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All-Time Greatest Guitarist

Jeff Matthews

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After 25 years of listening to mostly classic rock, I think today I am ready to make my final conclusion as to who is the all-time greatest guitarist....

Drum roll.............

............................................ Jimmy Paige!

What he is NOT: He is not the most technically adept, fastest, mistake-free player.

What he IS: The most ingenuitive, creative, musical genious of a guitarist there ever was. I am "wowed" every time I put on old Zep tunes and listen to the many different "roles" he fills. Yes, he had to dub, but his "magic" is he had to think of all those "roles," and he balled them up in one, magical, harmonious tune. Tune-after-tune. Unlike so many other greats, look at what he did. Zep 1 is not Zep 2, is not Zep 3, is not Zep 4, is not Physical Graffiti - you get the idea. He is a true legend.


Who's your favorite - only 1 per person, please.

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You've probably never heard of this guy, but go watch the streaming video - you're just plain not going to believe it. His name is Preston Reed.

You'll need Real Player - pick the Jan 31 2006 concert at the Kennedy Center (top one).


He reminds me of a guy who was touring colleges about 10 years ago. That guy was unbelievable on the acoustic guitar.

My gawd... I'm sitting here watching this video. AMAZING!

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I was going to say Hendrix, but now that he is already mentioned, one of the most technically awesome guitarist is John Petrucci. But, there are so many guitarist that do so many different things greatly. I also like Hammett, Santana, Vai, BB King (this man can best express emotion through a guitar), SRVaughn, Rhoads... just too many to list

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Well, you said to name only one.

Ahhh heck, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix. Depends on what mood I am in.....


I'm down with all of these guys but really, it's way too difficult to say ONE is the best.

To me when you can listen to a given piece of music and say; "That HAS to be (given Guitarist)" because no one else can make that sound but (Given Guitarist),....That is a great guitarist.

As an example Eddie Van Halen never did that much for me but there is no one else who can make his signiture sound with a guitar.

Jimmy Page,...out of this world

I've always loved Joe Walsh

My first favorite guitar player as a kid, (knowing I LOVED The Who) Pete Townshend.

I've seen Dave Mason live and he can REALLY get after it

And many many more,

Jeeze guys I love all kinds of music

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Glad you liked that. I just ordered all 4 CD's from his website. IMO if you are the "greatest" you can play someone else's licks. I'd like to see ANY of the big name guitarists copy this guy. Somehow, I don't think the other way around would be much of a problem.

To copy is one thing. To create is EVERYTHING.

Who could sit down and actually create like Paige? I say nobody. He was a musical genious. He even knew how to make Plant sound legendary - assigning him multiple lyrics roles to dub in.

Take for example, the song "Celebration" on III (one of many that could be used). If you listen to this song, count the number of different guitar parts he wrote and included. Figure that he had to write all those, he had to think about what they might sound like together, and he had to think about the rest of the song, too. He did this time and time again, cranking out hit-after hit-after hit. Nobody has topped that yet. Of course, there were the Beatles..... All great composers, but masters of instruments themselves, not really.

Then, you have some of the others that were mentioned. They could definitely smoke out a lead better than Paige, but apart from the lead, many guitar greats did not venture beyond a certain "sound." To this day, I could never pigeonhole the "Paige sound." He was just all over the place.

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I beat you to it, Oldie! [;)]

Just think about a single musician writing these tunes all within a few years of each other:

(1) No Quarter

(2) Houses of the Holy (on Physical Graffiti)

(3) Carouselambra

(4) Black Dog

(5) When the Levee Breaks

(6) Ten Years Gone By

(7) Night Flight

(8) Since I've Been Loving You

(9) Fool in the Rain

(10) Whole Lotta Love

(11) Tangerine

(12) Royal Orleans

That's only 12 - and look at the VAST array of creativity.

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Hey, I'm not trying to take away from the famous rockers (or blues players). I've got my favorites there too.

You just don't see many artists that can pretty much reinvent guitar

playing, and make it sound like a whole new instrument. Guess it's all

in how you define "great".

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