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RollingStone.com: Jimi Hendrix : The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : News
Rolling Stone succeeds yet again at fucking up a list. This time, The Greatest Guitarist of All Time.
I'm not going to argue with a few of the blues and jazz guys I've never heard of, because I'm sure that they're good in their own right. I only know guys like Robert Johnson and B.B. King from reputation as I'm not a blues fan. I've been a guitarist for about thirteen years and I can recognize greatness when I hear it. And yeah, it pisses me off to hear some guy kick my ass.
I want to mention a few ommisions to the list: Some personal favorites.
Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme)
Vito Bratta (White Lion)
John Petrucci (DreamTheater)
Al Di Meola
Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big)
The case for Satch and Vai should be obvious to anyone that has heard them play. In particular, from just an objective "Holy shit!" point of view, Steve Vai is one of the most awe-inspiring guitarist to ever walk the earth. I've seen the G3 tour with Satch and Vai twice and each time I am more amazed at the skill levels achieved by each on the guitar. Listening to Vai play For the Love of God live is a spiritual experience that can bring a guitar worshipper like myself to tears.
They may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they are awe-inspiring on their instruments.
Listen to: Flying in a Blue Dream by Satriani or Passion and Warfare by Vai.
Guys like Nuno and Vito may best be known for songs like More than Words, Hole Hearted or When the Children Cry but you don't get your ass kicked by these guys until you hear their other tunes that venture beyond mere sappy crap, songs like Get the Funk Out, Rest in Peace, Let's Get Crazy or Little Fighter. Say what you will about the 80's with its barrage of cheesy hair bands, there was, in that time, a real emphasis on skill when it came to guitar playing. It lead to an enormous amount of wankery, but some real talented players emerged and had a chance to capture the spotlight for a brief time until knowing how to play became a sin again.
In progressive metal circles, or even amongst serious instrumentalists the names Portnoy and Petrucci of Dream Theater have the same kind of weight that maybe Lennon and McCartney have in songwriting circles. I'm still amazed at the combination of styles utilized in a solo like the one in Under a Glass Moon or the agility and stamina of Metropolis - Part 1. But I wouldn't have nearly as much respect for players like Petrucci if they were simply about speed and technique. Good players still have to have an ear for melody and the abilty to squeeze out an aching note now and then. For that listen to the first five minutes of When the Water Breaks from Liquid Tension Experiment 2 or Scarred from Awake.
Admitedly most people that write off the 80's as pure cheese couldn't find a G chord to save their lives. Its merely cultural shorthand and mental laziness to look past some real talent that emerged and was overshadowed by the need to pander to a marketing trend. But to ignore the real skill exhibited by people that spent a good amouint of time and effort learning how to play the instrument is a gross oversight, especially given the high ranking inclusion of such mediocre players like Kurt Cobain (#12) and Jack White (#17).
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Dissolve into Evergreens