It was back in 1970 at his live performance in Atlanta when I decided I would become a full-time guitar player! Even though he passed on, Jimi Hendrix has ever since been my inspiration and motivation all through my career. I, therefore, understand how crucial it is to not only know your guitar but to also know who rocks the guitarist world. Following these iconic figures might perhaps trigger some passion out there for this sacred music instrument – it happened for me; not saying it won’t happen for you too. Without wasting much time, let’s dive straight on and look at some of the figures who have dominated our screens and filled our hearts with joyful tunes through the years.
It’s much better to classify the guitar players so you know the ones who have kicked the bucket, the living, retired ones as well as the ones who are still rocking the music scenes. First, let’s take a look at our heroes of old.
Meet the American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist who would later earn himself the title of the greatest instrumentalist in rock music history – my personal idol! The guitarist would embark on his career at the tender age of 15 before joining the army in 1961. He specialized in electric blues and American rock and roll and would live to become the highest-paid performer by 1969, before his untimely death in 1970! He was only 27 years when he passed on: one is left to wonder what magnificence he would have up his sleeves if he had not succumbed to asphyxia. Rest his soul in everlasting peace.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
If you start perfecting an art when only 7 years, you can be rest assured very few people will match up to your skills when you are entering the prime of adulthood! This was the case for Stevie who would have all eyes on him as he went about his deep blues and hammy shtick. Blues lovers back in the day would definitely concur that Ray was and still is the greatest guitar player of all ages.
Riley B. King was the classical blues guitarist who liked to spice things up with something different. He is associated with introducing a complicated soloing style that’s still in use today by a number of electric blues guitarists of the day. The style was based on a shimmering vibrato accompanied by a fluid string bending – you could always expect a sensational high pitch in any of his plays.
If there was a performer who knew to take the stage by force without shying off and dominating the audience with relative ease, it’s this Minnesota based guitarist and record producer. The legend who gave up his ghost back in 2016 would usually furnish himself in makeup and would go on to win 8 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe award, an Academy Award, 6 American Music Award and would later be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004!
The beauty in music is that it never gets old. You will, therefore, find some of the old timers of the 20th-Century still hitting the music scenes today and actually influencing it greatly. There are also certain notable upcoming artists whom you should keep an eye on who have both talent and effort.
David Howell Evans is better known as the lead guitarist of the music rock band U2 since 1976. He has graced the music industry with 14 studio albums all recorded with the band as well as one solo record. The 57-year-old Irish singer is lucky to have won 22 Grammy Awards and is also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
All ladies love him while all the guys envy him: he is the co-founder, rhythm guitarist as well as lead vocalist of your most loved heavy metal band – Metallica. Not only have his skills on the guitar revolutionized and made the band popular worldwide but his well-scripted songs have also set him aside as the main talent. One can only say, Metallica is as good as it has Jamie rocking the scenes.
Talking of lead guitarists for popular bands, Saul Hudson has not escaped our watchful eyes. The legend is best recognized for forming and leading the rock band Guns N’ Roses and later departing in 1996 to co-found yet another hit rock band – Velvet Revolver. The 53-year old British-American guitarist would spin a successful career over the years before returning to Guns N’ Roses in 2016.
John William Lowery earned his stage name after leaving David Lee Roth to join the industrial metal group Marilyn Manson in 1988. As a solo artist, he has managed to decorate his career with 8 guitar albums with his latest live album recorded earlier on in this year – It’s Alive. He seemed to have gotten his inspiration after watching Buck Owens and Roy Clark play in their show Hee Haw when he was 7!
Getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is no big fete: getting inducted 3 good times is almost an unattainable challenge! He was first inducted as a solo artist, next as a member of the Yardbirds and finally as a member of the British rock power trio, Cream. The Times magazine would even recognize him as number 5 on the list of the best electric guitars players back in 2009. How about that for the greatest guitar player?
The list for the greatest guitarists would not really be complete with George Guy lacking in it. Baby boomers, as well as the modern millennial, all have a thing for this 82-year old American blues guitarist. His popularity would begin once he teamed up with the father of Chicago blues – Muddy Waters – back in the 60’s. Guy has been an inspiration to major figures such as Hendrix, Vaughan, Jimmy Page, and even Jeff Beck.
As one of the founders of Black Sabbath, this 70-year old English songwriter astonished the world after recovering from his accident of younger years which had him lose the tips of his middle and ring fingers of his right hand. The artist emerged from the factory saga with a different playing style that has stuck and galvanized the masses to date.
Armik Dashchi is a new-age classical instrumentalist who brings a new flavor to the musical theme in the Middle East. The Iranian Armenian flamenco composer and guitarist has taken a liking to jazz and plays it almost as powerfully as the great Miles Davis!
Now you know a bit about the artists who have revolutionized music through the guitar. Your aim should not only be to know these figures but to also emulate them by playing the guitar just like them or even doing a better job if possible. So, get down to those exceptional guitar classes and sharpen your skills as you make a difference in your niche.