October 27, 2007
Originally published August 28, 2003
If you're going to pick the 10 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Kim du Toit [Ed. Link borked.] makes a valid point. The choices should be broken down by category.
The electric guys have their style. I noticed that nobody mentioned Leslie West, who is pretty goddam good, and I even receieved a poo-poo from someone who DOES NOT believe that Mark Knopfler is one of the greatest alive today. Just listen to the lead on "Sultans of Swing" and then go listen to Neck and Neck when he played with Chet Atkins. Tell me that boy can't play.
I can recognize good guitarists by their style if I've listened to them long enough. I'm a big-time reader of liner notes, so I pay attention to the studio dudes, too. I've impressed people many a time by hearing a lick in a song and saying, "That's Clapton." "That's Tony Rice." "That's Doc Watson." They check the liner notes and I am correct, even though I never heard the song before.
Now that Chet is dead, I believe that Mark Knopfler is the best guitar player in the world. Paul McCartney is the best bass player (and yes, that IS a guitar, but completely different from a six-string) and I don't give a shit about drummers.
On acoustic guitar, I would love to play with James Taylor, Paul Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Doc Watson, Leo Kottke and Tony Rice.
On electric, I would just like to stand back and watch, maybe throwing in some rhythm. I confess that I am an okay lead player, but I'm never going to burn up the stage. I don't have the twitch muscles in my fingers to compete with some of the REALLY GOOD pickers I know. I am much better at acoustic music because I finger-pick AND play leads. Besides, I like bluegrass and country better than I like rock-and-roll anymore.
Some of the "New Wave" shit leaves me cold. I like Hendrix, Clapton, West and Knopfler. The rest of those "greats" sound like they came out of the same can.
That's MY humble opinion.
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