He Definitely Had The Greatest Guitar Face // CC // A. Vente
As a species we seem to be inifitely obsessed with lists, even John Lennon was (more on that story here). But some are more obsessed with lists than others, and it must be said that journalists are the worst offenders.
There was a time when you couldn't watch TV (at least in the UK) without seeing some televised list of the top 100 best music videos as voted for by nobody important, featuring commentary from nobody important.
Well Rolling Stone magazine are keeping the trend going, why shouldn't they? We love lists. RS produced a list of the top 100 greatest guitarists, and in a bid to get us all even more interested, it was voted for by a panel made up of famous guitarists.
So if it was voted for by awesome guitarists, why do you detect cynicism in the tone of this article? Well here's where rational thought steps in. For the love of God, can everybody please stop proclaiming to be providing conclusive lists on everything that is 'great'.
Jimi Hendrix was voted as number one, obviously... he was a brilliant performer, and incredible guitarist, and he is still influencing young guitarists today. Here's where actual guitarists may get a little bit upset – jazz guitarists seem not to feature in any way, shape, or form.
So according to Rolling Stone, The Edge is a 'greater' guitarist than Django Reinhardt. Why have I singled out The Edge? I don't want to take-on U2 fans, there's too many of them, and I know that their justification for Mr Edge's place in the list will be his status as a guitar innovator.
As politely as possible though, his innovation seems to revolve around the use of a giant effects rack, whereas Django, for example, not only invented a completely new style of jazz guitar, but also wrote a number of songs which have later become jazz standards. This is just one example and not an attack on Mr T. Edge, I love The, and I love a few songs from one of the albums that U2 made.
I don't want to get all jazzy, I'm a rock guitarist and I suck at jazz guitar, I should be loving this list. But I just can't overlook the fact that Wes Montgomery doesn't feature on the list, by this point i'm still trying to write this article whilst holding back the tears welling up in my wannabe jazzy eyes.
Another thing I want to rant about is the lack of young guitarists who feature on the list, but this can be explained simply by the fact that most of the guitarists who were on the panel are quite old and would have voted for their idols, and by this logic their idols would be quite old.
The list isn't even that bad, there are 100 great guitarists on it, they just aren't the 100 greatest.
It's impossible to measure this anyway, unless a team of scientists and mathematicians got together and found some way of measuring how great somebody is at guitar.
Just call it something else, how about "100 Guitarists Who Are Favoured By Other Guitarists Who Are Popular In The Broad Genre Of Rock Music", or "100 Guitarists Who Everyone Really Likes, In No Particular Order, And As Voted For By A Bunch Of Cool Guitarists". I'd be happy with either of these, and I'd probably still read the article.
I feel obligated to now find a mathematical way of discovering the top 100 most under-rated guitarists, perhaps we could ask lots of famous guitarists to name some guitarists that they've never heard of...
But anyway, rant over.
WAIT, why are there only a few metal guitarists on the list? I give up.
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