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Thread: Best professional guitarists

  1. #21
    Mark William
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    Are you guys all old hippys or what??? These players are all from the old old days. Stuff that we played in high school and then in bar bands for 20 years. Now let me clarify....I played them because they were not hard to play and I believe many others did the same or these guys wouldn't have been covered so much. SteveO'S Jazz picks aside. Al DiMiola had some hard ass chops to duplicate and the others as well.
    Today, there are guys out there that rip these older players apart in technical abilities and just all around musicianship. Steve Vai has got to be one of the best guitarists walking the earth today. Not only is he a brilliant guitar player, the guy composes symphonies with world famous composers (like his old band leader Zappa). Have you guys ever heard of Andy Timmons? That kid eats his guitar and spits it out and it still sounds like heaven on earth. John Mayer....c'mon...that kid can friggin play! Even guys like Joe Satriani (Mr. Pentatonic, 1,4,5 soloist) does what guys like Clapton and young were doing only a bazillion times faster and more proficiently.
    Sorry guys.....that old school minor pentatonic stuff is gone gone gone.....those guys are like the gunfighters at the turn of the century. They'll be remembered fondly but the new and improved guitar slingers have moved in.

  2. #22
    a restless spirit Jerome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark William View Post
    Are you guys all old hippys or what??? These players are all from the old old days. Stuff that we played in high school and then in bar bands for 20 years. Now let me clarify....I played them because they were not hard to play and I believe many others did the same or these guys wouldn't have been covered so much. SteveO'S Jazz picks aside. Al DiMiola had some hard ass chops to duplicate and the others as well. Today, there are guys out there that rip these older players apart in technical abilities and just all around musicianship. Steve Vai has got to be one of the best guitarists walking the earth today. Not only is he a brilliant guitar player, the guy composes symphonies with world famous composers (like his old band leader Zappa). Have you guys ever heard of Andy Timmons? That kid eats his guitar and spits it out and it still sounds like heaven on earth. John Mayer....c'mon...that kid can friggin play! Even guys like Joe Satriani (Mr. Pentatonic, 1,4,5 soloist) does what guys like Clapton and young were doing only a bazillion times faster and more proficiently. Sorry guys.....that old school minor pentatonic stuff is gone gone gone.....those guys are like the gunfighters at the turn of the century. They'll be remembered fondly but the new and improved guitar slingers have moved in.
    To answer your first question - yes I am an old hippie. (Not hippy by the way)Secondly, while most of the guitarists you mention are undeniably talented, good guitar music does not neccessarily mean playing 10 0000 notes a second. Technical proficiency does not automatically equal a pleasant or emotive listening experience. I would rather listen to a simple emotive piece than a frantic flashy one.Finally, where do you think all these guys got their inspiration from? (maybe that 'old' bandleader Zappa had somehting to do with it ???)PS - you too will be old one day. Those metal studs and leathers are going to look pretty lame at 70 whereas my white hippie beard will look rather distinguished. I hope you see the funny side of this - many can't.Praise the Lord and pass the joint.................
    Last edited by Jerome; 24-08-2011 at 07:01.

  3. #23
    External Communications TraceNspace's Avatar
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    Jimi as an innovator. My husband will kill me if I don't tell you all that Stevie Ray Vaughn was the best damn guitar player that ever lived. I'm still trying to get him to join so he can answer these questions himself.

  4. #24
    Super Moderator SteveO's Avatar
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    Great post, JT ! When you mention Crapton is that a type O or did you mean Crapton ?...lol
    Quote Originally Posted by JTRiff View Post
    Uh-oh. I'll try and stay short.

    Yes, Jimi is, and will always be, the greatest rock guitarist, a fantastic innovator and an actual, genuine, real, great blues player, a league clear of any artschool brit types like Beck, Crapton, Page, all of whom Rory Gallagher beat up on any time I ever saw him. There's too many others between 60-70 to even start mentioning, but Johnny Winter or Duane Allman made Clapton run away to be a pop star by the early 70s.
    Then it gets tough. Staying with ROCK guitar (and you have to because otherwise no rock players but Hendrix makes the top twenty guitarists) we run into Yngwie and friends.
    Malmsteen showed up 81-82 on the West coast. I was teaching (guitar) fulltime in a store at that moment and we heard about this kid Dingway or whatever and I went yea, uhuh, the next Van Halen.(over-rated)
    Then we saw him, someone brought a tape in and said: what is this guy doing? I couldn't play it. Too fast. This was the first time this had ever happened w/a rock player. VHalen and Randy Rhoades, Alvin Lee etc. were good, but not at all difficult to pick up their stuff.
    Couldn't touch Malmsteen. Then Vai, Satriani, and the rest of the music college graduates appeared, but after all the G8 stuff was over, they all looked at Yngwie, who could sort of knock them all over if he got excited and really blasted off.
    The clones since are countless and don't much like it. These guys are over their heads, musically, all in pursuit of speed! which is utterly ridiculous, as no guitarist is ever going to catch up with Sax or Piano. Well, Scotty Anderson (probably the greatest electric guitarist ever) can get into that speed range. And he's clean. I could go on but my fingers hurt. )
    " WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD, MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT HAPPINESS WAS THE KEY TO LIFE. WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL, THEY ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP. I WROTE DOWN "HAPPY". THEY TOLD ME I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT AND I TOLD THEM THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND LIFE."

    - JOHN LENNON

  5. #25
    Super Moderator SteveO's Avatar
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    I'll just add a few that haven't been mentioned to show how diverse this topic can be !

    Steve Howe Jeff Healey Paco de Lucia Rick Emmett Roy Buchanan Jesse Cook Alex Lifeson
    " WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD, MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT HAPPINESS WAS THE KEY TO LIFE. WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL, THEY ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP. I WROTE DOWN "HAPPY". THEY TOLD ME I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT AND I TOLD THEM THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND LIFE."

    - JOHN LENNON

  6. #26
    Mark William
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    I beg to differ with you....sorry. You obviously do not listen to Steve Vai. Or even more noteworthy of your case John Mayor. It's not the speed that makes either of them great. It's the feel in which they execute their styles with. Its the fact that these guys did not accidentally write their melodies and incredible chord progressions. It may not be the same feel that guys like Clapton or Santana use in your eyes but it is. The difference is that they actually know where they are taking the instrument and the sounds eminating from it. They do not let the instrument dictate them (as many of the old school guys rightly claim to have done) they dictate what the instrument does. These players from way back when actually didn't really know anything more than Minor, and Major pentatonic progressions. These are scales that I can have a conversation with my wife, or a student while playing "feely" riffs on and not even have to think about. Not because these older players are bad players but because the instrument and those who have played it through the decades has evolved from simplicity to a discipline. I remember when I learned the pentatonic scale....Holy cow I could play anything Clapton could play. Maybe I wasn't as good at it but I could play it. And I admit that those guys had much to do with my playing style. But.....they are relics of the simple dark ages of Rock and Roll. And I love to listen to most of them I am not crazy about Santana because the guy rarely leaves the 1st position minor pentatonic scale. But all the others are great for what they are. But to say these are the best out there today.....that's confining yourself to an error and closing your mind to newer and better music. Go listen to "For the Love of God" By Steve Vai. There is every bit the feeling in that tune that there is in "Layla" by Clapton. The difference is in the discipline and that fact that Vai knew every note he was goin to play before he got there. Why do you think Zappa chose him? The guy could transpose Zappa's music on paper for god's sake. Vai is discipline and control. Any of the great composers and musicians from history will tell you that this is what makes virtuosos. Go on the internet and look for the super locrian scale tab or notation. Play it on your guitar. See how good you can get at it, and then put into your mind that this is the scale Vai pretty much dominated through that whole song I mentioned earlier. It's hard to wrap your head around. The feeling he plays it with and the insane accuracy that he has even while playing as fast as he does at times. And this is not an uncommon thing for guys like him. Sorry....your case holds no water as far as I'm concerned.
    As far as the way they look....who cares??? All I can say to that is that todays guitar virtuosos are not pumped up with heroin, cocaine, and LSD. Vai is close to my age and I look pretty friggin good. Good enough that I still get 18 year old girls ogling me at my gigs. They're healthier and have the good sense to keep their bodies and minds in good shape. They arent skinny from speed binges and heroin induced starvation. And their skin won't look like an Isitoner glove left in the sun because they don't smoke 2 packs of Marlboros a day.
    So I have to stick with these younger guys. They blow the older generation away.

  7. #27
    a restless spirit Jerome's Avatar
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    Mark, point taken. I did not mean that I am literally a hippie, but that I grew up when this was the done thing. I was trying to inject some humour into the thread but that obviously did not work, OK - so I'm dumb. So be it. One thing I do notice however is that you keep on talking about scales (and yes I do know about them), but my point is simply this - playing obscure or even common scales incredibly fast does not automatically translate to a good 'vibe' or an emotive performance. Ry Cooder is a good example. I would rather listen to Mr Giimour playing a few scraggly notes than Mr Malmsteen trying to set fire to the amplifier. It means more to me. A less is more kind of thing. The most evocative type of music is Far Eastern (and the oldest too) - it uses the least amount of notes and has the maximum impact.

  8. #28
    Grumpy Younger Man Tiggi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark William View Post
    Vai is close to my age and I look pretty friggin good.
    LOL.

    Modesty is so undervalued these days...
    "There must have been a door there in the wall, when I came in"

    Roger Waters

  9. #29
    Mark William
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    Please don't think I was responding in angst. I was only making discussion. Sorry if I came off as crass. I did not mean that. I tend to sound short in my conversation...it's just my personality. That being said. I'll address your next post. I listen to a lot of Ravi Shankar and his daughter......Slow??? Less??? Are you kidding????
    I was not pointing out the obscurity of what these guys play. I was pointing out the discipline it takes to play these scales as well as some of these guys do. If you take note....I have not mentioned Yngwe Malmsteen. There is a reason for that. The guy does not rate among the best. His speed is pretty impressive but I believe that I could play that fast if I played the same stuff off the neck in E all the time also. I too would rather listen to David Gilmore than Malmsteen. Gilmore has some tasty chops.
    But really......if you have never listened to some of these newer players....you are missing out. I too use to be a classic guitarist snob....it turned out that I was just intimidated by the intensity of the younger players. Thank god I got my head straight and started to listen.
    And yes...less can definitely be more but lots of times more is more. I don't rate Vai as the best because he plays fast. I rate him because I have seen him on the stage with Brian May, Eric Clapton, Elton John, and several others and the guy left their jaws on the floor. Brian May is actually pals with Vai and he readily acknowledges that he is a freak, an anomaly, some weird creature that landed here from crazy planet where everyone is born with a guitar for a right arm. I'm telling you as a musician, from one musician to another...check this guy out. I will send you some MP3s of his music if you like. You will be dumfounded at what this guy can do with a guitar. I actually feel sorry for his guitars because no matter what he plays on them it sounds like they're gonna explode from the intensity of it.
    I have played with and listened to a lot of musicians in my life. I am always looking for another guy to listen to but Vai.....I have yet to hear anyone that comes close to him in style, feel, and technical proficiency. You also have to keep in mind that in his recordings, he writes all of the music for all of the instruments. It's not like there are others there saying..."Um, hey Steve...this riff sounds great...let's put it in right here". The guy actually has it all in his head somewhere and he notates it out first. I kid you not.
    And while Clapton, Hendrix, and all the rest have been around for a long time and had a profound influence in the rock and roll genre as a whole. The instrument is evolving, musicians are getting better and better as it does. If you as a musician stifle your growth and just stay in the old school genre...then you're shooting yourself in the musical foot.

  10. #30
    Super Moderator SteveO's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    That's why Tiggi and I started the CHit Chat Forum with the MD demographic poll to survey our members wrt male or female, age and music hero or favorite artist or group !!!! That way we know where everyone is coming from as far as their outlook on music is concerned. You can't expect us old hippies to appreciate Steve Vai now can you over say a Jimi Hendrix ???? I was only 14 when I first heard Jimi so he has had a profound impact on myself and millions of others ...the so called old hippies/...lol or Baby Boomers.

    I know all about John Mayer, Joe Satriano and Steve Vai...is that it ...three super players ?????...any younger guys as good ????

    The jazz scene has produced several master guitarists as well as those from the classical and country genre...that's why I don't put much creedence in BEST opinions as it's all subjective...how about that cat Django Reinhart or Pat Metheny !!!,,,etc....

    The old classic rock players always had groups behing them and they were the lead vocal for the most part and were well known and popular with the music consumer. Good or bad the bottom line is that there are too many professional and amateur guitarists that simply play exteremely well !!!!

    Unfortunately today's music is for the most part void of the Guitar Bands !!!! If there are any there pretty much obscure and have a limited or cult following ! Pop, hip hop, dance and electronica rule today's music for the mass music listener/consumer albeit the younger generation.

    BB King once stated that playing the blues was like going to high school and playing jazz , you're in university ! I've known a few professional guitarist in my day, none of them famous, but good enough to make a living. I asked them about jazz players and they say I love jazz guitar but it's too difficult or it's sick to use a modern slang ! I asked a friend of mine recently who has made a living playing country, hard rock and blues who his favorite was ,,,his answer - Canadian legendary jazz guitarist Lenny Breau...go figure ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark William View Post
    Are you guys all old hippys or what??? These players are all from the old old days. Stuff that we played in high school and then in bar bands for 20 years. Now let me clarify....I played them because they were not hard to play and I believe many others did the same or these guys wouldn't have been covered so much. SteveO'S Jazz picks aside. Al DiMiola had some hard ass chops to duplicate and the others as well.
    Today, there are guys out there that rip these older players apart in technical abilities and just all around musicianship. Steve Vai has got to be one of the best guitarists walking the earth today. Not only is he a brilliant guitar player, the guy composes symphonies with world famous composers (like his old band leader Zappa). Have you guys ever heard of Andy Timmons? That kid eats his guitar and spits it out and it still sounds like heaven on earth. John Mayer....c'mon...that kid can friggin play! Even guys like Joe Satriani (Mr. Pentatonic, 1,4,5 soloist) does what guys like Clapton and young were doing only a bazillion times faster and more proficiently.
    Sorry guys.....that old school minor pentatonic stuff is gone gone gone.....those guys are like the gunfighters at the turn of the century. They'll be remembered fondly but the new and improved guitar slingers have moved in.
    Last edited by SteveO; 24-08-2011 at 18:26.
    " WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD, MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT HAPPINESS WAS THE KEY TO LIFE. WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL, THEY ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP. I WROTE DOWN "HAPPY". THEY TOLD ME I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT AND I TOLD THEM THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND LIFE."

    - JOHN LENNON

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