Best Guitarist (reconsidered)

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March 5, 2013 12:13 AM

Hi Gang,

 

Been watching a few hours of Joe Bonamassa in concert, and, really, he is something special.

 

I know that there's all the usual suspects, Ry, Keef, Gilmore etc. but this guy is simply amazing.

 

As a player myself, I'm dumfounded at what he can achieve live,  so any thoughts?

 

Aw ra best........and somewhat humbled,

 

Dave.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 12:16 AM

It's strange my very good guitarist and friend didn't like him at RAH too "stadium rock" whatever that means. I,on the other hand thought it was great, as was the smaller concert we had seen previously where my mate had enjoyed it.

 

To be fair there are a lot of very good guitarists about. Joe is quite special though.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 12:21 AM

Originally Posted by BigH47:

It's strange my very good guitarist friend didn't like him at RAH to stadium rock whatever that means. I,on the other hand thought it was great, as was the smaller concert we had seen previously where my mate had enjoyed it.

 

To be fair there are a lot of very good guitarists about. Joe is quite special though.

I sat with your very good guitarist friend at that gig and I totally agree with him. It left me cold, all the posturing and theatrics. I think the RAH gig went to his head.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 12:28 AM

Hi BigH47,

 

Off to bed shortly, I expect some comments overnight, ( after all, my Freddie Mercury topic, started last December, still attracts the odd reply!

 

For me, the man plays with great blues feeling, but live, with such accuracy around the fretboard.

 

As I said, I play myself, in the past semi-profesionally, but I am in awe of this guy live.

 

 

Must practice more  !

 

Dave.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 12:52 AM

I like him a lot. We saw him in Vancouver last year. Technically brilliant and very entertaining. Loud, too.

 

The whole visual package: JB-branded amps, posturing, suit and sunglasses is done semi-ironically in my view so it doesn't annoy me. He's laughing at it as much as we are.

 

His guitar collection is to die for, especially if you are a Gibson fan.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 2:19 PM

Several factors considered - technical wizardry, stage character/ persona, image, entertainment value and total musical output then my vote would be for Dimebag Darrell.

He possessed the ultimate in front-end shredding power, his contribution to rock and metal was to raise the standard of guitar playing for everyone else that came along afterwards.

When Pantera was playing live it was weird to hear rhythm guitar drop out during solos because it was only Darrell on his own, no luxury of twin or triple axe attacks like for Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. Nevertheless Darrell could carry the momentum alongside Vinnie Paul on drums (world class drummer) with aplomb. With a metalhammer award named in Darrell's honour, countless recognitions and tributes it was a sad loss when he became no more.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 9:53 PM

You have started an interesting subject. I would see several guys but let's just mention two:

 

John Petrucci - rock

Stanley Jordan - jazz

 
 
 
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GML
 
March 5, 2013 10:01 PM

For me it will always be Stevie Ray Vaughan. He can play as fast as you like, but has an ingredient that many are missing. Soul.

Here's an example. Buddy Guy's ' Leave My Little Girl Alone'.

 
 
 
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George Fredrik
 
March 5, 2013 10:02 PM

My vote goes to Segovia.

 

Here is a little youtube film of him performing Bach "Little Prelude in C minor" - though he made a superb commercial recording of it on DG, which can still be had today ...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmTnLcOYEGE

 

ATB from George

 

PS: Here he is playing [no video though] Bach great "Chacconne in D minor" which shows that technique is crucial but only the starting point. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCnBn2HKCJ8

 
Last edited by George Fredrik March 5, 2013 10:07 PM
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:24 PM

I loved Tom Morello's work with RATM. His later guitar stuff, perhaps not so much. 

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:25 PM

Originally Posted by GML:

For me it will always be Stevie Ray Vaughan. He can play as fast as you like, but has an ingredient that many are missing. Soul.

Here's an example. Buddy Guy's ' Leave My Little Girl Alone'.

Yep. He was a good'un.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:35 PM

I enjoyed the  Joe Bonamssa albums but always that his  playing lacked  some grit or power.  I've been playing Rory Gallgaher, Johnny Winter, Jack White  and Gary Moore all top bluesmen . I also really like Neil Young's  distorted guiter tone .

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:37 PM

If we are talking generally about the most technically gifted guitarist rather than blues then one must consider Bereli Lagrene who is just amazing.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:51 PM

All the above are excellent choices. But I'd ask all those rock guitarists to stand aside for James Marshall Hendrix and Paul Kossoff.

 

The greatest guitar "technician" I have ever seen is Tal Farlow. He was one of the few people that made a Gibson L5 look small! He was a tall, pale, cadaverous man with enormous hands. Looked more like a mortician than a world-class jazz guitarist, though I beleive he made a living as a sign-writer when he wasn't touring. Odd folk, jazzers.

 

I saw him at the Band On The Wall in Manchester in the mid-80's. He started with a "ballad" that was played at a blinding speed but always hamonically interesting.

 

He then continued to play a selection of jazz standards where he solo in full chords, not just fast scales (that he could do in his sleep), culiminating in a version of All The Things You Are (aka All The Chords You Know) that was incendiary. We shouldn't forget also Joe Pass and GB's own Martin Taylor.

 

Actually, you don't need to be a great technician to make great music - you need heart and soul and to "say something" when you play. Many of the speed merchants are very gifted but they don't play music.

 

Regards,

Vlad

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 10:56 PM

With Prince now back with a possible tour happening, and catching him on Jimmy Fallon recently, he is a seriously under rated player. One of my all time favs.

 

And talking about tours, Nine Inch Nails are doing some shows later in the year with Adrian Belew on board. Now this will be very interesting to see...

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 11:04 PM

I'm with GML and Vlad.

 

Being the best or even  good guitarist has nothing to do with technical brilliance, it's about soul and feeling. It's like saying the worlds greatest footballer is the guy who holds the world record at keepy uppy. You wouldn't want to watch keepy uppy for 90 minutes.

 

These guys have a lot of soul and feeling. Although Roy is also technically brilliant.

 

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 11:08 PM

A little unknown guitarist called Roy Buchanan.

 

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 11:20 PM

Great minds Tony.

 
 
 
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March 5, 2013 11:22 PM

Indeed!

 
 
 
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March 12, 2013 8:59 PM

Mark Knopfler

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:05 AM

Have always enjoyed guitar music and these days have a very large collection. The 'Best Guitarist' debate always generates a lot of passion. I think the reality is that most peoples perspective tends to be based initially on their preferred musical tatses rather than the musicians abilities. Many fans get swept along with the seemingly technically challenging high speed widdling but so often its very much about touch and feel and what notes are not played. I played guitar quite badly for many years and tried to mimic the Rock and Blues players along with some Jazzers. However it was only when my son went to Uni to read Commercial Music and majored in Guitar Practical that my horizons were truly widened. His performance pieces evolved from the usual Steve Vai, Joe Satriani repetiore in year one to some truly amazing material which I had never heard of.  Try and listen to some of the following for something different...

 

Electric Jazz - Rock

 

Shawn Lane (sadly deceased) Powers of Ten or Powers of Ten Live.

          For a jazzier performance from Shawn listen to 'Personae'

Guthrie Govan - Still to be heard live on occaisions at my local 'Basement Club' in          Chelmsford,Essex. His solo album Erotic Cakes is very special Indeed. More recenlty he is playing in the 3 piece supergroup 'The Aristocrats'  and their album The Aristocrats is well worth hearing.

You can also hear Guthrie on a superb guitar album Lee Ritenours '6 String Theory' If you like guitar playing this album is a must have -  the guest list is quite something.

 

Accoustic

 

Naims' own Antonio Forcione always good to listen to, however try

Andy McKee , John Gomm and Preston Reid for some truly stunning accoutic fingerstyle gymnastics. I saw all three in concert a few months ago , a really memorable experience.

 

Left Field........Christophe Godin - He demonstrates the most fun you could possibly have playing and listening to guitar. Rock /Jazz style he plays in a 3 piece known as 'MORGLBL'  try 'Jazz For The Deaf' or 'Grotesk'.  A french guitarist but occaisionally does demo tours and seminars in the UK if you have chanced just go and see him play for guitar fans it has to be on your bucket list.

 

 

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 9:46 PM

If you can find a copy of Coryell by Larry Coryell, in the same league as Hendrix 

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:10 PM

Originally Posted by Marou:

If you can find a copy of Coryell by Larry Coryell, in the same league as Hendrix 

 

I've gigged and recorded with Larry Coryell, and while he is indeed one of the great guitarists, he would be the very first to say that he is not in the same league as Jimi Hendrix ... in fact, he would say that no one is, and he'd be right.

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:16 PM

Wow.....all personal judgement.

 

Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, John McL, Eric Clapton, Koss, Green, MK, Cooder (birthday tomorrow), Carlton etc

 

Joe Bon my B-I-L makes me listen to - no doubt very gifted but I do find the newer generation somewhat over produced. But as I say subjective.

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:23 PM

Absurd discussion: James Marshall Hendrix, no one else has come close.

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:31 PM

Originally Posted by graham55:

Absurd discussion: James Marshall Hendrix, no one else has come close.

Yes, I agree.  While I haven't heard some of those mentioned earlier, Jimi made a guitar do things that no one previously or since could do and his playing is instantly recognisable in a similar way to the voice of Sinatra.

MDS.     

 
 
 
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March 14, 2013 10:39 PM

If you can find a copy of Coryell by Larry Coryell, in the same league as Hendrix 

 

I've gigged and recorded with Larry Coryell, and while he is indeed one of the great guitarists, he would be the very first to say that he is not in the same league as Jimi Hendrix ... in fact, he would say that no one is, and he'd be right.

 

'One of the great guitarists' puts him in the Hendrix league as far as I'm concerned.

 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 9:09 AM

Originally Posted by George Fredrik:

My vote goes to Segovia.

 

George,

 

Whilst the importance of Segovia in the development of Classical Guitar as a major Classical music instrument cannot be underestimated, I feel that modern players have even greater technical abilities together with musical understanding (hope you know what I mean !). I think of amazing players like David Russell, Jason Vieux and especially Franco Platino.

 

Regarding the later, if you love Classical Guitar, you MUST grab hold of this : 

 Simply phenomenal. His version of Bach's Chaconne is 'truly to die for'.

 Regards.

 
Last edited by Wugged Woy March 16, 2013 9:14 AM
 
 
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March 16, 2013 9:49 AM

Here are some of my favourites

 

Gerardo Nunez (heard live in Darmstadt Centralstation thanks to Thomas K ).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE1Q_1iPgqc

 

goran söllscher on DGG from the following set

 

 

Regards,

 

Mark

 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 9:55 AM

Mark, try to grab a copy of the Franco Platino. You won't be disappointed. I'll will give the Sollscher disc a try - silly of me not to mention Goran earlier !!

 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 10:36 AM

It has to be Hendrix.
 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 12:28 PM

Ask me any day of the week or even time of day and I'll more than likely give you a different answer.  Today, at time of writing I'll pitch my vote Jimmy Page's direction - as much for setting down the licks that are forever being lifted by others as for his technical guitar playing abilities.

 

Peter

 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 5:36 PM

It surprise me that so far no one has mentioned Mick Ronson - the man who played what he wanted not only what he could, respect!. One of my all time favourite, no doubt.
 
 
 
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March 16, 2013 11:25 PM

Don´t forget Jeff Beck!

 
 
 
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March 17, 2013 12:43 AM

Originally Posted by Wugged Woy:

Regarding the later, if you love Classical Guitar, you MUST grab hold of this : 

 Simply phenomenal. His version of Bach's Chaconne is 'truly to die for'.

 Regards.

Isn't he a Barrueco understudy?

 
 
 
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March 17, 2013 1:22 PM

Originally Posted by DrMark:
Originally Posted by Wugged Woy:

Regarding the later, if you love Classical Guitar, you MUST grab hold of this : 

 Simply phenomenal. His version of Bach's Chaconne is 'truly to die for'.

 Regards.

Isn't he a Barrueco understudy?


Yes, Dr., you are right. He did study under the great Manuel Barrueco. He also recorded music for two guitars with him, I believe. He really is something special. The above CD of him playing solo music by Scarlatti, Bach, Mertz etc. is a 'must buy' if you are a Classical Guitar fan ............ trust me.

 

For information, he has his own website www.francoplatino.com.

 
 
 
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March 17, 2013 1:34 PM

Wes Montgomery should be on the list. G

 
 
 
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March 17, 2013 3:09 PM

For me the greats I still listen to and love, showing my age but what a great era to grow up in, are:

 

- Jimi Hendirix,

- Peter Green,

- Jeff Beck.

 

not forgetting some fine guitarists of the era such as:

 

- Bert Jansch;

- Nick Drake;

- Paul Kossoff;

- Rory Gallagher;

- David Gilmour;

- Eric Clapton;

- ......

 

 

all bassed on enjoyment, soul and not technical virtuosity or speed of playing.

 

Richard

 
Last edited by FangfossFlyer March 17, 2013 3:17 PM
 
 
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March 17, 2013 5:01 PM

Not mentioned but certainly worthy of consideration; as there is no such thing as the "greatest guitarist".

 

Steve Howe

Lindsay Buckingham

FZ

Jimmy Bruno

Lenny Breau

Chet Atkins

Julian Bream

 

and many others...

 
 
 
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