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At Pointy Guitar we love a good list. We love to bitch about ill conceived lists by seeming laypeople, that is. And the site history101.com has unleashed a doozy with “The 43 greatest guitarists of all time, ranked”.
Immediately we have trouble, as the article begins:
Here’s a trip through the 38 best guitarists, made famous for having listeners moving and shaking over the years.
Well … is it 43 or 38? And is the criterion for making the list simply “having listeners moving and shaking”? Maybe.
Let’s be clear: This list is not without its merits. There are great, diverse choices like Brian May, Frank Zappa and Willie Nelson. We can even get behind Jimi Hendrix at number one.
But here are some of their greatest guitarists. Of all time.
Coming in at number 43 is … Johnny Ramone. While the writer admits the erstwhile John William Cummings “probably played fewer solos in his career than anyone else on our list,” greatness is not about solos. The Ramones are likely one of the most influential rock bands, and certain iconic, but GOAT? Get out.
A similar argument could be made for the music of Buddy Holly and Kurt Cobain. Why not work that angle? Anyway, they are ranked number 22 (one ahead of Slash) and number 18 (one ahead of Freddie King).
In case you’re wondering, Bobby (sic) Krieger is ranked number 33. Bobby.
Though they weren’t about shredding, per se, The Fixx were very much an ’80s guitar band. Guitar World is highlighting the stabbing tones of Jamie West-Oram on the group’s 1983 hit “One Thing Leads to Another.” Did we mention the ’80s? Check out the axe used:
West-Oram generally relied on Fender Stratocasters during this period, but on “One Thing Leads to Another” he played an Ibanez Blazer BL-100. The secret reason it became West-Oram’s weapon of choice for this particular song is, unlike a Strat, it has a phase switch that produces an even brighter and more percussive tone that cuts through the mix like a knife.
Guitarist Bernie Tormé, famous for playing with Ian Gillan and, briefly, Ozzy Osbourne, has died at 66. He holds the distinction of being the first to step in for Randy Rhoads in 1982. Guitar World shared the family’s statement:
Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family. He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications.
Surf rock icon Dick Dale has died at 81. The erstwhile Richard Anthony Monsour had been in declining health for a number of years. What made his sound stand out? Take it from NPR:
(H)e upped the reverb on his guitar and applied the Arabic scales of his father’s native Lebanon. Born and originally raised in Massachusetts, he found his aesthetic when his family moved to Orange County, California in 1954 — where he took up surfing.
What can we say about Guy Mann-Dude? The erstwhile Guy Shiffman is associated with Michael Angelo Batio and Jon Anderson of Yes, among other industry heavyweights. As a drummer he filled in for Vinnie Colauitta. Oh, and he studied piano with the wizard-like Terry Trotter. As least the is what Wikipedia says.
Though he had a deal with MCA for his first album Sleight of Hand (and a Carvin endorsement to boot) the follow-up, Mannic Distortion, surfaced on Mann-Dude’s private label, Metal Future Records.
Here’s a quick excerpt from Miles Davis’ “Live in Vienna 1973 Stadthalle ganzes Konzert.” This passage occurs during a frenetic Pete Cosey solo at around 58:00 when Miles cuts the band out. Though Cosey was known for using dozens of alternate tunings, this appears to be played in standard.
This section begins with Cosey playing freely and chromatically, implying C7. What follows is fairly stock run using the blues scale; what’s unique is his use of the open G in the mix. Though the note is elsewhere in the scale (10 the fret, A string), it really jumps out in the open position.
Cosey was a fixture during the Davis electric period. Recognized for his interplay with Reggie Lucas in the ensemble, he was also an exiting soloist.
Jim Dunlop Sr., whose accessory company produced everything from the Cry Baby wah pedal to the Heil Talk Box to those picks that shredders love, has dies at 82. Like many guitar-associated manufacturers, that’s not where Dunlop began. As Guitar World puts it:
He founded the Jim Dunlop Company in 1965 as a part-time business while working as a processing and chemical engineer. (Later) he began working as a machinist, but as a guitar player and hobbyist he continued to work on guitar accessories on the side.
What’s all this?
Just identify the title of the song from which the above riff is pulled and the artist who recorded it.
Undying respect. If you’re the first person to provide the correct answer in a comment on this post, you’ll be internationally recognized by Pointy Guitar readers for your sight reading and riff recognition skills.
Pfugerville, Texas is suburb of Austin, hence their roster of players such as the previously feature Terry Oubre and Danny Click, who was an Austinite at the time of this ad, December 1991. Click has since shed the Hurricanes and relocated to California where he fronts Danny Click & The Hell Yeahs.
David Gilmour is set to sell over a hundred guitars for charity. Among them are the ’55 Les Paul featured on “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” the 12-string Martin on which he wrote “Wish You Were Here” and, perhaps the most storied of all, his ’69 Fender, the Black Strat. To say that guitar has been modded is an understatement. Via Rolling Stone:
At one point I drilled a huge hole out of it and put an XLR socket in it, for some mad reason, which I then got rid of and refilled in again. I shortened the tremolo arm on it because it suited the way I wanted to be playing a little bit better. I’ve used it as a workbench really for trying out all sorts of different things over the years.