Best guitarists at what they've done

Graffiti62

Senior member
Messages
654
Someone on here had recently put on a top five list of the best guitarists. I don't think a list like that is appropriate due to the fact that there were many who were the best at their genre or what they did, and may not make a top five list.

Here is my list of the best at what they do/did:

Here's my list:

Best country guitarist:  Jerry Reed
Best jazz guitarist:  Charlie Christian
Guitarist who wrote the rules:  Les Paul
Guitarist who re-wrote the most rules:  Jimi Hendrix
Best folk guitarist:  Bob Dylan
Best alternative guitarist:  Peter Buck
Biggest idiot:  Terry Kath ("Don't worry--its not loaded!")
Guitarist who made the most money:  Jimmy Page
Best blues guitarist:  BB King
Best prog guitarist:  David Gilmour
Guitarist who created the broadest sound:  Andy Summers
Best British guitarist:  Eric Clapton
Guitarist most idolized by a generation:  Eddie Van Halen
Best female guitarist:  Bonnie Raitt
Best classically-trained rocker:  Ritchie Blackmore
Best slide artist:  Elmore James
Best "guitar player's guitar player:"  Jeff Beck
Best at getting the crowd going:  Rory Gallagher
Most retro guitarist:  Brian Setzer
Best white blues guitarist:  SRV
Most underrated:  Brad Whitford
Biggest class act:  TIE--Ronnie Wood or Joe Walsh
Best guitarist that doesn't play a guitar:  Lemmy Kilmister

There are a LOT of guitarists that I wanted to add, but I couldn't think of the categories.

Feel free to add, discuss, and disagree if you want to.
 

koshersteel

Senior member
Messages
190
I'll try and add a few:

best fusion guitarist: John McLaughlin
best rhythm guitarist: Steve Cropper
best classical guitarist who's not Sergovia: John Williams
best "New American Fingerstyle" guitarist: Michael Hedges
best bluegrass guitarist: Tony Rice
most chaotically beautiful guitarist: Nils Cline
best damn guitarist ever: Danny Gatton
best heavy metal guitarist: Randy Rhoads
not the best at what he did but the only guitarist who did what he did: Jerry Garcia
best hippie guitarist: Trey Anastasio
best african guitarist: Ali Farka Toure
best forgotten guitarist: John Cippolina
best surf guitarist: Dick Dale
best female guitarist: Kaki King
best slide guitarist: Duane Allman

oh yeah, much love and respect for Joe Satriani but I wouldn't want to discuss status as the "founder of instrumental rock" around The Ventures or Booker T. and the M.G's
 
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8,318
koshersteel said:
oh yeah, much love and respect for Joe Satriani but I wouldn't want to discuss status as the "founder of instrumental rock" around The Ventures or Booker T. and the M.G's

Or even Chet Atkins or Les Paul too.  Junior Brown kind of falls between the cracks because we don't associate that kind of virtuosity with that style of music.
 

Xplorervoodoo

Senior member
Messages
984
I dunno, I think all categories are debatable, and "the best" at whatever is all the matter of anyone's personal opinion.  I've got a list of guitarists I think that should top some lists, but I'm sure at least some people would not agree with me.
 

Orpheo

Senior member
Messages
2,738
founder of instumental rock, with no vocals? c'mon, thats michael schenker! not Satch. schenker wrote Rock Bottom 15 years before Satch got popular. I wish I could say 'best overall guitar player is xxx' but I have none. michael schenker is good, but not as good as I hoped he'd be (I saw him live last friday, and yeah, I got to meet the guy....)
 
O

OzziePete

Guest
Looking at the original list posted, there is certainly room for debate on some of the selections.

Bob Dylan is a masterful songwriter and a provocative cultural figure too, and a heap of respect, but I never rated him as a' best' folk guitar player.

I felt he strummed and played a part, sometimes difficult, sometimes very pedestrian. Did well to accompany himself on guitar and harmonica.

But best folk guitar player no. I'd rate some serious players like Leo Kottke, and there's a Brit who's name escapes me now who also is a wiz on folks finger picking too, ahead of Bob.

From what I have seen of Les Paul, his playing is very showmanship orientated, but I have to concede his ingenuity in the recording process and his dexterity in playing. I know he recorded a heap of 'straight' tunes as a sideman for some very credible singers of the day, but it's his flashy stuff that has me rolling the yes a bit.

A lot of players have created, broken and re moulded any sort of 'rules' there are in playing guitar, particularly electric guitar. Bit by bit they have given every one else a taste of another angle to take in playing the guitar.

I guess the most obvious starting point though, was Charlie Christian. His was the first guitar to be properly heard over a band, and his solos were probably the first recorded. As he had no reference point on how to take his solo, he modelled his on sax solos, and that is still quite the rule today. But along the way many have introduced all sorts of approaches to take.

I'm just happy there's a heritage to draw from, get inspired by, and attempt to emulate.
 

kboman

Senior member
Messages
2,378
OzziePete said:
But best folk guitar player no. I'd rate some serious players like Leo Kottke, and there's a Brit who's name escapes me now who also is a wiz on folks finger picking too, ahead of Bob.

Well, to name two - Nick Drake and Bert Jansch before and after him. The British folk scene was strong in the 60's-70's with many good finger pickers, but I think Drake would be hard to top.


I'm surprised by Gilmour as "best prog guitarist" in the first list here. Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Steve Howe, just to name three, seem much more appropriate. Gilmour is not bad at all, but to me it's more of the same blues derivatives again - Howe too at times, but he blends more styles of playing than one or two. Fripp/Belew always seem to bring something more genuinely new in their playing, rather than lean on the same scales/boxes/influences as everyone else.


I'm just happy there's a heritage to draw from, get inspired by, and attempt to emulate.

True, but I want to create my own more than use/emulate someone else's.


My contribution to the list:
Best textural guitarist in a pop/rock context: The Edge
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
Guitarist most idolized by a generation:  Eddie Van Halen

Pfft, your generation maybe.  In his day Elvis was so much bigger... though he wasn't much of a picker.

But I'll play, please feel free to pick apart these choices....

Best Fender sound - Eric Clapton
Best Vox sound - Brian May
Best Mesa sound - Adam Jones
Best Marshall sound - Jimmy Page
Owner of the best guitar - Billy Gibbons
Most deservedly pretentious - Steve Howe
Coolest - Slash
Most recognizable - Angus Young
Best bad guitarist - Kurt Cobain
Best hair - Buzz Osbourne
Heaviest strings - Dick Dale
Guitarist you'd least want to leave alone with your girlfriend - Josh Homme
Best guitarist in a bad genre - Pat Metheny
 

Micahbell

Senior member
Messages
245
Best Classically Trained Rocker: Randy Rhoads

I also agree that Bob Dylan isn't a great guitar player. I'm not saying he is bad - he plays exactly what the song needs, but as a player I have heard nothing to make me go "wow, great guitar player"...kinda like Meg White.
I nominate Steve Bell for best folk player. On the more folk-y stuff anyway.

DWB:
I wouldn't ever say Kurt Kobain was a bad player!
I am not too framiliar with Howe, but Malmstein is sooooo pretentious. Is this guy really worse?
But I do agree that if I currently had a girlfriend, there is no way in hell I would leave her with Homme.
Unless I want to brag that I've nailed somebody who got nailed by Josh Homme.
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
Micahbell said:
I wouldn't ever say Kurt Kobain was a bad player!

He was just OK.  He was an intermediate player.  Certainly he was not up to snuff with most other famous rock guitarists.  (Edit: but he was better than me)

Micahbell said:
I am not too framiliar with Howe, but Malmstein is sooooo pretentious. Is this guy really worse?

Howe isn't more pretentious.  But he's a better guitarist.   :guitaristgif:

Micahbell said:
But I do agree that if I currently had a girlfriend, there is no way in hell I would leave her with Homme.

:icon_thumright:

Micahbell said:
Unless I want to brag that I've nailed somebody who got nailed by Josh Homme.

You probably have  :doh:
 

Graffiti62

Senior member
Messages
654
Disagreeing and discussing is what makes these types of posts so fun to read--especially when we're amongst our peers here. I guess I picked Dylan because I never really listened to all that much folk music. The only other folk player I knew of was Gordon Lightfoot, and that's because I attended college in a town on the shore of Lake Superior (Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald).

There are so many candidates that I want fields for. Some other ones that comes to mind are:

Best guitarist associated with a flambuoyant lead singer:  TIE--Mick Ronson and Brian May
Best rebel rock guitarist:  Billy Gibbons
Guitarist who's a lot bigger than should be:  Tom Morello
Biggest badass:  TIE--Joe Perry and Slash
Best guitarist who have the most lost marbles:  TIE--Peter Green and Jack White
Best hair guitarist:  Michael Angelo Batio
Guitarist that suprises the most people that he's still alive:  Keith Richards

I'll keep thinking, but keep contributing.
 

Xplorervoodoo

Senior member
Messages
984
How bout these:

Best Ugly Guitarist - Devin Townsend
Best "What the fuck was that" guitarist - Buckethead
Best Guitar Teacher - Paul Gilbert
 

Maltozombie

Senior member
Messages
113
I must say i like this thread more than the "top 5" thread, there's too much that goes into the equation to make a list like that.

but this one i could rant all day on.


Quintessential Guitar God- Steve Vai

Guitarist with most Legendary Background- (have you all forgotten- Robert Johnson?)

Guitarist who broke the most ground- Jimi Hendrix

Best "sound of time ripping through space ripping through a guitar"- tie. David Gilmour/Matt Bellamy from Muse

Most Idolized guitarist- EVH

Best progressive guitarist- John Petrucci

Best guitarist cut down in his prime- (lot of arguments here i'm sure, but i'm saying Randy Rhoads)

Best white Bluesman- SRV

Best alternative guitarist who stayed original- Billy Corgan

best modern acoustic guitarist- Andy McKee

Best picking technique- Steve morse (alt picked sweeps? dizam...)

Best progressive Jam guitarist- Jake Cinnegar

Best "great job on keeping up with your drummer"- Adam Jones

Best Metal guitarist- Dimebag Darrell

Guitarist who most changed the metal genre- Brendon Small (gave metal a hilarious side, it's not evil, now it's Brutal!!)


Best Guitarist Today- Buckethead. (Harder, better, faster, stronger, more innovative, untouchable technique)
 

m4rk0

Senior member
Messages
5,383
Best Classical oriented Shredder who everybody hates/one trick pony(unlike other guitarists that are really good in their genre)/arrogant idiot/toofatforleatherpants guitarist: Yngwie Malmsteen

Best Progressive Yes Guitarist: Steve Howe
Best Rock oriented Yes Guitarist: Trevor Rabin

Best Experimental Guitarist with many effects: The Edge

 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
I have to correct some of these....

Maltozombie said:
Best guitarist cut down in his prime- (lot of arguments here i'm sure, but i'm saying Randy Rhoads)
Uh, hello, what about Hendrix??

Maltozombie said:
Best alternative guitarist who stayed original- Billy Corgan
What??  Billy Corgan is fine I guess but he's not even as good as that Asian guy who played lead in the Smashing Pumpkins.

Maltozombie said:
Guitarist who most changed the metal genre- Brendon Small (gave metal a hilarious side, it's not evil, now it's Brutal!!)
I have no idea who this guy is, which I'm using as evidence that you're wrong!   :laughing7:  I'd have said Tony Iommi, he's the godfather of metal...

Graffiti62 said:
Best guitarist associated with a flambuoyant lead singer:  TIE--Mick Ronson and Brian May
How about Prince (associated with himself)?

Graffiti62 said:
Best rebel rock guitarist:  Billy Gibbons
Eh, I don't see him as a "rebel" rocker... I'd give this one to Gary Rossington and Allen Collins.

Graffiti62 said:
Guitarist who's a lot bigger than should be:  Tom Morello
Whatever, Tom rules :)

Graffiti62 said:
Best guitarist who have the most lost marbles:  TIE--Peter Green and Jack White
What about Syd Barrett?

Marko I liked all of yours :)
 

vtpcnk

Senior member
Messages
743
i have some difference of opinion with these :

guitarist who wrote the rules : i think clapton who spearheaded yardbirds, cream, blind faith, derek and the dominoes and pretty much defined many of these genres - would be a good choice.

best folk guitarist : nick drake or richard thomson

best blues guitarist : imo peter green - though i'm sure pg himself would bow to the king!

best slide guitarist : earl hooker

best rhythm guitarist : pete townshend

i would also award mick taylor as the "smoothest guitarist" in the list.

 

vtpcnk

Senior member
Messages
743
also the most lyrical guitarist imo would be hendrix as you can literally sing each solo in are you experienced!
 

Maltozombie

Senior member
Messages
113
 :laughing7: Reply to your replies...

dbw said:
I have to correct some of these....

Maltozombie said:
Best guitarist cut down in his prime- (lot of arguments here i'm sure, but i'm saying Randy Rhoads)
Uh, hello, what about Hendrix??

Maltozombie said:
Best alternative guitarist who stayed original- Billy Corgan
What??  Billy Corgan is fine I guess but he's not even as good as that Asian guy who played lead in the Smashing Pumpkins.

Maltozombie said:
Guitarist who most changed the metal genre- Brendon Small (gave metal a hilarious side, it's not evil, now it's Brutal!!)
I have no idea who this guy is, which I'm using as evidence that you're wrong!   :laughing7:  I'd have said Tony Iommi, he's the godfather of metal...

About Hendrix and Rhoads...note i said "Cut down"...randy died of extraneous circumstances, in a plane crash...Hendrix died as  result of taking lots of substances, which was a personal choice.... just my $.02

about Billy Corgan...i wholeheartedly agree that asian guy James Iha was a much better guitarist..but he has since faded into obscurity without corgan...(i'm not really counting a perfect circle either...he did almost nothing with them)

and about Brendon small....just check out Metalocalypse and you'll understand


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZKDJHMh-L0

Brutal  :evil4:






 
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