My Favorite Guitar Players
- Mark is probably the tastiest of them all. His melodies are beautiful, and his finger style has always been magical. Known for his long stint with Dire Straits, Mark has also produced many solo albums since, which showcase his various styles in both electric, acoustic and slide. While many guitar players have a signature sound and guitar, Mark has equally made an imprint with his clean strat sound and his creamy Les Paul tones. He's also a fan of the Resonator, which he has used on songs such as Romeo and Juliet.
- Jeff is a guitar player's player. His signature technique of using fingers to pluck, while working the volume knob and tremolo bar is unbelievable. But, it's not just a technique. He uses it to make amazing and emotive melodies. His leads are very vocal sounding, as he effortlessly bends from one note to the other. Although he came to prominence with his stint in the Yardbirds and the Faces with Rod Steward, it was his solo work that put him on the map of one of the greatest. He was a master at putting together amazing guitar instrumenals and has contributed his signature sounds to countless recordings including hit songs by Rod Stewart and Jon Bon Jovi.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
- The late SRV was a master of the rock blues. He attacked the guitar harder than anyone else, playing purely from the heart and soul. Every note was felt. His fluid playing was as powerful on record as it was live. But, watching live footage of his concerts is still mindblowing today as it ever was. He was clearly from the school of Jimi Hendrix, having recorded some of Jimi's famous songs such as Voodoo Child. But, he made blues cool again in the 80's. Even 80's icon David Bowie had him play on some of his biggest hits of the day, including Let's Dance.
Eddie Van Halen
- If you grew up in the 80's and don't mention Eddie as one of your favorites, you're a liar or were too busy listening to synth pop. Eddie was so innovative in all aspects of the guitar: sound, technique, shredding, attack, etc. His riffs were fun to play, and if you dared touch his solos, you'd spend hours in your bedroom making horrible sounds that sounded nothing like Eddie even though you were playing all the same notes. On top of his playing, he was a mad scientist inventor, creating his famous Frankenstein guitar since there were no guitars on the market that could do what he heard in his head. Many of the guitar players from the 80's on bow to this legend for inspiring them to pick up the 6 string.
- They refer to him as a shredder, but in my opinion it is always his melodies and choice of notes and chords that makes him special. Although he's technically proficient, it is his ability to engage the audience and listeners by his melodies. He's the best instrumental songwriter in my opinion. He is also well known as being one of the most famous guitar teachers, with former students including Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett and Alex Skolnick.
- Brad won the trifecta of music: he can sing, play, and write better than most. Almost everyone that hates country music still respects Brad as a guitar player. He can go from chicken picking to rock without blinking an eye. He's fast, tasty, and can milk notes for days. Although the Fender Telecaster is synonymous with country music, Brad has taken the guitar to the next level. While many of the contemporary guitarists in today's country sound more like they could fit in rock bands like Journey, Brad keeps it country with most of his licks.
- Although there's probably no such thing as the best player in the world, Guthrie in my opinion is probably pretty close. He's known in the guitar world, but not so much elsewhere, due to his low key band projects. But, I have never seen someone so in control of the guitar that he can literarlly do anything at will. From fast runs to perfect bends, from crazy jazz scales to simple blues riffs, this guy is a master player. He is currently heading the instrumental super group, the Aristocats.
- This madman from Rob Zombie's band (previously with Marilyn Manson) is out of this world. He can shred with the best of them. But, then he busts out insane country chicken picking that would blow away the best Nashville session players out of the water. He's so fun to watch, not only for his playing, but his theatrics. He often puts on Halloween makeup, giving him an eerie look. I have had the pleasure of meeting him at the NAMM show a few years ago, and he's a true sweetheart of a man.
- When I first heard the Gipsy Kings, I was hooked. The music was so beautiful and full of passion. I loved the sound of 7-8 guitars playing rhythm in unison, while Tonino, their lead player played amazing runs between the vocals. But, when I heard, Ottmar, it was even more magical. Ottmar often played very simple lines, but they were so perfect and full of fire. He seldom ripped a fast run, even though he could. It was always about beautiful melodies. In my opinion, this style of music is the most beautiful type of music, so romantic and full of passion.
- White Lion came into the 80's rock scene with fun, catchy, sing-along songs. But, every song was filled with amazing rhythm and lead guitars thanks to the wonderful Vito Bratta. His solos were often little mini songs placed inside of the songs. He borrowed some from Eddie Van Halen, but added his own magic touch. I spent many hours trying to learn his solos note for note.