25 February 2011

Young Guns II at the Dawning of a New Decade

Last year about this time, I posted a list of my favorite guitarists. Since then, as I've been working on learning to play the guitar myself, I've also been listening more carefully than ever to lots of different guitarists, and doing so more attentively and perceptively than I have in the past. I've noticed that the more time I spend practicing the instrument and getting to know it, the more attuned my ears have become to the sounds of the guitar, whether the music I'm listening to at any given time is already familiar or brand new to me. Consequently, I've discovered and developed an appreciation for players I didn't even know a year ago.

Up front, I have to say that my two favorite guitarists are Ariksander and Oly'anna Stuckwisch, my son and daughter who are learning to play the guitar along with me. Playing and practicing with them, and listening to them play, brings a level of joy to my heart that no one else can touch. With time and continued perseverance, I am sure, their skills and abilities will vastly improve, but I doubt that I will ever enjoy their playing any more than I do already now. Yet, that appreciation involves personal biases and subjective criteria that none of my readers can share, so it would be somewhat unfair to put Ariksander and Oly'anna at the top of a list I am posting for public perusal. Instead of that, I'm putting them in a category all by themselves.

While I'm at it, major mojo kudos to our instructor, Steve Krenz, of the Learn & Master Guitar curriculum (by Legacy Learning Systems). The man is not only a genius on the guitar, but an outstanding pedagogue of the instrument. Ariksander, Oly'anna and I hope to meet him in person someday, especially since we owe him such a debt of gratitude for his fine teaching, and because he comes across as such a likable gentleman. Here's to you, Steve, with our thanks!

Now then, Ariksander, Oly'anna and Steve aside, here are my 75 favorite guitarists as we have now entered upon this new decade of life on earth.

1. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

2. Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne)

3. Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big)

4. Joe Satriani

5. Joe Bonamassa (Black Country Communion)

6. Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)

7. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)

8. Steffen Schackinger

9. Slash (Guns 'n' Roses, Velvet Revolver)

10. Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society)

11. Gus G (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne, Dream Evil)

12. Michael Angelo Batio

13. Joe Stump

14. Gary Hoey

15. Orianthi

16. Dave Martone

17. Synyster Gates & Zacky Vengeance (Avenged Sevenfold)

18. Dan Donegan (Disturbed)

19. Malcom & Angus Young (AC/DC)

20. Steve Clark & Phil Collen (Def Leppard)

21. Glenn Tipton & K.K. Downing (Judas Priest)

22. Matt Tuck & Mike Paget (Bullet for My Valentine)

23. Chris Robertson & Ben Wells (Black Stone Cherry)

24. Rudolf & Michael Schenker (The Scorpions)

25. Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge, Creed)

26. Jeff Loomis (Nevermore)

27. Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield (Metallica)

28. Zac Brown

29. John 5 (quite apart from Marilyn Manson; as far apart as possible)

30. Cameron Muncey & Nic Cester (Jet)

31. Sean Hennesy (The Gracious Few)

32. Yngwie Malmsteen

33. Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)

34. Joe Walsh (The Eagles)

35. Eric Clapton

36. Andy McKee

37. Keith Urban

38. Marty Friedman

39. John Petrucci (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment)

40. Thomas Bredahl & Michael Poulsen (Volbeat)

41. Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard)

42. The Brothers Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38-Special, Van Zant)

43. Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Blackmore's Night)

44. Jimi Hendrix

45. Jeff Beck

46. Steve Vai

47. Brad Paisley

48. Andy James

49. Santana

50. Antoine Dufour

51. George Harrison (The Beatles)

52. Steve Lukathar (Toto)

53. Ray Toro & Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance)

54. Oli Herbert & Mike Martin (All That Remains)

55. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)

56. Ethan Brosh

57. Ronnie Wood (The Rolling Stones, etc.)

58. Jack White (White Stripes, Dead Weather, Raconteurs)

59. Sébastien Cloutier

60. Joe Perry (Aerosmith)

61. George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob)

62. Brian May (Queen)

63. Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)

64. Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage)

65. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

66. Jay Jesse Johnson

67. The Edge (U2)

68. Alex Rosamilia & Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem)

69. Phil Sgrosso & Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying)

70. Jason Becker

71. B.B. King

72. Prince

73. Joe Selby & Andy Brewer (Taddy Porter)

74. John Mayer

75. Lee Ritenour


Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

So now I'm thinking to myself, How did I miss Yngwie Malmsteem?

And I know there are others who could've-been, should've-been.

But it's too late, baby, now, it's too late. . . .

Feel free to showcase your personal MVGs (most valuable guitarists) here -- for all the world, or at least a handful of readers, to see.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Dave Martone should have been in there somewhere, too, but I clean forgot him when the iron was hot.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Okay, forget my previous comments. I reheated the iron and so strike again. My own compelling "need" for thoroughness has driven me to fill in the gaps and expand the list to seventy-five guitarists.

Michael G said...

So, if you were to expand the number to 100, would Frampton be on the list?

Saw him live a couple years ago (at the dusk of an old decade), and he was, in a word, amazing.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I'm afraid I missed the window of opportunity on Mr. Frampton, Michael. I'm just not familiar with his music, and I really don't know anything about him, although I have heard his name here and there over the years. Thanks for the tip. I'll keep an ear open for him. I'm always glad to discover "new" talent.

Glad you got to hear a good concert. Live music can be a most exciting thing, lots of good fun.