Rerun: 15 Guitarists - Who Would Be on Your List?

Editor's Note:  We are interspersing some of the previous 150 or so blog entries with current material.  Here is a rerun of an earlier post.  My number one is pictured below.

Not to long ago, a musician I know challenged his “friends” on Facebook to name 15 guitarists who have “influenced you and who will always stick with you.”    I responded with “my list.”  I put “my list” in quotation marks here because I may have stretched the “influenced” or “will always stick” a little to appear more cosmopolitan than I really am.

“My list” as published to Facebook was:

    1. Dave Wronski
    2. Dick Dale
    3. Hank Marvin
    4. Link Wray
    5. Mike Bloomfield
    6. John Cipollina
    7. Jeff Beck
    8. Steve Cropper
    9. Robben Ford
    10. Billy Zoom
    11. Hubert Sumlin
    12. Neil Young
    13. Jimi Hendrix
    14. The Kings (Albert, BB, and Freddy)
    15. Eddy Cochran

The Facebook responders were up to the task and came up with many more guitarists -- most of whom were not on my list.  The ones of whom I had heard included Bill Frissell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jim Hall, Doc Watson, Nels Cline, Pat Martino, Frank Zappa, Nils Lofgren, Alex Lifeson, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Petrucci, George Harrison, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour, Steve Vai, John McLaughlin, Tony Iommi, Jerry Garcia, Bill Corgan, The Edge, Richard Thompson, Pat Metheny, Eddie Van Halen, Robert Cray, Django, Robert Johnson, and many more.  Obviously, some would be the "usual suspects" when guitarists are mentioned.

Some of the Facebook friends listed guitarists who were unknown to me.  Did those artists make the lists because the listing friend really was influenced or simply was trying to appear even more cosmopolitan than I?  If you chose the latter, you probably are correct.  Many of the responders certainly wanted to show how hip they are!

The people listed were a virtual who’s who of guitar and ran the gamut of styles and genres -- even though country and classical were not well-represented.  What was clear was that everybody has a list of favorites.  Seeing others’ lists made me realize how many guitarists could be on a list and the breadth of music which is available to us.

If I had a do-over -- which I do because I am writing this story -- some names would drop out of “my list” and be replaced.  Mike Bloomfield, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Robben Ford probably would be off my list.  Sure each of them is a great guitarist.  But do they really meet the criteria which are extremely personal:  Influenced me and will always stick with me?  Not really.  My less worldly -- simple-minded music -- list would include Eddie Bertrand, Muddy Waters, Duane Eddy, and Dave Edmunds.

In the end, naming 15 guitarists who influenced and always will stick with any musician or guitarist is more difficult than you think and very personal.  My final list might not be avant garde, obscure, cosmopolitan, lofty, or particularly highfalutin.  But it is mine.

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