the Great Guitarists

As a guitarist, I often pretend I am asked who I am influenced by. Plus, Rolling Stone just did one of those stupid 'top 100 guitarists' type lists. So, I want to briefly touch on who I dig, who I don't, and why.

Billy Corgan is near the top for me. Never has anyone done so much with an E at the 7th fret. Just about every song from Gish and Siamese Dream can be learned if you put your hands there, and slide up or down two frets. He gave me melody and power. Speaking of that, they just re-issued the two aforementioned albums this week.

Jerry Garcia > Jerry is the best to me. Better than Hendrix, and all those guys. His sense of musicality is/was amazing. Jerry is one of a VERY few guitarist that I can identify without having ever heard the music before (the others? Santana and Mark Knopfler). Also, his acoustic and blue grass work was as good or better than the Dead stuff. Seriously, go pick up 'Shady Grove'. Plus, I love Jerry as a person. He was never a dick, always cared about his fans, and never even talked, really. There are too few good interviews with Jerry. He didn't want to talk about music, he just wanted to make it. I think Hendrix was like that, too.

Lindsay Buckingham > his technique is amazing. He plays like no one else in rock and roll. How do I mean that specifically? He uses no pick. There is no one else in the business who can do that (except Mark Knopfler, which is why he has such a distinctive sound). Buckingham wrote the soundtrack of the 70's with Rumors just fingerpicking on this little acoustic looking thingy.

Slash - I love Slash's style. His live style, and his solo style, is sloppy. It's not careless, it is just super loose. Jimmy Page has the exact same sound live. Listen to a Page solo off of any live Stairway to Heaven. He plays it loose and sloppy, just like Slash. Plus, Slash gave us all those great riffs from Appetite. He is one of a few who plays a les Paul, which I will never understand. Those are heavy and mean and uncomfortable guitars. Plus, Slash is a good dude, too.

Neil Young > I love Neil's acoustic style. This is an important clarification, as his electric style sounds like dogs being electrocuted. His electric solo's sound like those dead dogs being masturbated. His acoustic style is so loving and melodic. Listen to the first few tracks on 'rust never sleeps'. Sugar Mountain, I am a child, Needle and the Damage Done... it is fantastic and powerful stuff. Also, think of 'Unknown Legend'. It is such a sweet piece of guitar work, that gently takes the song out to meet folks.
This, I must say, is my absolute favorite Neil song.  It is beautiful, and weird, and great.

Prince - because of this. It is said that Price didn't even know the song, and was explained the chords at rehearsal.  Note, Prince doesn't even walk on stage until the 3:30 mark.

Frank Zappa - I can't stand his guitar work. Sorry, these aren't all gushers. I love Frank's songwriting and sense of humor, but his guitar solo's drive me nuts. It is all so dissonant, like a never ending Neil Young solo. Sorry, that last jibe was redundant. There are entire CDs of just Frank playing solo's. The Yellow Shark is one. Skip that shit, unless you are super stoned. Instead, reach for Joe's Garage or Sheik Yourbouti. Those are also good with a shit ton of drugs. Ironically, all of Frank's stuff sounds better on drugs. I say ironic because Frank didn't touch drugs or alchohol.

So, you all have your lists, and this is mine.  Keep up the great work!


rgdaniel said…
"The Yellow Shark" is orchestral. Zappa conducts on some of the pieces, but does not perform. You may be thinking of "Shut Up And Play Your Guitar" (one example).

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