Moss Gathered

Roling Stone made a list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time.


This from the magazine that put Britney Spears on the cover twice in one year for no apparent reason other than tits and ass. I’m supposed to consider this magazine a credible source on guitar playing? I’ve always had very little musical respect for Rolling Stone, and now I have even less if that’s at all possible. This was the magazine of Hunter Thompson and Cameron Crowe. I’d even cite Ben Fong-Torres and Jan Wenner as influential people in the topic of music and culture. These are people for whom the very concept of a Top 100 List is beneath their sensibilities as writers. And if such a journalistically odious task were forced upon them, they would no doubt endeavor to do a more thoughtful job than the current staff.

I’m not complaining about their choices – every man and woman on the list is their own genius, but the rankings appear to be bereft of any criteria whatsoever. Otherwise, why would Duane Allman be #2 and Randy Rhoads be #85? Or Eddie Van Halen #70 – Eddie Van Halen dominated guitar playing for over a decade, his influence almost as wide as Hendrix. He’s easily in the Top 10 for the criteria of influence, creativity, originality, and technique. Are they just trying to get under my skin? Vicious bastards. I’m not even going to bother linking to their crap; that would generate publicity, and that’s all they’re trying to do.

The very idea of ranking artists is inherently absurd, but just so that you, my blog-reading public (all two of you), can be set straight on a better approximation of the facts from a better source than the hacks at Rolling Stone, here are the Top 10 Greatest (Rock) Guitarists. I add “Rock” because there are too many astounding flamenco, classical, and jazz players on whom I’m not qualified to pontificate:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Eddie Van Halen
3. Eric Clapton
4. Jimmy Page
5. Jeff Beck
6. Robert Johnson
7. Keith Richards / Ron Wood / Brian Jones (Rolling Stones)
8. Kirk Hammett / James Hetfield (Metallica)
9. Kurt Cobain
10. Steve Vai

My criteria are influence, originality, and technical ability, in that order. My primary source being the 13 years of exposure I’ve had to the opinions and articles of numerous and sundry guitar magazines, all of whom have, at one time or another, attempted such list-making folly in their off-peak months. And for those of you, who like myself, care little for popular things, here’s my list of peripheral guitarists that should be heard more often and given more press:

1. Shawn Lane (buy a Shawn Lane disc – he’s in the hospital right now and will need the help with bills)
2. Eric Johnson
3. Steve Morse
4. Richie Kotzen
5. Blues Saraceno
6. Mike Keneally
7. Paul Gilbert
8. Michael Hedges
9. Michael Manring (bassist)
10. Wayne Krantz