December 19, 2012 by finetuningblog
I was lucky enough to be able to work with Professor @Revkin on this post. I’ve known Professor Revkin for almost a year now, and our adventures include this blogging course, jamming at Pace University, and working on a documentary on the cork industry in Portugal.
Needless to say, we talked music somewhere in the time. So we worked on this post together. Ironically, a number of his guitar heroes were also mine.
Revkin explained to me in an email that he couldn’t possibly rank his guitarist on a 1 to 10 structure because they vary with his taste, and the players are all so special in different ways. He called it a cop-out, though my last few list posts haven’t been in a particular order so I think it works out just fine. We’ll call it free-form listing. (Like free-form jazz…see what I did there?)
“For all-out power and reach, Jimi Hendrix, whose leads still give me chills, and Pete Townshend, whose slashing leads and vibrato sustained notes make me want to cheer sometimes.”
I’m a huge fan of Hendrix. His style was unbelievable, and he did so much for music in his unfortunately short career.
And Townshend is unbelievable. I mentioned in a previous post that I had recently seen the Who, and at age 67 he is rocking harder than most people my age.
“For “touch,” Daniel Lanois and David Gilmour.”
I’m not very familiar with Daniel Lanois, so I guess I have some extra homework to do for this blog post.
David Gilmour on the other hand is one of the reasons I started playing guitar seriously. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think he is the best living guitar player right now. He puts so much emotion and mastery into every note he plays.
Get a load of this legendary 2011 performance of Comfortably Numb, with Roger Waters and David Gilmour sharing the stage. In my opinion, Comfortably Numb’s outro solo is probably one of the best guitar solos ever.
“For “drive,” a combination of deeply passionate tone and virtuosity, Stevie Ray Vaughan and David Lindley.
For speed with soul, John McLaughlin, whose playing caught my ear in his Return to Forever era (I got to see them in Providence in the early 70s, with Leo Kottke opening, if you can believe that; he’s also on my list as one of the first guitarists I tried, and failed, to copy).
Finally, my all-time, all-around dream players to jam with would have to be Ry Cooder, a master of touch and acoustic skill, particularly with slide, and Richard Thompson, the zany and brilliant songwriter and finger/plectrum picker.
Oops, I think that’s eleven~!”
I’d like to extend a huge special thanks to Professor Revkin for helping me out with this post. And now I would like to weigh in, and add a few of my favorite guitar players.
Two very essential ‘feel’ guitar players in my opinion (that haven’t been mentioned previously) are Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. The two of them have such a mastery over their tone and I’ve noticed that the two have an insane amount of control over their bent notes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, bending a note is when a guitar player literally bends the string upwards or downwards to achieve a different pitch and tone.
My choice in video for Eric Clapton also honors two other greats, Paul McCartney and the late George Harrison. Harrison is in my opinion one of the most under-rated guitar players of all time. He really contributed so much to the Beatles’ sound – I could write a whole post on him.
And though it wasn’t planned, Jeff Beck is playing a Beatles song too.
Now, for a couple more modern day guitar players that are doing some impressive things.
Misha “Bulb” Mansoor is another guitar player who is the front of the progressive rock and djent movement.
And though this may sound like 16-year-old Lou talking her, Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold is a noteworthy player. His solos are technically mind-blowing that incorporate an old feeling rock style.
Last, but most certainly not least is Randy Rhoads. Randy worked with Ozzy Osbourne for a brief period of time. Randy was an unbelievable guitar player, and had he lived longer, he would probably be the greatest guitar player of all time.
Professor Revkin also spoke to me about his favorite guitars. Other than being a writer, blogger, professor and documentary maker, he’s an awesome musician.
“My all-time favorite guitar is my Lowden jumbo, circa 1994, with a cedar top and mahogany back and the most splendid mix of power and touch.
But it’s in a virtual tie with my 1949 Gibson Southern Jumbo, which is only lagging slightly because its playability is a bit limited given what it’s been through. I bought it in pieces – literally – when I was 17. It was sitting mummified in crumbling masking tape in the corner of a music store in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (I was there with another family, racing in a sailing championship for kids from New England and eastern Canada.) They agreed to sell it for $35 (Canadian). My dad was extremely upset that I paid that much for a broken guitar and threatened to throw it away if I didn’t fix it before the summer was out. So I did.
I love National steels but have never afforded one.
I’ve gotten to play Pete Seeger’s spectacular long-scale 12-string, and it’s like playing a grand piano in terms of depth and sustain!
When it comes to electrics, I’m a Stratocaster man more than a Les Paul player.”
In terms of guitars, I’m a big fan of v-shaped bodies. I have a Gibson Faded V covered in Super Bock labels.
I also rock a Jackson Randy Rhoads Custom. (Yup, that’s me.)
And finally, when I’m feeling classy, I enjoy my Luna Acoustic Guitar. Luna is a wonderful brand that makes quality guitars that don’t break the bank.
So who are you favorite guitar players and guitars? Let me know in the comments section below!