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Best guitarist ever!!!???


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Well, it may just be exposure.......Jimi was BIG NEWS in the 60's. No one had seen anyone like him..... And although there are many great Jazz and classical players, no one got the exposure that Jimi got, PLUS, he was "writing" his own music as he went along, so he was composer and player on the spot. A performance artist on top of that.Reminds me of the old joke....What's the difference between a rock (country) player and a Jazz player?.......The rock player plays 3 chords in front of thousands of fans, and the Jazz player plays 1000's of chords in front of three people. So...although there are many great Jazz players, perhaps technically better than Jimi Hendricks, he just exploded on the scene and had such a great impact. I just wish he were still with us.....


I like that joke [biggrin]


Classical music and popular music is an example of apples and dinosaurs....


The numbers with pop music and classical sales nowadays more than ever are just so different; an average selling classical album sells around 2000 copies in a year - a pop artist of course can sell millions. However, although it is impossible to say with any certainty what people will be listening to in 200 years, I am pretty certain a lot of what we consider very big and important now, will be as good as extinct in the not too distant future - Classical music though will remain in tact, it was built to last!


Back to the OP, Genre by genre would be good in these lists (if they MUST make them a tall LOL)



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The list is really a variation on "my favorite rock star", with a nod to "my favorite urban bluesman." Many made the list who are nothing special on guitar. Forget acoustic.


Folks remember JH for the sheer audacity of his playing, but unlike a lot of guys with blues roots, he played beautiful chordal figures. There are others who could play more sweeping lines. Strictly in terms of influence, Hendrix would not be on top. Chet Atkins, James Burton, Lonnie Johnson and BB King all did more to define how to approach the instrument (not to say any of them was the greatest, just that they had longer coat tails). Even in hard rock, Page may have more branches on his end of the tree.


Meanwhile, here is one vote for the Rev. Gary Davis. Technically proficient? name 5 guys in the top 100 can play contrapuntal lines, moving basses and melodic figures as he could. Innovative? Check. Versitile? check (covered rags, earl jazz, blues, gospel and rural dance music) Influential? only defined fingerpicking fundamentals for the great folks scare. Soul.

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I've already been wrong a few times this year, so here I go again imo......Hengrix---All the way. Less I'm wrong, he did what he did without all of todays high tech electronics. It was him making all he did. Of coarse he had the best equipment at the time, but not to now days standards. Sure wish we could hear what he could do with modern technology. But, then again Clapton is..............no words, Fantastic guitarist. I've seen some of Matts sound clips, I bow to you also. Like said there are too many greats and styles to put 1 on top. We like what we like. Jimi & Eric

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Meanwhile, here is one vote for the Rev. Gary Davis. Technically proficient? name 5 guys in the top 100 can play contrapuntal lines, moving basses and melodic figures as he could. Innovative? Check. Versitile? check (covered rags, earl jazz, blues, gospel and rural dance music) Influential? only defined fingerpicking fundamentals for the great folks scare. Soul.


Amen to that! Plus, he did all that while singing.


Gotta include blind Blake, too. As RGD put it, the man had a sportin' right hand.

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That man would be his follow up Peter Green


Ouh Yes Lotus ! – so glad you mention Peter Green. The man has a touch beyond this reality. And in my opinion was one of the frontmen regarding modern beat-vox around 197o – cool of cool.

Sadly not only him, but also fellow guitarist Danny Kirwan, took some devilish bad acid in Munich in the early 70's, which drove them in the ditch (by conventional thinking). Some of the darkest losses in rock history, but let's call it past.


Saw Green a couple of years back with a younger band and to tell you the truth the concert started close to disastrous.

Green was stiff and introvert and both guitar and vocals appeared vague if not sick. Still the audience was with him and faithfully applauded. At one point the band-leader quietly said : It seems you have friends here tonite and soon P.G. began to break in (to use a term we understand here on the board). As the evening went on the man opened up and managed to reach splendid highs. Stayed on level and gave everyone what we wished for. Tunes like Albatross – Black Magic Woman – Man of The World, but also newer material. Good stuff – glad I caught him in time - the feel was there.


Enjoy this shot of the 2 young lads rehearing on the couch - PeterGreenandDannyKirwan.jpg

a situation most of us would recognize.

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Well, this is a subjective matter so there is no right answer ... but the new issue of Rolling Stone has as it's cover story the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time! The voters were some of the greatest musicians of today so that matters. Like this thread, most were electric players. Their selections were:


1. Hendrix

2. Clapton

3. Jimmy Page

4. Kef


@ # 16 was Derek Trucks .... certainly on my top GPOAT list. But then if you grew up as a member of the Allman Brothers Band, you should be great.


My personal fav ... Duane Allman

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Best ever? Not by a long shot. LOVE him and he was an innovative and influential player but...best guitar player? Nope.


There IS no "best" but Tommy makes being better REAL tough! [thumbup]



Couldn't agree with you more. He's doing a limited US tour in February as part of a big world tour in 2011-2012. Hope to catch in in Tampa.

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Here are two 20th century classical genius' who wrote and performed their own work (Leo Brouwer is still very much alive). They may not be 'popular' in the x factor/pop idol sense, but thousands of music lovers, know and love their work [thumbup]


These guys (and their ilk), are the great composers of our times that IMHO will be remembered several hundred years for now...

I think a few bands like the really special ones (i.e The Beatles) will have their music performed and interpreted in hundreds of years too [thumbup]


A rare clip of the Paraguayan composer Augustin Barrios performing (1923)




A master class with Cuban Leo Brouwer






p.s LMAO I hate these dumb polls anyway [flapper]

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Meanwhile, here is one vote for the Rev. Gary Davis.

I wasn't going to comment in this thread, because the question doesn't make any sense. (It presupposes that there are agreed-upon quality criteria that determine a total ordering of guitarists, which is just silly.)


But I'm going to cast another vote for the Rev anyway. :)


-- Bob R

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The Best Guitarist question, is again revelant to the question asked. Everyone has their favorite guitar player who they think is THE BEST. Some say its Hendrix, some say its Eddie Van Halen, some say its Buckethead, Jeff Beck, Clapton, etc,etc, etc. Its all in the eye/ear of the beholder so to speak. For me there is no best or worse. Some are just more, should I say talented or more liked then others so to speak.

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As mentioned earlier that the list is really about "my favorite rockstar". Its the only criteria that gets Lennon & Richards (T Bone Walker via Chuck Berry), PT (Bo Diddley), and Bruce (ChuckBoKeithPete3Kings) through the door. Or Waters and E-James (Son House/Earl Hooker/Robt Johnson). Strictly in terms of chops/originality.


My list, based on innovation, chops and influence, would be a short one: Gary Davis, Blind Blake/Sam McGhee(American fingerstyle). Lemon Jefferson (Texas Blues/swing). Merle Travis/Chet Atkins/James Burton (Nashville/rockabilly). Lonnie Johnson/T-bone Walker/BB King (single string blues). Davey Graham/Bert Jansch (Brit folk) Charlie Christian (jazz). Hendrix/Beck Page/Dale (maybe): raw sound. Those guys set the parameters of what can be done. There's plenty of gifted guys that play within those margins. For ex, Clapton Santana, and D. Allman played most expressively within the Johnson/Bone/King template. They certainly have inspired folks to pick up a guitar but but did they add to the tradition, particlarly?

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I agree, these types of "poles" are pretty anti-thematic to most players. BUT, it does spark some great threads like this one. In following it I've been reminded of some greats that have faded from my memory and have learned some names new to me that I checked out and was floored. Just to have E-minor7's clip made the whole thread a huge success!


The correct name for the pole should be "Most popular/well known".


But, like I said, I'm glad the pole exists 'cause this kinda thread is 100x better than "what pick do you use". (which is a fun exchange in itself but, lets face it, once a week is enough!! lol)

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It is a very tough one - the 'Best' vs 'Fave' vs'Cool' vs 'Hot' etc...


For me:


Gary Davis, Lightnin' Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Willie Johnson, Willie McTell, Blind Blake, John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Sonny T & B McGee, Chet Atkins........................endless


Cannot leave out the Beatles, Stones, Clapton, The 3 Kings, T-Bone, Johhny Winter, Billy Gibbons, Ry Cooder, John Hammond and of course Stefan Grossman for pointing to all of the above!




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The definitive list of "bests". These cannot be argued with.


Best Guitarist - Me

Best Human Being - My Mom

Best Food - Texas Barbecue

Best Donut - Cinnamon Twist

Best Female Body Part - Can't say in public

Best Muppet - Animal (although Gonzo is a close second!)

Best Beatle - Keith Richards

Best Wood - Bloodwood

Best Color - Blue

Best Piece of Furniture - Ottoman

Best Ice Cream - Cookies and Cream

Best Light Bulb - Halogen

Best Fuel - Jet

Best Finger - Ring

Best Speaker - Woofer

Best Stormtrooper - #65281

Best Reindeer - Prancer

Best Bird - Bridlington Shrieker

Best Electronic Component - Capacitor

Best Subatomic Particle - Bozon

Best Dessert - Blackberry Cobbler

Best Tree - Japanese Maple

Best Surface - Concrete

Best Liquid - Lava

Best Screw Size - #12 x 2"


There. I'm glad we got that settled.

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The original premise of the thread is absurd, but if we are just mentioning great guitarists, here are a few:


Joe Pass (smokes virtually everyone mentioned so far)

Grant Green (not that well known but awe-inspiring)

Tal Farlow (check him out)

Eddie Lang (one of the best)

Wes Montgomery (needs no intro)

Robin Williamson (ISB)

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As mentioned by others, such lists are far too subjective .


Just the same I'll add a few comments as I'm in a typing mood this evening...


I've found for me, such list would vary if I made one up every ten years or so. Some artists have simply risen or fallen in and out of favor with me with the passing of the years. A good number of course would hold fairly steady.


Having lived in good music towns for most of my adult life, I've had the opportunity to see countless talented musicians. Sadly, I have actually forgotten the names of many who have blown me away with their talent. Without the fame, the skills are often overlooked or perhaps forgotten. I had seen Stevie Ray Vaughan countless times in my youth before he grew in fame. Don't think I ever paid more than $5 to see him and got to meet him just by walking up to him and introducing myself as the places he played then weren't much bigger than a small house. Only years later did I get to see him play sober (and I had to pay a lot more than $5 as he was touring with Jeff Beck, another of my early faves). The difference in his performance that night was not subtle. He shot up higher on my personal list of greatest guitarists based on that one performance than he would have based on all the other shows I saw. He might not be on everyone's top guitarists list, but I suppose that's the beauty of having my own "list" (somewhere in my mind at least).


The thing that I do love about such lists is that sometimes I'm turned on to music I would not have given a chance to otherwise. Perfect example — I remember tracking down the original Fleetwood Mac album a long, long time ago because just such a list way back then had made mention of Peter Green.


As always, Rambler's comments resonate with me. Cheers to the vote for the Reverend Gary Davis. The first time I ever took a guitar lesson was because I heard someone else in a music store receiving a lesson from an instructor teaching them country blues tunes. I wanted to learn how to play like that as I couldn't sing worth a darn, and the more I could do with just six strings, the more it appealed to me. I hung around until that person was done so that I could meet the instructor. Within a week I was taking lessons from him. I spent about a year with that instructor until he moved away. I learned how to fingerpick and perhaps more importantly I learned about all kinds of great musicians such as those mentioned by Rambler and others. It turns out that those guitarists have been far more influential on me than either SRV or Jeff Beck. That doesn't take away from either of their talents, nor Jimi's or anyone else's for that matter. Rambler, I sure hope that I'll get a chance to meet you in person one of these days when we are up visting Maine. (And I'm still on the search for a Frank Fotusky CD.)


Above all, I'm just glad that I'm still playing guitar myself, even if its just for myself while sitting on the couch. Man, a guitar sure is great thing, regardless of who you think is the best at playing one.

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I don't know if anyone who has posted here actually READ the link I posted.....I'm not the one who says Hendrix is the best guitarist....ROLING STONE MAGAZINE states that he is the best.....I know it's all conjecture and all a matter of opinion (and god knows, WHAT does Rolling Stone know about guitarists??) So just good fun, no need to get your panties in a twist about how absurd and senseless the "question" is.....lol....just an interesting post...no need or veiled personal attacks....have fun with the thread...it's supposed to be fun!!!

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