Dickey Betts, of Allman Brothers fame.

Today is Thursday, the day we usually have a guitarist better than Hendrix.

A fella named Dickey Betts will eventually be on this list, but today is not that day. He also wasn’t going to get mentioned this high on the list – but he’s certainly slated to be included, assuming the list lasts that long.

Betts had a mild stroke, back in August. This forced him to cancel his tour. He was not just doing well, he was doing very well – and his recovery was ahead of schedule. He was slated to begin touring again in November, with the Dickey Betts Band.

Yesterday, he was playing with his dog and fell. In the fall, he stuck his head. This caused bleeding on the brain, like the RHCP song.

“But from my brain is where I bleed.” – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Soul to Squeeze

Unlike the song, this is generally considered a Very Bad Thing©.

He’s now listed in critical, but stable, condition at an undisclosed hospital. You can read more about it here. There’s also this official notice here – and I’d expect the site to update us as time passes.

He is expected to undergo surgery today, the 20th of September.

He has been a monument, and a foundation, to rock and the guitar. Unfortunately, I am not prepared to write about him today.

If you’re interested in his life, use a damned search engine!

Or, you know, read Wikipedia’s entry on Dickey Betts.

I would like to take a moment to wish him well and to remind his friends and family that he’s greatly appreciated, the world over. His work gets covered with great frequency and he has himself continued to influence and entertain, even beyond the Allman Brothers.

His impact on my passion, that is the guitar, is significant and I hope he has a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

Let’s listen to some tunes while we wait for news!

And, I’ll still share one for the road…

He’s been giving us music for about 50 years. Even Rolling Stone, those dirty heathens, were smart enough to include ’em on their list of the greatest guitarists. (I think they put ’em in about 60th position.)

I wish him well and I’d like to hope the rest of our community does the same. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Damned right, it’s time for the 27th guitarist better than Hendrix!

Oh, man… When I first started this project, I expected to get bored and quit – after about three entries. This list is actually the primary motivation that I had for even starting this site.

Those motivations and expectations have long-since changed. What was once a halfhearted attempt to show that it could be done has turned into this site, and all the effort that involves.

It’s usually pretty exciting for me to write the articles that make up this particular series. For some reason, I’m just not that excited today. I don’t know why. If I knew why, I’d change it!

Today’s entry onto the list of Guitarists Better Than Hendrix is a fantastic artist, and even an interesting character. I should be far more excited to write about ’em than I am.

Indeed, I was pretty damned excited when I started drafting and researching ’em. I’m not sure what happened, but I suspect that the excitement paled when compared to other recent events.

It’s probably not that it became less exciting, it’s that other events were much more exciting. For example, I’ve had a good time sharing EH’s experiences with her first new guitar but that doesn’t seem article-worthy and, besides, it’s Thursday and that’s the day we do the Guitarists Better Than Hendrix!

If you don’t know, a bunch of illiterate people got together and began snorting mounds of cocaine. The cocaine soon ran out, so they began sniffing glue. Those people, gainfully employed by Rolling Stone, declared that Jimi Hendrix was the greatest guitarist ever.

They’re wrong, of course.

I wouldn’t mind, but their ignorant gibberish has influenced millions of people. We now have many, many people who are convinced that Hendrix was the greatest guitarist – ever.

They’re wrong.

As a guitarist, I strongly believe that “greatest guitarist” should be a technical award. It should be based on quantifiable metrics. It should be objective – as much as is humanly possible. Sure, at the end of the day it’s still art – but it’s possible to be reasonably objective.

Y’all can call Hendrix things like, “Greatest Rock Artist Ever!” That’s fine. That’s not a problem. That’s subjective and doesn’t detract from the many people who have dedicated their lives to actually mastering their instruments and have managed to do so.

I’m not suggesting, or even implying, that I don’t like Hendrix. I’m absolutely not insisting you dislike him. I fucking love Hendrix! He just wasn’t a great guitarist in the technical sense of the word. He couldn’t even play the same thing twice – even if he wanted to.

Hendrix inspired, created, composed, and added to the wealth that is music history. He just wasn’t a very good guitarist.

No, your liking his music has nothing to do with it. Even my liking of his music has nothing to do with it. Our musical preferences have zero to do with this list. Words like “art” and “style” don’t even really have much of a place on this list.

I know… I’ve said much the same before. In fact, I say pretty much the same thing in every single one of these articles. Well, I’ve got to write a damned intro and it might as well be informative! Also, I get some of the same commentary and questions – every single week.

Strangely, some of those questions and comments come from people who obviously didn’t read the article. Let’s take a moment to make fun of them. Let’s all enjoy a moment of juvenile insulting those who don’t read the articles before commenting!

~waits a moment for you to get all your best insults out~

Done? Good. Fuck ’em. They’re not gonna read it anyhow! We can say whatever we damned well want about ’em!

Seriously… I’ve had (multiple) people actively refuse to read the article that already provided all the answers they wanted to argue about. They’ve neither taken the time or made the effort to learn and just want to argue. I’ve tried to figure out what things are like from their perspective, to understand their philosophy, but that is harder than it appears to be. I just can’t do it – and I’ve tried.

Do, please, feel free to let me know what sort of motivations they might have? I don’t really understand and I can’t really figure out how to put myself into their shoes or see things from their perspective? It’s one of those things that I don’t understand.

My guess is that they’re somehow emotionally invested in their understanding and opinions? Maybe they’re just not interested in understanding the topic? I’d like to think I’ve made it clear that I don’t dislike Hendrix, but they often seem to think that I do. I fucking love Hendrix! He’s just wasn’t a great guitarist in the sense of the phrase that I’m using.

Someone on Phuks once referred to it as “Hendrix worship.” I think that phrase might suit. Unfortunately, they deleted their account and I can’t actually credit ’em with coining the phrase. So, maybe it’s that people don’t want to admit flaws in their heroes? Maybe it’s that people want to maintain the illusion of perfection?

The thing is, this list doesn’t make Hendrix any less influential. It doesn’t make him any less a brilliant composer. It doesn’t make him any less a fantastic artist and absolutely stunning performer.

His ability to wow an audience is something I personally study to this day – and that’s kinda how I know he wasn’t actually a great guitarist. It is from this study that I’ve had the chance to observe his work and realized that he was unable to replicate his own work and could actually observe the limits of his understanding. To put it another way, he couldn’t play the same thing twice.

It is that he was able to accomplish all those thing with just a very limited skillset that is fantastic and something that should be celebrated and understood. If anything, Hendrix should be celebrated and be considered an inspiration because he shows that it doesn’t require that you master your instrument to make good music.

‘Cause he sure as fuck didn’t master his instrument.

No… He set it on fire. There’s a difference!

(Oh, man… If y’all knew how much I chuckled when writing these… I crack me up!)

So, let’s move on and actually see which guitarist is given the accolades this week!
Continue reading “Damned right, it’s time for the 27th guitarist better than Hendrix!”

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The list continues with the 26th guitarist better than Hendrix!

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.

Bullshit.

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!

Anyhow…

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!”

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25… This is the 25th guitarist better than Hendrix.

I can keep doing this – for a long time. I get asked how long I can keep this list going, or similar, pretty much once a week. The answer is, “A long damned time! Hendrix was not that good, according to the metrics used.”

I also frequently get people who seem to think I hate Hendrix. I do not. Hendrix has a value and was a great asset to the instrument I know and love, something I’m pretty passionate about.

He just wasn’t a good technical guitarist, and that’s okay. He still made brilliant music – within his limitations. That’s okay. For all the novel things he’s credited with, he largely just put those together in a creative fashion and did so with a rather limited skillset.

The other day, I showed someone just eight notes of a scale and told them that there were infinite bitchin’ solos within those eight notes. If that makes sense to you, then it also makes sense that I absolutely love Hendrix. He just wasn’t a very technically adept guitarist.

I pretty much tell you this every week, you know. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to remind you – but I do, ’cause I get the same questions every week.

Yada yada… There’s a link in the upper right, it’s not up to date. Rolling Stone sucks. Most ‘greatest guitarist’ lists are horrible because they use shitty metrics. You know… The same shit I tell you every week!

I don’t have time for that nonsense! I want to write about my next guitarist.

This week, I’ve set myself a challenge! This one is going to be tricky to justify. As always, you are free to move ’em about the list – but I’m gonna provide justification for inclusion on the list.
Continue reading “25… This is the 25th guitarist better than Hendrix.”

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Here we go again! The 24th guitarist better than Hendrix!

If you’re wondering how long I can keep this series up, let’s just say there’s a whole lot of guitarists that are better than Hendrix. I haven’t even gotten to the more obscure guitarists. This could take years, at the rate of one a week.

I ain’t scared.

I will say that I get far less negative feedback than I anticipated. People tend to defend the status quo and Hendrix is considered the greatest guitarist – by many people. They’re wrong, of course. I mean, come the fuck on… I’ve explained this 23 times already and in at least 100 different comment relies for the people who refused to actually read the damned article.

I told you that I wasn’t scared.

If you think Hendrix was the greatest technical guitarist then you’re wrong. Your the victim of horrible propaganda.

First, the term ‘greatest guitarist’ should refer to an objective criteria. Second, artistic value is not an objective criteria. Finally, technical ability (and a variety of previously covered metrics that further break it down) is an objective criteria.

The dirty rotten liars that are pundits and media have (mostly) all agreed that they’ll call Hendrix the greatest guitarist when Hendrix doesn’t always even rise to the level of very good. If you don’t believe me, listen to the entirety of his live material.

(I can go on like this, for hours…)

I think I’ve covered it enough times. I’m not even going to stoop to the level of insulting Rolling Stone magazine, specifically. Nope. We already know they’re a bunch of heathens who aren’t even qualified to edit a classified ads section! I don’t need to resort to falsehoods to tell you about them!

Rolling Stone was never really good – but they used to be better. Anyone who insists that Rolling Stone was once good, is probably suffering from something called “selection bias.” They remember the good articles, but not all the shit that they’ve published over the many iterations that are their history. They’ve made quite a few changes throughout their publication history, but I don’t really think that’s an appropriate topic for this site. So, I won’t get deeply into it. That’ll save some time!

I need to make something very clear.

I’m reaching the point where I’m no longer able to be completely objective.

These guitarists have one thing in common and that’s that they’re far more deserving of the title “Greatest Guitarist” than Hendrix was. I also quite enjoy telling you about guitarists that you probably don’t know about.

But, it’s really hard to say that one guitarist, at this level, was truly better than the next guitarist that also plays at this level.

Which is to say, I can’t really be certain that guitarist #10 is better than guitarist #11. I can’t say that guitarist #15 is better than guitarist #22 – at least not in any significant manner, that I could state with complete confidence.

So, if you don’t agree with my placement, you can switch ’em around. You can add other people to the list. You can write your own damned list, if you want. In fact, I encourage you to write your own damned list. But, for the record, this one is mine. I’m also pretty qualified to opine, and quite a bit of it is opinion.

Which brings me to my next guitarist…

I’m not really sure where this guy should go. He’s better than Hendrix, that’s for damned sure. But, does he go higher than other people on my list? Possibly not and I could see this argued either way. I can see legitimate arguments for a different spot on the list.

So, my placement of this artist is not truly objective.

I also have a clear bias in this week’s choice. I will disclose this.

I’ve been writing about obscure artists, quite frequently. This week, I want to tell you about a guitarist that you know about already, but you probably don’t know that much about him. We can all agree he’s pretty fucking awesome – and anyone that disagrees is wrong. That’s just fact!

So, come join me on my grand stoned adventure, while I tell you about the next guitarist on my list! (You knew damned well what you were getting into when you clicked the link. I ain’t even sorry, or scared!)
Continue reading “Here we go again! The 24th guitarist better than Hendrix!”

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Damned right. I’m back and it’s time for the 23rd guitarist better than Hendrix!

I’m pretty excited to write this one! I am not even feeling any time pressure or even the slightest bit concerned that it was published exactly at 10:00 Eastern. I think this is a good thing.

Besides, I wasn’t here. I sneaked away for the early morning hours. I checked on the blueberry harvest and stole about a half hour to fish a little trout stream that nobody appears to know about. Which is exactly why I’ll not be disclosing the location!

Either way, I’m pretty damned excited to write this and that’s refreshing. As I said yesterday, I believe my creativity bone is on the mend.

If you don’t know what I’m doing, why the hell are you even reading my site? I’ve explained it… Not only that, I’ve explained it 22 times already!

The wholly-unqualified, mentally-stunted, short-bus-riding, window-lickers that call themselves “journalists” while being barely capable of coherent thought, got employed by a company called Rolling Stone Magazine. How do you know they’re unqualified? They put Jimi Hendrix as the greatest guitar to every play the guitar.

They’re wrong.

They’re wrong by my definition and with my metrics. Frankly, I’m far more qualified to offer an opinion than the mentally handicapped RSM journalists.

It’s my opinion that “Greatest Guitarist” should be an objective statement, inasmuch as is humanly possible. Words like “passion” or “soul” have no place in this. Words such as “popular” or “like” are also not important for this.

If you want to make a list that takes those qualities into account, call it Greatest Artist, or something similar. Calling Jimi the Greatest Guitarist is a disservice to those of us who have spent ungodly hours learning to play and is a figurative slap in the face to those who have mastered the guitar.

You don’t have to agree. However, your disagreement should be predicated on your understanding of the topic and your qualifications to actually offer an opinion of merit. If you don’t agree, feel free to explain why.

If you seriously disagree, you can make your own damned list. I’ll even help you get it published. My argument stands on its own and I’m very comfortable defending my conclusions. On top of that, I’d actually really just like to see you all taking the time to write and publish stuff! (I do have ulterior motives!)

If you want, you can see the people who have already made the list of guitarists better than Hendrix. I will tell you that it’s missing the last two, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t gotten around to updating it – but I’ll get there.

Note:

I’ve made some effort to place these guitarists carefully into their positions. I’ve tried to rank them according to ability, but that’s really subjective. My method has sort of been based on how difficult they are to replicate.

This means you can swap these artists around on the list. You can take the one in tenth position and swap them with the one in fourth and, at the end of the day, the main point remains the same. The point is that they’re more skillful than Hendrix ever was.

I also don’t know every single guitarist. Some of the previously featured guitarists are actually from recommendations from people like you. There are even more recommendations and I’ll get to them – as this list could go on for quite some time. (There were/are many guitarists more skilled than Hendrix.)

If you have a recommendation, don’t hesitate to contact me. If you want to recommend a guitarist for inclusion, please use that link. Using that link will keep them all in a central location and means that I’m more likely to consider them for inclusion on the list.

I spend a great deal of time (far more time than I spend writing) researching these guitarists. I know who they are but I’m not an encyclopedia and I don’t know all the little details for every artist. I make an effort to ensure that the information is factual and scour multiple sources.

If you spot an error, please let me know. If you need a citation, please let me know. One recent contact was about using the work for an academic project and wanted me to show them where I got the data. If you need such, do not hesitate to contact me.

I suspect this is going to be a very long article. You have been warned.

This next guitarist has quite a long history. I’m excited to write about him, because he’s been on of my greatest motivations. I’m hesitant to say he was an influence – but I was motivated to sound like him.

You may not even like the kind of music this next musician is known for. To say that he influenced a generation is an understatement. To say that he wasn’t truly a master guitarist would be false. To not include him on my list would just be silly!

Without further ado, our next artist…
Continue reading “Damned right. I’m back and it’s time for the 23rd guitarist better than Hendrix!”

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The 22nd Guitarist Better Than Hendrix!

Greetings and salutations to you, my dear reader!

I’m well aware that I’m late in publishing this, but that’s because I just couldn’t put my intended guitarist on the list and had to switch a few things around. I then spent last night, and a good part of this morning, doing some rapid research to freshen my memory about the next guitarist to make the list.

If you don’t know what I’m doing, I’d suggest reading any one of the other 21 articles on this list. In fact, here’s a list of guitarists better than Hendrix. Reading the intro to any one of those will help you understand what I’m doing. I’ve explained it – like 21 times already!

Basically, Rolling Stone Magazine (and other publications) keep sniffing a bunch of ether and then typing out lists that place Jimi Hendrix at the top of the list. These list get titled something like, “Greatest Guitarist!”

Frankly, that’s nonsense.

It is my belief that the “greatest guitarist” should be an objective standard and should be based on metrics such their ability to play the instrument. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

My list has nothing to do with passion, sole, or popularity. It’s about their ability to play their damned instrument, and not about who was a greater personality. Even if we consider influence, Hendrix is still not near the top of the list.

So, my list is as objective as I can make it. I’m not saying Jimi was a bad guitar player. I’m also not saying I don’t like him. Who I like has nothing to do with this list, ideally. (I am a human and some bias has surely crept through.)

Jimi was a great artist, fantastic performer, and a great asset to music. He just wasn’t all that adept at playing his instrument!

I got a funny comment recently. “Yeah, but when you hear a Jimi Hendrix song, you know it’s Hendrix.” They said this as if it was a valid rebuttal! It’s not. Hendrix sounded like Hendrix ’cause he didn’t have the technical ability to sound different!

So, my goal has been to fix this silly nonsense and establish a list of guitarists who are better than Hendrix. It’s not actually hard to find guitarists that play better!

And, as there’s some subjectivity, you’re certainly able to change the places about where these folks fall on the list. I’m not really going in order of best to worst but better than Hendrix, at least not after the first ten or so. Even there, one could reason their way to putting those artists in different locations.

There’s also guitarists that I don’t know about. Feel free to contact me and suggest them. I don’t actually know every guitarist out there, so I’m very much open to suggestions for inclusion.

Anyhow, let’s get to the point and get this next article published so that you can tell me how wrong you think I am!
Continue reading “The 22nd Guitarist Better Than Hendrix!”

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It’s time for the 21st guitarist better than Hendrix!

My regular readers (of which there are far more than I deserve) will know that my creativity bone is busted. That hasn’t stopped me from writing – but it has changed how I’m doing things.

You’re still getting an article a day, and yesterday marked the 100th article!

But, the truth is, writing this particular week’s Guitarist Better Than Hendrix is a bit like work. The fun isn’t gone, but it has become an obligation. I’m not sure who I’m obligated to – except I’m pretty sure it’s me. I kinda doubt too many folks would get pissy if I didn’t write this week’s article about a guitarist better than Hendrix, but I’d feel like I let myself down.

Why? I’m not really sure. To date, the ads have made like $10 and, frankly, I don’t actually even need the money.

But, when I think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s ’cause I’m still pissed at Rolling Stone, among others, who have done great guitarists the disservice of putting Hendrix on a pedestal he doesn’t deserve.

I say, with complete seriousness, that I play guitar better than Hendrix. That’s not ego (though I have plenty, perhaps too much) but a statement of reality. The reality is, Hendrix wasn’t a great guitarist by the metrics that I feel should be applied to such ratings.

I’ve been over that before and you can read the complete list here. The really short version is that ‘greatest’ should be a technical qualification with as much subjectivity removed as possible.

Those dirty rotten, mouth-breathing, degenerate, sons-of-dogs at Rolling Stone Magazine pounded their keyboards, while wearing mittens, and gleefully declared that Hendrix was the greatest. (You knew that was coming, right?) Well, not only them, but many other lemmings have followed suit.

In short, they’re wrong. They’re so wrong, that I’ve been able to demonstrate how wrong they were – 20 frigging times already!

And maybe that’s my obligation. I must fix this and let the world know that there are guitarists who have existed, and continue to exist, who play far better than Hendrix. Such as today’s featured guitarist…
Continue reading “It’s time for the 21st guitarist better than Hendrix!”

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Yes, it is time for the 20th guitarist that was better than Hendrix!

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.
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It’s true. Here’s the 19th guitarist better than Hendrix!

Heh… The 19th guitarist is being published on the 19th of the month! This means something!

Wait, no it doesn’t…

Well, it does mean that I’ve been at this for a while. In Internet Years, this site is now a grizzled old man. I publish these once per week and skipped just two weeks. That’s a long time, considering I expected to list just a few before I got bored.

I must say, it has been fun. You can read the list of featured guitarists (all of whom are better than Hendrix) by clicking this link. That link isn’t always updated as well as it should be but it’s pretty close and I try to get to that updating thing every week. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time.

Now, what is this list about? I’ve told you this before, but this could be the first time you’ve ever visited – so I’ll tell you again.

The unwashed mental midgets at Rolling Stone have made a number of lists. They’re not the only group of people who should have their fingers smashed with a ball-peen hammer and forbidden to type again. Lots of people make these lists. They’re just the ones I dislike the most, ’cause people consider them an authoritative source.

At the top of these lists, they put one Mr. Jimi Hendrix. That’s horrible. This mistake has permeated through society and now people think he was a great guitarist. They’re wrong. They’re horribly wrong.

The term greatest guitarist is a technical term. This should be measured objectively. The qualifications are ability to master the various techniques, understanding of music theory, versatility, innovation, ability to compose sound complex works, and consistency of quality – both in the studio and live.

It hasn’t got a damned thing to do with who we like best. It hasn’t got anything to do with who our favorite artists are. Those are subjective criteria and the term is “guitarist” and not “artist.” I’d have had no complaints (or at least far fewer) had they called him the greatest artist. But, when they call him the greatest guitarist, it’s personal and they’re doing many other actually great guitarists a disservice.

Many of the people on my list, and to be featured in the future, don’t get nearly the accolades they deserve. They’re overshadowed by the looming figure that is Hendrix when they are, by objective measurement, better than he was on his best day.

It’s not about who we like the best. It’s not about who we prefer to listen to. It’s not about who had the most hits. It’s not about popular sentiment. It’s about greatness defined as a technical skill and trying to be objective as humanly possible.

And, our next guitarist is just that. His worst day was more technically adept than Hendrix’s best day. And, like many on this list, you can change him around and place him higher or lower on the list. One thing that I don’t think is deniable is that he was a far more adept guitarist than Hendrix was.
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