RS Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

Rolling Stone magazine recently published their list of The Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. A couple of comments:

1. In the blurb about Clapton (ranked at #2, behind Hendrix), Eddie Van Halen is quoted as saying, “Eric Clapton is basically the only guitar player who influenced me – even though I don’t sound like him.”

Obviously, this is total bullshit. Eddie himself admitted in the very same magazine a couple years ago that his signature guitar technique (two-handed tapping) was inspired by watching Jimmy Page:

RollingStone.com: Your biggest innovation was two-handed tapping — using both hands to fret notes simultaneously. Where did you get the idea?

Eddie Van Halen: “I was watching Jimmy Page going [sings hammering guitar lick], like that, with one hand, in ‘Heartbreaker’. I thought, ‘I can play like that, and you wouldn’t know if I was using this finger [points to left hand] or this one’ [points to right hand]. But you just kind of move it around, and it’s like, ‘You got one big hand there, buddy. That’s a hell of a spread!'”

2. Jerry Garcia was placed at #46. That’s ridiculous. This is the man who could entrance fans with 30-minute guitar solos, who spawned an entire subgenre of music (the jam band), who at his peak was capable of executing the perfect “slick lick with the up-twist at the end, that merry snake twining through the woodpile, flickering in and out of the loosely stacked chords” (as Ken Kesey put it). I think he deserves to be ranked higher than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top (don’t get me wrong, I love Billy Gibbons, but isn’t “Dark Star” simply a better work of art than “Legs”?).

3. The best blurb of all was written by Brent Hinds of Mastodon about Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (ranked at #25):

I remember the first time I heard Black Sabbath. My older brother got their album Master of Reality from a kid who lived next door, and we’d been passing it around like it was crack. We were playing it with the lights down and a candle burning, when my dad burst into the room. He was like, “What is this shit?” Then he broke the record right in front of us.

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