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Top Psychedelic Guitar Players of All Time

Psychedelic music developed in both folk and blues rock bands during the 1960s.  The music style was inspired by the effects and impact that psychedelic substances had on someone’s mind. This lead to more musical experimentation, complex song structures, and surreal lyrics.  Out of this style many great guitarists were born.  We will now count down the top great psychedelic guitarists. 5. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) - A London native, Jimmy Page began playing guitar at a young age.  His first guitar was one he found at age 12 when his family moved into their new home.  No one knew where it came from or who left it, but Page soon picked it up and began playing.  He taught himself, for the most part, and his style was influenced by blues and rock.  Early guitar influences included Scotty Moore and James Burton.  He began his career as a session musician.  Page then joined The Yardbirds in the mid-60s, which soon became Led Zeppelin.  Page has played several guitars during his career, including the Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson EDS-1275, and a Martin D28.  To hear Page in action, listen to Led Zepplin’s “Dazed and Confused.”   4. Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group) - Hailing from England, Jeff Beck was immersed in music at a young age.  He could often be found sneaking into the living room to listen to jazz on the radio.  The first electric guitar player that impressed Beck was Les Paul.  Beck’s other early musical influences included Cliff Gallup, B.B. King, Steve Cropper, and Chet Atkins. He began playing in bands in the early 1960s, and by the mid-60s was playing with The Yardbirds.  After The Yardbirds, Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group.  He has also released several solo albums through the years showcasing various influences such as blues rock, heavy metal and jazz fusion.  Beck has played several different guitars, including the Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, and Fender Esquire.  Check out Jeff Beck’s “'Cause We've Ended as Lovers,” to hear why he’s one of the greats.   3. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) - Another great from England, David Gilmour was born in Cambridge.  His brother was also a guitar player, and his parents were supportive of their musical talents.  He was given his first guitar by a neighbor, and used a book and record set to learn.  While in school, Gilmour met Roger 'Syd' Barrett and they started playing guitar together.  Gilmour played in his band Joker’s Wild before being asked to join Pink Floyd in 1967.  His contributions to successful albums like The Dark Side of the Moon are a testament to his musical abilities.  Gilmour has also released solo albums and collaborated with other artists like Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend.  His playing style shows a blues influence and expressive nature.  While most known for his guitar playing, Gilmour can play a wide variety of instruments including banjo, mandolin, bass guitar, and keyboards.  Guitars he has played include a Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, and a Fender Esquire.  Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” is just one of many examples of Gilmour’s talent.   2. Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead) -   Born in California to a musical family, Jerry Garcia began playing instruments in his early youth.  He played piano, banjo, and at the age 15 received his first electric guitar.  One musician that inspired him is Chuck Berry.  Garcia and several others formed The Grateful Dead in 1965.  He played a variety of guitars including a Guild Starfire, Gibson SG, a Fender Stratocaster, and several Doug Irwin Custom guitars. His musical inspiration and influence included blues, jazz, folk, and reggae. To hear one of the early influencers of psychedelic music, listen to The Grateful Dead’s “Viola Lee Blues.”   1. Jimi Hendrix - As was mentioned in a previous top five list, Hendrix is in a category all his own.  In his short life he was able to redefine rock music as we know it.  He also made it apparent that there are endless possibilities for a guitarist and guitar could do.  He was given his first guitar at age 15 and then received his first electric guitar, a Supro Ozark 1560S.  In the UK, The Jimi Hendrix Experience found great success, and it was upon returning to the US from that trip in 1967 that they finally began to gain momentum.  Hendrix’s musical influences include blues, jazz, R&B, and rock.  His primary guitar was a Fender Stratocaster.  Experience what a legend can do when listening to “Little Wing.” This brings us to the conclusion of our psychedelic countdown.  We’ve revealed our picks for top five greatest psychedelic guitarists.  What are yours?   Keep Rockin'!!!
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Top Death Metal Guitar Players of All Time

With its history of eviscerating eardrums and melting faces, death metal is a force to be reckoned with.  Blast beat drumming, vocal growls, and above all face melting guitar work combine to form a blistering sonic assault.  These masters of shredding are the very souls that top our list of greatest death metal guitarists.  Join us as we count them down. 5. James Murphy (Death, Testament, Disincarnate) - James Murphy was born in Virginia in 1967.  Throughout his career he has played for several bands including Death, Testament, and Disincarnate.  Many other artists sought him out for guest appearances on their albums, especially during the 1990s.  Murphy also has worked as producer in addition to his guitar playing.  In 2001 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and recovered after surgery.  As a result he had to gradually work back up his playing to its former level.  He has played several guitars during his career including Caparison, Ibanez, B.C. Rich, and a Gibson Flying V.  For insight into his playing style listen to Testament’s “Alone in the Dark.” 4. Anders Bjorler (At the Gates) - A native of Sweden, Anders Bjorler was born in Gothenburg in 1973.  At the age of 16, Bjorler was introduced to the guitar while visiting a friend.  Through the next year he spent extensive time practicing when at his friend’s home, and eventually received his own guitar for his 17th birthday.  Bjorler’s career has included time shredding with At the Gates, The Haunted, and has since moved into a solo career.  He pulls inspiration from genres like classical music, jazz, and progressive rock.  In addition to music, he has his own production company and has been successfully making films.  He has been nominated for several Grammy awards in Sweden and won two.  To hear an award-winning guitarist at work, listen to At the Gates’ “Slaughter of the Soul.” 3. Bill Steer (Carcass, Napalm Death) - Growing up in England, Bill Steer was immersed in the hard rock and heavy metal scene.  It was hearing bands like Motorhead, Deep Purple, UFO, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin that led to Steer picking up the guitar.  He has shown his musical prowess in bands such as Carcass and Napalm Death.  Along the way, he also developed an appreciation for blues music, teaching himself slide guitar and harmonica.  Steer has mostly used Gibson Les Paul guitars, but has also played Ibanez.  Heralded as a pioneer in grindcore and death metal, Steer has made his mark on the genre.  Listen to him in action in Carcass’ “Corporal Jigsore Quandary.” 2. Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel) - Getting his start in Florida, Trey Azagthoth began playing guitar at the age of 16 on a B.C. Rich Ironbird.  While influenced primarily by Eddie Van Halen, he also was impacted by Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, UFO, and Black Sabbath.  He is the founding member of Morbid Angel bringing a complex combination of whammy bar, finger tapping, and wah-wah pedal to his playing style.  Azagthoth has used both Ibanez and Jackson guitars throughout his career.  His soaring guitar solos have become a signature and expected by his fans.  Hear a facing melting solo when listening to Morbid Angel’s “Dawn of the Angry.” 1. Chuck Schuldiner (Death) - While born in New York in 1967, Chuck Schuldiner grew up in Florida.  At the age of 9 his parents bought him a guitar.  However classical lessons didn’t hold his interest long and he was given an electric guitar, and taught himself his craft.  In addition to playing guitar, he also wrote and sang.  Schuldiner had a variety of musical influences.  These include Iron Maiden, Kiss, Billy Idol, Slayer, Metallica, and Queensryche.  At only 16 years old, he formed the band Death for which he is well-known.  His guitar of choice was the B.C. Rich Stealth.  He passed from this life in 2001 after a battle with brain cancer.  He is remembered and thought of as a pioneer and tremendous influence on the death metal genre.  Hear the master in action in Death’s “Crystal Mountain.” Seeing you survived the countdown of top death metal guitar greats, we’d love to hear what you think.  Let us know your picks if they weren’t captured in our top five. Keep Rockin’!!!  
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Top Southern Rock Guitarist of All Time

Pulling from deep roots, southern rock incorporates elements of country, blues, and rock and roll.  The music has a focus on vocals and electric guitar, and has been the breeding ground for many great guitarists.  We have pulled together a list of the top five greatest guitar players of southern rock.  We will now count them down. 5. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) - Billy Gibbons was born in Texas and grew up in a home with a father that played piano and was an orchestra conductor.  Around age 13 he received his first guitar, a Gibson Melody Maker, and by age 14 he had started his first band.  His musical influences included Jimmy Reed.  Early bands that he was a part of drew inspiration from psychedelic rock greats like Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane.  The formation of ZZ Top resulted in a pairing of the psychedelic rock influences with blues rock.  Gibbons has a masterful way of combining rock and blues in catchy guitar riffs.  He has played various guitars throughout his career including, a Gibson Explorer, a Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird, and his famous Gibson Les Paul “Pearly Gates.”  To hear Gibbons rock it out, listen to ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” 4. Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - A native of Florida, Gary Rossington began dreaming of becoming a star at a young age.  He first began by playing drums, but soon turned to the guitar.  He was a founding member of the The Noble Five that eventually became Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Early musical influences on Rossington were Elvis Presley and The Beatles.  Through the years he has played both a Gibson SG and Gibson Les Paul.  After the fateful plane crash that injured him, Rossington formed The Rossington-Collins Band and later The Rossington Band.  He is now the only original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd that still plays with the band. To hear Rossington’s soulful playing, listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone.” 3. Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - Another Florida born musician, Allen Collins was raised by a single, working mother.  Collins first began playing guitar at age 11 when he borrowed a friend’s.  Soon later, his mother bought him his own guitar and he taught himself how to play.  Collins joined Rossington and others in the The Noble Five.  In Lynyrd Skynyrd he mainly played lead guitar, and after the plane crash he joined Rossington in The Rossington-Collins Band, and later in his own project The Allen Collins Band.  Collins played a Gibson Firebird, Gibson Explorer, and a Fender Stratocaster during his career.  His legendary mark on music can be heard when listening to him tear it up in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.” 2. Toy Caldwell (The Marshall Tucker Band) - Born in South Carolina, Toy Caldwell began playing guitar at a young age with his younger brother.  While most musicians play the electric guitar with a pick, Toy developed his playing style using his thumb instead.  He served in the military during Vietnam before he became a star.  Toy, alongside his brother Tommy and other bandmates, created The Marshall Tucker Band in 1972.  Music genres that influenced the band include jazz, rock, rhythm and blues, country and gospel.  The specific guitar player that influenced Caldwell was Chet Atkins.  In addition to being the band’s lead guitarist for many years, Caldwell also was the primary songwriter.  Hear Caldwell play his Gibson Les Paul in The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See.” 1. Duane Allman (Allman Brothers) - Duane Allman was born in Tennessee, and began playing guitar on a Gibson Les Paul Junior.  Inspiration came to him by way of rhythm and blues concert featuring B.B.King.  By 1969, Duane and his brother Gregg formed The Allman Brothers Band.  They incorporated jazz, blues, and country elements into their style.  Even with his untimely death, Duane is often high on the list of great guitarist rankings for his contributions to the industry.  In addition to playing with The Allman Brothers Band, he also played with Eric Clapton in Derek and The Dominos.  His slide guitar work along side Clapton in the song “Layla” is named among the top guitar solos of all time. Duane played a Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, and a Fender Stratocaster.  To hear a master at work, listen to The Allman Brothers Band’s “Blue Sky.” Due to their impact on southern rock, these great guitarists rocked their way into our top five.  Who would you choose to top your list?  Let us know, we’d love to hear your picks. Keep Rockin'!!!  
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Top All Time Glam Rock Guitar Players

With their flashy costumes, dramatic make up, crazy hairstyles and overall theatrical performances, glam rock is insistent on bringing us an over the top rock experience.  However, the drama wasn’t only confined to their looks.  Glam rock has brought us some of the greatest guitar players to date, and we will now count down the top five greatest glam rock guitarists.   5. Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) - A native of Brooklyn, New York, Steve Stevens’ began playing the guitar at the age of seven years old.  Stevens’ influences include musicians like Beck, Page, and Clapton.  He is most well known for playing alongside Billy Idol, but also was hired to play for both Michael Jackson and Robert Palmer on recordings.  He has also had an extensive solo career with a wide range of musical styles from rock to Spanish style guitar playing.  His arsenal of guitars includes Gibson Les Paul, Washburn Frankenstein, and Martin D28.  For a glimpse into what made Stevens’ famous, listen to Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.”   4. Glen Buxton (Alice Cooper) - Growing up in Akron, Ohio, Glen Buxton and formed The Earwigs while in high school.  After several name changes the band came to be known as Alice Cooper.  He had been playing guitar since the age of eleven, and was influenced by rock and roll music.  While playing his SG Custom, he had an edgy style that brought out his rebel spirit.  Listen to Buxton in action in Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.”   3. Ace Frehley (KISS) - Another guitarist hailing from New York, Paul Daniel “Ace” Frehley grew up in a family of musicians.  He received an electric guitar at age 13, and began teaching himself to play.  Included in his list of musical influences are Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, and The Who.  Frehley had played in a band or two before answering an advertisement for a lead guitarist.  He was accepted into the band which later became known as KISS.  As a result of the face painting that he chose, Frehley soon had the nicknames of “Spaceman” and “Space Ace.”  Frehley is known for having a frantic and atmospheric playing style, and his use of the Gibson Les Paul.  Check out KISS’ “Shock Me” for an example of Frehley’s solo style.   2. Mick Ronson (David Bowie) - English guitarist, Michael “Mick” Ronson was immersed in music from a young age.  He had been trained to play piano, recorder, and violin.  He originally wished to play cello, but upon hearing Duane Eddy play guitar he decided to play that instead.  While he played in several bands during his career, he was primarily a session musician for a variety of artists.  However, he is best known for his playing with David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars period.  Later he also played with Ian Hunter and Bob Dylan.  While he played a variety of guitars in his career, he is known for playing a Gibson Les Paul Custom, “Black Beauty,” a Gibson SG Type 2, and a Fender Telecaster.  An example of Ronson’s amazing technique and style listen to “Moonage Daydream” from album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.   1. Brian May (Queen) - Often considered a guitar virtuoso, Brian May began playing guitar at a young age growing up in London.  While he played in Smile for several years, it was the formation of Queen that brought him to light.  May, in addition to his guitar prowess, is also an accomplished songwriter and singer.  He has a melodic soloing style that expertly adds to the overall feel of the song.  His unique tone is in part credited to his guitar, Red Special.  Unlike many guitarists who are given their first guitar as a gift, May and his father built Red Special from the ground up.  Musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page.  Outside of Queen, May has continued to have a successful music career.  To hear the master in action, listen to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”   We’ve reached the pinnacle of our top glam rock guitarists, and are curious to know what you think.  Share your picks for the top five with us, we’d love to hear them. Keep Rockin'!!! Steve Stevens by musifota taken on July 18, 2012 Glen Buxton by Jan Kjellin taken on August 25, 2006 Ace Frehley by Affendaddy taken on August 5, 2009 Mick Ronson by mickeydb taken on June 9, 2007 Brian May by StuBramley taken on September 5, 2006
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Top Jazz Guitar Players of All Time

With its smooth melodies and overall complexity, jazz is a genre that reaches to touch the depths of your soul. A skillful jazz guitarist can draw out feelings often left unsaid. While there are many greats to choose from, we have chosen five great jazz guitarists to celebrate their contributions. 5. Grant Green - Born in St. Louis, MO in the early 1930s, Grant Green began playing guitar at a young age, and was playing professionally as early as age 13. In addition to being influenced by Charlie Christian, Green was fond of the work of saxophonist Charlie Parker. This admiration is often thought to have been the reason for his more linear approach to jazz guitar. Other styles that influenced Green include hard bop, soul, R&B, and blues. A Gibson ES-330 and the D’Aquisto New Yorker are examples of guitars that Green played during his career.  For an example of Grant Green’s style check out “Idle Moments.”   4. Charlie Christian – Taught by his father, Charlie Christian learned guitar to help support his family while growing up in Oklahoma City, OK.  Playing in the section of NE Second Street in Oklahoma City called “Deep Deuce,” Christian gained recognition and was brought to the attention of John Hammond.  It was through this connection that Christian was able to audition and then play with Benny Goodman.  Christian played a Gibson ES-150.  To hear Charlie in action, listen to “Solo Flight.”   3. Django Reinhardt – A virtuoso and pioneer of hot jazz guitar, Django Reinhardt captivates with his unique technique and improvisation.  Born in Belgium, Django and his family belonged to a group of gypsies.  Having musical influences early in life, Reinhardt was earning money through playing by 13 years old.  At 18, Django was severely injured in a fire that took the use of the third and fourth fingers of his left hand.  He picked up the guitar and taught himself to play despite the injury.  The video of “J'attendrai Swing” provides a great opportunity to see Django’s guitar technique.   2. Joe Pass – From the age of nine, Joe Pass began harnessing his musical abilities with the encouragement of his father.  Known for his use of walking bass lines, knowledge of chord inversions and progressions, and improvisation techniques, Pass has had a substantial influence on the genre.  He recorded with greats like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald throughout his career.  Guitars he played include the Fender Jazzmaster, Gibson ES175, and D’Aquisto guitars.  To hear a sample of Joe Pass’ work, listen to “All the Things You Are.”   1. Wes Montgomery – With his smooth melodies and easy technicality, Wes Montgomery earns the top spot in our list of top jazz guitarists.  A native of Indiana, Montgomery taught himself how to play guitar while listening to other guitarists, such as Charlie Christian.  He played without use of a guitar pick, which was unheard of during his time.  He also is attributed with developing the use of octaves while solo playing.  During his career Wes twice won the Grammy for “Best Instrumental Jazz Performance.”  Montgomery played a Gibson L-5CES guitar.  To hear the master at work, listen to “Round Midnight.”   Jazz music is known for its guitarists, and there is a long list of greats to consider.  These are our top picks, but we’d love to hear yours.  Who would be in your top five lists of all time great jazz guitarists? Keep Rockin'!!! Hands001 by Balloon Lady taken on June 16, 2007 Grant Green by superde1uxe taken on November 12, 2005
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Top Indie Rock Guitar Players of All Time

If you prefer the road less traveled, and enjoy things that are a bit off beat, you may appreciate the sounds of the alternative or indie rock scene.  While it has made its way into the mainstream, many artists have continued to channel the sounds that epitomize the genre.  The indie scene has produced its fair share of great guitarists, and we have chosen the top five indie rock guitarists.  Join us as we count them down.   5. Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse, The Cribs) - Whether it was with The Smiths or Modest Mouse, Johnny Marr’s guitar playing has made its mark.  Born in England in 1963, he has become an influential member of the music scene.  Forming The Smiths in 1982, Marr’s distinct playing style defined the sound of the band.  He created this sound on a Fender Telecaster.  He went on to participate in a variety of other bands, as well as have a successful solo career.  Other guitars that he has used include a Rickenbacker 330 and a Gibson SG.  The Smiths’ “What Difference Does It Make” will introduce you to his style.   4. Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) - With a talent for playing a variety of instruments, Greenwood studied viola at Oxford University.  It was while there that he began playing with Radiohead, and ultimately left school without completing his degree to pursue the band opportunity.  His style has been called aggressive and even described as “abusive guitar.”  His influences include jazz and classical music, and he often played the Fender Telecaster Plus and a Starcaster.  While he has also pursued opportunities composing classical  orchestral works, he has built a legacy in the indie rock genre.    While there are many great examples of his work, listen to Radiohead’s “Anyone Can Play Guitar” to get a taste.   3. Graham Coxon (Blur) - Graham Coxon was born in West Germany in 1969, but later moved to and grew up in England.  In London, he studied Fine Arts until he left when Blur began to grow in popularity.  In addition to his work with Blur, he has also released several solo guitar albums.  He has played with various guitars, including a Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul Custom, and a Burns London Sonic.  Listen to his style in Blur’s “Look Inside America.”   2. Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) -  Heavily influenced by blues, Dan Auerbach grew up in Akron, Ohio.  He gathered his influence from blues rock and the bluegrass music he and his family played.  He began playing with The Barnburners before he formed the band The Black Keys.  While their sound has evolved since their beginning in 2001, you can still hear the blues style prevalent in their music.  Auerbach has said that he does not stick to one guitar, but likes to choose the one that best suits the song he is playing.  Makes of guitars include Fender, Teisco Del Ray, Harmony, Supro, Silvertone, and National.  Examples of specific guitars are the Supro Val Trol and the Harmony Stratotone.  Not only does he play, but he likes to collect guitars that are different.  Hear the blues influence while listening to songs like The Black Keys’ “Set You Free.”   1. Britt Daniel  (Spoon) -  Born and raised in Texas, Britt Daniel considered himself a well-rounded musician.  His father had an appreciation for music and collected classic guitars.  It wasn’t until high school that Daniel began playing guitar, but once he did, he was hooked.  While he has been involved in many musical acts, it was the band he formed in 1993, Spoon, that he is most known for.  Playing a Gibson ES-335, Daniel continues to deliver an interesting point of view to the indie scene.  For a glimpse into his sound listen to Spoon’s “The Underdog.”   With their alternative point of view, these are our picks for the top guitar players of indie rock.  What do you think?  Let us know by sharing your top five. Keep Rockin'!!! Johnny Marr by Man Alive! taken on October 29, 2011
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Top Jam Band Guitar Players of All Time

With no regard for the boundaries of genres and love of expressive improvisation, jam bands are characterized by their robust sound.  As a category of music that requires versatile and creative musicianship, the guitarists born from it are something to behold.  The top five list of jam band guitarists to follow is a tribute to the talent the jam band produces.  Let’s count them down.   5. Richard On (O.A.R.): The early 90’s marked the beginning of both O.A.R.’s and Richard On’s musical careers.  The members were schoolmates while living in Rockville, MD.  By the mid-90’s, the band was recording their first album.  Their musical influence includes both hints of reggae and pop-rock.   One of the staples of the O.A.R. sound lies with On’s 1963 John Cruz Fender Masterbuilt Strat.  In addition, On also plays two Fender Telecasters, and a 314ce Taylor Acoustic.  Hear On’s skill as he plays in O.A.R.’s “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker.”   4. Dave Matthews (Dave Matthews Band):  Born in South Africa, Dave Matthews is an American musician best known for his band, Dave Matthews Band.  Matthews began playing guitar at age 9, and  at 24 was when he thought of creating his own band.  Rather than incorporating a lot of solo work Matthews’ guitar playing style is largely acoustic and rhythmic.  He uses a wide array of acoustic guitars from both Martin and Taylor.  Taylor Guitars also has a signature guitar named for Matthews.  In addition, he has played a Fender Stratocaster and a Jerry Jones Baritone electric guitar.  A great example of Matthews’ musical point of view is the Dave Matthews Band, “Jimi Thing.”   3. Trey Anastasio (Phish): Trey Anastasio was born in Texas, raised in New Jersey, and attended the University of Vermont.  It was while in college that he met several other musicians that began to play together as Phish.  They incorporate styles from genres like reggae to barbershop quartet, and everything in between.  Anastasio’s playing style incorporates modal themes and the pentatonic scale.  He achieves his sound through use of guitars built by Languedoc specifically for him.  The work he did with Phish is often credited for reviving the jam band scene.  His technique and unique sound can be heard in Phish’s “Heavy Things.”     2. Duane Allman & Gregg Allman (The Allman Brothers Band): As this duo epitomizes the jam band style, it is difficult call out one without the other.  Forming in 1969, The Allman Brothers Band incorporated jazz, blues, and country elements into their style which has become known as southern rock.  Even with his untimely death, Duane is often high on the list of great guitarist rankings for his contributions.  Gregg has been showered with his fair share of accolades as well.  Guitars used include the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, and a Fender Stratocaster, among others.  The Allman Brothers Band’s “Jessica” is a great example of their musical style.  A nice Duane Allman solo can be heard in “Blue Sky,” and if you check out Gregg Allman in “Come and Go Blues” you’ll get an idea of their separate talents.   1. Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead): Often credited with being originators of the jam band concept, The Grateful Dead and their talented guitarist incorporated elements across many genres.  This was inclusive of blues, jazz, space rock, psychedelia, folk, and reggae.  Garcia was born in California to a musical family.  He played piano from an early age, was given a banjo by his grandmother, and at the age 15 received his first electric guitar.  In 1965, The Grateful Dead was formed by Jerry and several others.  He played a variety of guitars including Guild Starfire, Gibson SG, a Fender Stratocaster, and several Doug Irwin Custom guitars.  Improvisation was normal for Garcia and The Grateful Dead, and they were known to never play a song the exact same way.  To hear Garcia’s skill, listen to The Grateful Dead’s “Jack Straw.”   Now that we’ve made our way through our top five picks of jam band greats, we’d love to hear your perspective.  Share your own list of the greatest jam band guitarists.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Keep Rockin'!!! Richard On by MJLphoto.com taken on July 26, 2008
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Top Blues Guitar Players of All Time

As a great blues guitarist moves masterfully over the fretboard, they will tug wordlessly at your innermost thoughts and emotions. A genre often known for its sorrowful and soul-wrenching melodies produced some of the most soulful guitarists in the world. We will take a moment to honor the genre by listing five top blues guitarists.   5. T-Bone Walker – With his groundbreaking electric guitar sound, T-Bone Walker was essential to making blues what it is today.  Born in Linden, Texas, Walker was influenced by his family’s musical roots and taught to play the guitar by his step-father.  By age 15, Walker was performing professionally, and in 1929 made his first recording.  His distinctive style included smooth phrasing, vibrato, and bluesy bends.  Playing a Gibson, Walker stamped his legacy on the blues genre.  Listen to “T-Bone Blues” to hear Walker’s work.   4. Robert Johnson – Surrounded by myth and mystery, Robert Johnson has become a well-known blues guitarist and singer.  Most are familiar with him due to the legend that he sold his soul to the devil to acquire his guitar playing talent.  He primarily played on street corners of towns in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee.   Like many great musicians, he was not recognized widely for his influence until after his death.  Other musicians that knew him said he played Stella and Kalamazoo guitars.  To experience the soulful mastery of Robert Johnson, listen to “Cross Road Blues.”   3. Eric Clapton – While known for a variety musical styles, blues is at the heart and soul of Eric Clapton.  Raised in a family full of musical influence, Eric asked for a guitar at the age of 13.  Blues spoke to Clapton at a young age, and became an integral part of his musical career.  Guitarists that impacted Clapton include B.B. King, Freddie King, and Robert Johnson.  Johnson’s influence is made evident by Clapton’s covers of several of his songs.  Throughout his storied career, Eric has used many guitars.  These include the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Telecaster.  Listen to Clapton play the blues style in “Bell Bottom Blues.”   2. Stevie Ray Vaughan – A native of Dallas, Texas, Stevie Ray Vaughan began pouring his soul into the guitar at the age of 7.  After age 17, Vaughan played in several bands until 1979 when the band Double Trouble was formed.  In the early 80s, David Bowie and Jackson Browne heard them play which eventually led to a record contract.  Vaughan’s style includes use of tremolo picking and vibrato, and his balance of technicality and soul are breathtaking.  His influences include blues, rock, and jazz.  Vaughan primarily played a Fender Stratocaster.  Let Vaughan tug at your core as you listen to “Texas Flood.”   1. BB King – Many consider him the most influential blues guitarists of all time, and that is evidenced by the inspiration he has given so many blues, electric blues, and rock guitarists.  B.B. King was born in Mississippi, grew up singing in the gospel choir, and got his first guitar at age 12.  Through his long and famed career, he has released over 50 albums.  From humble beginnings playing on the corner to his international fame, B.B. King honed his craft and has a distinct style that are staples to achieve the blues guitar style of today.  He is known for playing variants of a Gibson ES-355.  With his multiple Grammy awards and induction into both the Blues and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame, he is a living legend.  Listen to his mastery of blues guitar in “The Thrill is Gone.”   Many legends of blues guitar are evident throughout the genre’s storied history.  These are the great blues guitarists that we have chosen.  Tell us what you think.  Who would be your top 5? Keep Rockin'!!! Blues guitar by Elfike taken on April 6, 2006
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Top Classic Rock Guitar Players of All Time

Smashing guitars and overall destruction have become synonymous with the rebellious attitude of the 60s and 70s.  Drawing from foundations in other genres, such as jazz and blues, classic rock has become a well-known and beloved musical genre of its own.  There are a host of great guitarists that have catapulted to legendary status, and we have chosen the top five and listed them below.   5. Angus Young (AC/DC): A native of Scotland, Angus Young is known for his lead guitar and songwriting roles for AC/DC.  He was born in Scotland, but he and his family immigrated to Australia in 1963.  He began playing on a restrung banjo, but later got a Gibson SG in 1970.  He and his brother formed AC/DC when he was 18.  His guitar playing incorporates blues with hints of Scottish folk music in addition to power chords.  Young is a fiery guitarist known for putting on a good show.  Listen to him tear it up in AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock.”   4. Pete Townshend (The Who): An electrifying and charismatic guitarist, Pete Townshend received his first guitar at the age of 12.  He was born in London and was interested in music at an early age.  He found his first band in 1961, and within a few years they formed The Who.  He developed a signature “windmill” arm movement as he played, and also was one of the first musicians to be known for smashing his guitar.  Townshend made feedback an integral part of his style and overall sound during his career.  He has played several Fender and Gibson guitars during his career including a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson SG model.  Hear Townshend’s style in The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”   3. Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple): Bringing together classical music and blues, Ritchie Blackmore has had success with Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Blackmore’s Night.  A British musician, he was given a guitar by his father under the agreement that Blackmore would learn to play properly by taking guitar lessons.  While he has primarily played a Fender Stratocaster, Blackmore also played a Gibson ES-335 during his early career.  He is known for pairing dominant minor scales with blue scales and phrasing.  He is skilled in styles ranging from the progressive rock to more traditional folk rock.  Learn more about Ritchie Blackmore by listening to Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.”   2. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin): Considered one of the most influential guitarists, Jimmy Page has left his mark on the classic rock world.  Growing up in London, his first guitar came to him by chance at age 12.  Page did take lessons, but was mostly self-taught.  He has a variety of musical influences that include roots in rock, blues, and folk.  He began his career as a session musician, and joined The Yardbirds in the mid-60s, which became Led Zeppelin.  Guitars used by Page include the Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson EDS-1275, and a Martin D28.  With his epic riffs and technical abilities, Page will continue to be a legend of classic rock.  Experience Jimmy Page’s talent by listening to Led Zepplin’s “Kashmir” or “Stairway to Heaven.”   1. Jimi Hendrix: It could be argued that Hendrix transcends categorization.  In a short time, not only did he redefine rock music, he changed the perception of what a guitarist and guitar could be combined to achieve.  From humble beginnings, he received his first guitar at age 15 and then received his first electric guitar, a Supro Ozark 1560S.  The Jimi Hendrix Experience enjoyed success in the UK, and upon returning to the US in 1967 finally gained momentum.  Hendrix’s musical influences include blues, jazz, R&B, and rock.  His primary guitar was a Fender Stratocaster.  Listen to a legend in action in “All Along the Watchtower.” This is our take on the great guitarists of classic rock.  Reading through the above list, you may have thought of your own top five list.  We’d love to hear what you think. Keep Rockin'!!! Rock Me! by saturn taken on February 24, 2010
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