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Bloviating Zeppelin: Greatest Guitarists

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Greatest Guitarists


(Once again I am tired of politics. . .)

Who are your "greatest guitarists"? They can be electric, they can be acoustic.

Your list can include not only what you consider to be the best guitarists, but your favorites as well? And why?

I have my own:
1. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
2. Robert Fripp (King Crimson, solo)
3. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd, solo)
4. Leo Kottke (solo acoustic)
5. Jimi Hendrix (JH Experience, solo)
6. Bill Nelson (Be Bop Deluxe, solo)
7. Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, 801, solo)
8. Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult)
9. Neil Young (CSNY, Crazy Horse, solo)
10. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin, solo)
11. Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top)
12. Wino (The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan)
13. Dimebag Darrell (Pantera, shot & killed in 2004)
14. Pete Townsend (The Who, solo)
15. Andy Summers (The Police, solo)
16. Robin Trower (Procol Harum, solo)
17. Leslie West (Mountain, West Bruce & Laing, solo)
18. Rod Price (Foghat, solo)
19. John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival, solo)
20. Alex Lifeson (Rush)

A few notations:

1. Tony Iommi: (59, UK) this man plays his guitar "backwards" (frets with his right hand, picks left). In an industrial accident at the age of 18 on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory, he lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand. Despite that, after attempting to learn to play right-handed, Iommi strung his guitars with extra-light strings (using banjo strings, which were a lighter gauge than even the lightest guitar-strings of the time) and wore plastic covers over the two damaged fingers. He fashioned the latter himself, by melting washing-up liquid bottles into a ball and then using a soldering iron to make holes into this ball, putting his fingers in whilst the plastic was still soft enough to be shaped. He then trimmed and sanded away the excess plastic to leave himself with two 'thimbles, which he then covered with leather, to provide better grip on the strings. Subsequent tips have been custom-made.

Iommi is "credited" with coming up with, according to many of his peers and newest guitarists, "every good riff that ever existed." I completely concur. Iommi is the KING of EVERY good heavy metal riff.

2. Robert Fripp: (61, UK) Fripp is an artist who learned his guitar in order to unlearn it. He is a precisionist of the first order and customarily known for "sitting down" on an on-stage stool when others were moving about frenetically. He pushed heavily for the right of artists to "own" their own works, flying in the face of common practice, and developed Discipline Records and Discipline Global Mobile in order to enable musical artists of all kinds to own what it was that they created by the sweat of their labors. Fripp, from England, is still performing wonderfully with King Crimson.

3. David Gilmour: (61, UK) Gilmour is probably my favourite guitarist in terms of structure and intonation. He's not particularly fast; he's just particularly good. His newest solo venture, On An Island, is highly recommended.

4. Leo Kottke: (61, US) My only acoustic choice, Kottke's guitars are often tuned unconventionally; early in his career he heavily utilized open tunings, while in recent years he has used more traditional voicings but often detunes his guitars as many as two full steps below standard tuning.

Kottke also sings occasionally in baritone. In the early 1980s, Kottke began to suffer from painful tendonitis and related nerve damage caused by his vigorous and aggressive picking style (particularly on the 12-string guitar). As a result, he changed his picking style to a classical style, using the flesh of his fingertips and increasingly small amounts of fingernail rather than fingerpicks, and changing the positioning of the right hand which places less stress on the tendons.

5. Jimi Hendrix: (died 1970, age 27, US) Unconventional, self-taught, the initial King of Feedback, Hendrix was thought to have been influenced by Pete Townsend. He headlined Woodstock on August 18th, 1969. He was paid $18,000 for his appearance -- more than any other artist. He played his rather famous version of the Star Spangled Banner there. He died on September 18th of 1970, in bed after drinking wine and taking nine Vesperax sleeping pills, then asphyxiating on his own vomit.

I suppose I could keep going but it's time for you to weigh in: who do you believe are the greatest guitarists? I've leaned on the electric side; time for more acoustic choices. . .


BZ

10 Comments:

Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Guitar... stringed instrument, held laterally across chest, one or two necks, cord or no cord, wood or metal in general composition, variants thereof.

Utilized in music, various forms thereof.

Ability to name one that enjoyment is garnered from: lacking completely, across the board!

Perfectly fair minded!

No opinion!

Favorite Bands? See above starting at Ability to name.
Favorite album? Ditto.
Favorite drummer? Ditto.
Favorite lead vocalist male/female? Ditto.

Yes, social ostracism to proceed henceforth... and justly SO!

Sat Jul 14, 06:27:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Ranando said...

All time favorite?

Jimmy Page.

Sat Jul 14, 07:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

I tagged you today. I had only eight facts to mention and one I thought about (but didn't list) was that I had a couple of beers with Stevie Ray Vaughn after he did a sound check at Hollywood's Cathy de Grand nightclub in 1983. That was one of my best rock 'n roll experiences ever.

Great guitarist list you've got! I'll come back when I think of some more. But don't forget, you've been tagged!

Burkean Reflections

Sat Jul 14, 08:25:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

LOL BZ, unfortunatly, like a jacksonian, no opinion. I don't really have favorites in much of anything. I don't even have a favorite color, or a favorite flavor. It's not that I can't make up my mind, it's just that I enjoy them all, with very few exceptions.

Sat Jul 14, 09:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Angevin13 said...

Here via Burkean Reflections, and am so happy to see a list of the greatest guitarists.

Good stuff, but where's Kurt Cobain?

Sat Jul 14, 10:25:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Deborah Aylward said...

How can you not mention the incomparable Les Paul???????????

If it weren't for him there would be no (no, I don't know the technical term) arm on the electric guitar...the "WAAA-WAAAH" sound...anyway, he is still alive and his guitarman-ship has always been acclaimed by all those mentioned and more.

Veritas et Fidelis Semper

Sat Jul 14, 11:44:00 AM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Chet Atkins, Leadbelly, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Peter Frampton...

Sat Jul 14, 12:50:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: nah, probably just too many to choose from. . .

Ranando: I thought many would take me to task for not placing JP at number one ranking.

Stevie Ray Vaughn -- yeah, I knew I'd miss more than one. . .

Gayle: but thanks for chiming in anyway and I hope you're feeling MUCH better. . .

Angevin13: ya know, he didn't even come to my mind -- I think, over the years, I'd just forgotten about him. . .

Deborah: ah shoot, there goes another one I forgot -- Robert Fripp is a HUGE devotee of the Les Paul! Darn!

TF: ah, good, some good blues and acoustic players in there, THAT'S what I was looking for!

BZ

Sat Jul 14, 02:26:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

You might listen to Tinsley Ellis IMHO 2nd only to Stevie Ray

Sun Jul 15, 09:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I love music but don't specialize in guitarists. We all get tired of politics from time to time ;-).

Sun Jul 15, 12:48:00 PM PDT  

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