Among musicians are the rare few who are known as “guitar masters,” those who take the instrument to an entirely new level, which is what I hope to highlight for you here – the best of the best. These picks are not ranked in any particular order; they are entirely subjective and simply for your aural pleasure.
1. Jimi Hendrix
It is only appropriate to open this series with Jimi Hendrix, rated as the greatest guitarist of all time by countless music authorities. One (largely unknown to most) secret to his guitar mastery is that he had freakishly long fingers and thumbs and was able to use them as if he had five fingers.
Here’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”:
2. Hiram Bullock
If you listen to this genre, you know that Bullock was considered a huge talent with a unique sound and was known as one hell of a nice guy. Hiram sadly passed away in 2008.
Here’s “Window Shoppin'”:
3. Wes Montgomery
There are endless superlatives to describe Wes Montgomery. His talent, style and innovation make him one of the greatest guitarists of all time. It has always been one of my musical regrets that I never got to see him perform in person.
Here’s “Blues in F”:
4. Craig Chaquico
Chaquico began to perform occasionally with the Jefferson Airplane at age 16. During the early ’70s, although he had originally planned on attending college, he was offered the opportunity to become a full-time member of the band, a thing he happily accepted. Post-Jefferson Starship, he continued on in a solo jazz/New Age guitar style.
Here’s “Return of the Eagle”:
5. Joe Satriani
Satriani is known as having even faster fretwork than Lee Ritenour, who himself is widely known in the industry as “Captain Fingers.” Some may have noted that my Avatar here at PJM is, in fact, Satriani during his “Blue Dream” tour.
Here’s “Surfing with the Alien”:
6. Duane Eddy
Duane Eddy always described his sound as “twangy.” His discography, amusingly, shows that he has numerous songs with the word “twangy” in them. I always found this song by him to be very, very cool.
Here’s “Sunday Morning Rain”:
image illustration via dustin77a / Shutterstock.com