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RE: Guitar

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whooo! Gerard, let me correct one "fact", Les Paul did not "invent" the
electric guitar. The first electric player was at least 10 to 20 years
before his time. Charlie Christian was the first big band (Benny Goodman's
Band) who added amplification to the guitar. He gets the credit for being
the first to introduce the Electric Guitar.

Les Paul may be the first to introduce the solid-body electric with is wood
4x4 guitar that he first created. However, the Les Paul model is not a
traditional solid body - it's a semi-solid similar to the old Gibson ES335
or BB's ES345 with stereo wired humbucking pickups.

When you consider the "best of the best" I think this is a very subjective
category. Clapton is one of the greats in my book. Most of the English
guitarists of the 60's were heavily influenced by Robert Johnson who, if you
heard him (as I think you have) once you get past the crude style, you
discover a very intricate pattern. Clapton learned from Johnson and simply
"refined" the style. Electronics have a lot to do with it as well. This is
why it is so hard form any of us who play guitar to choose between two
guitars like a Stratocaster or a Les Paul. Both have a unique sound
depending on the style of each model and the electronics. Clapton's guitar
is heavily modified using very hot pickups (rail type) rather than
humbuckers. This helps to accentuate the distortion and the rails keep the
highs from dropping off when strings are bent. The Strat is not a
finger-stylist's guitar but a great flat-pickers guitar. If you want
fingerstyle, then either the Telecaster (very tinny highs and reminiscent of
country music) has the body style to allow more comfort for a finger-picker.
The hollow and semi-solid guitars such as the Les Paul are very nice for
fingerstyle playing as are the larger body ES335 and up which Chet Atkins
has used from time to time before going into more current acoustic electrics
(including the George Kluge electric nylon string guitars).

Going back to Clapton, his style has matured tremendously over the years -
from his days with Cream and before to his later Unplugged album. The
Unplugged Album is more in the style of traditional Piedmont and Delta
Blues. But you can can't really compare this fairly to the more raunchy
Texas Blues that were made famous by Steve Ray Vaughn and others like
Clarence Gatemouth Brown (who I saw a couple of years ago with B.B. King at
the Blues festival in Indian Wells, California) and Bobby "Blue" Bland.

Tough to compare styles are inherently different. In fact, once when we
differentiated between Delta, Piedmont (mostly acoustic blues) with Texas or
Chicago Blues, we now add Cajun or Louisiana Blues, West Coast Blues
(probably named by the album from Wes Montgomery in the early 60's which was
really more jazz than blues) and even East Coast Blues which is a fairly new
category. Like accents, each has a different sound and a different
following. Don't leave out the Latin Blues - Carlos Santana is a master at
this.

However, what really strikes me are those guitarists who have overcome
adverse problems to perform. Django Reinhardt - a gypsy guitarists of the
30's injured his fretting hand in a fire and had the use of only three
fingers which were paralyzed in place. Maybe not as fast as Eddie Van
Halen - I'll bet he is a lot cleaner. BTW, being fast is not what makes
greatness, but I doubt that anyone who has heard the "fast" guitarists on
this list will ever disagree how much talent these people have. If only I
were as rough and uncoordinated:) Another very fine guitarist is Phil
Keaggy, not strictly blues but a very fast and fine technical guitarists who
is missing his middle finger (and you wouldn't know it).

Speed Freaks (fast guitarists) besides Van Halen, are plentiful and include
many technical style finger pickers as well as "tapers" whose who can ring
harmonics from strings by tapping the fret board rather than actually
picking. Some of the best and most versatile include Pat Donohue, Rick
Ruskin (who I took lessons from), Duck Baker, Jethro Burns, Joe Miller, Tim
Sparks, Preston Reed (a taper), Chris Proctor (combo finger style and
tapper),Peppino D'Agostino, Tuck Andress, Michael Hedges, Robben Ford, Mark
Knopfler, Brian Setzer, Guy Van Duser, Paul Yandell, Lee Ritenour (also a
taper), and one of the all time best fingerstylists who is probably better
known as an actor - Jerry Reed (Smokey and the Bandit). Few guitarists can
keep up with Jerry Reed in my opinion.

When you have a few hours under your belt of each of these guys, if you can
still a personal best, my hat is off to you. I certainly can't.

Dennis S. Wish ,PE (Piedmont-style Engineer)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark E. Deardorff [mailto:MarkD(--nospam--at)DandDEng.com]
> Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 2:59 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Guitar
>
>
> What about Clapton??
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Gerard Madden [mailto:GMadden(--nospam--at)mplusl.com]
> > Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 1:59 PM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: Guitar
> >
> >
> > I've been out of the loop for about 2 weeks since a certain
> > internet company went bankrupt. Spent most of the morning
> > catching up on my list server emails.
> >
> > Music debates are pointless. Everyone thinks their taste is
> > the best, others are okay, and most others are complete
> > garbage. So here I go anyway ...
> >
> > Here are my top ten guitar players of all time.
> >
> > 10. BB King ( simple blues, but still awesome)
> >
> > 9. Randy Rhodes - Ozzy Osborne' Band ( 80's pioneer)
> >
> > 8. Robert Johnson ( The blues Legend)
> >
> > 7. Diamond (now called Dimebag) Darryl - Pantera (Unreal
> > speed and energy)
> >
> > 6. Kirk Hammett - Metallica  (Fast, crisp, and melodic)
> >
> > 5. Jimmy Hendrix - JHE ( First real electric guitar virtuoso
> > , took the instrument to new limits )
> >
> > 4.  Edward Van Halen- Van Halen ( 1st Virtuoso since Page,
> > Master of double picking, technically superior and good song writer)
> >
> > 3.  Slash - Guns N Roses ( Technically adept, great solos and
> > rhythms, incredibly crisp and signature tone)
> >
> > 2.  Stevie Ray Vaughan - SRV  ( An amazingly talented player
> > ... blues & rock)
> >
> > 1.  Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin   (More truly timeless riffs,
> > solos, and songs than anyone else. Not even a close 2nd)
> >
> > All of these are subsequent to Les Paul. Not only is his
> > signature on my own guitar, not only did he invent the
> > electric guitar and over 20 studio recording techniques, but
> > he had his arm permanently set after is was broken so he
> > could continue playing guitar.
> >
> >
> > The most overrated ever :
> >
> > Keith Richards - Rolling Stones (had to cut off the top
> > string he was so clumsy)
> > Joe Perry - Aerosmith ( Same thing over and over - terrible solos)
> > Ace Freely - KISS ( One of the truly lame bands of all time -
> > very little musical talent)
> > Toni Iomi - Black Sabbath ( Slow power chords that you learn
> > the 1st week before your first guitar lesson)
> > Eric Clapton : A BB King rip off. Couldn't hold Page's guitar
> > bow. He's good, but not great.
> > 99% of all Country & Western Singers : Their back up guys are
> > good, but I figure most of the singers hold a big jumbo sized
> > Martin Guitar just below the necks for show.
> >
> > Other good players:
> >
> > Richie Sambora - Bon Jovi ( good choice in a wife too)
> > Don Felder : Eagles (unheralded)
> > Angus Young - AC/DC  (classic rock riffs)
> > Mark Knoffler - DIre Straights
> > David Gilmore - Pink Floyd
> >
> >
> > Technically virtuosos whose songs are terrible
> >
> > Steve Vai - Formerly of David Lee Roth
> > Yngwei Malmsteen - Solo  Artist
> > Gary Hoey, Instrumental
> >
> > Technically virtuosos whose songs are good in sporadic doses:
> >
> > Joe Satriani, Instrumental  (Teacher of Kirk Hammett & Steve Vai)
> >
> >
> > Candidate for Amputation so he may never pick up and strum a
> > guitar again :
> >
> > Tommy Lee - Methods of Mayhem - Formerly of Motley Crue (
> > Anyone who went to the OZZFEST last year will vouch for that)
> >
> > Anyway, most of you probably aren't too fond of this brand of
> > music, but to each his own.
> >
> > AND yes . . . I use LRFD.
> >
> > We need to have a baseball, football, and movie discussion
> > along the same lines fairly soon...
> >
> >
> > -Gerard
> >
> >
> >
> >
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