Yep, this is a post that is totally outside of anything else that I have ever written here; A “Top” list.
Purely my opinion, of course, and probably NOT the list of names that you are used to seeing in a category like this, (though they are probably familiar to most guitarists).
Well, I guess that I can make a “spiritual” connection with this list. When I think about it, the names that I have here all share that quality – their passion for what they do fairly drips from their fingers. Some are technically amazing, some maybe not as much, but what they do grabs my throat and makes me pay attention. And an added plus to doing this is just how may people it will probably piss off – because I left off their favorite. Worse yet, I might change my mind tomorrow. That’s cool, though. As long as you are civil about it, I would love to hear who your favorites and why they are on your list.
Notice that I DID NOT say the most INFLUENTIAL guitarists of all time – it’s just a list of ones that I know of, have heard, and think they are embodiments of passion in their chosen art. Some are alive, some dead.
So, in no particular order, here is my “top 6:”
John 5 – formerly with Marilyn Manson, and now with some solo stuff, too. I don’t believe I have ever heard this level of virtuosity, and he can be that good in anything from “chicken-pickin’” country to death metal.
B.B. King – His playing is singing, and you know it is him the moment he picks a note. And one note is all he has to play to get the message across.
Keith Urban – Yeah, pretty contemporary. But, there is a certain joyous abandon to his playing, and he is technically superb, too. Very melodic, at any speed.
Stevie Ray Vaughn – Yes, he stole a lot from Albert King, (and admitted it), but I have never witnessed anyone become so one with his instrument. He played so hard and so long that there were times that he actually glued his fingertips back on with super glue. And man, could he lay down a groove.
John Lee Hooker – In my mind, not all that technically gifted, (though still difficult to emulate), but he could draw you in and keep you. A hypnotic, toe-tapping, dirty groove-master.
Tony Rice – From bluegrass, to “jam grass,” to finger-style, he is a master of the acoustic guitar. Sure, I admit that there are probably more technically gifted acoustic players, (not many, though), but no one I’ve ever heard can get the amazing tone he lays down.
So, there it is – my eclectic “top 6″ guitar players list. Yes, I know – what about Clapton, and Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Tommy Emmanuel, Eddie Van Halen, Tommy Iommi, Kirk Hammett, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green . . . ? I picked 6, and that’s that And it IS spiritual, because they move me. They aren’t the only ones that do that, but they are the six that I chose tonight.
Many Blessings To All . . .Oh, and fire away