Guitar & Piano
Dylan and the Dead
Women In Music
is dedicated to guitar masters.
reviewing the list of the 100 best guitarist's compiled by Rolling
for 2003 I was floored by some of the entries and lack there of.
Certainly Rolling Stone magazine will tilt more towards rock and commercial
artists than some of the great players in other styles of country, jazz, and blues. Still, how can
artists like Chet
Atkins, Django Reinhardt, Adrian Belew, Wes Montgomery and
countless others be omitted.
problem with The Rolling Stones list is that they confuse popular composers
and rhythm players with great guitar players. For example, Keith Richards is
a great song writer and guitar player, but not worthy of being ranked number
10. Where is Keith's counterpart Mick Taylor, who laid down some of the
tastiest guitar parts with the Stones? Both would make our list, but Keith Richards is not that good, nor is Mick Taylor
that bad. Is Lou
Reed (52) a better guitar player than Roy Buchanan (57)? Joan Jett made
the list! We love Credence Clearwater Revival's music,
but is John Fogerty really the fortieth best guitarist?; we think his
greatest strength is as a composer.
chapter of thebestofwebsite is dedicated to guitar masters. We will
adding sections by music genres so stop back for updates. We have started with the cream of the crop,
in our opinion.
Garcia / Django Reinhardt
/ Chet Atkins
guitarist reach a certain level of expertise, the ranking of who is
the best is quite subjective. It is more a matter of who's style a
listener enjoys rather than who is actually better. That is true for
the vast majority of great guitarists.
the subjectivity, we thought we would designate our ranking of the
top guitarists. To begin, we decided to select a few guitarist's that
are the cream of the crop.
This short list is for those musicians
who's genius is beyond being a superb guitar player in one or even or two
styles. There is
nothing wrong with doing what you do best. These
artists will appear in sub-categories. But they do not
meet our short list of the very best.
list guitar geniuses are Jimi Hendrix, Jerry
Garcia, Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins. Hendrix and Garcia
were selected for their ability to play
effortlessly across virtually any music style. We choose Reinhardt and
Atkins for their innovation in
their respective styles of jazz and country music where decades
later other great musicians praise and even mimic them decades later. The
cream of the crop guitarist that we select
are all innovation, original and creative players.
Garcia | Django Reinhardt |
What sets Hendrix in the upper
echelon is his ability to just flat out play guitar. While he
is thought of as a lead guitarist, his rhythm playing is just as
incredible. Also impressive is his ability to perform across any
style of music, whether rock, blues, jazz, gospel, psychedelic,
etc. Many great guitarist perfect what they do best, such as
Jimmy Page's knack for the blues and hard rock, but it is rare to be
outstanding within so many different musical styles. And let's not overlook his ability to compose songs.
have additional Jimi
A brief biography
of Jimi Hendrix is provided by Djangomusic.
You Experienced - One of the best debut albums of all
time. Basically short songs and to the point with hits like
"Hey Joe," Purple Haze," and "Red
Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix: A great introduction to
the master, includes material from his band Experience as well as
session and live material.
A great collection of Jimi Hendrix work in the studio
material released after his death, see also First
Rays of the New Sun.
Hendrix: Blue Wild Angel Live at the Isle of Wight:
Backed by Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, and Band of
Gypsies bassist Billy Cox, excellent album.
I am sure that many would disagree with
placing Jerry Garcia this high in the rankings of guitar greats, and realize
that not everybody is a Dead Head. Still, that doesn't discount how great
of a guitarist Jerry Garcia was. Yes he can be sloppy at times, but that is
because he was willing to take risks and venture into new
traits that Garcia excelled in include his uncanny melodic nature, building the dynamics of the mood and his ability to
change it on a dime, and creating music on the fly. Further, he has a unique approach of switching between finger
picking and flat picking that is particularly apparent when the
Grateful Dead performed their country material. Garcia's
ability to mix a combination of
rhythm guitar and lead runs into some of his solos yields a
blissful affect; sometimes to create energy, other times to tell a
story, and it is a signature trademark of his.
knack of transposing pieces of one song within
another are often referred to as teases and he stands in a class
of his own in this regard. One of my favorite examples of this is in 1974 when
Garcia would reference brief hints of Freddie
King's song "Hideaway" within "Truckin'," but
never in the same place. Then
listen to disc four of Ladies
and Gentlemen and marvel at the way Garcia leads the band weaving
between "Going Down the Road Feeling" and "St.
Stephen," before settling on the former, and eventually
melting into "Cold Rain and Snow"; incredible
is an understatement.
people that criticize Garcia have not heard much of his playing and
talk through stereotypes. Are they aware of the diversity of styles
that he mastered? While his main instrument is the guitar, he also
played banjo in the group Old and in the Way and others bands,
as well as pedal steel guitar with the New Riders of the Purple
Sage, and with Crosby Still Nash and Young on their hit "Teach Your
Children." The critics probably are not
aware that Jazz greats such as Branford
and David Murray performed with the Grateful Dead. These were not
one time occurrences as Branford performed with them four or five times
throughout the years. Ornette invited Garcia to play guitar on a few
songs from his Virgin Beauty album.
Garcia is best known for his work with the Grateful Dead. However,
he had over a dozen of his own bands. Of those, on the acoustic front
Garcia's diversity touched on the following styles: Jug,
among his various solo bands. Add to that, with the Grateful Dead his
acoustic work was folk
oriented in the 1970, and rock
oriented in 1980.
electric side his solo band played originals, reggae, Dylan, gospel,
blues, jazz, and just about numerous other styles. Anyone who
explores his work Merl Saunders will be surprised at Garcia's ability to
play jazz guitar, that would include the following bands Saunders
and Garcia, Legion of Mary, and Reconstruction, as well as the free
form playing with Howard
is an abundance of music that Jerry Garcia left behind to
enjoy. Discover your favorite eras of his playing, sit back,
turn it up, and enjoy. We have
in-depth coverage of the numerous Jerry
Garcia solo bands and the Grateful Dead
that we invite you to explore.
Out With the Grateful Dead is a four disc collection
of their famed Europe '72 tour. No filler here! A monstrous
From the Vault II is a superb Grateful Dead concert.
It features Bruce Hornsby
to Nassau A great two disc collection from the early Brent
Mydland era. Strong versions of "Uncle John's Band,"
"Supplication," Feel Like a Stranger," more.
Pizza Tapes Jam session with David Grisman and his
band in his home. Guitar legends Jerry Garcia and Tony Rice
join them; one of a kind.
Django Reinhardt is one
of the most influential guitarist ever. What is most impressive is that
his influence was not limited to Jazz guitarists, as players of the
caliber of Chet Atkins, Jerry Garcia, and Mark Knopfler credit Django as
an influence and inspiration, in addition to the hundreds of imitators and
Django disciples across Europe, a true testimony of his legacy.
Django used a unique
musical line-up to back up his incredible and lightning quick lead
guitar attack. Rather than
use drums and percussion he developed the use of rhythm guitar to
cover that role. He and violinist Stephane Grappelli formed the Quintet of the Hot Club of France
that included two rhythm guitarists, and a bassist for its
rhythm section. Django's style of melodic improvisation
with a vigorous rhythm guitar backing was revolutionary of the
times. And the way he and Stephane feed
off each other's energy is magical.
Reinhardt's early work included Stephane Grappelli as his main soloing
counterpart, in later years he teamed
up with clarinetist Hubert
Rostaing, and others. Then toward the end of
his career Django
played more traditional forms of jazz. We explore some of his sessions
from 1949 and '50 in Rome and other miscellaneous gems that
include piano accompaniment in a separate section.
there is a plethora of Django Reinhardt's work available to
is a very reasonably priced box set collection that span
Django's career, which is noted
below. It is broken down into two separate sets chronologically.
The first box set is five discs and covers 1934 through 1939
and has a heavy emphasis on the his work with Stephane
Grappelli. The second set is four discs and covers
1937 through 1948 and emphasize soloists Hubert
Rostaing on much of the work, but also includes plenty of
unique sessions and plenty of Stephane Grappelli. We highly recommend them both. The material in his
later years has no overlap to this
and is just as essential.
Djangology Incredible, ten discs for around $20!
biography of Django
Reinhardt is provided by Djangomusic.
Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order Vol. 1 - Part
one of a box set at very low prices, five discs.
and London: 1937-1948, Vol. 2: The second part of the box
set four discs, incredible music, bargain price.
du Hot Club de France: 25 Classics 1934-1940 - If you
want a one disc Django Reinhardt compilation this import
fills the need.
Paris Spanning 1934 - '52, this reasonably priced four disc compilation
provides a good overview. A 44 page book is
|Django Reinhardt fans may be
interested in some of Stephane Grappelli's solo work. The two
recommendations below have plenty of interpretations of the
Quintet of Hot Club of
France's material, and both are excellent.
Django - This outstanding album is mostly Django covers; an all star line-up. Grappelli
plays piano on Larry Coryell's original "Blues for Django and Stephane."
and Grisman Live: - Stephane teams up with some of the
best bluegrass players. They give a fresh twist to some Hot
style of playing is not
popular with the masses so he often gets overlooked, but his abilities are no doubt
phenomenal. Atkins' largest
influence came as a session musician and a record producer, and he
is often credited with creating the Nashville sound. That's an
incredible statement as Chet's recording career is as impressive an anybody's.
Throughout his career, Chet Atkins earned numerous
awards, including 11 Grammy awards and nine CMA Instrumentalist of
the Year honors, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from
Sadly, Atkins was
diagnosed with cancer, and passed away June 30, 2001. Gone, but not
are some Chet Atkins essential listening recommendations, and additional
comments about his 1990 collaboration with Dire Strait
guitarist Mark Knopfler.
Atkins and Mark Knopfler's album
Neck and Neck has many great moments. Nashville piano
legend Floyd Cramer helps out on "Sweet Dreams." On
"They'll Be Some Changes Made," there is some
excellent dueling guitar. "So Soft" is a gentle
piece featuring excellent fiddle. Their rendition of Reinhardt
and Grappelli's "Tears" is a treasure. Just a few of
the reasons to pick up this album by two guitar
We have additional
Country: Guitar Piano
Legend The RCA Years -
This is our number recommendation of a Chet Atkins
compilation; 50 songs onto two discs.
and Neck: Chet Atkins teams up with Dire Straits guitarist
Mark Knopfler and other incredible session musicians. See above for
Stone magazine's website
1 Jimi Hendrix
2 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band
3 B.B. King
4 Eric Clapton
5 Robert Johnson
6 Chuck Berry
7 Stevie Ray Vaughan
8 Ry Cooder
9 Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
10 Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones
11Kirk Hammett of Metallica
12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
13 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead
14 Jeff Beck
15 Carlos Santana
16 Johnny Ramone of the Ramones
17 Jack White of the White Stripes
18 John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
19 Richard Thompson
20 James Burton
21 George Harrison
22 Mike Bloomfield
23 Warren Haynes
24 The Edge of U2
25 Freddy King
26 Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave
27 Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
28 Stephen Stills
29 Ron Asheton of the Stooges
30 Buddy Guy
31 Dick Dale
32 John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service
33 & 34 Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
35 John Fahey
36 Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MG's
37 Bod Diddley
38 Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac
39 Brian May of Qeen
40 John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival
41 Clarence White of the Byrds
42 Robert Fripp of King Crimson
43 Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic
44 Scotty Moore
45 Frank Zappa
46 Les Paul
47 T-Bone Walker
48 Joe Perry of Aerosmith
49 John McLaughlin
50 Pete Townshend
51 Paul Kossoff of Free
52 Lou Reed
53 Mickey Baker
54 Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane
55 Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple
56 Tom Verlaine of Television
57 Roy Buchanan
58 Dickey Betts
59 & 60 Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead
61 Ike Turner
62 Zoot Horn Rollo of the Magic Band
63 Danny Gatton
64 Mick Ronson
65 Hubert Sumlin
66 Vernon Reid of Living Colour
67 Link Wray
68 Jerry Miller of Moby Grape
69 Steve Howe of Yes
70 Eddie Van Halen
71 Lightnin' Hopkins
72 Joni Mitchell
73 Trey Anastasio of Phish
74 Johnny Winter
75 Adam Jones of Tool
76 Ali Farka Toure
77 Henry Vestine of Canned Heat
78 Robbie Robertson of the Band
79 Cliff Gallup of the Blue Caps (1997)
80 Robert Quine of the Voidoids
81 Derek Trucks
82 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
83 Neil Young
84 Eddie Cochran
85 Randy Rhoads
86 Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath
87 Joan Jett
88 Dave Davies of the Kinks
89 D. Boon of the Minutemen
90 Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper
91 Robby Krieger of the Doors
92 & 93 Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer of the MC5
94 Bert Jansch
95 Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine
96 Angus Young of AC/DC
97 Robert Randolph
98 Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer
99 Greg Ginn of Black Flag
100 Kim Thayil of Soundgarden
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