4 Guitarists Who Changed Music Forever


wildwoman1313
Full Access
Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
wildwoman1313
Full Access
Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
05/09/2012 9:27 pm
Four Guitarists Who Changed Music Forever


Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, the list of fretboard wizards is a long and ingenious one. When considering the many guitarists who have elevated music, fundamentally changed it, I chose to go with the following four, in no particular ranking, but for very particular reasons. Their contributions are immeasurable, indisputable, and in one case, highly controversial.

Chuck Berry



You may scoff to see Kurt Cobain's name on a list of guitarists of such high regard. Some of you—okay, many of you—will no doubt be up in arms at his inclusion. After all, and by his own admission, Cobain could barely even play the guitar! His musicianship was coarse, primitive even. Cobain is, in fact, considered to be one of rock guitar’s antiheroes. So why mention him in the same breath as someone with the mastery of Jimi Hendrix? One word: Nevermind.

The arrival of Nirvana on the music scene with their sophomore effort marked a seismic shift in the history of popular music, much like the emergence of Elvis and the Beatles. Nevermind, with its monster single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and songs like "Come as You Are," "Lithium," and "In Bloom," exploded when it dropped in September 1991 and laid waste to everything that came before. Suddenly the pretense of glamour, the theatricality and extravagant shredding that defined the pop or "hair" metal bands of the late 1980s, seemed dated and irrelevant. The minimalist aesthetic of grunge had taken over the mainstream. While other alternative bands had had hits before, Nirvana kicked open the door for a host of alt acts like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden to follow.

As the band's main songwriter, Kurt Cobain often looked to his childhood for inspiration. Born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington, Kurt said he was happy enough as a young boy right up until his parents divorced when he was 7, an event that resonated throughout the remainder of his life and fueled a lot of the anguish in Nirvana's music. With the disintegration of his family, Cobain felt isolated and became withdrawn and anti-social. He spent much of his time painting, singing, and listening to the Beatles and the Monkees, eventually moving onto bands like Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash. For his 14th birthday, Kurt's uncle gave him the option of a bicycle or a guitar as a gift; he chose the latter. Although the instrument was fairly beat up, it inspired Kurt to learn to play. He began experimenting with different musical styles, trying to create his own, and gravitated toward the Seattle underground where he (and future Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic) roadied for a band called the Melvins. Kurt dropped out of high school a few weeks shy of graduation and left Aberdeen for Olympia, where he and Novoselic formed Nirvana in 1986.

The unassuming Cobain, with his passion for junk shop guitars and disdain for the sonic and visual excesses of glam, would become the poster boy for an entire movement. He wrote songs that were crafted from chord sequences based mainly around power chords and that combined pop hooks with dissonant guitar rhythms and shifts in dynamics, from quiet verses to loud choruses. He took an anti-musician stance and intentionally sought to break away from traditional structures with his sloppy, almost haphazard, everyman approach to making music that knocked rock off its pedestal and closed the gap between artist and audience.

Nirvana received several awards and nominations in their debut year in 1992, including nods for Favorite New Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist from the American Music Awards, Best Alternative Music Performance for Nevermind from the Grammy Awards, and Video of the Year and Viewer's Choice for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from the MTV Video Music Awards. They won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Alternative Music Performance for their posthumous release, MTV Unplugged in New York. "Through Kurt I saw the beauty of minimalism and the importance of music that's stripped down," says Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. In his Grammy Award acceptance speech earlier this year for Best Rock Performance by the Foo Fighters, Grohl reminded the audience that making music, that playing an instrument, is not about being perfect or sounding absolutely correct. "It's the human element that's important," he said. In a world overrun with technology, his simple message made headlines.


Okay. You've read my choices for four guitarists who have changed music forever, now let me hear yours. Which guitarists do you think deserve to be on this list and why?


images:

jimi By A. Vente (Beeld en Geluidwiki - Gallery: Hoepla) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
kurt - By KurtCobain4ever (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
chuck - By Universal Attractions (management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
robert - By flirck [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

# 1
brenoazzi
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/11
Posts: 166
brenoazzi
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/11
Posts: 166
05/10/2012 3:49 am
Hi wild one.

I think there are a lot of guitarists whose have changed the world of music forever, and by the way, these are smoe of them.

I´ve seen a lot of lists like "100 greatest guitarists" and think its cool.

But maybe would be better if these lists came to us without an order, only citing the guitarists.

Well, one thing is certain: they will aways be controversial. :p

See you.
:) Azzi.

Be kool and stay free.
# 2
brenoazzi
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/11
Posts: 166
brenoazzi
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/11
Posts: 166
05/10/2012 3:53 am
Jimi Hendrix
Slash
Jimmy Page
Eric Clapton
Buddy Holly
Steve Vai

and many others...
:) Azzi.

Be kool and stay free.
# 3
mmcquain
Registered User
Joined: 11/20/09
Posts: 1
mmcquain
Registered User
Joined: 11/20/09
Posts: 1
05/11/2012 2:27 pm
My list:

* Chuck Berry - great choice
* Jimi Hendrix - great choice
* Robert Johnson (or BB King)
* Les Paul... he did MUCH more for music, guitars, recording technology, etc. than Kurt Cobain could even dream of doing
# 4
gkoper
Registered User
Joined: 06/10/10
Posts: 5
gkoper
Registered User
Joined: 06/10/10
Posts: 5
05/11/2012 5:25 pm
But my 4 are:
Jeff Beck...just love to listen to his stuff.
Eric Clapton...see above
Scotty Moore...Elvis was made great by him.
Mick Jones...Foreigner's lifeblood.
# 5
compart1
Registered User
Joined: 06/27/09
Posts: 1,410
compart1
Registered User
Joined: 06/27/09
Posts: 1,410
05/11/2012 7:22 pm
I don't know if these two guys fit in here, but I would like to mention Django Rhienhart and Charlie Christian..
# 6
DUDEKING1999
Registered User
Joined: 02/05/12
Posts: 4
DUDEKING1999
Registered User
Joined: 02/05/12
Posts: 4
05/11/2012 8:13 pm
1. Ted Nugent
2. George Harrison
3. Steve Miller
4. Joe Perry
# 7
gypsyblues73
Registered User
Joined: 05/02/10
Posts: 43
gypsyblues73
Registered User
Joined: 05/02/10
Posts: 43
05/11/2012 11:46 pm
Originally Posted by: compart1I don't know if these two guys fit in here, but I would like to mention Django Rhienhart and Charlie Christian..


I would say they absolutely do, not only for their own musicianship and what they brought to music and the guitar, but also all of the guitarists they inspired. I would also add:
Keith Richards
Zakk Wylde
Eric Clapton
Jeff Beck
Stevie Ray Vaughan
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Pete Townsend
Andy Summers
Dimebag Darrell
Danny Gatton
Jimmy Page
Joey Ramone
# 8
mbliss01
Registered User
Joined: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
mbliss01
Registered User
Joined: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
05/12/2012 12:48 pm
Agree with some but would add:
Freddy King
Albert King
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Peter Green
Oh theres so many that had their own impact and direction!
# 9
Steve Roseman
Registered User
Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 1
Steve Roseman
Registered User
Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 1
05/12/2012 5:08 pm
There Is one guitar player no one seems to list, and without him there would be no Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. LOOK HIM UP --- Uli Jon Roth,,, listen to "sails of charon" from the 1975 album from the Scorpoins "Taken By Force" , In 1975 ever other "Guitar God" was playing ****ty blues riffs, LEARN THE TRUTH!!!!
# 10
rtgray7
Registered User
Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 2
rtgray7
Registered User
Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 2
05/12/2012 5:36 pm
Great read. Very interesting including Cobain. I can't disagree. I've had the conversation/debate concerning him before. I've always thought Prince was VERY underrated for his skill and much more for his influence on the music scene. Your thoughts?

Also, although his was a totally different style and not as popular in mainstream circles, Chet Atkins has influenced a lot of guitarist like Mark Knophler...
# 11
James Sheasgreen
Registered User
Joined: 04/05/12
Posts: 19
James Sheasgreen
Registered User
Joined: 04/05/12
Posts: 19
05/12/2012 6:31 pm
i dunno Kurt Cobain was one of the reasons I started playing but I never really felt pushed to become a greater player because he never did.....Until I started looking at some other guitarists and genres. Now I still like Nirvana but I feel like without a singer their songs are kinda lame.
# 12
PazNY
Registered User
Joined: 08/14/10
Posts: 26
PazNY
Registered User
Joined: 08/14/10
Posts: 26
05/13/2012 3:30 pm
I agree with someone above, Les Paul, though he was a very good guitarist, should truly be called the "Inventor" of Rock and Roll. If he didn't invent the electric guitar, all the others still would have been playing acoustic folk or blues. But, my two votes whom to me, should be included or at least be a footnote to those mentioned, have to be David Gilmour and Chet Atkins. Pink Floyd should have been called the "David Gilmore band" for his unheralded solo's of which are so melodic and flowed within the parameters of the song and other instruments, sometimes you don't even realize the main ingredient is his guitar. And what can I say about the incredible Mr. Atkins. That man made his guitar sing like no other, just ask Mark Knoffler. If you ever get a chance to watch old footage of Chet playing with a band, you can't help notice the other musicians freaking out at times listening to what he's playing. Just my 2 cents.
# 13
Chrispycritter
Registered User
Joined: 06/18/11
Posts: 1
Chrispycritter
Registered User
Joined: 06/18/11
Posts: 1
05/16/2012 4:32 am
Chuck Berry (brought rockin blues to the masses)
Hendrix (hammer on chord changes effected a lot of songs)
EVH (took tapping and Trems to the masses)
Les Paul (Inovator of guitars, parts, multitrack recordings etc)
(if Leo fender had learned to play guitar he'd be on my list as well)

Les Paul almost didn't make the list but the title is
what guitarist changed music forever, he didn't change it
musically as much as he did with invention..

Honorable mentions (just to name a few and give reasons)

Uli Jon Roth, I understand although he was/is amazing I don't think he impacted mainstream music as much (the title is 4 guitarists that changed music forever)


Chet Atkins wasn't even listed (he was doing too handed tapping in country long before EVH invented it.)

Satriani effected guitar music very profoundly as an instructor
as well as a player. How many groups would have never even
been what they were?

If the title was "4 guitarists that changed music forever in a bad way"
then I'd add Kurt Cobain and Korn to the list
# 14
SebastBerg
Full Access
Joined: 02/01/10
Posts: 421
SebastBerg
Full Access
Joined: 02/01/10
Posts: 421
05/16/2012 11:06 am
Nobody mentioned Joe Pass ! Probably the greatest jazz soloist that ever lived.
Now that guy had great technique but on top of that he had tremendous ability to sing emotions with his guitar. No doubt he inspired a lot of great guitar players from many styles.
I would also had Andres Segovia. He's one of the big reason why guitar became the most widely played instrument on the planet. He also made everyone in the classic domain go:" oh wow, this is more then a "gypsy" instrument !"
# 15
wildwoman1313
Full Access
Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
wildwoman1313
Full Access
Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
05/20/2012 1:53 am
Thanks for your comments, guys. Lots of inspired names tossed into the ring. Rtgray7, although Prince is certainly a mesmerizing, versatile, highly skilled (and yes, underrated) guitarist, I wouldn’t necessarily include him on a list of guitarists who changed music forever. But you’re right, he has influenced many. And PazNY, you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to Gilmour. ;)
# 16
gypsyblues73
Registered User
Joined: 05/02/10
Posts: 43
gypsyblues73
Registered User
Joined: 05/02/10
Posts: 43
05/20/2012 2:23 am
Originally Posted by: ChrispycritterSatriani effected guitar music very profoundly as an instructor as well as a player. How many groups would have never even
been what they were?


I didn't really think about it until I read this, but without Satch, there possibly wouldn't be a Metallica, as Satch was Kirk's teacher in his teenage years. And there probably wouldn't be a Steve Vai, since Satch was not only Vai's teacher also, but Vai has said that he was always inspired by Joe and would go to see his band play all the time.

And not to take anything away from the man, but Les Paul didn't invent the solid-body guitar. Others had dabbled in such a thing before him, most notably Adolf Rickenbaker. And it was Richard Bourgerie who designed the electric pickup, and he designed one for Les at his request. Les approached Gibson with his ideas for a solid-body, but they stubbornly refused him many times, until Leo Fender came out with the Broadcaster (later, the Telecaster) and Gibson realized they were missing the boat. Les was a helluva guitarist though, and made many other significant contributions to music, including inventing the multi-track.
# 17
mbliss01
Registered User
Joined: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
mbliss01
Registered User
Joined: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
05/22/2012 4:59 pm
I thought about this more over the last week or so and considering the intent of the question have to mention:

Maybelle Carter-often considered the originator of the cross picking style that became the bluegrass standard ever after.

Merle Travis- same as above for "chikin pickin"

Carl Smith-again as above but for "inventing" rockabilly style playing.

Theres more, so many more........
# 18

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.