Paul Rigby offers a personal take on his Top 10 Best Guitarists…
…while also listing a few ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for any aspiring axe men out there.
So who are your favourites?
I’d love to see your Top 10, 5 or just a single favourite of yours. Any genre, any time period.
If you’d like to add context and explain why, then you’re welcome to do that too.
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To see the video, click below…
David M Bugg4th March 2020 at 9:52 pm
Please also post a written list. While I would like to take 25 minutes to get the contenders, I do not have the time when I just want to do a quick peek. Later, when time is available, I can have the enjoyment of listening to all the great reasoning behind those choices.
Chris Maley5th March 2020 at 12:11 am
Hi Paul ….. My fave guitarist is probably MARK KING from Level 42. Saw them live at Bournemouth Pavilion in 2017 and they sounded brilliant……like a very, very powerful top quality HiFi, very tight massive sound and crystal clear too. Mark is just brilliant at heavy slap bass on his illuminated guitar. I often use their music as a benchmark of a good sound system and they sound fantastic through my big 70’s LEAK 2075 Mk. 1’s and give the bass units a good workout. However, they can sound thin and hard through many “so called” high end speakers with puny bass units and poor amps …. that’s the HiFi’s fault NOT Level 42 ? I can also dial in some extra bass from any of my 3 subs as well when the music demands it. I think they spend a lot of time getting the acoustic QUALITY of their sound right at their concerts unlike some others ? Chris …. Been into HIFI since 1976 and have got through lots of gear in that time !!!
Paul Rigby5th March 2020 at 9:41 am
Yes, good choice with Mark King. I’m a Level 42 fan myself 🙂
Chris Maley5th March 2020 at 4:13 pm
Thanks Paul ….. Best Guitar riff of all time has to be The Chain by Fleetwood Mac with Lyndsey Buckingham’s brilliant fingerwork. Remember Mason Williams and Classical Gas ….. superb with full orchestra too. Clapton Layla ….memorable. Eagles and Hotel California …..brilliant. Dire Straits with Sultans of Swing. There are so many but must mention Santana and Samba Pa Ti. At the end of the day the MUSIC is more important than the HIFI as I can listen to any of these tunes on the tranny radio. Keep up the good work Paul.
Paul Rigby6th March 2020 at 11:20 am
Thanks Chris and yes, blimey, Classical Gas. Forgot all about that – quite a track and quite a guitar performance. Thanks for the kind words too 🙂
Lenny Madia5th March 2020 at 2:07 pm
Pete Townshed – great with power cords and acoustic. Very good with lead breakaway. Perhaps not the best technically, but my favorite.
Followed closely by Neil Young. He seems able to play any genre of music, and play extremely well. He is able to do rock, country, folk.
Jimmy Page. Not one of my favorites, but I have to admit, one of the best.
Eric Clapton. Same as Page
Hosea Philipiono I sure I murdered that spelling. Again, same as Page.
Paul Rigby5th March 2020 at 2:38 pm
Thanks for that Lenny! José Feliciano?
Madia Lenny7th March 2020 at 4:09 pm
Yes, you prob have the spelling right.
Several of my choices are those of two of my grandsons, both who play guitar very well. Both agree with my Neil Young, and Townshed picks.
Cosmicott8th March 2020 at 2:38 pm
I really appreciated your very thoughtful disclaimer and operationalization of the word: “Best.
I keep needing to remind myself that we are focused on the guitar here, not the entire band…
There are really so many guitarists left out of my top 20, so top 10 needs to be my biassed list. So, here are my top 10 favorites. These guitarists have inspired me in some way and I just can’t get enough of them.
In no particular order:
Mickey Melchiondo (Ween) –
Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic/Parliament)
Tom Verlaine (Television)
David Gilmour (PF)
Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mother’s Temple) –
Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard +)
There are many heavy metal guitarists I wish I could add…
Paul Rigby8th March 2020 at 3:10 pm
Fascinating list, Cosmicott – I’d forgotten about Eddie Hazel. Thanks for putting that together.
terry Carroll8th March 2020 at 3:01 pm
A very difficult task as guitar players have to associated associated and considered within music genre, IMO. So I went at this with all this in mind and simply came to my favorite 10 – in a way, the the players whose music I would take with me to a desert island. I can here them, their style, their structure, in any song they play. So here goes…
#1 Rory Gallagher
#2 Leo Kottke
#3 Duane Allman
#4 Eric Clapton
#5 Jimi Hendrix
#6 Mark Knopfler
#7 George Harrison
#8 Jeff Beck
#9 Jimmy Page
#10 Stevie Ray Vaughn
Thanks for making me think about it – I’m off to setting a new play list on my Tidal Account!
Terry C. in California
Paul Rigby8th March 2020 at 3:09 pm
Very nice, Terry – thanks for taking the time on this.
Ben Armine8th March 2020 at 5:07 pm
Each to his own but there are absolutely brilliant guiarists, lutenists too, who should be included when the heading is just Top 10 Guitarists, without specifying a genre. Just because it is music from a different world, it does not mean the musicality and skill of the artists is less – probably only the volume diminishes.
Another plea for the printed word not to be forgotten in the migration to You Tube. It would be much appreciated to have a written synopsis, as of old, but if the work load demands brevity – just the conclusion will suffice. As an example scroll down the page to a conclusion on the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers and move on to the video as the written word demands.
Paul Rigby9th March 2020 at 10:44 am
I’d love to see a list of guitarists (or the equivalent from another culture, sure) from other countries – I love to learn about new music and musicians. And there is no migration, just addition (as my lack of free time will attest). I maintain the same workload on this site.
Cosmicott8th March 2020 at 5:17 pm
Rory Gallagher… is another one of my favorites. I was just listening to Taste this morning.
Gandalf8th March 2020 at 8:48 pm
There are many guitarists out there which deserve a mention. You mention emotion, that’ s Michael Schenker for me, on the song Love to Love from UFO the live album ‘Strangers in the Night’, with a beer inside me taking in the whole song together with his solo at the end of the song is awesome and cuttingly emotional, I end up literally sobbing..!
Another guitarist who for me is a complete musician, can do drama, tension, cuteness, melody, rhythm and is the master of the Riff is Ritchie Blackmore of (The Outlaws, Deep Purple, Rainbow and BlackmoreNight). I get constantly fed up that his name is connected with ‘Smoke on the Water’, there is artistically a whole more sides to him then just that song, a little underrated guitarist in the scheme of things…..
Paul Rigby9th March 2020 at 10:47 am
Hi Gandalf – yes, I too find the same old name/association thing tiring at times but it’s often a result of lazy journalism and then the repetition of the same from its readers. Which sets up a repetitious cycle.
Steve9th March 2020 at 12:50 am
Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs……the question was ‘best guitarist’, not ‘best British guitarist’! But if I must……Best British guitarist, Steve Howe.
Mark9th March 2020 at 12:35 pm
Dermot10th March 2020 at 12:57 pm
Impossible to pick 10. Here’s a motley crew of known and little known guitar players from my own vinyl collection who continue to astound no matter how old I get 🙂
Though if I had to pick one to take with me beyond the grave then it has to be Peter Green……..
Sir Richard Bishop
Jim O’ Rourke
Michael & John Gibbons
Eric Clapton w Cream/Bluesbreakers
Ron Masino13th March 2020 at 12:47 am
My favorite guitarist is which ever one I am listening to at the moment. I would like to add a few more to the list.
Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, Terry Kath, Chet Atkins, Ry Cooder, Freddie King, Steve Cropper and Les Paul.
P.S. This is a wonderful discussion!!
Mark Haynes17th March 2020 at 8:29 pm
Totally agree with Neil Young, Like a Hurricane and Cortez the Killer are still some of my favourites of all time. Also agree with David Gilmour though I think Comfortably Numb is a bit overrated I prefer something like Sorrow personally. Very controversial to leave out Hendrix, yes he could be ‘over the top’ but he did some very tasteful work on his albums. Here’s a name that no one has mentioned that I rate as one of the best of all time – Tommy Bolin. Listen to Billy Cobham’s Spectrum album and you wonder how someone so young could have such an understanding of Jazz. From the modern era I like Steven Wilson a very intelligent producer, writer and guitarist. I’m 61 years old so many of my heroes are from yesteryear and I’m not really in Metal guitarists except Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (who was influenced by Django Reinhardt). Finally Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule is a great guitarist. Lowell George of Little Feat would be another favourite. Finally Joni Mitchell deserves a mention for her creative tunings.
Paul Rigby18th March 2020 at 3:03 pm
Nice list Mark – thanks for that.