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While I agree with all mentions so far, I'd like to add Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

Will never forget the first time I listened to "Sultans of Swing" - it was a revelation not had since good old Jimi Hendrix or Eric ...
 

 

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Prince Definitely the most underrated as well, he gets no respect for his guitar playing mastery. That was Prince's “problem”, maybe. He was too damn good at everything. In an interview, Eri

So many virtuosos and guys who changed the landscape on their arrival... Hendrix has to be my pick on pure, insane ability. However, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd is my absolute favourite. Not the

Big fan of most who have been mentioned.....but one great guitarist that always seems to be left off of these lists is Brian Setzer.   

Nino just mentioned Mark. Great player. So many it’s hard to list them all. Satriani, Steve Vai, Leslie West never get enough credit. For me only, if I could only watch one performance live it would be Jimmy Page in his prime. 

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I'm a big fan of guitar based music, hard rock & metal mainly.  Every time I see a "best guitarist" list I cringe a bit.  Each list tends to bring up the same, "tired" players.  "Tired" as in their names come up all the time and IMO, haven't really done much (EVH, many more), are dead (sorry Jimi, SRV, Randy), and are generally overrated (Clapton, John Mayer?!).  With that said, I respect a lot of these players and their accomplishments, but many don't wow me. 

Of the old guard.  Jimi Hendrix is probably the most influential and original guitar player ever.  But he was an overall great songwriter/musician: period. Had he not died so young, I really wondered where his music would have gone through the decades since he passed, to now.  In some ways, I think Prince, carried the mantle on that one.  Plus, he's a wicked guitar player to boot.  But since Jimi has long since passed, it disingenuous to think other long standing players have not met or surpassed his mastery.  One guy that comes to mind is Uli Jon Roth.  Ex of Scorpions (1970's) he was heavily influenced by Jimi.  He even dated Jimi's last GF.  Watching and listening to him play, the influence is clear and if anything, he has transcended that influence. I've never seen anyone so chill and relaxed make a guitar do such amazing things.  Along the sames lines is Stevie Ray Vaughan.  I have a bootleg of his when he toured with Bowie as his lead guitarist. It's just the whole band rehearsing the entire setlist.  SRV breathed new life into some already classic Bowie material.  Another tragic loss to music when he died.

My personal favourite is Michael Schenker. Ex Scorpions, UFO and a long time solo artist.  His output is amazing,  his influence widespread and songwriting abilities epic. He's put out some great instrumentals that puts him on par with the classical composers of history.  He can't read a lick of sheet music, yet he has mastered the guitar with some of the greatest riffs and solo's known to humankind such as songs as "Love to Love" , "Rock Bottom", "Lights Out", "Into The Arena", "Ulcer", "Captain Nemo" and many more.  This is the guy that made the Gibson Flying V guitar even sexier.  

Big fan of Eddie Van Halen. He makes it look so easy, but for me. He's a lazy SOB (and long time addict which cut into his creative time).  For as long as he's been around, he really hasn't put out that much material if you compare him to other players that started roughly the same time.  Then there's also the fact, that a lot of Van Halen's music was easily forgettable with every ensuing album.  You'd be lucky to get 50/50 good to bad ratio of songs per album. Lots of filler IMO.  Those first two albums though: rock solid front to back.

Other great names; Jeff Beck, Jimi Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai.  On the "Metal" side: Randy Rhoads(another talent that the music world was robbed of. He could have surpassed them all).  Alex Skolnik of Testament(shreds and does Jazzy metal on the side). Dave Mustaine.(fantastic riffs and solos.  All Megadeth albums are rich with complex, catchy arrangements). Alex Lifeson of Rush.  Even when Rush pushed keyboards over guitar on some albums, he shone.  Tony Iommi of Sabbath. Then there's Buckethead.  Virtual unknown, weird, but probably the most dexterous and innovative guitarist I've seen in a long time. And he creates new material non-stop.  You can get tons of his live recordings for free online.  He can shred, play melodic, pick and strum like a country boy, etc.   Unreal talent, lurking in the shadows sadly.  Having tackled the loners of the bunch, I'll move on to the dual attack guitarists, such as Judas Priest's; KK Downing and Glenn Tipton.  Probably the most iconic twin guitar attack ever.  Also Iron Maiden's Glenn Murray and Adrian Smith.  Rudolf Schenker (Michael's older brother) and Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions (though they got less "metal" since 1984's Love at First Sting).  I think I'll stop here, as I'm heading into rant territory and lunch time is almost over.  :D

Some Examples:

Uli Jon Roth - Sails of Charon

Uli Jon Roth - Pictured Life

Michael Schenker: Into The Arena

Micheal Schenker: Rock Bottom

UFO (Schenker) : Love to Love (audio only)

 

 

 

 

 

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Kind of a silly question that pops up from time to time in musician's circles.  Silly because it's entirely subjective, within reason.  Many things have been done and re-done as new over the last 60 years that I'm aware of, and most likely done prior to that in some other form.  In creating a short-list of best guitar players, it might help to define criteria.  Is the person more creative, faster, possessing a unique sound, a better interpreter of other people's music, a better original composer?  These things lead one to different conclusions.  SRV is mentioned a lot, and he's quite good IMO, but he's strictly a blues player.  I'd say the same about Jimi Hendrix.  Pat Metheney is excellent, and more versatile, but still fairly grounded in the jazz genre--not for everyone. 

My favorite guitarist of all time would have to be Jerry Garcia--certainly the most versatile player I've ever heard, ranging from bluegrass to jazz to rock to country and beyond.  He was also an innovator, having contributed to the invention of the on board effects loop along with one of his guitar makers.  Prolific as hell too, probably my vote for the best interpreter of Bob Dylan's music, among other classic songwriters, and not too shabby himself when it came to writing music.  So at this point do we, what, take a dump on Bob Weir--not to mention other contemporaries of Jerry?  Of course not.

Notice you have to say favorite, and not best.  I'm not going to argue with anyone who prefers Jimi or SRV or pretty much anybody who's been mentioned here, but for the reasons referenced above I'd have to say Jerry stands a league apart in my mind. 

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5 minutes ago, bundwallah said:

I'm a big fan of guitar based music, hard rock & metal mainly.  Every time I see a "best guitarist" list I cringe a bit.  Each list tends to bring up the same, "tired" players.  "Tired" as in their names come up all the time and IMO, haven't really done much (EVH, many more), are dead (sorry Jimi, SRV, Randy), and are generally overrated (Clapton, John Mayer?!).  With that said, I respect a lot of these players and their accomplishments, but many don't wow me. 

 

 

 

 

Not to fan the flames, but could not agree more re: Clapton.  John Mayer, on the other hand, is a pretty great blues guitarist that I suspect will mature and become more tasteful as he continues to tour with Dead and Company--at least he's gotten more nuanced over the last three years I've heard him play.  On his own right as a blues guitarist, he's flashy, but lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. 

 

Your other statements about Jimi Hendrix are well taken--who knows what he could have become had he made it through the 70s and 80s. 

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6 hours ago, tigger said:

And I wonder what the odds are that the greatest of a time is some guy (or gal) piaying in a basement somewhere, too nervous to play out anywhere.

No doubt - or an unheralded session player...

I've always been a fan of Steve Howe - plays many styles, minimum processing, very articulate. Al Dimeola might be one of the most technically proficient players I've ever heard. Jimmy Vaughn - woefully underrated. Impossible to call any of them the greatest of all time.

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3 hours ago, Buck14 said:

. In an interview, Eric Clapton was once tritely asked, “What's it like to be the best guitar player alive?” Clapton simply responded, “I don't know, ask Prince.”

I laugh whenever I see/hear this "quote".  Have yet to actually see or hear an artist say this in an interview (not saying it didn't happen, just that I've never heard an artist say it).  Pretty much heard every artist says it's someone else. 

Clapton-  "I don't know, ask Prince".

Jimmy Page-  "I don't know, ask Phil Keaggy".

SRV-  "I don't know.  Ask (insert favorite guitarist)".

All I know is there are so many astounding musicians now and in the recent past that IMO it's impossible to say.  Just amazing talent these days.  

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3 minutes ago, BuzzArd said:

Xtra-Xtra post....  strange internet today

:blink:

Yes. Just saw that.  Deleted the second one. Oh and BTW, your ban for the extra post begins......... NOW!  See you in 2 years.  :D  :P

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Don’t think I’ve seen Larry Carlton mentioned yet. Who can forget the burning guitar intro he contributed to this song:

 

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Just now, bundwallah said:

Yes. Just saw that.  Deleted the second one. Oh and BTW, your ban for the extra post begins......... NOW!  See you in 2 years.  :D  :P

Honestly, that would be AWESOME!  Think of the $$ I'll save!!  :rotfl:

Yeah, really don't know what heppened there....   

but to keep it on topic I say 

Rick Derringer!! 

 

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32 minutes ago, bundwallah said:

 

Other great names; Jeff Beck, Jimi Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai.  On the "Metal" side: Randy Rhoads(another talent that the music world was robbed of. He could have surpassed them all).  Alex Skolnik of Testament(shreds and does Jazzy metal on the side). Dave Mustaine.(fantastic riffs and solos.  All Megadeth albums are rich with complex, catchy arrangements). Alex Lifeson of Rush.  Even when Rush pushed keyboards over guitar on some albums, he shone.  Tony Iommi of Sabbath. Then there's Buckethead.  Virtual unknown, weird, but probably the most dexterous and innovative guitarist I've seen in a long time. And he creates new material non-stop.  You can get tons of his live recordings for free online.  He can shred, play melodic, pick and strum like a country boy, etc.   Unreal talent, lurking in the shadows sadly.  Having tackled the loners of the bunch, I'll move on to the dual attack guitarists, such as Judas Priest's; KK Downing and Glenn Tipton.  Probably the most iconic twin guitar attack ever.  Also Iron Maiden's Glenn Murray and Adrian Smith.  Rudolf Schenker (Michael's older brother) and Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions (though they got less "metal" since 1984's Love at First Sting).  I think I'll stop here, as I'm heading into rant territory and lunch time is almost over.  :D

 

 

 

Highly agree on your approach for this post @bundwallah. I was going to toss Steve Vai in the mix myself. Skolnik is a true master. (was just listening to Testament recently and was like.. "Damn.."). Mustaine is his own style and yes he's a guitar god (although as he says, completely stuck in his pentatonic scale). I'd also toss out Zakk Wyld as he's gotten better than most know unless you follow Black Label Society. Buckethead is a freak of nature (in a good way) and probably in the top 5 best players alive today. 

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26 minutes ago, Ethernut said:

 Buckethead is a freak of nature (in a good way) and probably in the top 5 best players alive today. 

I'd like to see Buckethead on stage heads up with Bumblefoot.  

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I think you almost have to put them into categories... I forgot to mention Prince, probably greatest musician, not just guitarist. The guy played every instrument on Purple Rain..

Surprised Eddie V.H. hasn't been mentioned..

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1 hour ago, bundwallah said:

I'm a big fan of guitar based music, hard rock & metal mainly.  Every time I see a "best guitarist" list I cringe a bit.  Each list tends to bring up the same, "tired" players.  "Tired" as in their names come up all the time and IMO, haven't really done much (EVH, many more), are dead (sorry Jimi, SRV, Randy), and are generally overrated (Clapton, John Mayer?!).  With that said, I respect a lot of these players and their accomplishments, but many don't wow me. 

Of the old guard.  Jimi Hendrix is probably the most influential and original guitar player ever.  But he was an overall great songwriter/musician: period. Had he not died so young, I really wondered where his music would have gone through the decades since he passed, to now.  In some ways, I think Prince, carried the mantle on that one.  Plus, he's a wicked guitar player to boot.  But since Jimi has long since passed, it disingenuous to think other long standing players have not met or surpassed his mastery.  One guy that comes to mind is Uli Jon Roth.  Ex of Scorpions (1970's) he was heavily influenced by Jimi.  He even dated Jimi's last GF.  Watching and listening to him play, the influence is clear and if anything, he has transcended that influence. I've never seen anyone so chill and relaxed make a guitar do such amazing things.  Along the sames lines is Stevie Ray Vaughan.  I have a bootleg of his when he toured with Bowie as his lead guitarist. It's just the whole band rehearsing the entire setlist.  SRV breathed new life into some already classic Bowie material.  Another tragic loss to music when he died.

My personal favourite is Michael Schenker. Ex Scorpions, UFO and a long time solo artist.  His output is amazing,  his influence widespread and songwriting abilities epic. He's put out some great instrumentals that puts him on par with the classical composers of history.  He can't read a lick of sheet music, yet he has mastered the guitar with some of the greatest riffs and solo's known to humankind such as songs as "Love to Love" , "Rock Bottom", "Lights Out", "Into The Arena", "Ulcer", "Captain Nemo" and many more.  This is the guy that made the Gibson Flying V guitar even sexier.  

Big fan of Eddie Van Halen. He makes it look so easy, but for me. He's a lazy SOB (and long time addict which cut into his creative time).  For as long as he's been around, he really hasn't put out that much material if you compare him to other players that started roughly the same time.  Then there's also the fact, that a lot of Van Halen's music was easily forgettable with every ensuing album.  You'd be lucky to get 50/50 good to bad ratio of songs per album. Lots of filler IMO.  Those first two albums though: rock solid front to back.

Other great names; Jeff Beck, Jimi Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai.  On the "Metal" side: Randy Rhoads(another talent that the music world was robbed of. He could have surpassed them all).  Alex Skolnik of Testament(shreds and does Jazzy metal on the side). Dave Mustaine.(fantastic riffs and solos.  All Megadeth albums are rich with complex, catchy arrangements). Alex Lifeson of Rush.  Even when Rush pushed keyboards over guitar on some albums, he shone.  Tony Iommi of Sabbath. Then there's Buckethead.  Virtual unknown, weird, but probably the most dexterous and innovative guitarist I've seen in a long time. And he creates new material non-stop.  You can get tons of his live recordings for free online.  He can shred, play melodic, pick and strum like a country boy, etc.   Unreal talent, lurking in the shadows sadly.  Having tackled the loners of the bunch, I'll move on to the dual attack guitarists, such as Judas Priest's; KK Downing and Glenn Tipton.  Probably the most iconic twin guitar attack ever.  Also Iron Maiden's Glenn Murray and Adrian Smith.  Rudolf Schenker (Michael's older brother) and Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions (though they got less "metal" since 1984's Love at First Sting).  I think I'll stop here, as I'm heading into rant territory and lunch time is almost over.  :D

 

 

 

I nearly agree with every point you make here...Clapton being so overrated its a joke...and Schenker and Uli would have been 2 and 3 on my rock list...and f'ing A is Mathias Jabs doesnt absolutely smoke his way through the love at first sting album...they let him loose on that album and he really made those songs have a bite to them...good stuff.  

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This take will be sure to ruffle some feathers but it’s a long standing belief and one born from 30+ years of playing…Hendrix is overrated.  He certainly is a legend and I would never deny his impact on the craft…but just talking pure ability he falls woefully short of the other titans of his time…most notably Blackmore, who would play circles around Jimi…Hendrix had a unique way of phrasing but he was really all over the place and a total mess live (same can be said for Page but Page was dynamite in the studio)…a very very good talent who was a trailblazer…but not someone I would remotely consider the greatest of all time.

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13 minutes ago, Bords said:

Anyone claiming Clapton is overrated needs to have a listen to his work with mayall and the blues breakers.


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Duane saved his career though. Layla sessions would likely never have been finished if some homeless bum named Allman hadn't been camped out at Mussel Shoals demanding he be allowed to sit in on the Derek and the Dominoes recording sessions...

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