I guess you could say that I’ve been writing these for 22 weeks now. Two weeks were taken off and so I’ve missed two. On the other hand, I’ve been saying this for decades – so I’ve really been working on this longer than that. Here is a complete list of guitarists so far featured.
But, even if we just count the twenty artists that I’ve featured, that’s still a long time in Internet years. How long will the list go on? I don’t really know. There are lots of guitarists who were better than Hendrix.
Some weeks, I get complaints from people who don’t seem to actually have any interest in learning what this list is about. They think I just hate Hendrix. They think there’s no such thing as a guitarist that is better than another.
Strangely, pretty much all of them choose to offer their opinions without having actually read the articles. I’m not absolutely positive what makes them do this, but I’m pretty sure they do this because they see this as damaging their egos. After all, I challenge a belief they’ve been told to hold and they don’t actually know what this list is for.
The reality is, It’s not easy to articulate the reasons for this list – unless I’m discussing it with someone who is either a guitarist or someone who is very interested in music. Most of the complaints come from people who don’t fit into either of those categories.
Each week, I try to explain it in new ways. Each week, I try to use new verbiage and express my thoughts and criteria. This week, I’m going to do no such thing. This week, I’m not even going to bother putting any great effort into it.
Why not? Because the people who argue aren’t actually going to read it. The people who already understand aren’t going to need to read it again.
So, a very short version is in order!
Rolling Stone is one of many magazines that has rated Jimi Hendrix as the best guitarist. From a technical standpoint, that’s not even remotely correct. It’s my assertion that the term best guitarist should be one of technical merit and not one based on popularity.
And, unless I’m with a bunch of other guitarists, few people seem to even understand what that means. I don’t know what they think it is that we do with our guitars, but I can assure you that we’re not equal in skill. Unfortunately, the possibly inbred, inebriated, know-nothings at RSM have shat out article after article that demonstrates their mental deficiency and have convinced people that Hendrix was not just a great guitarist, but that he was also the greatest guitarist.
They’re wrong. They aren’t just wrong, they’re leading otherwise nice people to believe horrible lies. Hendrix was a fine artist and his performances were astonishing. I love his music. I love his art. I love his statements. I love covering him. I love to take one of his songs and noodle on it for hours. He just wasn’t a very good guitarist – by my metrics and, frankly, my metrics are the metrics that should matter for determining greatness as applicable to the word guitarist.
Hmm… Okay, so that wasn’t nearly as short as I’d expected it to be! Well, it should be okay. By now, you know coming to this site means that you won’t be getting things that fit on a bumper sticker. Being verbose is kind of what I do!
I’d also like to take a moment to stress, now more than ever, that this list isn’t actually in any specific order. For the first ten, maybe the first fifteen, I was pretty good about placing them where I felt they belonged – in order of greatness and according to the metrics I’ve set for deciding this.
The reality is, you can switch these artists around. This is going to become more and more true as the list progresses. They all have just a couple things in common. They all played guitar and they all have played it better than Hendrix did.
So, you may prefer (or even objectively rate) Vai as better than Zappa. Feel free to rate them yourself. Feel free to use your own criteria and make your own list. If you do make such a list, feel free to let me know that you’re making it and I’ll give you some exposure to get you started.
Speaking of exposure… Our next artist is one who seems to suffer from an exposure issue. Oh, you know who she is – or you’re at least familiar with her. However, few people can name her and remember why it is they know her. Let’s give her some of the recognition that she’s earned.
Continue reading “Yes, it is time for the 20th guitarist that was better than Hendrix!”