Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top 5 Favorite Guitarists

OK... for all you music geeks out there. It's your chance to list your top 5 favorite guitarists. First of all, let me say that my choices are probably not the "traditional" favorites. I don't particularly enjoy blues or straight-up rock, so you won't find any Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn on this list. My "sound" is more along the lines of alternative guiatar, with plenty of atmospherics; I appreciate the guys who can create a tone. Here are mine, with expanded notes and ruminations.


1. The Edge from U2

Otherwise known as Dave Evans, this guy is my favorite, hands-down. He took what had been done before him and created his own sound. Using plenty of effects, no doubt, The Edge has created some of the most beautiful soundscapes on record. He uses tons of pedals. His sound is huge, with effective use of echo. I'm sure most of you have heard U2 (!!), but if not, be sure to listen to their work on headphones. My favorite album of theirs to hear Edge's work is 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire."


2. Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead

I first noticed JG as a guitarist on his own after listening to "The Bends" in my college apartment in 1995. It was an awesome album and still stands as my favorite of theirs today. Greenwood can make some amazing sounds come out of his guitar. His work is complex and fits in nicely with Radiohead's experimental nature. Listen to "Just" from "The Bends" to hear this guy's chops. J. Greenwood is sure to be a legend.


3. Johnny Marr from The Smiths

Yet another Johnny on the list. This guy is an icon. He has created some of the classics of late 80's/early 90's British alternative music. His sound is highly melodic. Marr pioneered much of the "alternative" sound of his era, using effects to make new sounds. His guitar work is sometimes referred to as "jangly." One of the best examples of his unique sound is the song "How Soon is Now?" Johnny Marr is currently playing in the band, Modest Mouse.


4. Brian Futter from Catherine Wheel

Brian Futter is one amazing guitarist. His style is sometimes called "shoegazing." Using large amounts of distortion, reverb, and echo, his work can make it seem like a "wall of sound" is being created. CW has a brutal sound, at times, and Futter's work shines through. Their most well-known song is "Black Metallic." If you want to hear a showcase of the guitarwork, I would recommend the song, "Strange Fruit," or "Crank."


5. Julian Swales from Kitchens of Distinction (he's on the right)

Probably the least-known of all the guitarists listed here, Julian Swales deserves some recognition, nonetheless. His sound is characterized by a swirling, chiming, echo-laden vibe. He was also grouped into the "shoegazing" class of music. Extremely atmospheric, Swales sounded like several guitarists layered over each other, even though it was just his one-man show. Many of his songs have such a chaotic, blisteringly beautiful sound, especially on headphones, where you can hear all the little details. Check out the songs, "When in Heaven," "Sand on Fire," and "Mad as Snow."

***** Honorable Mention: Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine; John Squire from The Stone Roses; Dean Garcia from Curve; Jez Williams from Doves; Graham Coxon from Blur; John McCollum from The Afghan Whigs; Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth; Andy Dunlop from Travis; Cammy from The La's; Joey Santiago from The Pixies ******

15 comments:

ManUtd17 said...

What about Ace Frehley?

duanemixon said...

1. Trey Anastasio -- Phish-He is just freakin' sick!!!
2. Johny Greenwood -- Radiohead
3. Warren Haynes -- The Mule
4. Tony Rice -- Bluegrass Legend!!
5. Eric Krasno -- Soulive
.....

Sean, What did you think of In Rainbows?

seantk said...

Duane,

I have enjoyed In Rainbows a great deal. It's my favorite one of theirs in a long time, since OK Computer. The Bends is still my all-time favorite of Radiohead's, but the Rainbow is a strong album. Some of their best work in a decade.

Do you enjoy it?

duanemixon said...

Yeah, I really really like it...
I listened to it all day everyday for a couple weeks after it came out!!

A bunch of the blogs and magazines I read have it listed as the best of the year...

I can't decide if it is my favorite or not...
Ok Computer holds a special place in my heart...haha

It is one of the best records of '07 for sure!!!

I still need to send you those live Radiohead bootlegs I got!!!....

seantk said...

Duane....

I could dig on some Radiohead bootlegs. Send 'em!

Did you ever check out The La's or some of these other groups of the guitar players I listed?

How are things going with baby Miles?

Boggsy said...

I'm glad John Squire made it to the Honorable mention list. I really like his style. He would make it on my list as well. If we are going on any type of guitar, I have to add Bela Flek on the banjo. That due is wicked good! Derek Trucks is also one crazy good guitarist.

seantk said...

Bill -

At first, Ace Frehley brought a blank to my mind. Then, images of Peter Frampton and possibly Journey came to mind..... but I didn't know who AF was. Couldn't put my finger on it. I did a Wiki search.....ah, yes, that guy. The "Space Ace." Thoughts of childhood came flooding back - these guys are the worst - "Kids/Kings/in Satan's Service." It was a heart-beating, straight-faced issue as a kid. Avoid KISS at all costs or you'd be on the highway to you-know-what.

A chill goes up my spine even now.

seantk said...

Boggsy -

John Squire is awesome, for sure. He was a very close runner-up to replace Johnny Marr, but Marr beats him out in my book.

"Elephant Stone" and "Fool's Gold" are incredible songs.

ManUtd17 said...

I'm a KISS fan from way back. I have a handful of albums left in a case in the closet. Eagles -- The Long Run. Wings Over America (triple album live set). The Village People -- Cruisin' (the album with YMCA on it). And 2 KISS albums: Destroyer (with Detroit Rock City) and Double Platinum (double album greatest hits).

brad said...

Stevie Ray Vaughn. John Mayer. The guy who played with Lenny Kravitz at the show I saw at Phillips. Johnny Greedwood. Jeff Buckley. Nels Cline. Jeff Tweedy. The Edge fo sho! Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. Tom Morello. John Scofield. Kim Thayall of Soundgarden. Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam. And on and on and on!

duanemixon said...

Nels Kline and John Scofield are also 2 of my favorite...

If it is the same guy that has been playing with Lenny for years it's a cat named Craig Ross...Used to look kinda like side show bob...

Giles said...

Fantastic tribute to Swales. I was lucky enough to see Kitchens of Distinction several times. As you say, he always sounded like more than one guitarist. By the way, he is on the right in this image: http://www.weblo.com/music/images/artists/thumbnail/Kitchens_of_Distinction_48f61c36d0c72.jpg

richardhutton said...

1. Julian Swales for the same reasons you outlined.

2. Kurt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets: see 'scum' or 'sweet ammonia'

3. Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses - beautiful, brilliant and demented.

4. Nathan Larrson of Shudder To Think

5. Crispin Glover of Daisy Chainsaw/Queen Adreena.

Honourable mentions: Harris Thurmond of Hammerbox; David Gavurin of The Sundays; Donna Dresch of Team Dresch (see 'Hand Grenade'); Tara Key of Antietam; James Dean Bradfieldof the Manics; Bob mould of Husker Du/Sugar; Emma Anderson of Lush.

seantk said...

richardhutton, thanks for the feedback. I remember the Meat Puppets from when I was in high school, but only 1 or 2 songs. I know of Throwing Muses, mostly b/c of Tanya Donelly with Belly/duet with Catherine Wheel, etc. I saw The Sundays in 1993 in Atlanta. That is some beautiful guitar work. I haven't heard of any of the other people you mentioned, save for Bob Mould (agreed... Sugar was awesome) and Emma Anderson.

seantk said...

richard: also, I do remember Shudder To Think! My best friend in junior high recommended them to me. I bumped into the lead singer in NYC in '99 and said I enjoyed his work. And.... the Crispin Glover you mentioned has GOT to be the actor. Bizarre guy. I had not a clue he played guitar.