I was listening to the song “Home” by Dream Theater this morning, and it got me thinking: Who would I choose if I were putting together a list of the top 10 guitarists?
10. Richie Sambora – The 12-string riff on “Wanted Dead or Alive” has to count for something…
9. Robert Randolf – I saw him in concert a few years back, and he covered Hendrix on a steel pedal guitar!!! Anyone who can do THAT deserves to be on any list!
8. Eric Clapton
7. Slash – Like number 10, I am partially basing this one on riffs. However, Slash was one of my inspirations for learning to play guitar. When I was young, Guns ‘n Roses had some great guitar driven songs.
6. Keith Richards – The rhythm guitarist for the Rolling Stones is responsible for some of the most recognizable riffs in rock history. Some people would say that Ronnie Wood is the better guitar player, but I was watching a Stones concert on TV a few days ago, and Keith just has this style of playing that is almost effortless. It was amazing to see him make playing the guitar look so easy…
5. Eddie Van Halen
4. The Edge (U2) – The Edge has a very interesting style of playing. I can associate with his style because like me, he is more interested in tone and effects than in the amount of notes.
He has a very distinct (pre-Achtung Baby) sound which was more of a clean and ringing tone with lots of delay, and a distinct (post-Achtung Baby sound), which is more distorted, with lots of sustain, but still manages to maintain hints of that classic U2 sound.
3. Jimi Hendrix – “…Cause I’m a voodoo child, yeah!!!” ‘Nuff said.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughn – Stevie said in interviews that he could not read music, so he learned to play simply by feel. Easily, the best blues guitarist of all time, Stevie played his guitar hard, with a lot of passion. Now, what is interesting about that is that he played an electric guitar with .13 gauge strings, and his fingers would typically start bleeding halfway though a set, and he would just keep playing.
(Also… the man covered Hendrix, and Robert Randolf said (in an interview on the 2010 Crossroads DVD) that Stevie’s version of Voodoo Child was better.
1. John Petrucci – Probably the most versatile guitarist on this list. As the lead guitarist for Dream Theater, Petrucci has played some incredible axe shredding solos. However, he is also very skilled in jazz and classical guitar styles, as demonstrated on his live album with Jordan Rudess.
Note: I have not put explanations for some of the more obvious choices because their music speaks for itself.
As always, feel free to comment and let me know your opinions (or if I left anyone out that you fell should have been included…)