comment was direct at me this for you , if not , please disregard this comment . Have a nice day.

  9. to hell with spelling…did any of you people graduate from grammar school? By the way…SRV doesnt even come close to Jimi.

  10. Great article. I think it was very truely stated. I’ve never understood how people enjoy the noise that Jimi Hendrix put out. I mean, when he was playing MUSIC he was fantastic. But all the noise in the middle? Ugh, come on. Settin your guitar on fire? Smashing it up against an amp? Please. What is so innovative about that? I’d love to hear the songs where you guys claim that is more than matches SRV. Seriously, please tell me one. Cause all I’ve ever heard has never impressed me the way SRV does.

  11. @word: What Jimi put out was far from nosie .It was his “own” way of expressing himself and not going along with the status quo on how what should and shouldn’t be played on the guitat or what can or can’t be done as far as rules are concerned. Setting his guitar on fire ? Well that could fall under showmenship or shock value (you pick) . What was innovative about Hendrix ? First of all you have to learn about man to know the man . Don’t talk about the man from the outside in (like you’re doing) .Talk about the man from the inside out. First Voodoo Child or Little Wing and even Hear My Train A Comin for example was Hendrix at his finest. Don’t take the sound effects that the man was making and run with them and make it seem like that was 75-80% of his playing based on. SRV on the other hand was a good guitarist . Was he impressive ? Yes . Was he original ? Hardly. He’s a solid techinical player but he didnt have originality or much creativty in his corner . Most of SRV’s licks and riffs come the likes of Hendrix , A.King , Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, F.King and the list can go on. Hendrix contribution was greater than Vaughan’s and you can research that if you will . Hendrix changed rock music .SRV didn’t really do anything to change the blues nor did he add anything either but he was a dar good guitarist . SRV just recycled what was already around and it seemed like it was new to younger people at the time because of his tone and techinality and speed but at the end of the day “same old present ,just new packaging” .

  12. As much respect that I have for Stevie Ray, a draw between Stevie and Jimi is absurd. Yes, Stevie elevated Jimi’s music to unthinkable height. I prefer Stevie’s haunting Little Wing intepretation over Jimi’s original song. But Jimi’s creativity and vision and his ability to put it together exceed Stevie talents. Stevie is a great musician but Jimi is as Lala8181 said UNIQUE. As for now, no rock (I am limiting myself to the range music I listen to) guitarist can be compared to Jimi. Jimi created and gave us a new palette of sounds that others used to built masterpieces.

  13. I think a draw or tie was just a safe position for the article’s writer. It allowed him to stand on the fence and not get flamed from either camp. It was safe. People ask what did he create? Um, how about tunes like Castles made of sand, wind cries mary just to name a couple and thats without getting into his heavier pyschodelic tunes where yeah he used sound effects. Seems funny no one bitches about Eddie Van Halen with all his squeeks, pinched harmonics and divebombs (hendrix inspired thank you) other things that aren’t exactly music either.
    I love Stevie to death and he was insanely good and I agree technically a cleaner player. But more inventive I don’t think so. As mentioned take a big big batch of Albert King along with some of the other Texas native guitarist and turn them up to 11 with more a speedy tempo and you have what Stevie did.
    Jimi was a Buddy Guy fan and some of his playing shows, but its a bit more difficult to listen to Hendrix and go yeah that came from so and so. Some of it is recognizable but much of it is just him.
    He was also probably one of the most melodic rhythm players of all time and playful, he’d throw in something on the fly in the middle of one of his songs that was just off the wall. I didn’t hear that from Stevie.
    In the end, there’s no winner here, sadly we’re all losers from losing them both so early and not getting a chance to hear what they might have become. Jimi was getting into some very different music before his passing and Stevie was finding his own way and who knows where he would have gone had he not been killed.
    Both great guitarist, no winners here, only unfortunately losers.


    Rev. D.

  14. “Jimi created and gave us a palette of new sounds that others used to build masterpieces” well said jc_garp
    I know i’ll be hated on for mentioning this guitarist’s name but imho john mayer’s cover of bold is love(on continuum) is a great example of what jimi’s ideas become when they’re reinterpreted.

    Rev.D spoke very well..jimi was a god of his era, stevie a demi god.

    And remember..for every plato there must be an aristotle ..loose comparison but you get what I mean

  15. I’ll stick by what I said. Its a good article, Jimi was the innovator, Stevie a lilttle sharper at interpetations (because in many cases he didnt have to invent the song or tones, just perfect them).
    If you listen to stevies early stuff, he wasnt that polished in the early years (1977-1985), and didnt have his SRV distintive sound. no haters here ( no, I wasnt speaking to you before LALA8181 ), I’d pay good money to see
    either of them if I could.
    let me keep the fire going though…….. Stevie didnt write ? I guess you never heard of Pride & Joy, Love Struck baby, Lenny. Name three that John Mayer wrote that he wasnt whining about his ex-girlfreind.

  16. @KenLoftin Mayer is okay. I think Mayer is a bit more original than Stevie . Stevie is a damn good guitarist but he was more of a cover/ tribute artist the an original one . As a listener , I don’t need an artist to come along and “perfect” Jimi , Albert or Buddy or Larry Davis style . I understand that guitarist borrow from other guitarist , but at the end of the day you should be creative enough as an artist hold your own . People put up a big fuss about why SRV isn’t in R&R HOF, maybe originality had a lot to do with it . He may get in there some day , but we’ll just have wait and see. SRV got more recognition for covers more than he did for what little songs he wrote . This is not bashing SRV but I just don’t think he pushed the progressions of music like Hendrix did and there’s nothing to compare between the two.

  17. SRV must have had something otherwise he would not be so much liked. However i feel Jimi Hendrix was better. No student is greater than his master…and when i see video of SRV playing ‘voodoo chile’ or ‘one stone from the sun’ i see a Jimi hendrix wannabe. If he was to be better than Hendrix then he would have come up with his own tunes and make them better than purple haze, voodoo chile blues, machine gun and hear my train a coming.

    Also, why does SRV play without breathing. it like he will spend 2 minutes or more quickly playing note after note without pausing. The blues is a conversation type guitar method. Going on and on without pausing gets tedious.

  18. WOW!human being never change,i remember when,they wouldn’t mentioned his name for many reasons,picking guitarist for this and that,in all honesty i’ve would never have thought he would overcome his then targeted reputatuon as he have,but not because of him but an huge indulgence of greed,from them folks and this is the Voodoo child wer’e come to love dearly,it’s no point in comparisions,what has been placed is already there!it’s for an reason he came and went,when Jesus came here he performed miracles right before our eyes,and we loved him for that,and most of us still do!but as soon as he departed,our fleshly spirits took over again,there will never again be another Jimi Hendrix PERIOD NEVER!! and just to think he was only 27 years old!!here for just an short time,bless their heart[the other countless of musicians i’m speaking about understand this concept,because that’s what uncertain creates is an concept.,just ask the musicians it isn’t an concept to them,just ask Pete,Eric,Jeff,Page,humm! Jimi scared the l!!!!! s!!! out of them!!Pete said he feel sorry all of us who have to judge Jimi from outdate films and tapes,to see Hendrix live you knew it were time to up your game or as many did who saw him quit playing guitar,so stop comparing and just believe in who you enjoy and let it be.p.s.leave it alone please!

  19. hey why dont you guys listen to riviera paradise or lenny by srv before you say srv wasnt original. I challenge you to find a more beautiful song that riviera paradise. “un-orginal”. you turds

  20. Benitez

    Eell there is my point. Riviera and Lenny are not as well known as voodoo chile for example.

    BTW SRV was a great guitarist…he had great attitude…but when people start making comparisons…saying so and so is better than so and so…then we dont do justice to the talents of the musicians concerned. I personally believe that musicians are like flowers, they make the forest beautiful and as such to say one is better than the other is to miss the point of having musicians or even music….but if comparisons are made…i will say Jimi hendrix is better.

  21. enzo from big brother

    You make a good point. They shoouldnt be compared to each other. I respect what you have to say, but i personally think that srv played with way more passion and raw emotion than hendrix and at times that allowed him to reach that same plateau that hendrix was on even if it was briefly. I certainly think that the 2 are in a league of their own. With most songs today you get lucky if you get a solo or two with most of the attention going to the singer who really isnt singing to begin with. The guitar has taken a back seat. How sad. What happend to the hendrix and srv days where you were lucky to get vocals on a lick filled solo extravaganza.

  22. People say SRV played with raw passion and emotion. Black folks music is filled with raw passion and emotion . From Blues to Jazz to R&B to Gospel to Hip Hop . Again , SRV was a bad as hell , but the raw passion and emotion arguement really doesn’t hold up because it’s been done before . Didn’t Buddy Guy play with raw passion and emotion ? Didn’t BB King do the same? Didn’t Albert ” The Velvet Bulldozer” King bring the house down with his raw playing ? I think people tend to over exaggerate when talking about SRV . As if no one had passion and emotion until he came along. Historically , Black music was so raw with emotion back in the day that they couldn’t sell their music to national audience and whites did covers of their music to sell to white americans.I guess the coffee was to strong . SRV was good . Jimi in my book was just better .

  23. Hi benitez

    I think the tragedy of modern music is that its become so reliant on profit that if there is no money to be made then it becomes extinct. This is sad because music should be greater than the money. Traditionally musicians never go paid anyway but that did not stop them from coming up with some great tunes..many of which are still being sung today. However the collapse of the music industry models that created this perception in the first place may be giving way to an alternative model where true music can thrive without finance being so important. Perhaps now is the time for musicians to stop trying to be like the big artists (in hopes of gaining commercial success) and instead focus on mastering the art of playing like themselves. This is the time when musicians make money by day and music by night. Maybe then we can have another hendrix, SRV, Albert king, and others who mastered the art of playing like themselves.

    I resumed playing the guitar last year after a 20 year break because of the sounds i kept dreaming of. Those sounds were closest to jimi hendrix music than any other rock guitarist i have ever heared. They are heared in songs like third stone from the sun, voodoo chile blues ( the version in the jimihendrix blues album), hear my train a coming ( any electric version). They were sounds where at some point the notes broke out of the major scale and began freeweeling into the unfamiliar but fascinating outer space…and after a while it renters earths atmosphere and deftly lands back into the familiar major scale derivatives. He seldom played 12 bar blues in the traditionsl sense, he dared to stray away from the familiar western intepretations and enter one cord territory common to much traditional african music. I am from africa and i feel jimi hendrix music can be more readily adapted to african music ( such as sung by the late ali farka toure, franco, and the chakacha music of kenyan coast) that any stuff from SRV. Raw emotion is not enough. Imagination is everything and Hendrix had more of that than SRV ( believe me i have worked very hard to find out why SRV is so much liked). Is it not strange that every white blues musician ( inc SRV and eric clapton) thinks of and plays the blues as a 1 4 5 progression..period! There is more to it that and jimi showed it all to us.

  24. Enzo,

    man i had a great response but i hit the wrong button and lost it all. if i can remember what all i said i will post soon

  25. Enzo,

    Ok, lets give this another shot. I totally agree that hendrix was far more original than srv. i think the reason srv is even in the argument of who is better is because he took the styles of all the blues legends and combined them with his texas roots and kicked it into warp speed and said “here taste this”. Something that hasnt been done since hendrix and i think thats what drew people to him and his style of play. they saw a little bit of hendrix reborn in him. I dont think hendrix played at warp speed like srv did though. my opinion. Music just seemed to flow out of them without effort and they could both just go on and on. not many people have that ability. And just for arguments sake hendrix did a lot of covers most noticablly all along the watchtower which was a bob dylan original so he wasnt entirelly original either. forgive my spelling. In all honesty i think hendrix emulated dylans lyricall style and he even admitted that he thought dylan was great. a genious. back to srv. most of the blues and rock legends admitt that srv was one of the best if not the best guitarist they’ve ever heard play. I’m not trying to knock hendrix in any way. he is one of my favorits artist. I will admitt i am from texas so i have to stick up for my fellow texan srv. I just want to see srv get his props and have the right to be put right up there with the greats like hendrix. plus i like to root for the under dog. well i hope i gave yal enough to rebuttle with. til next time. be safe.

  26. Hi LA2828

    Thanks LA. In my neck of the woods…its the African Americans who rule US culture.

    Hi Benitez

    As far as traditional 12 bar blues goes SRV was damn good. What he lacked in imagination and originality he made up for sheer technical skill and attitude. It would be interesting to see what else he could do..but then …sadly…he died.

  27. hey la2828

    I respect what you have to say but i still dont think srv lacked imagination and originality. Lets just agree to disagree. This brings me to my next question. This should get plenty of response. Do you think these great guitarist were born with the gift to play so amazing? Of course you have to develope the gift but i truly think that either you are born with this gift or you arent. Or do you think with enough hard work and determination anyone can achieve this level of play. Curious to hear from yal.

    P.S. Iv’e been teaching myselft to play for about 2 yrs now and a i must admit it seems impossible to me to be able to reach that level or come anywhere close to it.

  28. I believe everybody is born with a gift. Some find it, some dont.
    There are two things involved in the making of JH and SRV. First is the art side of things (i.e developing the gift) and second the business side of things. Concerning the gift side, i feel that to reach the levels of SVR an JH one needs to develop their own ‘philosophy’ of sound. Its a bit like learning the alphabet like everybody else and then applying that alphabet to write stories about their visions etc etc. This makes them develop a unique character. For example why play sounds you have heared JH play, Why not modify them or play the sounds you hear while waiting for the bus, driving to work, sounds that come from within you. Its actually so much easier to play well if you are simply reproducing sounds you heared in your sleep/dreams and chances are nobody else hears those exact sounds so you will likely be unique. Concerning the business side..well that another matter all together. Yes it takes good marketing for one to become a household name, however I read somewhere that 40,000 businesses file for bankrupcy in the usa every year. I am sure some of them must have done a lot of marketing. So no suprise that so few musicians actually succeed in becoming household names because it follows the same dynamics as running your own business. So i guess if you want to become like JH then employ a good manager and compile a good number of songs you have heared within you.

  29. Benitez

    Something else which escaped my attention while writing the previous. Notice how there are so many guitar courses and tips on the internet. many books have titles like 50 blues licks you must know, 1000 turn around lickes etc etc. many videos on you tube where people show how to play licks in the style of jimmy page, eric clapton etc etc. After a year of trying this and that i have concluded that a lick is like womans clothing. On its own its meanigless. It needs a body (i.e a song)many of the licks do not have a song associated with it hence i tend to forget it quicky because i cannot use it. Nowadays i just thying in terms of the complete song and craft the licks to fit according to the image i am drawing. Many times i find my inner voice comes up with licks that are good enough and fit well. So i seldom read any books about licks anymore.

  30. This is the last thing I have to say about this. I promise. If I’m not listening to Jimi, I am listening to SRV. If I think about it, I should delete Mayer from my IPOD. I think he’s a punk, I can play as good as he can, and yes I write my own songs. I never should have brought him up in the same conversation as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The thread determined that better = originality. Based on that, yes Hendrix definately wins. I would give anything to lay down hard earned money to go see either of them. John Mayer would have to pay me.

  31. enzo

    great post man. I totally agree. Its just that i will learn a pretty cool lick or phrase and then try to break it down and see why it works and most of the time i just sit there and wonder how they heck they came up with that. It just amazes me how someone could come up with something like that. I do beleive that you put get back what you put into it. if you put your heart and soul into it then i believe it reflects in your playing. some just do it better than others. I also think that srv and jh could tap into something special and unseen at will to be able to produce the amazazing work that they did. they look like their in another world when they play. i wish i could tap into that.

  32. benitez

    Heared about Robin Thrower?
    Very good Guitarist….original..i would rate him higher than SRV.

  33. Jimmy page, Angus young of AC/DC and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath are other guitarist who IMHO are better than SRV.

  34. hendrix is better imo. i also find SRV amazing, but i just always thought he sounded too much like hendrix. although his tone was differnt and more clean cut than hendrix’s. you could tell jimi was a huge influence on the guy. i enjoy his music very much, but he’s not hendrix.

  35. Me personally i don’t view music with bounderies i hear everything with equal openess but from my white perspective from hearing jimi/stevie/bbking and everyone else in between those perspectives i’ve personally gained a greater insite and respect for all those that created the music that i have come to understand and to thost who are willing to listen, understand i applaude you =)

  36. Both JH and SRV are great. Hendrix, as a child of his era, crossed more boundaries, brought more under the same roof. But a lot of the theatrical parts of his act, and some of his licks and style, are straight from Buddy Guy enlightened by psychedelia. SRV is self admittedly at first Hendrix adulation and inspiration which he used to gain popularity and status, but his own music is more Albert King and Texas and stays more purely Blues. (And what is wrong with that?) In the blues world, as honestly attested by other legends such as BB, or Clapton, etc, SRV was a brilliant guitarist who had the genius of continuous speaking. BB makes a lick, then has to pause before coming up with the next phrase. SRV could keep testifying with out a breath and it was almost all good and of a whole to the song, not just showoff licks, or forced notes to fill, etc.
    What great musician does not learn from and at first imitate or grow from others? Mozart had Bach and Haydn and Italian opera. Would Miles exist as he did without Armstrong, or Gillespi? Does the originality of Armstrong make Miles a lessor trumpeter?

  37. Hendrix was and is garbage. His playing was sloppy, boring, random-sounding nonsense. SRV, on the other hand, was a virtuoso who sounded great.

    It will never make sense to me how people claim that the more influential a thing is, the better it is. This is nonsense. VHS was never really better than Beta, but it was far more influential. Hitler was more influential than the several prominent humanists who died at his hand or during the same era; does that mean Hitler was a better person? You think I am going overboard, but I have to go overboard simply because people have become so incredibly intoxicated by the ridiculous notion that Hendrix is a religion unto himself. I’m tired of it. His playing simply was not that good at all.

  38. Hendrix is a permanent galaxy other guitarist can´t reach. Vaughan bored, Hendrix better all the way.

  39. Trevor is trash and knows nothing. Why bring Hitler into the conversation which shows he is nothing but a racist pig. You obviously know nothing about the guitar or how to play it, otherwise you would have made some points made by previous posts. You are an ignorant fool and everyone here knows it. Yes, Hendrix is and will be intoxicating!

  40. Both guitarists were just wonderful, but let’s keep it real
    When Hendrix came along, it was a boon to America. “Who is this black cat with the big fro playing this wild music?” His management decided to package him turn his Bass and Drummer into fro wearing sidekicks, and The Experience just took off. Many were impressed with Hendrix in England………But when he was compared to Eric Clapton, which was England’s own, ……to me I thought that was totally insane. 2 different styles of playing. This started becoming very unfair to a man who would take the guitar way beyond anyone else compared to a man they called ‘Slow Hand.’ Don’t get me wrong, Clapton was wonderful too, but in no way even close to Hendrix. Once again, the media speaks and everyone listens instead of forming their own opinion. When a rock great like Pete Townsend refused to play after Jimi Hendrix at shows, that also sent a message. Hendrix played in juke type joints where if you did not give the audience a show, you would not leave that place alive…………The man lived in the house of Composer Handel. He knew his mastery, music and style and art. No one before or since has ever wrote about war, famine, greed, injustice, black power, white power, world power, hatred, civil unrest, social and political strife like Jimi Hendrix did. When you get a chance, listen to ‘Machine Gun,’ and while you are at it, go to Woodstocks film and check out his version of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ This man was in the service, and brought his experience to his music. No one had bombs bursting in air, rockets, napalm from jets, people screaming and losing their lives coming from their instruments. In his songs, it’s all there. To those with musical ears and musical souls and ability, only you would understand that. Even today with so much strife in our society, I have yet to hear any bands writing about what’s going on. For someone to take us to the level of where we are like Hendrix did deserves all kinds of praise. When the 80’s came along, every guitarist cited Hendrix as their hero/mentor. Even Eddie Van Halen. Eddie came up with ‘Eruption.’ He was able to do that because of his classical music upbringing, but it still does not supercede ‘Machine Gun,’ or ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ When Stevie Ray Vaughn came out, he was the only one unique to come along and SOUND JUST LIKE HENDRIX. This is what drove America crazy. Our best guitarist being resurrected………..unfortunately, everything Stevie did sounded like Hendrix. It’s no secret Hendrix was his idol. We can forever thank Stevie for not forgetting Jimi, but had it not have been for Hendrix bringing us the wah wah sound of the 60’s, many bands would have never been discovered. Hendrix was the innovator, Stevie Ray Vaughn was very good, but a duplicate who just played cleaner, sometimes a little faster and was more modern. No disrespect to the other greats out there, Richie Blackmore, Steve Vai, Yngvie Malmsteen, Rudolph Schenker, Mathias Jabs, Tommy Iommi, Joe Satriani

  41. This has triggered just about evereyone aha!
    Without Hendrix we probably wouldn’t have Vaughan. Jimi invented a more than a genre, but if you rate him over a technically better guitarist then on you go. Got to be a tie surely!

  42. Hendrix is more influential and creative. Srv is alot better at actually playing…..but he is probably better at actually playing a guitar than anyone so.

  43. Here’s an analysis between these two. If you’ve never heard rock/blues music before,and you listen to both artists not knowing their career histories, I think the majority of listeners are going to prefer SRV. The only argument that Hendrix was better is he was the innovator. But if you never knew the history of either, SRV was clearly technically better.

  44. Many Songs Jimi Hendrix played he covered of other artists material just as SRV,BOTH having composed a few originals to.Both got their style from watching others and had nothing to do with one being liter toned skin..Just replying to comment far up the thread.SRV was so humble he admitted he idolized Buddy Guy,BB king,Jimi Hendrix while Jimi a bit before him ,neither invented Blues.Those first attributed with the blues,we will never even hear their names in our ears.Much of Jimi’s hits were covered from other artist’s,some even having light toned skin.The thing about music,everybody chipping in together to add their own contribution.. Music has no place for skin tones and the true artists would not want it ruined with such..Jimi Hendrix was psychodelic soul while SRV was Texas Blues…Listen to early ZZ TOP,(FANDANGO) and you might understand that Texan tone..Music is different flavors of life and to each their own is special and not to be compared.Jimi used tuning for sounds while Stevie prided on playing clean,neither even close to same style even though STEVIE probably grew up on Jimi’s songs and played them learning to add his own flavor later on..Why can’t they both be honored for their own era’s?

  45. Who is better. The man that invented the light bulb. Or the man that improved upon it and made it brighter using less energy years later ?

  46. Some of the early lightbulbs are still lit in museums. They used platinum filaments that don’t go bad. So I’d go with the inventor. Same applies to stevies tone. Not even similar too Hendrix. That’s where the problem of comparisons starts. Hendrix had the best techs of the era. Using all prototype equipment that was never used again. And guarded heavily. Vaughn used a tubescreamer. Hendrix also had Eddie Kramer as a producer and was a far better improviser. He didn’t have too know how too play anything. He just did it. That’s the difference. Billy gibbons in the moving sidewalks and Eddie hazel from the funkadelics were both closer too sounding like Hendrix and they didn’t even cover any of his songs.

  47. Stevie was good, indeed, but Jimi is God!! Jimi was and still is a true innovator. Jimi wrote his music and was idolized by every great guitarist in the land!!! Jimi will always be the greatest. 90% of SRV’s material is 12-bar blues based. Without Jimi, there would be no SRV. I feel so sorry for those that don’t recognize the genius of Jimi Hendrix. Sad, so sad!!!!!!! This shouldn’t even be a conversation.

  48. I’m old enough to have seen both, but must say that making comparisons between artists is purely an objective exercise and a waste of time. Who’s the Best Actor, or the best painter? Strictly a matter of personal taste. I say enjoy them both, they both were,and are still, giants among players.

  49. It’s not who did it first… it’s who did it best… and that’s Stevie Ray Vaughan ALL DAY LONG?

  50. The question is who is a better guitarist not who was more influential. Obviously Jimi was more influential and obviously Stevie had more technical ability. Just bc someone innovated something doesn’t make them the best ever at that thing. Think about the person who created the piano he may have been a great pianist but mozart and chopin far exceed that. Yes Jimi open the door for SRV and id also agree that if jimi lived longer he could have potentially surpassed SRV in skill but it is what it is. It’s not what could’ve been but was and SRV was a better guitarist.

  51. Music isn’t a competition. However:

    I like SRV, but boil down his slow blues playing and it’s a loop of about 8 Albert King licks with a few runs thrown in. He played with intensity and fury, but it gets old after a while. His faster vamps are his impression of Lonnie Mack covering Buddy Guy, Freddie King, or Howlin’ Wolf. His jazzy stuff is Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell plays Jimmy Smith. SRV was basically a piping-hot heavily-seasoned hearty stew of the greatest cover licks most people hadn’t heard, and it was technically very solid.

    People who claim Jimi was sloppy with no technique haven’t listened enough. There is a lot of Hendrix most people haven’t heard because they don’t know the acts he played with as a sideman. In addition, he only had 3 studio albums and 3 live albums with heavy radio play because they were the only ones released while he was alive. If you bother to dig through the posthumous records, you will find some stellar improvised performances that are unique unto themselves. I have about 30 of those records. I think there are more than 50. A few of them are really bad performances where he was stoned out of his mind (SRV has plenty similar performances). Listen to “Red House” from “Hendrix in the West” and compare that to the studio version, other live versions, and anything SRV played. There’s no way you can listen to that album and still think Hendrix was technically deficient. The invention and innovation he played with in real time is awe-inspiring, and SRV would have tied his fingers in knots trying to match it.

  52. I inevitably find it tiresome just to hear that ridiculous question “who is the best”? The guitarists I want to listen to AT THAT MOMENT are the best for that time.
    I believe Ritchie Blackmore took Jimi’s whammy to new levels. He’s creative too. I love David Gilmour’s wonderful melodic playing.
    I’ve loved Jimmy Page’s stuff since I first heard how he played those screaming few notes with such intensity at the start of Joe Cocker’s singles version of “with a little help from my friends.
    I refuse on principal to engage with this “my hero’s better than your hero” nonsense. I’d say most here would agree

  53. SRV loved Hendrix. Its too bad they couldnt have played together.They were only 9 years apart in age. They probably would have loved to play together, pushing the envelope of blues harmonies, call and response, etc. Finally each would have had a similarly proficient wild blues, and smooth ethereal ability to bounce off of. Their styles were different enough that a competitive comparison is just bait for marketing an article. SRV brought the Texasblues flare, and a good quick jazz flare as with Riviera Paradise (?), Lenny, and Stang’s Swang. He wrote plenty of songs that display a great writing ability from jazzy to blues. And he was playing as good as ever when he died. I love the lesser known Family Style album and its second side contents like Telephone Song, Tick Toc, Mama Said, and Long Way From Home. That material easily stands up with other more popular great songs he wrote. He is my favorite rock/blues guitarist of his day.
    Jimi was so diverse, and raw, and refined. What he created in 3 years covers a huge array of style. His playing style was innovative in several directions. The loud feedback was a new medium for sonic creation, a new artistry he created. It was brash, loud, thick and chewy. It was genius to be able to create and sculpt it like he did. Listen to the flying saucers of EXP on the Axis lp. No one has touched those sounds since. On another side, he was clean blues sounding with chops and style no one else had. From fast to moody blues tones, he was well beyond most contemporaries, and in new ways. Then there are the non blues creations. He wrote so much so well outside the blues. Beautiful masterpieces such as Drifting, Electric Lady Land. Lush gardens of guitar sounds over lapping beautiful original progressions and lyrics. Song after song… Pali Gap, EZRider, Astroman, Freedom, etc…..of course, the low hanging greats like Wind Cries Mary, Little Wing, You Got Me Floating, Castles Made of Sand….these aren’t 1/4/5 blues progressions…yet they contain such great blues style guitaring, such great lyrics. “Im the one who’s gonna have to die when its time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”

    Jimi’s poetry was spot on realism and ethereal otherworldly at the same time. And he had that in his writing because he had that in his mind. His belief system of things seemingly far out, held old “truths” that can also be gleaned more recently through quantum physics…trans local, trans spacial aspects of particles. Things being everywhere at once, and outside of the time dimension. Wild, far out…spiritually otherworldly. And…Jimi believed in this type of stuff. He saw into it and believed he could play his guitar to mingle with and reflect such as in his music and lyrics. This is an aspect to playing that people dont consider about Jimi’s playing. He believed he could be in touch with and promote a greater reality through his song. Real deep belief creates a fervor that real artists can expound upon with great impact.
    One of my favorites of his far out jamming is the title track on the NineToTheUniverse album, which is the product of plenty of editing, but the playing left on that cut is far out. here’s a link: Better tighten your headband and follow the whole song through….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI-vzDh9UJQ

  54. Jimi brought us led zep, Pink Floyd, rolling stones, eagles and so on.. he influenced the greatest generation of music hands down.

    Stevie was a true blues guitarist and he had his own sound within that realm. Yes, He covered Jimi’s songs but I listen to SRV’s covers more than Jimi’s originals. Does that mean SRV is better? ? Better how?

    I will say personally Stevie was more talented as a guitarist and vocalist but Jimi is hands down one of the most influential musicians only next to Elvis..

    Who’s better? Thats a horrible question.. they are different musicians in a different time. Both gone way to soon

    Stevie is and will always be my personal favorite.

    I also want to know what people will say about CCR vs BEATLES????

  55. we doin Kobe vs Jordan next?!

    I do think you context is important, but it’s misrepresented in this article. (I NEED A BLOG.)

    The context is that Jimi could write amazing songs and play the crap out of the guitar. SRV had some really good songs, too, but Jimi has more, and Jimi didn’t get to do that many songs? Nearly every song Jimi wrote is impressive. It is built as a whole; the lyricism and ‘songs’ make Jimi’s guitar playing better. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

    If you have a contest where it’s like OK let’s see who can play this faster or better… who cares? It’s about music. But to be able to do Hendrix… nobody else can. He can do Henrix and have his own songs.

    The answer to the debate is… 5 rings.

  56. The question is who is a better guitarist not who inspired who. Jimi was no where close to the talent of stevie ray vaughan and other guitarists like randy roads, EVH, Joe satriani, steve vai and many others. Jimi was a great musican but not a great guitar player.

  57. Its like comparing Paganini, who totally changed music to Heifitz, who could probably out play the originator. More people have the former’s music than the latter’s.

  58. Jimi Hendrix is a legend.
    Steve Ray is a copy of Jimi Hendrix..
    That’s all folks !

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