What are your top three favourite guitarists? Who inspire you on a daily basis or every time you hear one of the their record's? Who was it that first made you want to start playing six-string guitar?
I'll start off (these really aren't in any particular order):
1. Neil Young; An inspiration from a young age due to his incredibly versatility as a player and songwriter, ranging from grunge rock anthems, to heart-felt folk ballads. Inspires me in both electric and acoustic playing.
2. Jack White; The man who made me pick up the guitar, not much of a player technically, but damn powerful in his approach and attack. The White Stripes début inspired me to get where I am now, I still try and convey the same energy he managed to in his early records.
3. Robert Belfour; Slightly different to my first two choices, not a electric rocker, but actually a hill country bluesman, from Mississippi. An elegant player who dabbles in open tunings like G and D, always nice to experience a twist on something you love, which in this case is guitar playing.
Let's hear yours!
My favorites tend to vary or cycle (or something) through time. So I'll just mention three that stay in circulation and remain important to me...
Mark Knopfler -- known for Dire Straits, of course, his solo output in recent years is more compelling to me
Daniel Lanois -- known as much for his pedal steel playing as his guitar work (and more for production than either)
Ian Anderson -- known as a flute playing leader of Jethro Tull, his acoustic guitar playing is excellent and intricate
I suppose it's no coincidence that all three of those are writer-players.
If you'd have asked me another day, I might have listed... John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Page, Ry Cooder, Ali Farke Toure, Wes Montgomery, James McMurtry, Bruce Springsteen, Buck Dharma, ...well, there are lots of good guitar players out there!
In no particular order: and for different reasons:-
1 Would have to be Brian Setzer for dexterity and entertainment
2 Would be Stefan Grossman for inspiring my love of acoustic blues and ragtime and showing that you didn't just have to strum!
3 Would be Duane Allman for Statesboro' Blues and showing me what expression a slide can achieve
I've read lists of the Top 100 in the music press but these guys really got to me. Many critics seem to think fast is great but as I get older I seem to get the feeling in the gaps more. Understatement is often overlooked in my opinion.
Interesting to hear others opinions too!
Agreed that speed is highly overrated as a marker of "good" playing.
The top 100 thing reminds me of another player that bares mentioning: Hubert Sumlin -- guitarist for Howlin' Wolf. Sounds like liquid smoke, and always in service of the music.
But these lists could just go and on, of course. I happen to be listening to Junior Kimbrough right now, as Daniel's mention of Robert Belfour reminded me I hadn't heard any of the North Mississippi stuff in a while. I'm not sure anyone would claim Junior as a "great" guitar player, but he did his thing and it's powerful mojo.
I third the notion that speed doesn't equal a good player. In recent years I've started to think a good player is more about vibe and feeling, than technique and approach. Still, a player like Vai has to be given credit where credit is due.
If you dig the North Mississippi stuff Mike, check out the documentary 'You see me laughin', it's up on Youtube and it documents the life and times of many of the most famous hill country blues artists, and the formation of fat possum records.
That was one of the first I learnt too Cliff, along with Old Man. Interesting one though Needle and the damage done, not really just fingerpicking because it requires a steady strumming hand the whole way through.