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May 19, 2012 3:04 PM   Subscribe


 
Their #100 is Skrillex, wtf?

Seriously though, lists are Dumb.
posted by Huck500 at 3:09 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. Next!
posted by nowhere man at 3:10 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


No Eddie Hazel either.
posted by NoMich at 3:13 PM on May 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Skrillex plays guitar? And seriously, I don't think someone who became popular within the last couple of years is eligible to make it to a greatest guitarists list.
posted by Malice at 3:14 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mentioning Skrillex leading to the loss of musical knowledge credibility is like the new Godwin's law.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:15 PM on May 19, 2012


Absurd. It's like this:

Hendrix
Chuck Berry
SRV
Buddy Guy
Everyone else
posted by spitbull at 3:16 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The greatest guitar player of all time is in it that band, you know the one, you saw them that time and it was perfect. The band handed you a little piece of yourself that you hadn't known was missing. You went home with your ears ringing and another piece in place. It was a good night. And that guitar player. Man.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:23 PM on May 19, 2012 [32 favorites]


NoMich: Hazel is #9 in the Spin list.

I appreciated that Spin made a couple token detours out of Angloland, but if you're going to include African guitarists then Franco should be there.
posted by williampratt at 3:23 PM on May 19, 2012


No way Fred Frith should be #55. He reinvented what guitar playing could mean...and no Mark Knopfler? List invalid.
posted by smirkette at 3:26 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given that they had to invent an entire separate list consisting solely of Mark Knopfler, it doesn't really matter what they do with these lesser inventories.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:29 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seems to have been the top 100 ROCK ELECTRIC guitarists. John Williams wasn't in there, and I don't remember seeing BB King, either, Let alone Lester Flatt.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is A List Of Greatest Guitarists Without Jimi Hendrix Worth Talking About?

(The answer is no).
posted by belarius at 3:37 PM on May 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


No Neil Finn? No John Squire? Bullshit, man. /Dennis Hopper
posted by scody at 3:37 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems to have been the top 100 ROCK ELECTRIC guitarists.

Well, I don't think you can even call it that. Somehow John Frusciante is absent even though RHCP was mentioned in Dave Navarro's and Boon's blurbs.

Skrillex was put in there for the same Reason Hendrix was left out, to generate discussion and page views.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:39 PM on May 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is A List Of Greatest Guitarists Worth Talking About?

(The answer is no).


Obviously you've never been around a bunch of drunk-yet-musically-inclined people.
posted by Malice at 3:40 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Got as far as Skrillex. Closed tab.
posted by Splunge at 3:42 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nope
posted by lobstah at 3:43 PM on May 19, 2012


NoMich: Hazel is #9 in the Spin list.

Now how in the hell did I miss that?
posted by NoMich at 3:44 PM on May 19, 2012


That is fucked up. I think the guitar magazine rock pantheon is too narrow, but leaving Hendrix out of the top 100 just makes me dismiss the list as sensationalist.
posted by scose at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


So they left out Wes Montgomery, Gran Green, and Catfish Collins. Sweet list bros.
posted by bumpjump at 3:53 PM on May 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Edit: Grant Green
posted by bumpjump at 3:54 PM on May 19, 2012


Lists like this are silly, but at least this one's deliberately silly.

Anyway, the best guitarist I've seen live is Neil Young and the only guitarist I've seen live who made me cry by playing the guitar is Prince. Ergo, they should be joint number one.
posted by jack_mo at 3:54 PM on May 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I recall a podcast with Chuck Klosterman and Bill Simmons, where they imagined a "fantasy league" of musicians. Just like a sports fantasy league, you and your buddies would organize a draft order, and you'd try to put together the best five-piece band you could by selecting people for roles. Lead singer, lead guitar, bass guitar, drummer and "other," which could be another guitarist or a keyboard player or whatever. And you couldn't double up -- for example, if you selected Eric Clapton as a guitarist, he can't sing.

And then after it was done, you'd argue about which band could make the best record, which band could hold the best concert, etc. "I don't think I have a chance this season. The best drummer available on the board when I picked was Phil Collins. I'm fucked."

One of the rules?

No one could have Jimi Hendrix on guitar. He was considered unusable, because he'd "blow the curve," so to speak. Any band of any formulation with Hendrix on guitar was unbeatable.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on May 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Good essay, thanks. Hendrix literally (and I use that word literally) invented a completely new grammar for electric guitar. Any list which does not acknowledge this is defective and beyond repair.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:58 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


ctrl+f "Snakefinger"

FUCK YOU SPIN
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:03 PM on May 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


No Ywngie on the list, so they haven't done that bad a job...
posted by Jimbob at 4:05 PM on May 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


There are some interesting names on that list, for sure. And plenty of names that should be more famous than they currently are. But otherwise the answer is "No."
posted by tommasz at 4:07 PM on May 19, 2012


I am glad Spin mentioned Prince, though. Because of his total persona, I don't think he gets enough credit for just playing the daylights out of a guitar.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:11 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What, no Ace Frehley?

*ducks*
posted by malocchio at 4:11 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hendrix's omission is inexplicable, but given that, I'm OK with Moore and Ranaldo at the top. \m/
posted by FrauMaschine at 4:12 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cf. "Rain on Tin"
posted by FrauMaschine at 4:15 PM on May 19, 2012


On the other hand, no Vini Reilly (Durutti Column), no credibility, AFAIC.
posted by FrauMaschine at 4:19 PM on May 19, 2012


Music is best when it's subjective, and all attempts to objectify it are dumb. So when a list of best music things ever is as shallowly provocative as this one – Hendrix is mentioned both under St. Vincent and Frank Zappa's blurbs – you know what, I'm kind of glad, because at least fewer people will be using this list to define their taste.

That said, Zappa should (as always) be placed even higher, because even though he often shies away from music that's easy or comfortable or even lovable, he proved many times over that he had the chops to play just about anything in any style. And one day Mike Oldfield will get his due – not near the top of the list by any means, but certainly on it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:24 PM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


No Brian May, no The Edge.

Fail SPIN.
posted by Talez at 4:31 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re Skrillex, the entry for him begins:
Look, as far as we know, our asymmetrically coiffed party pal has never held a guitar in his life.
It's nice of them to make it clear right at the outset like that that the list has nothing at all to do with prowess on the guitar. Why they chose to call it a list of the 100 greatest guitarists, though, is a little hard to figure out.
posted by yoink at 4:35 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I don't think I have a chance this season. The best drummer available on the board when I picked was Phil Collins. I'm fucked."

Yeah, because Collins is such an awful drummer.

(?????)
posted by kenko at 4:36 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Spin were a country and western music magazine, I would expect to see a list of country and western guitarists, not Jimi Hendrix.

Spin is kind of like a country and western music magazine.
posted by swift at 4:38 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I appreciated that they included metal guitarists. Like real metal. Metal metal. But yeah, lists are dumb.
posted by rainperimeter at 4:40 PM on May 19, 2012


I appreciate the effort to modernize a list like this, since the whole guitar god thing is pretty much dead in pop music. I wish they took it further though, would be interesting to see a list without any of the monsters of dad rock. When stuff like this is posted, I'm always more interested in the complaints about who got left out. Everybody knows Hendrix could play the guitar.
posted by Lorin at 4:42 PM on May 19, 2012


Lists of the top whatever are there to start arguments, not settle them.
posted by Relay at 4:42 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't believe that the Spin editors and Jack Hamilton (author of the first link) really believe that Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders are two of the greatest guitarists of all time. That's just about wanting to create the appearance of having women on the list. If that's the goal, I sure hope Kaki King and St. Vincent are on Spin's list too (I'm not willing to scroll through the annoying interface to find out).

And I agree with Talez — even if you forgive the Hendrix thing as an attention-getting gimmick, a list without Brian May is simply not a list of the greatest guitarists.
posted by John Cohen at 4:46 PM on May 19, 2012


Yeah, okay, more less in the ballpark, bhat shit is like a plate of fries. I mean, nice and fun and it has it's moments, but really no need to dwell on it...

Besides which for Kevin Shields to be as high up in that list as he is at #2, is absolute pure kak of the most egregious kind and SPIN can suck my dick.

But, you know, whatevs...

burp.

posted by Skygazer at 4:49 PM on May 19, 2012


Yeah, because Collins is such an awful drummer.

(?????)


This is why the game is fun, because of the arguments that ensue. You see, you'd also be gauging your fantasy team on its ability to write new music and play the music with which the musicians are associated with. Technical proficiency aside, you sure you want Phil Collins on that team?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:53 PM on May 19, 2012


(The Edge is in there)

no Richard Thompson?!?!?
posted by sineater at 4:53 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish they took it further though, would be interesting to see a list without any of the monsters of dad rock.

Actually now that I made the effort to read the entire thing, I guess that's almost what this is. Putting the ranking/omissions aside, it's a decent list of artists to check out.
posted by Lorin at 4:54 PM on May 19, 2012


Here is the entire list in one shot if you want to do a playlist or something.


1 Lee Ranaldo & Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
2 Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine)
3 John Fahey
4 Kurt Cobain
5 J Mascis
6 Prince
7 Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd (Television)
8 Johnny Ramone
9 Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic)
10 Jam Master Jay (Run DMC)
11 Ron Asheton (the Stooges)
12 Andy Gill
13 The Edge
14 Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman (Slayer)
15 Greg Ginn (Black Flag)
16 Frank Zappa
17 Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison
18 Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
19 D. Boon (Minutemen)
20 Neil Young
21 Sonny Sharrock
22 Jimmy Nolen (James Brown)
23 Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil)
24 Steve Albini (Big Black, Shellac)
25 Robert Fripp (King Crimson)
26 Johnny Marr
27 PJ Harvey
28 Glenn Branca
29 Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
30 King Buzzo (Melvins)
31 Derek Bailey
32 Robert Quine
33 Jack White
34 Justin Broadrick (Napalm Death, Godflesh, Jesu)
35 Dr. Know (Bad Brains)
36 James Blood Ulmer
37 Ali Farka Touré
38 Stephen Malkmus (Pavement, the Jicks)
39 Carrie Brownstein (Sleater Kinney, Wild Flag)
40 Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine)
41 Nile Rodgers (Chic)
42 King Sunny Adé
43 Nels Cline
44 John McLaughlin
45 Rhys Chatham
46 Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)
47 Marc Ribot
48 Bob Mould
49 Zoot Horn Rollo (the Magic Band)
50 Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith (MC5)
51 Robbie Basho
52 Johnny Thunders
53 Greg Sage (Wipers)
54 Euronymous (Mayhem)
55 Fred Frith
56 Kim and Kelley Deal (the Breeders)
57 Doug Martsch (Built to Spill)
58 Syd Barrett
59 Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets)
60 Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
61 Shuggie Otis
62 Tony Maiden (Rufus)
63 Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
64 Wino
65 Mick Ronson (David Bowie, Morrissey)
66 Rowland S. Howard and Mick Harvey (the Birthday Party)
67 Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
68 Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan)
69 Eugene Chadbourne
70 Jerry Harrison
71 Adrian Belew
72 Arto Lindsay
73 Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Krallice)
74 Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group)
75 Bert Jansch
76 Bernard Sumner (Joy Division, New Order)
77 Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females)
78 Vernon Reid (Living Colour)
79 Duane Denison (the Jesus Lizard)
80 Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers)
81 Keiji Haino
82 Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses)
83 Josh Homme
84 Lydia Lunch
85 Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam)
86 Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto (Fugazi)
87 Marnie Stern
88 Dylan Carlson (Earth)
89 Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
90 Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel)
91 Viv Albertine (the Slits)
92 James Blackshaw
93 Annie Clark (St. Vincent)
94 Ibhahim Ag Alhabib (Tinariwen)
95 Bill Steer (Napalm Death, Carcass)
96 David Pajo (Slint)
97 Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo)
98 Mark Morgan (Sightings)
99 Paul Saulnier (PS I Love You)
100 SKRILLEX
posted by lampshade at 4:58 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like how most guitar magazine or Rolling Stone lists of the top 100 guitarists (yes, I have read several of them) feel like they have to include Kurt Cobain because he was so huge, so they put him at 100 or 99 and say something condescending like "he may have not been the most technically proficient, but he played passionately." And I like how this Spin list says essentially the same thing:

Frontman Cobain is rarely described as a technical virtuoso, but he did have a fantastic, intuitive feel for the guitar...


but then they put him at #4! That's ridiculous and I even like Nirvana! Dave Grohl was the driving musical force behind Nirvana (Chad Channing was pretty excellent too--Nirvana really lucked out with drummers). Kurt Cobain wrote great songs, but as a guitar player he was average.
posted by mcmile at 5:03 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


No Brian May, no The Edge.

Edge is #13.

And cool. Thurston Moore + Lee Renaldo are #1. They are actually, by some argument or other.

But !?!?. Robert Fripp is #25. If you're going to bother putting the guy on the list, put him way higher.

FAIL. Steve Howe isn't on the list. Seriously.

Whatever. This list is everything that ever bugged me about SPIN. In essentially defining themselves as being NOT Rolling Stone, they doom themselves to being incomplete, because they're necessarily shrugging off huge and essential chunks of the culture. Thus you get a bunch of cool folks being mentioned who don't usually get mentioned (yay!), but also some glaring omissions (Hendrix, Brian May etc).

no Richard Thompson?!?!?

No Michael Karoli?

would be interesting to see a list without any of the monsters of dad rock.

Actually now that I made the effort to read the entire thing, I guess that's almost what this is.


Except it isn't. Robert Fripp. Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith. Frank Zappa. John Fahey. All of these guys were active and essential in the 60s. What the list is, is "The Greatest 100 Guitar Players You Probably Haven't Gotten Allergic To Yet"
posted by philip-random at 5:05 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


But Hendrix wasn't omitted.

#83, Annie Clark (never heard of her) In her hands, and within a tautly complex compositional framework, the guitar sounds limitless, capable of screaming, squalling, soaring, and crying — as if Hendrix were sitting in with a downtown art-rock band.

You can't have it both ways, "having a dialogue with Hendrix" and also trying to omit him.

And besides, everyone knows the #1 greatest guitar player of all time is me, the next time I pick up my guitar. The #1 worst guitar player of all time is me, the last time I picked up a guitar. No Hendrix or anyone else is going to take the place of the #1 guitar player in my world, nobody's ever going to create that link with music I create with my own instrument.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:08 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mcmile, Grohl, of course is an insanely gifted and hard hitting drummer, perhaps the best of his generation, but Kurt's voice was the driving musical force of Nirvana.
posted by Skygazer at 5:09 PM on May 19, 2012


I still think this is an interesting list since it seems to view innovation as most important. For example, Bernard Sumner and Andy Gill weren't the greatest guitar players but the way they played was totally new and different. And, yeah, they should definitely get credit for that.

But by that metric Carrie Brownstein should be higher.
posted by mcmile at 5:11 PM on May 19, 2012


I'm not going to look at it because I just know it will annoy me, but I will say that if it doesn't contain Bob Quine, Richard Thompson, James Williamson and Fred Frith it ain't worth shit.
posted by Decani at 5:19 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um. No Django Reinhardt, no Jimmy Bryant, no Danny Gatton? Omitting Hendrix is egregious in the same way.
posted by jet_silver at 5:19 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, if it contains Joe Satriani I'm going to have to kill a random stranger. Sorry about that.
posted by Decani at 5:20 PM on May 19, 2012


I'm really surprised to see that Dave Navarro was included but John Frusciante was not.
posted by fancyoats at 5:20 PM on May 19, 2012


Congratulations, SPIN, on successfully trolling possibly dozens of people into viewing eleven ad-filled pages of worthless tripe!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:21 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, I looked at it. JACK WHITE IS IN THERE ARE YOU FUCKING OUT OF YOUR MIND OMG I SHOULD HAVE STAYED ASLEEP
posted by Decani at 5:21 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mojo magazine put out a very good list back in 1996. The full text isn't online, but that link gives you the rankings with each guitarist's highlight.

I still think this is an interesting list since it seems to view innovation as most important.

I agree that innovation is very important, but by that standard the list should include Hendrix, at least one of the Beatles, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Joni Mitchell, Eddie Van Halen, Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian (none of whom are on the list).
posted by John Cohen at 5:22 PM on May 19, 2012


Is a List of Greatest Guitarists Without Jimi Hendrix Worth Talking About?

And here we are discussing it anyway. The fact that list list a few non-guitarist is pretty a giveaway that they're just trolling for people like us to get all irate about it.
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2012


i ran across this list a week ago and found it intriguing - but i can't take seriously any list that leaves off hendrix and puts in skrillex

this flies in the face of two facts (NOT opinions!)

1 - in guitar playing, there is before hendrix and after hendrix

2 - skrillex, as far as i can tell, doesn't play guitar
posted by pyramid termite at 5:28 PM on May 19, 2012


#5 J Mascis? No.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I love him plenty, but if you're doing a list that explicitly sets out to omit wanky soloists, you need to omit him, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:29 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The list is humorous, but even more humorous are the people who take it seriously. Most of the folk on the list aren't even good guitarists, much less great guitarists.
posted by caddis at 5:35 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


SKRILLEX. But no Alex Lifeson? What the hell?
posted by 4ster at 5:35 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, don't get me wrong, I love him plenty, but if you're doing a list that explicitly sets out to omit wanky soloists, you need to omit him, too.

Same with Billy Corgan. I love the Smashing Pumpkins and I think he deserves to be on a list of the top 100 guitarists. But Billy Corgan has a pretty conventional approach to guitar, with a lot of very flashy soloing. The Pumpkins have made a lot of innovative music, but Corgan's guitar-playing is pretty derivative of the standard hard-rock greats like Brian May. (You could say much the same thing of Prince, for that matter.)
posted by John Cohen at 5:38 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jam Master Jay?
posted by 4ster at 5:39 PM on May 19, 2012


No Andres Segovia?

I am looking at the list more closely, and ferchrissakes, Lydia Lunch? You're not a guitarist if you can't actually play a guitar. Perhaps they should have been honest and labeled this "100 Greatest People Who Made Sounds With A Guitar." They cite a track from "No New York," which I bought when it was released in 1977. The track "Red Alert" is bruitism, not music. When I bought the album, I thought that name sounded familiar. I finally remembered, I saw her in 1976 on one of the 1/2" B&W reel to reel video art compilations we used to get from some NY gallery. She was giving a blowjob to a live microphone. I remember my professor liked playing it with the sound turned up.

Also Viv Albertine, I love her but she couldn't play guitar for shit on the early Slits track the critic cited as her best work.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:39 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mojo magazine put out a very good list back in 1996.

that list is awfully inaccurate as far as guitars go - there's really no excuse for listing certain guitars as "main guitars" and then listing best songs in which the artist most certainly didn't play that guitar

i can excuse them for not mentioning that hendrix played a telecaster on a couple of the songs on his first album

but eric clapton did not play crossroads on a stratocaster

jimmy page played in my time of dying on a danelectro

sister rosetta sharpe couldn't have possibly played a gibson sg custom in 1941

joni mitchell didn't play coyote on a martin d-45 - i'm not sure what she played, but it's an ELECTRIC guitar

there's more, but they just should have left the guitars out of it or talked to someone who knew their stuff
posted by pyramid termite at 5:46 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


by the way, i was oddly pleased that lee renaldo and thurston moore ended up as no 1 - it's not quite right - but they're certainly up there
posted by pyramid termite at 5:47 PM on May 19, 2012


The track "Red Alert" is bruitism, not music.

Some people like it loud. Speaking of whom, Frank Zappa appears on the Spin list. Good. And so does John McLaughlin, also good. And, quite awesomely, King Sunny Adé.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:50 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


there's more, but they just should have left the guitars out of it or talked to someone who knew their stuff

Mojo mag was trolling. It lists Les Paul's primary guitar as a Gretch Chet Atkins, with a smiley after it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:54 PM on May 19, 2012


Not at all surprised to see that Paul Leary was omitted.

He should be there, but I'm still not surprised.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:55 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the 5th worst list of best guitarist's that I've seen this year!
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:56 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some people like it loud.

Sure, so did I until I started going deaf. I used to play No New York over and over. But bruitism isn't intended to be music, it's intended to be noise. It's derived from Dada theater, not music. Lydia Lunch came from the art scene and her references are obvious.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:00 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The greatest guitar player of all time is in it that band, you know the one, you saw them that time and it was perfect. The band handed you a little piece of yourself that you hadn't known was missing. You went home with your ears ringing and another piece in place. It was a good night. And that guitar player. Man.
posted by BitterOldPunk


You and your Alabama Shakes. Sheesh.
posted by jjray at 6:01 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know who is a tremendously underrated guitarist?
Lindsay Buckingham.

Its damn shame he doesnt get more his due on that score.
We saw him last weekend and he's simply incredible.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:11 PM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


If we are talking guitarists, and not just rock guitarists, not having Julian Bream in there is a travesty. Listen to this!
posted by Xoc at 6:21 PM on May 19, 2012


Any list that doesn't include Chuck Berry (and include him at number one, basically) should be angrily shat upon and flushed down the toilet (literally, metaphorically, whatever).
posted by blucevalo at 6:30 PM on May 19, 2012


Adrian Legg? Leo Kottke? Link Wray??
posted by oflinkey at 6:52 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Forget Hendrix, forget Skrillex. Guitars have been around for a thousand years, but Rolling Stone and Spin only list people from the last century or so. What gives? No way did all the greatest guitarists in history live so recently. I mean, where are the 13th-century virtuoso troubadours who sipped from jugs of wine on Andalusian hillsides, coaxed symphonies to God out of catgut strings, lived poor, died forgotten?

Oh, and also the guy from the Presidents of the United States of America whose guitar was a bass.
posted by decagon at 6:57 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is not a list of technicians. It should alternately be titled "Most inventive, original and creative" guitarists. I'm heartened to see Duane Denison on the list, though he and Belew would be at the top if I were to reorder it. Hendrix was obviously left off as a nod towards iconoclasm, simply to get conversations like this one started.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:09 PM on May 19, 2012


You know who is a tremendously underrated guitarist?
Lindsay Buckingham.


Fucking a right. The live version of Big Love off of The Dance just rips my head right off. His rhythm section in Fleetwood Mac wasn't so bad, either.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:18 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd should be at #1.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:25 PM on May 19, 2012


A List Of Greatest Guitarists Without Jimi Hendrix might be Worth Talking About (though I seriously doubt it), but one without Danny Gatton is easily dismissed.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:45 PM on May 19, 2012


Ali Farka Touré, yes, absolutely. King Sunny Adé? Got added because somebody at the magazine said "hey, how 'bout another African with an é name? Cause really, King Sunny might've introduced juju to the world, but he barely played guitar at all. He sang, and smiled a lot, and held a guitar, but...

Also, yeah, no Richard Thompson? Inexcusable omission.

This is not a list of technicians. It should alternately be titled "Most inventive, original and creative" guitarists.

Then where the hell are Dorothy "Dot" Wiggin and her sister Betty?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:46 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a tremendously shitty list, practically trolling for attention. I can just see the conference behind it "Let's just pick a list of our favorite alternative bands and throw their guitar players in there. We'll ignore all the gods of the past except Iommi, it'll get everyone pissed and they'll be posting this link EVERYWHERE."

And yes, he's a god, but what the hell is Bert Jansch doing with all these alt/metal players?

MIA, off the top of my head, a lot of the usual suspects: Berry, Dick Dale, Page, Beck, Clapton, Allman, Buchanan, Metheny, EVH, SRV, May, Lifeson, Howe, Haynes, Trucks, Holdsworth, Hackett (last album was STUNNING), Knopfler, anyone who played guitar for Fleetwood Mac, Gibbons, Richards, Taylor, Wood, oh fuck how 'bout Townsend.
posted by Ber at 7:49 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


How is Syd Barrett on the list and David Gilmour is not?

Also, ffs, no Eddie?

Hilarious trolling job, definitely got their page views out of me trying to figure out how they were going to cram everyone missing onto the last page....
posted by ish__ at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2012


How is Syd Barrett on the list and David Gilmour is not?

Easy. One tore into the instrument with an angular fervor that folks are still trying to figure out almost fifty years later. The other perfected a certain sound and approach over the course of about four years ... and then never deviated, got quite boring in the end (certainly predictable).
posted by philip-random at 7:58 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Dick Dale? Absurd. Whatever.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:10 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ran a clinic with #87 Marnie Stern, in Chicago last year. It was her first clinic. She plays fast melodic tapping with both hands at once. There were about 15 pretty good Chicago guitarists watching her with their own guitars attempting to mimic her.
She demonstrated the same 20 tap riff a few times and then she looked out at everyone for them to try to play it back, silence. Then she played it a little slower, no one had any idea how to play it. I asked her if she could just play the first 5 or 6 notes. She did and everyone was still baffled. She really thought everyone could play like her. She is very nice, charming and very humble about her talent.
Eventually she ended up going around the room, standing behind each person and placing their fingers of both hands in a starting position, then she showed them the notes.
posted by lee at 8:11 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Absurd. It's like this:

Hendrix
Chuck Berry


Just for the hell of it, because it's one of my favourite Hendrix tracks, Hendrix / Johnny B. Goode.
posted by carter at 8:15 PM on May 19, 2012


What is wrong with you people? Both those lists are perfect!

Posted by Steve Morse at late night on May 19 [+] [!]
posted by TedW at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2012


Finally, Lydia Lunch's genius recognized!
posted by telstar at 9:03 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Django or GTFO
posted by RobotHero at 9:03 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just noticed that Duane Allman was missing.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:06 PM on May 19, 2012


You know who is a tremendously underrated guitarist?
Lindsay Buckingham.


Oh yeah. I saw this gig in June 1976. I had just bought my first real guitar, a Les Paul Deluxe, a friend and I who played guitar together went there to see the warmup act, Jeff Beck (with Jan Hammer Group + Jean-Luc Ponty). Just guitar gods for us, no lame pop music, we were going to leave after Beck's performance. Fleetwood Mac was like an hour late to the stage, so Beck played on and on. We felt like we got more than our money's worth. We were getting ready to leave, and then Lyndsay Buckingham came on and started a bashing out a monster solo electric intro to "Bare Trees." He was good enough that we stayed through the concert. But meh. Jeff Beck is a really tough act to follow.

I got home and decided to get the album, and dammit none of that monster guitar sound was on the album at all. The monster solo electric lead in to Bare Trees was replaced by tinkling acoustic. I was disappointed. Never really listened to Fleetwood Mac ever again.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:24 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Randy Rhodes, Jeff Beck or Hendrix. It's not a serious list.
posted by Bonzai at 10:48 PM on May 19, 2012


How hilarious is it that Spin still exists?

In a way magazines like this were pioneers though. You know how so many music blogs are written by people who don't actually like music? They like sounding clever about music, but you read them going on and on about Grizzly Bear or TV on the Radio and you're just like, "yeah that sounds good on paper, but I've listened to those bands and objectively, it's an utterly unremarkable experience at best."

Spin was doing that way back before blogs even existed.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:03 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never really listened to Fleetwood Mac ever again.

Bare Trees was a Danny Kirwan album, from before Buckngham's tenure by several years. Kirwan was good, buy it's certainly no Rumors.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:59 PM on May 19, 2012


Now I know how some people felt reading the 50 Greatest Video Game Characters of All Time thread.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:33 AM on May 20, 2012


There's a lot of focus on Hendrix from the point of view of 'virtuosity' and the whole guitar hero type of thing... but in fact he was also a really interesting songwriter and arranger. It's a false opposition to set him against the 'DIY lo fi' type players.

Even his most celebrated solos are tightly built into overall soundscapes which are brilliantly realised as a unity (think of the difference between Voodoo Chile and All Along the Watchtower and Machine Gun), certainly not just vehicles for show-off technical virtuosity or 'cock rock' excess. There's even a note of racism that seeks to rewrite Hendrix as a savant-wildman rock excess king, rather than a very assiduous and careful musician who loved listening to Dylan, for example.

As for Clapton, I think his reputation suffers from the fact that he's a big corporate old dude now, and that's a lot of what Spin's list is about too. But he wasn't always that. Clapton taught himself to play exciting raw blues in his teens (that first Bluesbreakers album he did is absolutely on fire), as a working class boy living in sleepy suburban England, at a time when (people forget this) we Brits had to listen to crackly semi-legal radio stations because our state broadcaster would not play black American music, and there were even strict import limits on American built guitars (a tariff designed to build up British industry after WW2).
posted by colie at 1:41 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


and no Mark Knopfler?

OR

Ahhhh no Mark Knopfler.

Seriously the most overrated boring person is Mark Knopfler. Even saying his name is boring.
posted by mattoxic at 1:55 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


But bruitism isn't intended to be music, it's intended to be noise.

Intentional fallacy. Bzzzt, sit down.
posted by Wolof at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Justin Broadrick should be in the top 20 at least, and Greg Ginn in the top 5.

And Cobain at 4? Really, when are people gonna stop giving him props just because he offed himself?
posted by Max Power at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2012


100% agreed w/ Senor Cardgage RE Lindsay Buckingham.

And for the XX side of the list:

Joan Armatrading (highly underrated, unbelievable musician)
Chrissie Hynde
Ann & Nancy Wilson
Amy Ray

No, NOT Bonnie Raitt. Over. Rated.
posted by yoga at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2012


No, NOT Bonnie Raitt. Over. Rated.

What, she's overrated as a guitarist? Hmm. Can't say as I've ever heard anyone rave about her guitar playing. And that's what we're talking about, right? Isn't she mostly adored as a singer and interpreter of blues/slash/americana/slash/rootsy/slash/prettydamngoodforawhitegal?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:04 AM on May 20, 2012


I mention Bonnie Raitt b/c she usually is the token woman on Best Guitarist lists du jour.
posted by yoga at 8:11 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bon Iver FTW. Suck it Spin!
posted by karlos at 8:15 AM on May 20, 2012


I mention Bonnie Raitt b/c she usually is the token woman on Best Guitarist lists du jour.

That's cause these ignorant-ass young'uns ain't never heard Lady Bo or The Duchess.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2012




Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Chris Whitley, Stanley Jordan, Michael Hedges, Randy Rhodes, Les Paul, George Harrison, Ritchie Blackmore, Django Reinhardt. Jonny Greenwood, Eddie Van Halen and Prince called, they told me to tell you to take your lists and shove 'em in the nostril of the son of a dead softish-core pornographer.
posted by dbiedny at 8:47 AM on May 20, 2012


Bare Trees was a Danny Kirwan album, from before Buckngham's tenure by several years. Kirwan was good, buy it's certainly no Rumors.

Ah, well that would explain the jangly acoustic instead of power electric.

BTW, regarding Bonnie Raitt as a token woman on the list, no way, she deserves higher acclaim. Somewhere I have a poster to a Bonnie Rait concert from the early 70s that I could not get tickets to. She learned slide guitar from Mississippi Fred Macdowell, I am so grateful to Bonnie for getting him one really great solo recording session at the peak of his abilities, just before he died. And she's carrying on she learned from him. I mean, compare these two versions:

Kokomo by Fred Macdowell

Kokomo by Bonnie Raitt

Oh hell, Fred Macdowell belongs on the list too, along with a dozen other blues greats. You can't talk about Hendrix or basically all rock without them.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2012


This list is not only not worth taking seriously, I'd file it under 'bad joke.'
posted by jonmc at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2012


Seriously, fuck best-of lists. They've long since ceased trying to be some sort of reasoned, justified rank ordering and are just about the attention and page-hits, and occasionally some weak piss-taking on the part of someone who thinks that they're being edgy and daring.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2012


Frank Zappa and Adrian Belew, okay they're off to a good start.
posted by Splunge at 2:42 PM on May 20, 2012


What I've learned from this is that the Spin folks have great taste in music, which they are showing off, but have no idea how to rank guitarists, let alone the TOP 100 of ALL TIME!

Also missing from this list are Doc Watson and Carlos Montoya. Oh yea, and that kid with no arms who can play anything by Pearl Jam and plays Taylor Guitars(tm) exclusively. He's fuckin' good!
posted by snsranch at 2:49 PM on May 20, 2012


I mention Bonnie Raitt b/c she usually is the token woman on Best Guitarist lists du jour.

Hell, Elizabeth Cotton was better than most of the guitarists on either list and as original as Hendrix in her way. Love Rory Block as well, although her technique is what shines, not her originality.

h hell, Fred Macdowell belongs on the list too, along with a dozen other blues greats.

Lightnin' Hopkins played under the arch on the Rice campus on my birthday in 1970. He was the first of the bluesmen I had heard live. I went on to hear many, many more, but the shining clarity of his sound and the crispness of his licks have never faded from my memory. He was on a double bill with Mance Lipscomb. I took it to be a birthday present from the universe to me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:52 PM on May 20, 2012


Of course, one of the amusing things about the reaction to this list is that I've never seen a discussion of any of these "best guitarists" lists which didn't include a number of strident denunciations of Jimi Hendrix as a hopelessly overrated hack.
posted by yoink at 5:27 PM on May 20, 2012


Jonny Ramone and Kurt Cobain are in the top ten? And the list leads off with Skrillex?

I love the ramones. Fucking love them. Kurt Cobain upended the entire music industry almost single handedly. Both are amazing musicians, and the absolute best fit with their band, in their time - they are rock and roll gods. Neither of them are very good guitarists.

OK. I'ma gonna say it. I like Skrillex. A lot. He brought experimental electronica to pop in an exciting, accessible way. He does not, however, play a guitar.

This is like trying to debate who'd win, the Justice League or the X-men, by considering matchups between Speed Buggy and Groo the Wanderer.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:21 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Err - Jonny Ramone and Kurt Cobaine are rock gods. Skrillex is just really good at electronic pop.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 PM on May 20, 2012


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