Poll: Be honest, who else cheats at playing Little Wing?

How much thumb over do you use?

  • As much as Hendrix, that's the law!

    Votes: 15 51.7%
  • Some, we all cheat a little.

    Votes: 5 17.2%
  • Every man for themselves, absolutely none.

    Votes: 9 31.0%

  • Total voters


Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2015
Sachse TX behind the cemetary
I declare solidarity with the cheaters. For me, a song is a set of changes and a melody, sometimes with enough of a recognizable solo that it is important to the song. I care jack nothing about playing any song exactly as some other player played it. I do like to tip my hat to the original version by using some things close to the original, but not always.

Who cares if it's done with a precise imitation of technique or not?? In many cases, it was a technical limitation by the original player that caused the unique approach.

Little Wing is a kick ass song and is rightly revered and often played and it's usually great. That's it.


Apr 12, 2021
Oh come on, just play it your own way, that’s rock and roll. The idea is to entertain, not play note for note. (Well unless you need to for your own idiosyncrasies) but plenty of covers that are bigger hits than the original are not note for note copies. Just to get the feel of the melody and have fun playing is pretty satisfying.

EC Strat

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 16, 2018
Louisville Kentucky
As long as the note is fretted and played, it’s fine. I use barre chords on that song Thumb over requires you to really flex your index finger to fret notes on the B string and my finger doesn’t bend that far any longer


Sep 22, 2014
I cheat shamelessly. We still do Little Wing occasionally but its changed since we recorded this. Nowhere close to Jimi because simply can’t play like Jimi.

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Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Silver Member
Jun 25, 2017
Eugene, OR
I started trying to learn Little Wing when I was relatively new to playing way back when. I quickly realized I'd never do it any real justice, so I just learned the first maybe 10-12 measures of it, and just doing that, I understood what he was doing and how he got that sort of mellow combination of lead and rhythm sound, with all those hammer-ons, vibrato, slides, pull offs, etc. Which, as much as I love his screaming lead stuff, is really my favorite stuff that Hendrix did. And by the time I'd learned those first measure, I had enough of that style / technique under my fingers to be able to incorporate it into my own playing. And, by the time I'm done with it, it sounds like me anyway, NOTHING like Jimi, but it was a really valuable technique lesson for me.

At that point I wasn't really using my thumb much, but the more I played, the more I realized I had the reach to bring it in to play more, and so I do...



Total Hack
Jun 22, 2014
Same Shed Different Day
When I first learned Little Wing back in the 70's, I learned it like most people, by playing along with records until I got it sounding right. Of course, it was wrong, but it was plenty close enough. Tech has now provided us with tools to make it so much easier to learn things accurately, but I still revert to how I played it back then mostly. I do thumb-over on it but there's enough cheating everywhere else it just doesn't matter.

Nate D

Dr. Stratster
Apr 2, 2016
Philly, PA
I don’t really play anything note for note. I like to put myself into tunes and just play the song. It’s gonna sound like me anyways.

I just sat down one day and figured out little wing and it’s miles off the Hendrix version but still sounds like the Hendrix version. The SRV version sounds like Hendrix, but it’s all SRV.

I like “inspired by” not “as played by” when it comes to a cover.