Five Guitar Gods That Left A Lasting Impression On Me

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My personal love for BB King and his music comes from the early days of learning how to play guitar as a young teen. At a time in life when learning how to play a blues scale was one of the most important parts of equally learning how to jam. While BB King and Lucille his nickname for his famous black Gibson ES-345 guitar often made it look easy, trying to learn his style required just as much listening time as it did playing time. His music taught me how to be a better listener as well as a better guitar player. BB King’s guitar playing style epitomizes what it means to play an instrument with feeling.

Eric Clapton fondly nicknamed “Slow Hand” or simply EC by his followers, and he is by far the most difficult one of the five for me to define. Eric Clapton’s incorporation of feel and technique is at times paralyzing to watch and his articulate phrasing ability leaves intermediate players like me awestruck. Eric Clapton’s chord progressions are conquerable for even the beginner, but from experience it is fair to say that it takes years of mechanical practice to join the chord patterns with his solo parts. Like fine wine Eric Clapton’s playing got even better with time, especially if one considers his early days with Cream. If the intent is to learn EC’s style then three words come to mind: scales, scales, and scales.

David Gilmour’s picking style makes learning and covering his music one of the single most challenging for me personally. Learning to play his chord progressions and subtle fill lines is at times as baffling as it is tedious. David Gilmour has an elusive open chord playing technique and his extensive use of sound effects in the studio makes learning some his note patterns confusing at times, but it equally compliments the smooth sound he is so well-known for. For the beginner to intermediate player, covering Gilmour’s work takes both time and practice to perfect. One suggestion for learning David Gilmour’s playing would be to learn how to bend notes while staying in tune.

When Jimmy Page comes to mind so do phrases like “innovator of the trade” or “lord of the riff” because as a rock and roll guitarist, Page’s mind-bending riffs are as widely known and as recognizable as the national anthem. Simply put -he is an iconic Rock and Roll guitarist. Jimmy Page and his innovative ability goes far beyond just his use of the violin bow on song’s like Led Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused for which he renowned for. When one considers the evolution of Rock and Roll into Hard Rock and eventually into what is now known as Heavy Metal, Jimmy Page’s guitar riffs are the embodiment of all. To know Jimmy Page is to know how to drive a power chord home and transition from open chords to barred chords.

Reflecting on Stevie Ray Vaughan is like none other because no matter how one describes his playing it will never change the simple fact that he was gone from us too soon. Vaughan died as the result of a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990 and it was a great loss to the guitar world and those who never had the chance to see him perform live. Once coined the “Pride of Austin Texas” Stevie Ray Vaughan was all about skill and pace. He was blindingly quick and watching him turn a bluesy jam into a ten-minute freestyle like solo was the norm for concertgoers and his Double Trouble bandmates alike. Vaughan’s quick paced rhythms and jaw dropping solos often left onlookers frozen in amazement. Stevie Ray Vaughan was astounding to watch, and he was a highly skilled performer who shared the same two things in common as all the above mentioned do, a love for BB King and a love for the blues.

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Author: Mike

Writer/Creator, Sports Fan, Guitar Player, and Collector of things Sports and Music.

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