"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Swing Dat Axe

Lists are fun if inherently dorky.

Here’s one to stir you up. The L.A. Times Magazine ranks the 50 Greatest Guitarists of all-time.

Charlie Christian make the cut but no love for Grant Green:

Bring the (beautiful) Noise:

Categories:  Beat of the Day  Bronx Banter

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1 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 11:22 am

Yeah, that list is pretty awful, although they did have the good taste to put Richard Thompson in the top 10.

Jack White? I mean, I like Jack White, but, really?

At least Rolling Stone had the imagination to put Duane Allman #2 (if you've never heard the session work he did for Atlantic soul albums, man, you're missing out).

2 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 11:30 am

no Knopfler ... no Garcia ... no Iommi ... no Lifeson ...

3 TheGreenMan   ~  Aug 30, 2010 12:22 pm

I think the Edge would even laugh at his place on the list.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 30, 2010 12:27 pm

you could arguably make a better top 50 with players they missed.

Garcia, Knopfler, Metheny, Lowell George, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Johnny Greenwood and really any f the Radiohead guitarists, Jorma Kaukonen, Nils Cline, Gabby Pahinui and various Hawaiian slack key masters immediately leap to mind.

5 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 30, 2010 12:37 pm

Where is Steve Vai? Where is Joe Satriani? Who were these "experts" that were consulted?

I'm shocked that Yngwie Malmsteen made the list. Someone is at least paying a little bit of attention!

6 JohnnyC   ~  Aug 30, 2010 12:45 pm

Segovia ranked lower than Jack White (for instance)?????

7 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 12:59 pm

I don't even have to look past #3. Why Eric Clapton continues to get this kind of play when he is responsible for the majority of wickedness in the world is beyond me.

8 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 1:03 pm

[5] Satriani could be there instead of Yngwie, but I think one technician is representative enough of that category.

9 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2010 1:39 pm

good lord, yeah, i could argue that list all week, but i have to get ready to go teach...

as far as "technician", there are *much* better choices than Yngwie and certainly Satch. as far as those "shredders" go - Paul Gilbert is my choice. Vai is sooo far beyond that, he needs to be high up there.

Derek Trucks. Jimmy Herring. Scott Henderson. Pat Metheny. there are just tons of players lost on this list. you'll have that...

as far as Stevie Ray goes, i played a blues-rock gig Sat nite that was heavy on the SRV.

as far as the Grant Green goes, "Ain't It Funky" (James Brown), is from his 'Green Is Beautiful' album, 1970. it was his 2nd Blue Note album of this ilk. he returned to the label after a 4+ year hiatus and was decidedly funky. there were 4 studio albums, 3 live records and 1 soundtrack (that he didn't compose and wasn't prevalent on, but it was under his name), that he recorded for the label between Fall '69 & Spring '72. i much prefer his "hard bop" years. for BN alone, as a leader, he recorded like 21 albums from '61-'65, plus a ton as a sideman.

10 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 2:34 pm

[9] I think all those guys are horrible, so I'm just taking the oldest out of those named. I try and steer clear of that type of thing, but I guess Steve Vai is kind of the apex so yeah.

Meanwhile, I have zero problem with The Edge being on there, nor Jack White. You know who I'd like to see though is Leo Nocentelli from the Meters. I mean I realize there's probably no way, but that would be cool with me.

11 jalexei   ~  Aug 30, 2010 2:42 pm

I was popping in to point out how pleased I was to NOT see Satriani on this list (and grumble that Malmsteen should be lower than 28) which is not to disparage anyone's taste or opinions, but more to point out how hopeless lists like this ultimately are. We could stretch this to 100+ and all find glaring omissions (Adrian Belew) and inclusions (Jack White?).

12 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:02 pm

ralph towner.

[10} "horrible" - i think that's a harsh term. perhaps you just don't like that kind of playing. guys like paul gilbert are far beyond the typical "shredder" label. but even at face value, these are incredibly talented players.

i'm just guessing you were speaking of those guys and not the jimmy herring's and scott henderson's of the world.

i've never heard of jack white.

13 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:03 pm

derek bailey! ; )

14 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:07 pm

[7] Clapton's influence on rock'n'roll is immense. Yes, his own records turned into boring, AOR sludge, but he was the first guy (at least in white rock'n'roll) to plug a Gibson Les Paul into a Marshall stack. The impact of that was profound. He brought the sound of the 3 Kings (Albert, BB & Freddie) to a whole new audience.
On a good night, he's still a marvelous player, no matter how lame his recorded output has been since the mid 70s - Beck made some comment about how Clapton's timing and knowing when NOT to play a note is what he loves about him.

15 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:11 pm

[12] I guess it's harsh but that's my opinion. The vast majority of that type of music to me misses the point entirely, and grotesquely. It's a niche, and that's fine, it's just one that I don't care for. I'm sure there are a few things I like that could be viewed similarly ... People get different things from different music.

And it's not necessarily that kind of playing but that's part of it. The lead guitar aspect of it is actually probably secondary to the fact that I think the songs or "pieces" involved are usually tasteless abominations. At a certain point physical talent only gets you so far, just like in sports.

16 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:14 pm

[15] oh, i hear ya. it's one of the main reasons i dig paul gilbert so much. most of his solo material is very song oriented and he's highly influenced by the beatles. there are certainly shredder moments - and albums of his - but he really gets what a song is all about.

but, yeah, i dig U2 and have some records. i know edge is good, but never in a million lifetimes would i include him on this kind of list. but i certainly don't dismiss him.

anyway, i gotta go to work.


i'll miss the game. let's hope for another Dust In, The Win (h/t to hank "score truck" waddles!)

17 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:23 pm

[16] I can't say I'm familiar with Paul Gilbert but I have a friend who used to be a huge Vai fan, among others. I still have nightmares, haha. But for instance I saw Vai on VH1 or something and what he did was amazing, in a circus act kind of way. So I can appreciate that. I enjoyed it. The audience ate it up too, even though to me there was little contextual musical value, if that makes sense.

I'm actually not that big of a U2 fan at all, I only have bought maybe one or two of their albums and that was a long time ago. But I like the Edge being included for the uniqueness and effectiveness of what he does/did. I find it pretty amazing sometimes, actually.

18 The Hawk   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:24 pm

[14] Honestly I think rock n roll and particularly "the blues" would have been just fine without Clapton. And I like "Tears in Heaven" too.

19 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:29 pm

[18] Well, ya know, de gustibus and all that...but I sure would miss that Derek & The Dominos album, not to mention Cream and the "Beano" album.

Hey - I just realized, no Peter Green?

20 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:30 pm

Hawk - i agree with a lot of both your [17] & [18].

i'd love to share a Vai story with you. but i'm late for work! and don't worry, i'm not teaching any "chops" today! : )

21 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:35 pm

Have you guys seen that clip of Vai talking about his audition for Zappa? Hilarious.

22 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 30, 2010 3:36 pm

[18] I'm not so sure the bluesmen would agree with you - a lot of them got to finally make some decent money after the British Invasion guys championed their cause.

23 mhoward120   ~  Aug 30, 2010 5:18 pm

Of course Dave Davies was omitted but thats no surprise - the KinKs are the greatest band that ever was and they are always overlooked.

24 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 30, 2010 11:47 pm

[23] true dat

25 The Hawk   ~  Aug 31, 2010 12:40 am

[22] Well, I meant musically, Clapton's musical contributions.

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