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.
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!”