Oh, for fuck’s sake! I’ve written this damned intro 25 times already!
If you don’t know what I’m doing, why are you even here?!?
I ain’t even gonna link to the (not updated) complete list. It’s in the upper right. Click it, if you want to. You can also use the category – it’s a link! Just click on ‘greatest guitarists’ and it’ll happily whisk you away to view ’em until you’re contented.
I’ve told you all this before! Sheesh!
The damned morons at Rolling Stone Magazine (and other publications) have decided to call Jimi Hendrix the greatest guitarist. Because they’re a pack of window-licking mental handicaps with signs of fetal alcohol poisoning, they appear to have not been the least bit objective about this designation.
It is my opinion that the phrase ‘greatest guitarist’ is a technical qualification. It’s still not possible to be 100% objective and it’s exceedingly difficult to actually rank some of these musicians individually based on any metrics.
The one thing these people have in common, often adjusted for the era, is that they’re more proficient guitarists than Hendrix was.
This doesn’t mean I don’t like Hendrix. (I get that accusation with some regularity.) No, I love Hendrix. He was a brilliant artist, great inspiration, and made some pretty awesome sounds with his guitar.
However… He was not a very skilled guitarist – when compared to the guitarists on my list. I can, and might just do it, list hundreds of guitarists who are more adept at the instrument. Seriously, I can keep this list up for a long, long time!
I take into account such things as ability to demonstrate an understanding of music theory, composition completeness, mastery of technique, consistency, and depth of tone knowledge. I also take into account some less tangible things, some things harder to quantify, such as innovation and influence.
The word “like” has pretty much no place on my list. It doesn’t matter if I like the music they made. I’m not judging them on their ability to make art. I’m judging them on their ability to play their fucking instrument.
It hasn’t happened in a while, but some of my earlier articles got responses like, “There’s no such thing as bad guitar playing.” Sometimes, it’s phrased as something like, “You can’t judge art.” They’ll happily tell me that it’s a matter of preference.
A master classical guitarist plays better than your six year old child that just picked up a guitar and plucked three strings. Classical guitar is more difficult, more technically demanding, than grunge. Four-finger tapping is more difficult than playing chords. These are objective truths.
With regards to this list, your preferences are as unimportant as my own. While I do like many of the guitarists on this list, that’s not actually a requirement.
In fact, there are many guitarists on this list that I don’t regularly listen to – and I’m sure as shit not suggesting that you decide to start doing so. Liking them is subjective and this is an attempt to be objective.
After all, if you’re handing out awards that purport indicate greatness status with an instrument, that should be an objective decision. If you call Jimi Hendrix the “Greatest Rock Artist” then I’ll bitch a lot less.
And, yes… It’s a personal thing. It is without (much) pride that I objectively state that I play Hendrix better than Hendrix played Hendrix. Not only can I faithfully replicate him, I can even replicate his mistakes.
I can’t write like Hendrix. I can’t compose like Hendrix. I can’t compile innovations like Hendrix. I will never innovate like Hendrix.
In fact, my greatest guitar innovation is eating a bunch of acid and playing a guitar with a metal coat hanger. Let’s just agree that that sort of thing is absolutely never gonna leave the studio!
But, from a technical standpoint, I can sure as fuck play guitar better than he did. I don’t even have to set a guitar on fire! In fact, the idea of setting a guitar on fire is something that I am mortified by! That’s just horrible! Horrible!
Ya know… I tell you the same thing – pretty much every week.
Raise your hand if you just skip right over the intro…
Ha! Caught you! If you skipped over the intro, you’d have not read that!
This artist may not seem, to today’s ears, to really rate being on my list. However, they have influenced your playing – and you may not even know who they are. In their day, they were the top player and, as mentioned, we have to take the era into account.
Even if we don’t adjust for the era, they’re still better than Hendrix – but they’re probably not better than someone like Vai – unless we do that era adjustment.
Let’s introduce ’em!
Continue reading “The list continues with the 26th guitarist better than Hendrix!”