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Subject: guitar players

Bart – I am a guitarist (of little repute!) – and I have a few comments for you on your assessment below.


1. I can see Hendrix winning, but he's been gone for 40 years.
    He was great in his time and he opened some doors, but isn't that like saying
    Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx were the funniest comics in history? 

Jimi was better than that – I’ll wager that the other 9 here would list him as an influence – that should
tell you something. Oh – and if you add Richard Pryor and George Carlin, I might agree with the
Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx comment.


2. Clapton is clean and polished and he's a great guitar player if you're
    looking for clean and polished - like your guitar teacher.  Boring as hell...


Unfortunately Eric morphed into the darling of the beautiful people – really too bad, since he almost
single-handedly introduced Robert Johnson to the world and got him some of the adulation he deserved.
I can assure you that everyone on this list would acknowledge Robert Johnson as an influence. After all
in one long afternoon recording session that resulted in eight songs – Johnson defined Memphis blues
 – but he was all but forgotten until Clapton recorded Crossroads.

3. Page is so exciting, he packed stadiums and caused riots at the ticket office.
    Zeppelin was so in-demand, they change the way the business worked.
    Page caused multi-millions of guitars to be sold. If you can name a rocker
    who doesn't cite Page as an inspiration, he's probably as boring as Clapton.


You clearly have a strong bias towards Page – and he is clearly a super guitarist. As a player myself though,
there were some things that used to bother me about him. For instance – why in so many Zeppelin  tunes
 – does he play his lead in a different key from the rest of the song? For that matter – often at a different
tempo. I used to wonder if he only knew how to riff in certain keys! Then – it always bothered me that
the band moved from such tight innovative blues-rock tunes to the long, sometimes dreary anthems.
Probably not all Page’s fault – but I always felt I had heard him do better. I know this is sacrilege
to a Zep fan – but I think Kashmir is one of the most boring songs I’ve ever heard. Sorry.

4. Keith Richards?  Seriously?   I'll give Keef props for writing catchy songs
    on a guitar, but nobody wants to grow up and play guitar like Keef.
    Keef's solos sound a lot like mine - and I don't play guitar.


I’ll agree – Richards shouldn’t be on this list – he’s not really a lead player – he’s a rhythm guitarist
who occasionally takes a few chops. However – his rhythm arrangements are some of the best I’ve
ever heard. Listen to what he does on Brown Sugar and/or Honky Tonk Women for example – or the
catchy hook to Start Me Up. Pure Keef – and any guitarist would be proud to be able to emulate it.
He belongs in a different category of guitarist, but not here.

5. Jeff Beck, probably the greatest ever, but he's never had a hit song
    and last time I saw him it was in a venue with 2500 seats. In 40 years,
    he hasn't built more of a fan base?  Most guitar players rank him #1.


Great technique, boring choice of songs, once had a gorgeous young female bass player in the band
(huge points in my book!). I always got the feeling that Beck is not much interested in the limelight
and is satisfied with his small following.

6. B.B. King, historic, but guaranteed to put you to sleep. We saw him years
    ago and every song sounded exactly the same. Plus, he knows no chords.


No argument here – there are any number of black bluesmen from BBs era that were better.

7. Chuck Berry should be given props for moving rock n roll along
    but we lost Chuck back in the fifties and even he understands that.


I have always felt that Chuck Berry deserved the title “King of Rock & Roll” – he was not only a
talented performer, but he wrote his own songs (certainly more than can be said for Elvis).
Unfortunately he was black at a time when no black musician was going to get any crowns.
But, as a guitarist – he’s another who doesn’t really belong on this list. Certainly among the
 greatest songwriters.

8. Eddie - monster riffer - if you enjoy that particular style of hammering.
    Have you ever heard Eddie play something beautiful?   No.


Possibly on a list of guitarists who have consumed the most nose candy – but not great guitarists
( he did, however, snag Valerie Bertinelli – gotta give him some props for that!).

9. Duane Allman, besides the killer riff on Layla, what's he done?
    Name three songs with that Duane "magic" - please.


Duane belongs on a list of great slide guitar players – along with Johnny Winter and others – but not here.

10. Townsend is like Richards - he's knows enough guitar to write a song
    but no kid in history ever said he wanted to grow up and play like Pete,
    but he sure jumped high and we love his windmill power chord playing   :) 


Perhaps on a list of great entertainers – but certainly not great guitarists.   


There’s a strong bias here towards British guitarists – yet Brian May from Queen doesn’t make the list?
How about Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hackett (Genesis) – I’m sure I’m neglecting some others. As for Americans
 – what about Joe Walsh – one of the most innovative guitarists I’ve heard – although I lost interest in him
when he joined the Eagles. Funk #49 is still a really cool riff, and the James Gang Rides Again – still ranks
among my favorite all time American rock albums. Pat Simmons from the Doobie Brothers could go in
the Rhythm list with Richards. What about Skunk Baxter (Doobies, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt).
How about Kerry Livgren and Rich Williams from Kansas? Livgren is the only musician of that caliber
I’ve ever seen who could play guitar and keyboards equally well.


Well – I could go on but this is enough for now.  Maybe you could use this to get a debate going.
Be nice to have something not related to the pathetic political scene!

<>Brad B.


Brad, if we were at a Bartfest doing shots it would be fun to kick this around for a few hours
but as is, there's no time to get into your insughtful insights - but thanks for sending them.


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