What I think would be a much more interesting question than "who is the greatest guitar player?" would be to ask as many for the names that come up in the "greatest" discussions as possible who THEY admire. THAT would be an interesting list!
Has no one ever heard of Stevie Ray Vaughan? Sure, he'll always be "pigeonholed" as a blues guitarist, but anyone who witnessed him live cannot deny the passion, soul, and mind blowing grasp of his instrument in his playing. The young dude with Clapton was Doyle Bramhall II, but when I saw Clapton last September in Columbus, Ohio, he looked, and sounded, anything but bored. E.C. TORE IT UP, especially the old Derek and the Dominoes tunes, playing with a fire he has'nt had in years. Some of the other "greatest guitartist" for me...Hendrix, Page, Beck, Chet Atkins(don't laugh, he's a HUGE influence on ALOT of our 60's guitar hero's), Chuck Berry, The Kings...B.B., Albert, and Freddie, just to name a few. Oh, yeah, Alvin Lee's not half bad either, lol. Just saw Woodstock on VH1 today, and without a doubt, "Goin' Home", Santana's "Soul Sacrafice", and the Hendrix set were by far the most explosive musical moments in the film.
Oh heck, no one minds pigeonholing anyone as a blues guitarist - we love the blues! I think our ages may have something to do with why we tend to leave Stevie Ray out of our discussions - for most of us, we came of age with the playing of Lee, Beck, Hendrix & Clapton, so they remain our "favorites". Stevie Ray was without a doubt an amazing guitarist ( I'm listening to the Live at Montreaux CD while I'm typing this) - yet for some reason, for me personally, his playing doesn't always connect with me emotionally. No fault of his obviously, as his passion is evident in every note.
As for Clapton, while I'll always rank him among my top favorites, I've been to two concerts of his where I felt like he could have phoned it in. That made me feel cheated so I hesitate to see him live again. Funny, we talked about Chuck Berry a few threads ago, and I have felt that way about him for 20 years - he just goes through the motions. Thank goodness, I can't say I have ever once felt that way about an Alvin Lee concert - or a Jeff Beck one, come to think of it.
By the way, I'd also never laugh at Chet Atkins being a favorite - and I love every single one of the "Kings". Did you get to see B.B. and Jeff Beck together? Great show.
Mar 19, 2005 - 11:25AM
Re: Re: Re: who is the greatest guitar player
Never realy thought about the age thing, lol. Unfortunately, I came of age in the early eighties when Clapton went pop, Zeppelin had disbanded, and most guitar hero's seemed to be going for a more "modern" sound to compete for mainstream radio. Everything had this cheesy keyboard sound to it, when Stevie Ray came along and kind of opened a door alot of people had thought was closed, at least in the mainstream. I've seen Clapton twice also, first on his Journeyman Tour, and then this last one. Both concerts were great. I don't think I would've bothered to see him in his "Phil Collins period", but as soon as I heard his solo in "Bad Love", the tone, the bent notes, the phrasing, I became a fan of more than just his old stuff, wich had influenced my own playing probably more than anyone else. Sorry to say (hope ya'll don't hate me for this) I've never had the pleasure of seeing Alvin Lee live, as I'm sure it's always great. I did'nt see the Beck/King tour, but I have seen B.B. twice and was blown away both times. You've never heard "The Thrill Is Gone" until you hear it live, with the tempo at the end speeding up faster and faster and sweat pouring off him drenching Lucille. I got to see Johnny Winter doing the power trio thang back in '91 at a small club in Cincinnati. From the opening lick on his Steinbrenner(always hated the look of that thing) to the last slide on his old Firebird, I had chills. He was fantastic. I hope to get a chance to see Alvin live.
Groan - the early 80s were the worst time in music for many of the 60s/70s musicians - Alvin's two early 80s albums, in my opinion, are the worst he's ever done. Not that there aren't some great songs on them, and not that his playing wasn't suberb - they just seem to fall in that "Adult Oriented Rock" (i.e. boring) mode that too many great musicians trapped themselves in then. Clapton in the early 80s put me to sleep ( I like the reference to his "Phil Collins" period, great description). I can just imagine the thrill of hearing somebody like Stevie Ray for the first time when all you've had up to that is b-o-r-i-n-g.
But what a great treat to move backwards in time discovering some of the great guitar music of the 60s/70s - I guess that's very much like we were after hearing bands like Cream and getting to move backwards to "discover" the innovators like Muddy Waters. Awesome stuff. Besides, one of the great things about moving backwards is that you don't have to suffer through the huge arena venues - you can see some of these amazing guitarists is smaller clubs "with sweat dripping off the walls" (an Alvin quote) - truly the way the blues should be experienced.
No problem that you haven't seen Alvin, by the way - coming into the blues when you did you really haven't had all that many opportunities. But man, I promise you that when you do, you're going to be blown away - his playing, his energy level, the emotion is so incredibly powerful that I swear you'll walk out so high from it, it will take days to come back down. Kinf od like when you saw B.B. or Johnny Winter (and how can we forget to mention Johnny when we're talking about the greats?)
Mar 19, 2005 - 3:16PM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who is the greatest guitar player
I think the thing I realy disliked about the late 70's early 80's period was that awful chorus tone that EVERYONE used. I mean, too much of anything is, well, too much.
I was lucky in that I had an older brother who was always listening to Cream, Ten Years After, Zeppelin, Grand Funk, etc..., so I've always been somewhat familiar with the classic guitar hero's. And reading interviews with Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter and so on did lead me back to the "source", all the old 50's blues guitarists like Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Hubert Sumlin, and even further back to Robert Johnson, Skip James, and Son House. Have you ever heard of Mose Rager? He was a huge influence on Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. He was a white dude that played delta blues WAY BACK WHEN.
I guess the main reason I included Chuck Berry earlier was there's no denying his influence, even though he says he got most of his licks from T-Bone Walker(another great)and Johnnie Johnson, Berry's piano player. I thought of a couple more I would add to the list. Michael Bloomfield (check out his live stuff with Al Cooper), and Rory Gallagher, another fiery blues-rock guitarist. I was also heavily influenced by the early Allman Brothers, the interplay between Duane and Dicky was magical, to say the least. Hey, aint music a wonderful thing?,
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: who is the greatest guitar player
How could I ever forget Mike Bloomfield? I first heard him at the extremely tender age of 12 when a local record store owner (who knew my dad liked blues) sent me home with a copy of the first Butterfield Blues Band album. I think it changed my life, honestly - it was the start of my own love for blues guitar. I still rank Bloomfield as one of my all time favorites; he was just an amazing bluesman. Hard to believe both he and Butterfield are gone.
First time I saw Stevie Ray he was playing guitar for David Bowie. Great Show! I feel much like Toni does as far as the passion thing goes - I recognize his talent it just doesn't move me like some others. That's the beauty of music. In reality there is no such thing as "best" because "best" is different to everyone. On my above list I also forgot Bill Nelson, who played a brilliant show at Winterland back in the day.
How could I have left David Gilmour off my list? He had slipped my mind until last night when I heard "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and realized it STILL sends chills down my my back. And he seems to always be consistent AND passionate, wich is no easy task.
I've read some post's saying Clapton is'nt always either of those (I'm glad evertime I've seen him, he was "ON"), and I've heard lot's of live Hendrix material where his playing is WAY off, even though he's BY FAR my favorite guitarist. Personaly, I'd take passionate over consistent any day.
But I have to agree with Victor. There is no "best". Most peoples favorite will be the first one who grabbed their heart and stoked their imagination. I have to plead ignorance on the Bill Nelson reference. Was he a solo artist, or did he play with a band? Sorry. Speaking of Winterland, you don't have to be a Dead-Head (wich I'm not) to be a huge fan of Jerry Garcia (wich I am). But again, as with the Hendrix staetment, he had some "rough" nights, to say the least. But when he was on, he could take you to another place.
alvin hands down the solo part on cant keep from crying isle of wight right after chics organ brake fu??ing alvin takes off on a guitar frenzy still never heard nothing like it god bless mr.lee made me pick up the trade and showed me about true respect toward the guitar thanks master lee.lenny v.
Preferences in order:
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Honorable Mention: Jimmy, Jimi, Eric, Jeff, Keith, Eddie, Pete, Dickie, Duane, Bill Nelson, Achim Reichel
Disgusting egomaniacs: Blackmore, Malmsteen, Dharma, all whom have criticized Alvin’s playing and style as well as many of the others on this list over the years