Is a List of Greatest Guitarists Without Jimi Hendrix Worth Talking About discusses the recent Spin magazine list of the 100 greatest rock guitarists. The article reminded a little of our own debates about film canons. I haven’t read either list, but based on the article, the Spin list seems like empty provocation, bordering on trolling. (Jam Master Jay at number 10? C’mon.)
One of the more interesting points, to me, is the idea of not putting so much weight on lead guitar playing—i.e., soloing. Do we put too much emphasis on that, or is this appropriate? I mean, if you’re judging a pianist, I would think they’re ability to solo or play lead would be given more weight than their accompaniment skills. That seems appropriate, imo. Perhaps, being exceptional and distinctive at comping is a little more difficult? In any event, hey, if a guitarist is a great rhythm player, that warrants consideration, imo.
Some other comments and questions off the top of my head:
>Do you guys think Prince is really that good? Maybe I haven’t listened to him enough, but I wouldn’t consider putting him in the top ten.
>Who are some female guitarists that deserve to be up there?
Who are some female guitarists that deserve to be up there?
yeah, prince is really that good. spin’s list is obviously silly and trollish and the rolling stone list was boring. i think that reflects the essence of the publications nicely.
I love taking the emphasis off solos. A guy like Peter Buck (R.E.M.) doesn’t usually get his due credit because he doesn’t grandstand. It’s not that soloing shouldn’t be considered at all, but that we should start seeing a guitar player as someone who provides an atmosphere of music. When Thurston Moore talked about Galaxie 500’s Today being the best guitar record of 1988, you could begin to think about instrumentation as something other than sheer phalange dexterity.
Yeah, the Spin list is, um, kooky.
About lead vs. rhythm, I tend to like a more rhythm-orientated style.
Prince is really good. Not sure about top 10, but he’s really good.
About women players:
Are you gonna say Chrissie Hynde or Erika Wennerstrom are great guitarists although they provide more than atmosphere?
Prince is a brilliant guitarist/ soloist and actually very underrated. Many folks, who only knew him as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, were quite surprised by his ’04 R&R HoF performance.
I was lucky to have seen Prince live several times, and as Chuck Berry said this cat can play guitar just like he’s simply ringing a bell. He’s that good.
Standings are subjective but I’d have no problem putting him in the top 20 at least.
I agree about Peter Buck. Richard Thompson, and Johnny Marr (The Smiths) are also great rhythm guitarists.
I think the Spin writers wrote an article called “100 people who play guitar that we think are like totally cool and that we want to hang out with” but at the last minute the editor changed the story’s title to “100 best guitarists.”
I know that Prince has skills, but I guess I hesitate because he doesn’t seem to have a distinctive sound, which I tend to think is really crucial. Or you have to be to really fabulous at creating great solos or grooves. Btw, I love rhythm playing, too, but I think there is something special about creating creating a great (long) melody, especially via improvisation. It seems like that’s the pinnacle, although maybe that’s going too far.
Here’s a clip of Prince that I like (I wish he had more live recordings because the live stuff seem so much better than his studio recordings)::
he doesn’t seem to have a distinctive sound
The Minneapolis sound is a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, synthpop and New Wave, that was pioneered by Prince in the late 1970s.1 Its popularity was given a boost throughout the 1980s, thanks to his musical adherents, including The Time, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Morris Day, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Ta Mara & the Seen, Sheila E., Jesse Johnson, Brownmark, Mazarati, and The Family.
A couple from Ani:
You can see Ani performing with Prince on youtube.
>>he doesn’t seem to have a distinctive sound<<
Not sure how a guitar sound gets more distictive than the one heard throughout Purple Rain.
i can understand leaving off clapton, page, srv, and the other usual suspects but albert lee, richard thompson, john martyn? seems like trolling. happy for prince (who is consistently underrated), bert jansch, shuggie otis and the handful of african guitarists who made the list. but skrillex? good god y’all
I’m not all that great with music and I didn’t look at the lists, actually, but mumble mumble shoutout to Buckethead okay my piece is done here I’m out.
I think Prince has a distinct sound (or 3 or 4 sounds).
By the way, Spin just released their “Five Greatest US. Presidents” list:
5) Chester A. Arthur
4) Rutherford B. Hayes
3) Yo La Tengo
2) Millard Fillmore
1) Martin Van Buren
No Mention of Gerald Ford, which I find perplexing.
two plus two – hhaaaahahaha!!!
@ Ruby i can understand leaving off clapton, page, srv
You can? Please explain. (Jeff Beck too.)
Clapton was good in Cream, after that Yoko Ono infected him with something from which there was no antidote.
She’s rockin on this one:
i don’t mean cuz they’re not great, i mean cuz they’re in every list. check top 10 of rolling stone’s list.
if you’re gonna leave out hendrix, might as well leave them all out, which is what they did. but yeah i agree that after cream, and maybe derek & the dominoes, clapton was pretty boring. jeff beck is way better
Yeah, if the list of the greatest doesn’t have the greatest, what have we got?
even as a list of underrated guitarists it’s a pretty weak list
More woman players:
(Mary could play too!)
forgot Mother Maybelle
They should’ve named it “SPIN’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time In The World Of Hipster Revisionist Irony”
Ranaldo and Thurston Moore at NO. 1. Damn!
I like Sonic Youth, but their so called guitar artistry sounds nothing different than Rory Gallagher changing strings while it’s plugged.
My old band mate used to often mess around with one of the six-strings and go on doing Sonic Youth riffs, imitated them quite well. He’s our drummer, can’t play guitar to save his life.
“after cream, and maybe derek & the dominoes, clapton was pretty boring.”
Don’t forget Blind Faith.
…or The Yardbirds!
that was before cream ^ but matt got me, forgot blind faith’s single album. still for someone so acclaimed, he’s had about the most boring solo career imaginable. also he’s on record as stating that ‘albert lee is the greatest guitarist in the world.’ (!)
now quit provoking me. i’m on a break B-)
How about Bonnie Raitt?
It’s certainly undistinguished. Seems he needed someone to shape his playing. Though he had a certain degree of talent for MOR, and (probably due to this) a certain degree of commercial success as a solo artist, whereas Page’s and Beck’s solo albums were much more specialty items.