I have wanted to put this out there for the general public and see what people's take are on the following. Who are the top 10 most influential guitar players in history. It's not a popularity contest here or what people have told you over the years, it's who you think changed the face of guitar and guitar playing over the years. It's what the guitarists brought to the table with either a technique, style, riffs, guitar product, even production ideas as a guitar player, basically anything that changed the face of guitar for everyone after them. You don't have to have an order of 1-10, just the top 10 in your mind and heart. I'm not going to put mine down right now but I'll start with Eddie Van Halen as one of the ten on my list. Everyone have fun with this.
When one is starting out influences can come from a family member, so someone who chose Chuck Berry maybe started out with that influence and went on to others.
Most of the top players , are in a category of their own, to play like Van Hallen is great but it's just copying someone else, Truth is the best dont always make the big time,it's the same with vocalist's, just look at what country singers are selling records, now ,are you saying they are the best? no these days it's Looks, before Talent.
Ben, read the entire thread and hopefully that will explain it but I'll try to do it here. If you take Chuck Berry out of the annals of music history, does rock and roll happen the way it did. Sure, there are tons of guys that can play in multiple different styles but were they guys that were leaders or followers? Take a lot of those guys out of music history and it's changed forever as we know it. Not saying that the session players aren't worthy by any means. Was Jimmy Page the greatest player or a virtuoso, nope, but was he a pioneer in the rock world and what it meant to be a rock guitarist as well as a producer? I sure think so. Can Steve Vai play circles around Page, yup but there are tons of guys like Vai out there, but there was only one Jimmy Page. Hope that helps some define what this thread was about.
Who would be your picks as far as guys that were influential?
And how does that relate to GUITAR players. The guy never played guitar. I just read a bio on him. He was a band leader, singer, clarinetist and sax player. He may have added guitar to his styles of music but it wasn't until Berry that rock and guitar were fused at the hip. This thread is about guitar and guitar players and how they influenced music as we know it today. If we talk about Louis Jordan, we can talk about a million other people as well that had influences into a lot of styles of music but it's comparing apples and oranges to me.
And by Berry taking it to guitar makes him influential. There had to be someone that took it from piano and sax to guitar. If Jordan doesn't exist, Berry doesn't exist, I'll give you that but if Berry doesn't come along, does someone else take what Jordan was doing and bring it to the world of guitar?
If you want we can go thru the annals of music history and see who predicated who stylistically. People have taken things from every style of music at some point or another and brought it to others or it took on a whole new direction. Without classical guitar, a lot of rock and metal based styles wouldn't be what they are so should classical composers and musicians from way back before electricity was even around be included in this discussion?
Cheyenne I hate to sound rude but you are so off course with your statement about player's that have no feel for today's country etc... I myself LOVE SRV, Chet Adkins, Eddie VanHalen, Tony Rice, Brent Mason, Ritchie Blackmore etc.... I hate to bust your bubble but I know lots of guy's in this business that can play all of these style's that I just listed! I myself play many different style's! Like I was saying, I'm not being rude but you are WAY off track when you say great rock guitarist have no feel for country/ visa versa etc! Speaking of country... have you even listen to the guitar solo's in todays country.... shit it's rock and pop solo's! There are fewer real country solo's being tracked by the day! Just speaking my mind! I didn't make a list myself because this is something that would take hours if you really wanted to make a list that matters! It seems to me that most of the people that are replying to this are listing their favorite guitarist and thats not the topic! KISS for example was THE GREAT metal band of their day but if you took Ace out of the picture.... ummm I don't think guitarist today would be missing anything.... I'm not bashing Ace... I'm just saying i don't think he brought anything special to the table other than being in a great 70's metal band. It was the band that stood out, not Ace's playing.... unlike VanHalen for example.... Ummm you take Eddie out of VanHalen and what do you have.... three other dudes looking for a gig! As for what you was saying about guitarist not having the feel for other styles of music other than what they put out to the public... in your defence I doubt that Eddie VanHalen sits at home playing Brent Mason licks.... but do we really know that for sure... because as I was saying before.... there are lots of guy's that can play about any style and play them as good as it can be played. ;-)
I do think some of todays players have lost the feel for country music, and I think this comes as the genres have moved closer and closer together through the years. A few years ago I did a stone cold country record where I hired Jimmy Capps (great great player) to play straight ahead 335 electric into a Fender Twin Reverb amp. It was the exact sound I was looking for. A day or so later, one of the hot young electric players mentioned here previously came into to the studio while I was mixing this particular project and asked a most profound question, "What kind of effect do you have on that electric, that is a cool sound?". To which I told him...none. He argued with me that there was an effect, and I repeatedly told him there was no effect. He left shaking his head in disbelief. So, yeah, we have lost some of the feel because most of today's players don't have the occassion nor the abilty to play that style. When I was a kid I copied every lick Chet ever did, but at best I was a copy and not a very good one at that. That said, how many players today can even play thumb style? Or better yet, how many thumb style players ever get a session anymore? I heard said in a session this past week, "Great jazzy style playing will get you unemployed". How true!