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Sunday, 16 May 2021

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A good list, but what about...

George Harrison
Roy Clark
Glen Campbell
...?

Everyone's favorite topic. Here's 20.

As a Gen-Xer the top of the list is without doubt Chris Whitley.

Early acoustic Blues is where most American music derives so: Charley Patton, Son House, Blind Blake.

Neo-Country Blues: John Fahey

Country: the Master of the Telecaster, Roy Buchanan.

Jazz: Grant Green.

Modern Blues: Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker

Bossa Nova: Bola Sete

Bluegrass: Doc Watson

Disco: Niles Rodgers

Soul: Curtis Mayfield

R&B: Cornell Dupree

Rock: Nels Cline, Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd

Psychedelia: Zoot Horn Rolo

Singer-Songwriter: Richard Thompson, Molly Tuttle

Yeah, this list can just grow and grow.

Billy Strings deserves a mention.

Pete Townshend. Not for this technique, but for his understanding of sound and dynamics which is unparalleled in rock/pop music.

Ok, here's a few left out so far (I think).
Paganini. The father of them all.
Joe Pass. virtuosic chord-melody player, always in service of the music.
Michael Hedges.

A really interesting documentary from a few years ago about the last three generations of guitar players is "It Might Get Loud," which features Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. It's really worth checking out, they each talk about their influences and how they wrote some of their songs.

Chris Spedding. Link Wray.

Creating a list of the ‘best’ guitar players must be one of the favorite pastime hobbies for male boomers. The younger generations don’t use the instrument anymore. But that WatchMojo list is indeed a disgrace and shouts for improvement. Before we die.

I love this kind of topics because you always spot a few new names to check out. So thanks to Mark Jennings for mentioning Diego el Castor and Ramon Montoya. And also to Rob Griffin and David Condicio for adding a few that I forgot. (Bill Harkleroad!).

Pat Martino (1) is in bad health now, but he used to be the most virtuoso jazz guitar player. Check out the album Young Guns with the Gene Ludwig Trio. Unmatched.
I mainly listen to jazz. John Scofield (2) is my top favorite. After many decades of listening to him he still surprises me with any new album. Grant Green (3) was by fare the most important jazz guitarist of Blue Note in its heyday. You can play him anytime.
At parties, while doing the dishes or for deep listening using your headphone. Lionel Loueke (4) is a versatile player from Benin who studied at Berklee. Everyone wants him in his band now.
I just ordered Squint from Julian Lage (5), an interesting player from a younger generation. Steve Khan (6) with his very musical Latin style and John McLaughlin (7) are also guys that I always check out when they release a new album.

Gypsy guitar playing has a long tradition and Gypsy jazz was put on the map by Django of course. If you love this genre you should try Robin Nolan (8) , Biréli Lagrène (9) or the Rosenberg Trio (10) with Stochelo or Jimmy Rosenberg. All mind bogglingly good.

Spanish guitar playing has also a long tradition. Usually originality is not as important as skills. Technically the Flamenco players are probably the best you can find. Paco de Lucia was mentioned a few times but if this is your type of music you should really try Vicente Amigo (11) and Tomatito (12).

For most of us the love for the guitar started in the Sixties and Seventies. I even had one for a few months, but when I heard Ry Cooder (13) I got frustrated. Today he’s much more than only a guitarist. He deserves the Nobel Prize for Musical Anthropology.

Great bands are more than the sum of parts. The Beatles, The Band but also groups where the guitar played an important role. Like The Allman Bros. with Duane Allman (14) and Dickey Betts. Or Little Feat with Lowell George (15) and later Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett. Probably the best Rock band I ever saw on stage. The Tedeschi Trucks Band with Derek Trucks (16) is nowadays the best example. Don’t miss them when they’re in town.

Jimi Hendrix (17) was one of the greatest innovators. Many people don’t realize that he played in the tradition of the Delta Blues.
Buy the 52 cd box ABC of the Blues if you like to know where it all came from. The box even includes a free harmonica.
https://www.amazon.com/ABC-Blues-Robert-Johnson/dp/B0041IFTE4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=abc+of+the+blues&qid=1621765083&sr=8-1
The old Blues tradition still lives on in the music of people like Taj Mahal or Keb’ Mo’ (18).

Prince Rogers Nelson was mentioned a few times. But it’s no secret that he listened to Hendrix and Sly Stone at lot. In the shower I always dub the simple riffs of Sly’s brother Freddie Stone (19). Jimi also used one in his Band of Gypsies.
Stevie Wonder used many excellent funky guitar players, but since I only have one more to go I vote for Leo Nocentelli (20) of the Meters. A list about music can’t be complete without New Orleans.

You don’t need to play guitar as a Prince for making good music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjTEkhXgu_4

[That's a great list. It’s very coherent and has a real point of view. It has integrity. Better than my list I think. --Mike]

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