Miscellaneous Rumbles

SPIN’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time

26

After looking at this list, I would have to say that it's better as an "underrated and overlooked guitarists" list, than a 100 top guitarists of all time list. I agree, it's cool to see some of the names like Greg Ginn, Nels Cline, Jimmy Nolan, etc. that others mentioned. It's also cool to see Bill Steer mentioned (the guy has great chops, and great tone, and has done everything from grindcore in Napalm Death and Carcass, to classic rock in Firebird), but while he's good, calling him one of the 100 greatest, is a stretch, since some of his tuneology, might be considered noise by a goodly amount of people. Also, there was too much of a leaning towards indie songwriters, who may write interesting songs, but are only passable on guitar. Top guitarist lists are such a subjective thing IMO.

27

i give the compilers two thumbs up for having the solid brass attachments to put Derek Bailey on the list, which is the first time i've ever seen him on a list like this.

28

Wow that's the best list like that I've ever seen. They actually Included my favorite guitar player Greg Sage. They put him at 53 and I woulda put him at 1 but I've never even seen him on any other list.

I agree with Barry though the name of the list is questionable.

29

i give the compilers two thumbs up for having the solid brass attachments to put Derek Bailey on the list, which is the first time i've ever seen him on a list like this.

– macphisto

i give the compilers two thumbs up for having the solid brass attachments to put Derek Bailey on the list, which is the first time i've ever seen him on a list like this.

– macphisto

+1. forgot to mention his mention in my post.

31

A more interesting read through than the usual list but embarrassingly hip. A word to the authors: get rid of the disc jockeys (yes, we all know what you are saying and you are not fooling anyone) and rename it to underexposed or underated guitarists. That way you won't look like a totally useless media parasite.

32

I looked so you don't have to. Don't bother.

Wish I had taken your advice.

– Mark Turner

I looked so you don't have to. Don't bother.

Wish I had taken your advice.

– MTurner

+1

33

I like this list - but it's completely mis-named.

If you were to call this 100 guitarists who are frequently overlooked, it would be a lot closer. Annie Clark, of St Vincent, is a good guitarist who many people here have probably never heard.

Bernard Sumner was an important part of the 80s new wave movement, but gets little credit.

Lydia Lunch, Arto Lindsay and Glenn Branca were part of the downtown NYC core in the 70s and early 80s. I'd never think of either of them as a great guitarist, but they made great contributions.

So many others on the list - Bad Brains' Dr. Know, Johnny Thunders, Robert Quine, Sterling Morrison, Ron Asheton, etc - were innovators and drove a lot of the music that followed them. But they get little credit.

Are these the 100 most talented guitarists? Of course not. But most of the names on the list have made contributions in ways that many on the typical "100 best" have not. (Joe Bonamassa is a more talented guitarist than most on this list, but I don't think he's breaking any new ground.)

It would be great to put together a playlist with 2-3 tracks from each of these 100 - I bet that people would gain a lot of insights into music they've not listened to previously. So treat it as "100 interesting guitarists you might not know very well" and it's a damn good list.

– barryg_nyc

I like this list - but it's completely mis-named.

If you were to call this 100 guitarists who are frequently overlooked, it would be a lot closer. Annie Clark, of St Vincent, is a good guitarist who many people here have probably never heard.

Bernard Sumner was an important part of the 80s new wave movement, but gets little credit.

Lydia Lunch, Arto Lindsay and Glenn Branca were part of the downtown NYC core in the 70s and early 80s. I'd never think of either of them as a great guitarist, but they made great contributions.

So many others on the list - Bad Brains' Dr. Know, Johnny Thunders, Robert Quine, Sterling Morrison, Ron Asheton, etc - were innovators and drove a lot of the music that followed them. But they get little credit.

Are these the 100 most talented guitarists? Of course not. But most of the names on the list have made contributions in ways that many on the typical "100 best" have not. (Joe Bonamassa is a more talented guitarist than most on this list, but I don't think he's breaking any new ground.)

It would be great to put together a playlist with 2-3 tracks from each of these 100 - I bet that people would gain a lot of insights into music they've not listened to previously. So treat it as "100 interesting guitarists you might not know very well" and it's a damn good list.

– barryg_nyc

+1 (000,000) :D

34

If Jerry Garcia is not in the top five then it is a bs list. In my opinion shredding is just making noise for the sake of making noise. Listen to Eric Clapton and find out what a thoughtful lead is all about. I realize that I'm a grumpy old FART and that I'm not in tune with with you young kids. I do not mean to ruffle any feathers, just posting my view. I'ts all subjective anyway. :D

35

If Jerry Garcia is not in the top five then it is a bs list. In my opinion shredding is just making noise for the sake of making noise. Listen to Eric Clapton and find out what a thoughtful lead is all about. I realize that I'm a grumpy old FART and that I'm not in tune with with you young kids. I do not mean to ruffle any feathers, just posting my view. I'ts all subjective anyway.

Yes it is subjective. You like Jerry Garcia - he never did anything for me musically. Ditto for Clapton. I saw him live at Alpine Valley in 1987 (just to be able to say that I saw Eric Clapton play), and to me, it felt like he was phoning in the performance. Music is sooooo subjective. But then again, it's an artform, and that is to be expected, :)

36

Ellengtrgrl, I've seen Clapton quite a few times,and I agree with you,at a couple of shows he came out pretty flat, you probably caught him on an off night. On the other hand I've seen the Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band hundreds of times and if either band was having a good night then it was awesome, if either band was having an off night it would be a freaking train wreck, kind'a like a middle school garage band. And your also correct in the fact that it's an art form and we all can like whatever we like. My opinion has no more merit than anyone's. Hears to all music good or bad. :)

37

"On the other hand I've seen the Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band hundreds of times and if either band was having a good night then it was awesome, if either band was having an off night it would be a freaking train wreck, kind'a like a middle school garage band."

So that what it was! Many years ago I decided to spend my hard earned money on a live album by Grateful Dead, the band I only red about, but never heard the music. Being a huge Led Zep, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC fan at the time (still is), the curiosity took the best of me, plus I thought a band with a name like this must be right up my alley... Oh man, I guess it was one of those nights when they recorded it, but I still want my money back!!:D :D

38

It's all subjective, some people like BACON.

39

For reasons of our own, we like the things that we like and avoid thing that may be of equal-- or better-- quality that don't meet with our approval. Any list compiled by an individual or a like minded group of folks could better be labeled "Guitar Players Who We Like Right Now."

When there is no clear definition of "good," a list of good stuff is simply a matter of what you like. Trying to make a list of the characteristics of "good" can also be problematic. Does a good guitar player get down on his knees and grimace when he plays? Is playing really loud what a good player does? Does being good involve years of training and practice? If so, what Elvis did in the 1950s wasn't-- by definition-- good. Opera, or Swiss yodeling, become good by virtue of the training involved.

This is all like trying to decide what "Art" is. If one person thinks something is art, who am I to declare "that's not art?" I stopped believing in Art years ago. It's all art, and nothing is art if everything is art.

I have my own personal ideas about what constitutes quality. You may or may not agree with me about the characteristics of quality, but being able to jump high in the air while flailing at an E chord is not one of them, if that's any clue.

Spin Magazine IS very clever to publish this list. I told a non-musician friend about the list, and I'm certain that he Googled it as soon as he could. People who don't know, or care, about Spin are looking at their site right now. Advertisers like that quite a bit.

40

Of course these lists are subjective but that does not mean they are without value (beyond creating advertising revenue of course). Just because everybody has opinions based on different tastes does not mean that all those opinions should be valued equally. The level at which an opinion is informed and the ability to not make category errors is very important. If my 15 year old cousin tells me that Justin Bieber is the best singer in the world then I should also consider how much experience of other singers she has had and whether or not she is confusing his ability as a singer with his boyish charms and silky dance moves.

The problem with these lists is that often it is not about personal choice, most of the time it is about category errors: a player's ability to dance, smile, look sexy, sing, write songs, etc. is confused with a player's ability to play. The reason why most musicians' opinions about musical ability differ from those of the general public is because they tend to (but not always) have a broader depth of musical listening and are usually better able to differentiate the music making part of performance from the rest.

If a music magazine or website is making errors either through musical ignorance or through deliberate category errors then they should be called on it.


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