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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Name That Tune: 100 Greatest Guitarists

Jimi Hendrix, shown in this undated performance photo, is ranked #1 in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. (AP)

The guitar is the backbone of rock music. Rolling Stone has put out a special issue devoted to the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Many of the names are as familiar as Hendrix and Townshend, but there are others you might not know, like Link Wray and Scotty Moore.

Who are your picks, and why? Send them to us ahead of Wednesday’s show. Post a comment here, on Facebook or tweet them to us @hereandnow. We’ll talk with Alan Light, a Rolling Stone contributor who wrote some of the profiles in the special issue.

In the meantime, can you name each of the guitarists in this audio montage? If you get stumped, you can see the answers here.

Wednesday’s show: The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time


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  • Kent Rothermel

    David Gilmour of Pink Floyd help to define the ‘guitar solo’ and in the process crafted some truly iconic riffs for Acoustic, Electric and Lap Steel guitars. 

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      David is No. 14 on the RS list. I agree, he’s one of the best.

  • http://www.bctv.org/ Sreinbrecht

    Steve Howe, of Yes, was the greatest rock guitarist.
     
    His greatness came from his virtuosity, non-paralleled creativity, and ability to contribute as a member of an ensemble.
    If you haven’t heard it, listen to his solo in “To Be Over,” on “Relayer.”
     
    My choice opens the age-old question – technique over feeling.
    But I’m a formalist – I like music that respects the formal elements – melody, harmony, structure, instrumentation, tone, etc. — and expands what’s been done before, and Howe, and of course the whole band, broke rocky ground like no other.
     
    Other great rockers – Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Beck — could blow you away by doing things with a blues scale you’ve never heard before.
    Howe could blow you away using double stops in Phrygian mode on a steel guitar on crazy changes real, real fast in some of the most indefinable music ever created.
     
    Guitar solos were always the climax of a rock song, and continued the primacy of improvisational ability in all the world’s music.
    But since the punk revolution, after which “anyone can play guitar,” virtuosity has been snubbed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jalauzon Justin Allyn Lauzon

    I was very disappointed that Rolling Stone didn’t include  Dave Murray & Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) or Ted Turner & Andy Powell (Wishbone Ash) in their most recent list.

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      Agree on Wishbone Ash. “Argus” is one of my favorite records. Saw them open for the Who in 72 or 73.

    • Rogerc169

      I agree, Dave and Adrian were Monsters when it came to melodic rythms and their accompanying solos. “Up the Irons”

  • Alison in portland

    Happy to see John Frusciante, formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers included in the list. His solo output is reminiscent of George Harrison’s back log of innovative and passionate songs. Both artists showed that they were/are more than just a guitarist for a major rock band. They are exceptional artists in their own right.

  • Kjcady

    Roy Orbison’s, “Oh, Pretty Woman” has one of the most distinct and copied guitar riffs in rock-n-roll history. It continues to be one of the most requested songs on the radio a well.

  • Rogerc169

    I like too many, Paco de Lucia, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Ricky Skaggs, Angus Young, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Steve Harris, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Warren Haynes, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Herring, Buddy Guy, Eddie Van Halen, Neal Schon, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, John Starling, I can Go on. I pick them because they are each So Talented and have there own distinct sounds. Too Much too elaborate.

  • RT

    I’m an Eddie VH fan to the Core. Most on standard lists predate my tastes in music. Style of play is as important as skill, unless you are a purest I suspect. For what it’s worth, Vince Gill is one of the best I’ve ever heard live. RT

  • Erik Cameron

    I can’t say I’m surprised, but Richard Thompson should be waaaaaay higher—69?!  He’s Top 10 material, easy.

  • Hammarhead2

    Jerry Garcia or Jimmy Page

    From Hammarhead

  • Tonyvcomic

    Its Tony V and his handsome son Gus. Its Rocktober, and we think its appropriate and applaud you for this. We think its Hendrix and then everybody else.

  • jm
  • speedstar

    Rory Gallagher. Legend has it that Jimi Hendrix’ response to being asked’ “What’s it like to be the world’s greatest rock guitarist?” replied, ” I don’t know, you’d have to ask Rory Gallagher.”

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      A friend just introduced me to Rory’s music. It’s great! 

      • speedstar

        Enjoy, Alex. Get hold of the live albums if you can — I was lucky enough to see him play many times. You can also catch the full concert film ‘Irish Tour ’74′ on YouTube which really gets across Rory’s connection with the fans and anti-’star’ persona. 

        • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

          Thanks, someone sent me the Irish 74 video, haven’t watched it all yet but looks cool.

  • hartgary

    There are several missing, including
    John Cipolina of Quicksilver
    Robin Trower
    Jesse Ed Davis
    Joe Satriani
    Adrian Belew
    Bill Nelson
    Carlos Alomar
    David Torn

    • http://www.facebook.com/robert.n.raper Robert Neil Raper

       Word!

      • hartgary

        not sure what you mean by Word!

        • djeddieo

           “Word!” means “you can say THAT again!” in this context, FYI…..

          • hartgary

            Thanks, I would also add:
            Randy California of Spirit
            Ronnie Montrose
            Dave Mason of Traffic
            Martin Lancelot Barre of Jethro Tull
            John Martyn

             

          • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

            Dave Mason, yes, Traffic and his solo record Alone Together. 

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      Good points all. To be fair, the special issue does Cipollina as a “forgotten master.”
      Just listen to “Who Do You Love” from Happy Trails.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.n.raper Robert Neil Raper

    Can’t be 100 greatest guitarists of all time if you only concentrate on rock music. Not withstanding the fact that many innovators and virtuosos have come along since 1968 even within the genre. Michael Hedges was clearly an amazing innovator on the instrument itself. Seems to me greatest guitarists is a completely different question than greatest rock guitarists. Nothing against Hendrix, love him of course, but if we’re just recycling the same list we’ve been using since 1988 what’s the point.

    • Michael

       I think Hendrix does belong at the top, even if you add the Segovias.   You’re absolutely right about Michael Hedges, though.  It would be a fine thing for Eddie Van Halen to explain what Hedges did.

  • djeddieo

    not for nothin’, but didn’t this Rolling Stone issue come out a year ago??

  • pitzdidg

    Derek Trucks is # 16 and David Lindley’s not on the list at all?  

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      Yep, seems odd David Lindley isn’t here.

  • Lewie

    When Eric Clapton was asked after winning the Playboy Magazine’s top guitarists for years. His reaction to it was that Roy Buchanan was the best.Rolling Stones also missed Danny Gatton. I see Peter Green was included.

    I would add two others to the list even if they are only in their 50′s and 60′s, namely Ronnie Earl and Duke Robillard.

    Many of these guitarists were influenced by the blues.
    As Muddy Waters stated somewhere along the way. The blues had a baby and they named it Rock n’ Roll. 

  • MAP

    R.I.P,  Terry Kath.  Maybe one day your “peers” will remember you.

  • Jerryhartford

    Larry Carlton should be on the list.

  • Lavada

    What about Arlen Roth?

    Remember this is a list from Rolling Stone Magazine. I personally never found much in it I wanted to read.

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      Actually if you get a copy of the physical issue there are some pretty good articles by the big guns writing about their favorites and some cool pics of their guitars.

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      Thanks for the tip on Arlen Roth. Never heard of him. He’s amazing.

  • Thomas_Blaney

    No Leo Kottke? No one ever came close to him.

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      That’s a good point too, because John Fahey is actually on the RS list.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000517283371 Edy Arya Wiraloudra

    where synyster gates…?

  • Moggy1000

    Typically I hate these lists because they always seem to focus on rock guitarists. Perhaps it is truly an impossible task to compile such a list. Everyone given the job has differing taste in music. My list would chock full of fingerstylists. Heading it would be Richard Gilewitz who does amazing things with six and twelve string acoustic guitars.

  • Joshschunk

    No trey?? Trey Anastasio is EASILY a top 5 guitarist of all time.

  • Deb

    Have you heard Monte Montgomery from Luckenbach TX?

  • Jazzwoman

    I guess this is a rock/pop/blues poll.  I don’t see any jazz guitarists on anyone’s lists!  What about Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Bill Frisell, Al Di Meola, Jim Hall, George Benson, Pat Martino, Russell Malone, Kenny Burrell to name a few?

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