When you take a solo, decide what to say, get there and give it to the next guy.
That's how Jerry worked in the Dead. Jerry was the sun of the Grateful Dead — the music they played was like planets orbiting around him. He wasn't a superficial guy at all. It was a lot of fun to play with him, because he was very accommodating. He'd go up and down; I'd go left and right. And I could tell he enjoyed it, because the Dead always invited me back.
By Carlos Santana. When Link Wray released the thrilling, ominous "Rumble" in , it became one of the only instrumentals ever to be banned from radio play — for fear that it might incite gang violence. By stabbing his amplifier's speaker cone with a pencil, Wray created the distorted, overdriven sound that would reverberate through metal, punk and grunge.
Wray, who proudly claimed Shawnee Indian ancestry and lost a lung to tuberculosis, was the archetypal leather-clad badass, and his song titles alone — "Slinky," "The Black Widow" — convey the force and menace of his playing.
It sounded like he was strangling the guitar — like it was screaming for help. Mark Knopfler's first big guitar-hero moment — the fleet, gloriously melodic solo on Dire Straits ' hit "Sultans of Swing" — came at a time when punk seemed to be rendering the idea of a guitar hero obsolete.
And yet Knopfler built a reputation as an intensely creative virtuoso not to mention an ace songwriter , showing remarkable command over a range of tones and textures — from the gnarly distortion on hit single "Money for Nothing" to the stinging precision of "Tunnel of Love. Sumlin, who passed away in at age 80, played until the end, sometimes turning up onstage in the company of such acolytes as the Rolling Stones , Elvis Costello , Eric Clapton and the Allman Brothers.
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Check out Bloomfield's winding, epic solo on the title track. A native of Chicago, Bloomfield studied the local electric-blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf up close while he was growing up, and he packed those lessons into a piercing clean-treble tone and solos that took off with fluid, modal-jazz ecstasy. But he went somewhere else. It was an exhilarating collaboration — Mick Ronson's terse phrasing and skewering distortion igniting David Bowie 's sexually blurred confrontation, during the latter's king-glam role as Ziggy Stardust in the early Seventies.
Tom Morello re-imagined rock guitar for the post-hip-hop world in the s with Rage Against the Machine. Leaning heavily on his effects pedals, he created a new sonic vocabulary — the replicated turntable scratches on "Bulls on Parade," the funky laser blasts on "Killing in the Name" and the divebomber attack on "Fistful of Steel.
Peter Buck has called Steve Cropper "probably my favorite guitarist of all time. You can't think of a time when he really ripped off a hot solo, but he just plays perfectly. A lot had already been said about the guitar by the time the Edge picked it up. His secret is that he taught himself to play — that's why he's so unique.
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He's got such an innovative mind: Every U2 album that I've been involved with had a new sound from the Edge. There's not a lot of strumming in his playing; he's very much a servant to the melody. He focuses on the interplay between his guitar and Bono 's vocals.
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The Edge is a scientist, and a poet by night; he's always got a little rig at home. He's dedicated to note-taking. He and his guitar tech, Dallas Schoo, document every detail of his sound — what pedals, what pickup he used — anything that he thinks he might use. There's a breakdown about two-thirds of the way through "Mysterious Ways," before the song goes into symphonics, that, for me, is up there with the greatest James Brown guitar parts or one of the greatest horn lines played by Tower of Power.
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It's not really a riff — it's a moment. It brings me to tears whenever I hear it. By Daniel Lanois. The down-and-dirty slide on "Love in Vain"; the jaw-dropping precision on "All Down the Line" where his playing brilliantly mimics the sound of a harmonica ; the extended, Latin-jazz-inflected coda on "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" — it's no accident that Taylor's stint coincided with the Stones' most consistently great recordings. Randy Rhoads' career was far too short — he died in a plane accident in , at the age of 25 — but his precise, architectural, hyperspeed solos on Ozzy Osbourne 's "Crazy Train" and "Mr.
Crowley" helped set the template for metal-guitar soloing for years to follow. By the time he recorded his final album, Ozzy's Diary of a Madman , Rhoads was getting deeper into classical music, and even exploring jazz. Key Tracks: "Crazy Train," "Mr.
Crowley," "Diary of a Madman". The kind of guitar I want to play is mean, mean licks. The late Curtis Mayfield was one of American soul's finest singers, songwriters and producers. He was also a quietly influential guitarist whose gently fluid melodies and fills, running through records like the Impressions' "Gypsy Woman," left a deep impact on Jimi Hendrix , especially in his psychedelic balladry. Mayfield went on to reinvent his playing for a solo career in the Seventies, building his new music around the flickering funk rhythms and spare, gestural, wah-wah-inflected lead parts heard on his Superfly soundtrack and hits like "Move On Up.
He played arguably the greatest power-ballad guitar solo in history "Purple Rain" , and his solo on an all-star performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" during George Harrison 's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in had jaws on the floor. But he can also bring the nasty funk like Jimmy Nolen and Nile Rodgers listen to the groove magic of "Kiss" or shred like the fiercest metalhead "When Doves Cry".
Sometimes his hottest playing simply functions as background — see "Gett Off" and "Dance On. How can you miss with that? Billy Gibbons was a guitarist to be reckoned with long before he grew that epic beard. In early , his psychedelic garage band, the Moving Sidewalks, opened four Texas shows for the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
According to local acidrock lore, Hendrix was so impressed by Gibbons' facility and firepower that he gave the young guitarist a pink Stratocaster as a gift. Gibbons has since glibly described what he plays with his four-decade-old trio, ZZ Top , as "spankin' the plank. Ry Cooder once likened his playing — a sublime amalgam of American folk and blues, Hawaiian slack-key guitar, the Tex-Mex zest of conjunto and the regal sensuality of Afro-Cuban son — as "some kind of steam device gone out of control.
As a sideman, Cooder has brought true grit and emotional nuance to classic albums by Randy Newman, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Cooder is also a soulful preservationist, keeping vital pasts alive and dynamic in the modern world. A good example: the night Bob Dylan showed up at Cooder's house asking for a lesson on how to play guitar like the bluesman Sleepy John Estes.
When he's singing, you hear his voice through the electric pickup. James' tone inspired a generation of guitarists: "I practiced 12 hours a day, every day, until my fingers were bleeding, trying to get the same sound as Elmore James got," Robbie Robertson said. Say 'Play that Elmore lick,' and everybody knows what to do. The guitar would never be the same: Moore's concise, aggressive runs mixed country picking and blues phrasing into a new instrumental language.
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The playing was so forceful that it's easy to forget there was no drummer. If Moore had done nothing but the 18 Sun recordings — including "Mystery Train" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" — his place in history would be assured. But he continued to play with Elvis, contributing the scorching solos to "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog. The father of punk-rock guitar and a huge influence on riff-driven modern metal, Johnny Ramone is one of the instrument's great anti-heroes. John Cummings made his name with an inexpensive Mosrite guitar, on which he hammered out high-speed downstroked barre chords in a slashing, minimalist style that appropriately became known as "buzzsaw.
In an era when "heavy" was synonymous with "slow," the primitive, metronomic swing of his riffs on "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Judy Is a Punk" and the trampoline-pop grind of "Rockaway Beach" showed you could speed things up without losing an ounce of power somewhat surprisingly, his own guitar hero was Jimmy Page.
That's cool. Driven by his tremoloed guitar, songs such as "Mona" and "Bo Diddley" unleashed a superpowered version of a West African groove that was handed down by slaves; after Diddley, the riff would be hijacked by everyone from Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones who covered "Mona" in , and, later, garage rockers and punks, who responded to its raw simplicity.
It was coming from somewhere else. Probably the only guitarist to get a degree in astrophysics, Queen 's lead guitarist and frequent songwriter is a brainy adventurer who's always seeking new effects.
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