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Top 25 Guitarists of All time: A Quadruple Threat!! The Unveiling of places 19,18,17 and 16!!!!!!

12 Jul

#19: Eddie Van Halen

At number 19, we find ourselves with Mr. Eddie Van Halen. This man speaks for himself, or rather his guitar playing speaks for him. Van Halen proved himself worthy of this place because of his impressive guitar playing technique and proficiency. His utilization of two-handed tapping along with both natural and artificial harmonics created a sound everyone has come to know. He also exhibits very tasteful use of vibrato and tremolo picking. If you need any other proof of why Van Halen belongs here, I only have one word for you…ERUPTION.

Number 18:

Who will fill the slot in place number 18? Mark Knopfler! That’s right. The Dire Straits’ lead guitarist is number 18.  In 1977, he co-founded Dire Straits with his brother. The band was resoundingly successful until it disbanded in 1995. Knopfler has not given up. He still makes great music and composes film scores. Fascinatingly, Knopfler is left-handed, but plays guitar right-handed. He prefers not using picks and has developed his own fingerpicking style, or rather a variation on finger picking. Like Clapton, Knopfler prefers Fender guitars, yet came to appreciate the sounds of Gibson guitars in the ’80s. Knopfler is both proficient and plays with good feeling. In many of his recordings he tends to find very good places to bend notes, without overdoing it. Thus, he is number 18.

Number 17: Freddie King

At number 17 we have Freddie King. The “Texas Cannonball” belongs on this list as he is truly guitar royalty, being one of the three kings of electric blues guitar. The other two are Albert King, and the legendary B.B. King. Freddie is here because of his awesome songs and his technique of creating guitar parts with vocal nuance. He also inspiredd other important musicians. He was one of the guitarists that was taken from us far too young at the age of 42.

Number 16: !?!?!?!?!?!?!!

For number 16 we have…wait for it…wait for it… Buddy Guy! This guy is awesome! He has a radiance on stage that few artists tend to exhibit. You can tell he is genuinely having a great time on stage playing music with his friends. He plays with wonderful feeling and has inspired many musicians with his work. He is responsible for the Chicago blues sound and his showmanship is nothing short of fantastic. Buddy Guy is known as a type of bridge between rock and roll and the blues. Clapton got the idea for a blues/rock trio during and England performance in which Buddy Guy’s trio was performing. Clapton was inspired by Buddy Guy and formed the power trio we all came to know as Cream. Because of Buddy’s inspiration and fantastic musicianship, he finds himself at number 16.

Top 25 Guitarists of All Time: # 20 Les Paul

9 Jun

Hello everyone,

So as I am writing this it is still currently Les Paul’s birthday. Funny how these thing’s work out, right? I know I’ve been away for a while, so take your anger out on Matt. It is time to continue this list and there is clearly no better time than the present. There is a great deal of fascinating stuff about Les Paul and I’m not talking about that nifty guitar thing Google had up…even though that was awesome.

Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss and played jazz as well as country guitar. Rock and roll exists in large part because of Paul’s part in pioneering the electric guitar. If you want to talk about someone being influential, here’s your guy. If it wasn’t for his work, many genres of music would never have evolved.

In 1940, “The Log” was built in the Epiphone guitar factory. This was no mere cylindrical slab of wood, but one of the first solid-body electric guitars. There was a great deal of drama when the Gibson company changed the design of the guitar without Paul’s knowledge in response to declining sales. Les wasn’t so happy, but went on after an unpleasant divorce to put his name on the guitar, followed by “SG.” This designation stands for “solid body,” and gained immense popularity after Eric Clapton began playing the model, as well as the ES-335.

In addition to the immensely important innovation, Les Paul also delved into multi-track recordings. With a push from Bing Crosby, Les Paul went for it, creating his own studio, utilizing acetate discs instead of magnetic tape.

So, why does Les wind up at #20? Because…he helped make all these things possible…not to mention he was a pretty good guitarist.

Top 25 Guitarists of all time: #21 George Harrison

20 Aug

Hello everyone. As the summer sun begins to fade, allow me to introduce a man whose impact has no sunset: George Harrison.

Born in 1943, Harrison rose to become an amazing English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter, and of course, the lead guitarist of The Beatles. On this rare occasion, both myself and Rolling Stone magazine place Mr. Harrison in the #21 spot. With his innovative guitar work with The Beatles, it is no wonder that George finds himself on this list. Harrison favored Gretsch guitars during early recordings, usually with a Vox amplifier.

In 1965, Harrison got his first Fender Strat, which was used on the Rubber Soul album. Harrison did quite well for himself, and even had quite the desirable wife: Pattie Boyd. Some may recognize this name as the subject of “Layla,” a song by Eric Clapton. Clapton was in love with Harrison’s wife at the time, a situation that tested their friendship. I wish I were a fly on the wall when Clapton told Harrison this. Anyway, in 1997 Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer, which he attributed to his smoking in the ’60s.

He eventually died from metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, the official cause of death written on his death certificate. On the first anniversary of his death, Royal Albert Hall hosted the Concert for George. The concert benefited Harrison’s charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation.

So, overall, Harrison finds himself on this list not because of his good intentions, but because of his pure skill and ability with a guitar. He has influenced countless musicians through his own work as well as his work with The Beatles.

Check out this video at the Concert for George, as his friends cover his song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Here is another version from when George was still able to play with his friends.

Top 25 Guitarists of all Time #22: Jack White

5 Aug

Hello everyone. I apologize for my absence. It started with finals week in school, and continued with MCAT preparation until a few days ago. Without any further ado, I’m back and ready to present to you all Jack White.

Born John Anthony Gillis in 1975, Jack White is an American. His rise to fame came from his work as a guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist of The White Stripes. While many lists put White a bit higher on the list, I feel this is a very appropriate position for him. Extremely fond of Gretsch guitars, White catapulted himself to stardom with his distinctive sound. One might wonder how John Anthony Gillis came to be Jack White. Well, it begins at a Memphis smoke bar, where Gillis met his future, albeit ephemeral wife, Meg White. In an unorthodox fashion, a trait that adeptly characterizes Jack White, Gillis chose to adopt Meg’s last name. Interestingly, when White remarried, he kept his ex-wife’s last name.

So, why should Jack White be on this list. After all, a Top 25 list is very exclusive given the countless guitarists the world possesses. Firstly, Jack White seemed to have a magical, musical touch which he used to endow his bands with success and wonderful music. Jack White was a part of many bands, including The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and, naturally, The White Stripes. White is an ingenious musician, a trait evident by one specific concert, in which The White Stripes played a very short concert. It was so short, that the whole concert consisted of one note. Jack White thinks outside the box, and lets his creativity take over. He does this even in his playing, as he uses his little finger to reach high notes, rather than the usual ring finger. Since his brothers would not teach him how, he taught himself. While technique may not always be certain, one thing is for sure. Jack White has certainly taught the music community a great deal.

Check out White’s spin on things…

Top 25 Guitarists of All Time: # 23 Bo Diddley

27 Apr

Bo Diddley, Long Beach Blues Festival (1997). Photo: Masahiro Sumori.

Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates on Dec. 30, 1920. He was called “The Originator,” for he had a key role in changing the trend of blues to rock and roll. He has influenced greats such as Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. The driving rhythms and harder guitar sounds he produced became well known. He would often employ a technique in his music in which there were no chord changes. In other words, all excitement was generated by rhythms rather than harmonies and harmonic tension. Because of his musical inventiveness and skill, Bo has won many awards. They have ranged from a Grammy, Lifetime Achievement Awards and the most prized Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. His work impacted the music scene so powerfully. And, of course, he also had that trademark rectangular guitar.

Bo Diddley’s orginality, musicality, and impact on so many musicians has earned him an immense level of respect in the music community. With an extensive discography and an even more extensive fan base, Bo Diddley has definitely shown the public who they love. For his powerful impact on music, his amazing musicality, his wonderful originality, and that unmistakeable guitar, Bo Diddley finds himself as #23 on the Top 25 Guitarists of All Time list.

Don’t Forget….Who Do You Love????

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