Guitar gods, part three
This is the third of a three-part series between Shawn Sensiba, Dave von Falkenstein and Andy Beaumont on their favorite guitarists and what makes them great.
Click here to read part one.
Click here to read part two.
What does a drummer know about guitarists?
Well, I know what I like.
As it turns out, I like a lot of guitarists, so that makes narrowing down any list a difficult task.
My percussive side actually began in school, where I had to learn more than just flams, paradiddles and other drumming rudiments. I actually learned notes and took music theory. I even was a music major in college for a few semesters.
So I do have some musical knowledge.
But when it came to compiling this list, I took a different tack.
These might not be guitar gods in the sense that most people think, but they are musicians with whom I'd like to or would've liked to share the stage. (And in reality, that list is huge.)
In no particular order:
Les Paul—An amazingly talented guitarist, but his music has been superseded by his invention: Paul pioneered the design and construction of the modern electric guitar, which made everyone else on this list very rich and popular.
Jimi Hendrix—No one merged the blues, rock and psychedelia with as much ease or wielded a guitar with as much charisma. Everyone that came after credits him.
Chet Atkins—Teamed with producer Owen Bradley to create the Nashville sound, expanding country music's appeal. The man was known as Mister Guitar.
Jeff Beck—If we're talking about music and someone says "Beck," I think of the British guitarist, not the American performer of today. (Guess I'm showing my age.) I cannot get enough of his take on "Morning Dew" with Rod Stewart on vocals.
Chuck Berry—Really, the father of rock 'n' roll guitar. He also brought the showmanship aspect to instrument. You could say he even pioneered the rock and roll lifestyle, getting arrested and spending time in jail.
Stevie Ray Vaughn—I first heard SRV while taking a break during a jam session growing up in North Dakota. I woke up the next morning, drove to the record store and bought "Texas Flood." When you hear him, you know it's him.
Eric Clapton—The only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—as a solo artist, with The Yardbirds and with Cream. His notes are clean and pure.
Tony Iommi—I'm a heavy metal fan, and without Iommi, there would be no metal. A founding member of Black Sabbath, Iommi pioneered the massive riffs that are the hallmark of heavy metal.
Jimmy Page—Rolling Stone called him "the pontiff of power riffing." A two-time member of the rock hall, Page can crunch with the best, then turn around and perform delicate finger picking, all while continuing to use that British bluesy sound.
Gary Moore—While not as well known in the U.S. as in Europe, the Northern Irish musician blended rock and the blues into something that always seemed to reach inside and grab my heart and soul. Watching him live, it felt as if he was pouring all his emotion into the performance.
Yngwie Malmsteen—With Bach and Paganini as influences in his superfast "neoclassical" style, the Swede combines heavy metal and classical music. And he does it all with a scalloped fretboard.
My honorable mentions: Adrian Smith/Dave Murray/Janick Gers (Iron Maiden), Rik Emmitt (Triumph), Jeff Loomis, Randy Rhoads, Glenn Tipton/KK Downing (Judas Priest), Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple and Rainbow), Brian Setzer, Jack White, John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Eddie Van Halen, Slash.
Click here to read part one of the three-part series of guitar gods.
Click here to read part two of the three-part series of guitar gods.