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Most respected guitarist?

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For me it would be several

Johnny Winter

Leslie West

Frank Zappa

Peter Frampton

Joe Satriani

Duane Allman

Jimmy Page

Jeff Beck

Jimi Hendrix

Eric Clapton

Steve Vai

Out of them all?

Johnny Winter

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I've gotta go heavily toward Segovia for several reasons. His technique set new standards, ditto his teaching. And good grief, his ability to have some 500 pieces ready to play at a moment's notice has been documented somewhere.


On a very different sort of player, Chet Atkins, and in ways for similar reasons. Chet played about anything and could come up with fingerings for what he wanted to play. I've tried to figure out how he figured that stuff out, and can't. I don't even know what you should call his style since he played everything from Chopin to pop. His influence on other pickers was even greater than the guy he was hired to match or exceed, Merle Travis. As a producer he also made a less obvious but strong influence on a lotta music.


Blues or rock? I dunno. I dunno that there were folks I'd put in the same class as those two guys - three if you count Travis for kinda the same reasons as Chet.


I think that's why I'm not listing jazz or country, either, because talented and skilled as so many have been, I'm not sure any would qualify as the individual influence as Segovia or Chet. Carlos Montoya in ways made a real difference in flamenco playing and, at least by example, was quite a post-WWII figure.


Les Paul is a whole different thing. A very gifted player and entertainer, but frankly I see his real contributions as being in recording engineering - including the guitar design. That puts him into a bit of a special classification. You seldom hear anybody say they wanted to play like Les the way you do with others even though he could move on that fingerboard like darned few others before or since.


Problem with guitar players, pianists and many others, is that there are a lot of incredibly talented people, but there are times when the right person hits the right time and place to make a real difference in music and technique for his or her instrument. I always wondered what would happen if Chet and Segovia ever got together just to talk. Never heard that it happened, and that's probably a shame.



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David Gilmour - plays with feeling and never succumbed to the temptation to get into the shred game.


Not only that but his guitar was originally owned by Leo Fender who gave it to Seymour Duncan who sold to Pink Floyd's guitar tech who then sold it to Gilmour in the late 70's.

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Not only that but his guitar was originally owned by Leo Fender who gave it to Seymour Duncan who sold to Pink Floyd's guitar tech who then sold it to Gilmour in the late 70's.


I thought ALL Fenders made before 1965 were originally owned by Leo Fender!


Your story reminds me of a Martin guitar, my brother had for like 20 years. Last year he sold it to my Brother-In-Law, (DAMN... I would have bought it!).


Anyway, we were all over my BIL's house one afternoon, and there were 7 of us playing guitars. My nephew didn't have a guitar, and since my BIL was playing his J-160e he loaned our nephew his Martin. He played it for a bit, then said this guitar seemed familiar..... turned out that it was his originally...he traded it in on something else to our Luthier, Tony, who then sold it to my brother, who sold it to his BIL! Too bad Tony wasn't there that afternoon to make it a complete circle!

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You're right about Matt. A former regular on this forum, Matt Sear is an exceptionally talented guitarist. I'm told he's also an excellent teacher as well as performer - and other skills and talents include taking your music from sound into notes on paper.


I have a hunch that if this were 40 years ago, Matt would be much better known. The strange thing about the Internet is how we have so much more "there," yet with very little means to separate the wheat from the chaff...



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As the question is most respected I would have to agree with Milrod, Chet Atkins & Andre Segovia would be at the top of my list.

Chet's influence goes beyond his guitar playing, he produced and played on many of Elvis Presley's early albums, he is accredited with bring the Jordanaires and Elvis together, he produced Jim Reeves and Don Gibson's biggest hits.

His work as a producer had a huge impact on pop music working with many artist, as Vice President of RCA's country division Atkins discovered Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, John Hartford and Charlie Pride and signed them to the RCA label. He produced many of the Homer and Jethro records, which played a large roll in the Folk Rock sound that lead to bands like the Byrds and later Buffalo Springfield, even before that he had produced and arranged many of the Everly Brothers songs. He created "the Nashville Sound".

He was a popular player at the Newport Jazz Festival for many years, played with the best classical, rock and blues players of our times. His influence helped shape Carl Perkins approach, who in turn inspired a young George Harrison. Mark Knophler, Tommy Emmanuel, Marty Stuart, Brian Setzer and Earl Klugh all credit Atkins as their inspiration and mentor.

Nine time instrumentalist of the year, 14 Grammy awards, a member of both the Country and Rock hall of Fame, Chet Atkins in my opinion earns the label of most respected guitarist hands down.

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I'm gunna say it, and take hell for it, but I don't care. John Mayer. He's not my favorite guitarist, he's not the greatest. But, I admire that he does what he wants to, how he wants to, when he wants to. He's a cross-genre player, and he's a damn good one. Most of all, he's having fun with it; and that's why I respect him as an artist.

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I guess my comment, though, has to do with long-term impact on the guitar and music in general.


There are a lot of musicians well worthy of all of our respect. Chet's impact, I think, is something that is unmatched in many ways today.


The problem, I think, with both Chet and Segovia isn't that they were major personalities who affected how we play music today, but rather that they've been gone long enough that younger generations haven't had the opportunity to recognize the degree to which they were "the" players for so many years.


It's interesting to me to consider how far guitar technique has come and how relatively new the instrument is as we know it today. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest the guitar is not one instrument, but many - even as the "keyboard" is not one instrument, but many. A harpsichord and B3 Hammond, old-style pipe organ and a piano may share a similar-appearing keyboard, but they're very, very different instruments. Ditto a classical guitar and a J200 and an ES.


Once you put pickups on a guitar and run it through a batch of electronics, it ain't the same thing any more as an acoustic. Steel strings play differently from nylon. Slide and steel guitar playing are even different. Electronics change everything. Chet lived through most of those changes and recognized better than most how they interacted.


I don't suggest Chet because he was necessarily the "best guitar player," but rather because he likely was the most influential guitar player on several levels. The right personality with the right talent and being at the right time and place to craft his technical skills to make a difference.


I look at it this way: I doubt many of us would be looking at our playing the same way were Chet never to have been.



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between Hendrix and Les Paul


Jimi Hendrix was definitely the most influential guitarist of all time. He might be the most respected but I don't have that much respect for the guy. He recorded 3 of the greatest albums of all time. Axis Bold As Love is my favorite.


Having said all of that. It's hard for me to respect a guy that died of a drug overdose at the age of 27. As great of a career he had, imagine if he lived another 50 years what he could have accomplished.


Eric Clapton is my pick. Eric Clapton started out in the Yardbirds. I believe he left because he disagreed on the musical direction of the Yardbirds. He left the Yardbirds and quickly built a reputation for being the best guitar player of his time with his stint in The Bluesbreakers and Cream.


Eric Clapton later become a very succesful singer/song writer. His unplugged album won a bunch of grammies. He's made tens of millions of dollars. With all of his fame and fortune he went back to doing what he loved. He recorded an album with BB King. He recorded a Robert Johnson cover album.


Eric Clapton has also battled a lot of demons. His son connor fell out a window of a New York highrise. He's battled drug and alcohol addictions. I respect the man more than any other guitar player.

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I just want to add comment to Milrod's last post. Chet's influence went beyond his guitar work as considerable as it was, anyone who has nine best instrumentalist of the year Grammies when his competition ranged from Travis and Garland to Montgomery, Clapton and Benson does not need anyone to defend his ability as a player.

His influence went beyond that of a performer or a studio artist even though he filled both rolls through out his life.

He discovered, produced and mentored so many of the great players who survive him.

Ask Tommy Emmanuel who was his greatest inspiration and influence and he will tell you, Chet Atkins.

Ask Mark Knopfler the same question he will tell you, Chet Atkins.

Ask Setzer the same question, his answer would be Atkins.

Ask Earl Klugh or Doyle Dykes, in fact ask any finger picker who came along after 1950 and their answer will be the same, Chet!

His career as a producer gave us some of the great artist of the past 50 years. His instruction books have inspired generations of pickers. Harrison was admittedly inspired by Atkins, and played Gretch guitars designed by Chet.

Never one to brag, always willing to play a supporting roll to young artist such as Susan Boggus, and a very young Dolly Parton, always humble Chet lived well and never made a fool of himself, maybe that would go against him in some peoples books, not in mine.

When asked about his legacy his replied,

"Years from now, after I'm gone, someone will listen to what I've done and know I was here. They may not know or care who I was, but they'll hear my guitars speaking for me."

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Most respected or most influential?


My most respected- Hendrix. Technically, not the greatest. But for feeling, originality, and control of the guitar, no one compares.



Classical- Segovia

Country/Pop- Atkins

Rock- Hendrix

Blues- Robert Johnson

Jazz- Django Reinhardt or Charlie Christian

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This is a very interesting Thread.


Respected By insiders? That could be Andy Fairweather Low or Roy Clark, or some other Session Guy that is always available, always on time, always ready, and free of stylistic hang ups.


Respected by his Audience? Vai or Petrucci, or one of those Super Fusion/Rock/Metal Virtuosos that make up the G3 and G4 lineups.


Respected by all audiences and Insiders and everything is I believe Chet Atkins.


Respected by Peers? Segovia, unfortunately I don't think he's gotten the respect he deserves outside the classical scene. Robert Johnson, what bluesman have you heard say one bad thing about him? Rock, Eric Clapton plays for Prince Charles Birthday, Royal Respect gotta count for something.


Respected by those around him (what Vonnegut called a Karass), well, some of the best and most influential Guitarists of our time didn't receive the respect they deserved. Charlie Christian didn't get to stay in any of the Hotels he played in. Steven Foster died with 36cents in his pocket, or so the story goes. Mozart was buried in a common Grave for crying out loud.


Which guitarist do I respect the most..........Have to think on that one for a while.

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first few that come to mind...

Hendrix... well, because he's Hendrix

Django Rhienhardt... played better than most... with two fingers

and Frank Zappa and Neil Young... careers built on doing their own thing.

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