I’ve been playing guitar for well over 10 years now. In those 10 years I have had a whole lot of different influences.
Now as a full time guitar teacher, I’m finding that some of my students have not had and influences other than myself.
Some have never heard of Hendrix! They think Stevie Ray Vaughan was a country guitarist!
In fact they sit among the general population that only focus’s their attention on the singer and gives no thought to the other musicians.
So I think it is my job to increase their awareness of great guitarists and send them on their own path of discovering influential music and musicians.
Why is this important?
To improve your playing, get inspired!
The easiest way to get motivated is when you are inspired by a musicians. I’ve spent months if not years trying to sound like my idols and had so much fun doing it.
That can only be a good thing, right?
Not only that but your knowledge of musical history is bound to increase as you set out on this journey of discovery.
What Hendrix is dead! B.B King is still alive! You mean Brittany Spears didn’t play all those instruments on her record!
You will become a lot less naive as well.
So without further or do, here is my list of guitarists who have inspire me.
Jimi Hendrix – I spent years listening and trying to replicate his sound. Songs like Voodoo Chile, Purple Haze and Little Wing are surely a right of passage for any aspiring rock guitarists. If you need inspiring start here.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Another creative genius taken to soon. He made the most difficult sounding parts look effortless. If you are in need of a serious challenge, try out the song Scuttle Buttin. It is by no means impossible but a very good challenge nether the less. Learn the classic Pride and Joy for something to Jam over.
John Scofield – I studied Jazz at university and I heard a lot of great Jazz Guitarists. Some I really dug and a lot that bored me to tears. One I still listen to today is John Scofield. What I like most about him is his cool angular sounding lines. When you hear him you can’t help but want to be able to play a little more like him. He does some crazy stuff with pedals as well. Well worth a look. I’m a sucker for any sort of funk sound which he is often heard playing!
Joe Bonamassa – I only recently discovered Joe Bonamassa. In New Zealand we are a little more limited to what music we are exposed to on radio and TV. Internet has opened up a whole new world of musicians to us. Joe Bonamassa has this cool smooth blues sound in his playing. But, what I really like about his playing, his is fast sextuplet runs. They can be heard on most of his solos. It is something that I quickly set about trying to emulate in my own playing. It is the kinda thing that makes your jaw drop when you hear it.
John Mayer – I’ll be honest, for a long long time I hated John Mayer. I’m not particularly sure why but I never gave his music the time of day. But at some point I got over myself and started listening. I’m very glad I did. He is a player who frequently gives a knod to the players who inspire him. Like his version of Hendrix’s Bold as Love on the album Continuum. Or his version of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads. Not only is he a great guitarist though, he is also a very good singer and song writer. His songs tell stories that reveal more each time you listen. His acoustic playing also deserves a mention. He can do things that baffle most players. Check out his songs like “Who Says” for some examples.
Mark Tremonti – You may know him best as the guitarist of the band Creed. The 90′s rock band that a lot of people love to hate. Why? No idea, I guess it was just popular to hate them at the time. He has also had great success with a band called AlterBridge (pretty much creed with a different singer). Tremonti can do it all. He plays a PRS guitar (possibly the most sexy looking guitars around). What I love and also hate about Tremonti’s playing is his use of alternate tunings. He gets some crazy sounds out by tuning his guitar to these elaborate tunings. What comes out is amazingly creative chords and shredding guitar lines. What I hate about it, there a nightmare to tune to and play. I’ve broken to many strings trying to tune to him so I can play along to the recordings. Tremonti is due to bring out his debut solo album very soon so keep an eye out.
Mike Einziger – Best known for his work with his band Incubus. This is a band made up of a truly all star line up. If you haven’t heard of them I suggest you go check them out. Einziger is a creative genius. He has mastered the use of effect pedals in order to create flowing soundscapes. There is so much happening in his guitar parts. Just take a look at songs like “Nice to know you”. Lots of little complicated lines that give him a truly unique sound. If you are up for a challenge, take a look at the song “Pardon Me”. Some tricky finger busting chords in there.
Brent Mason – What I like about Brent Mason is besides being an absolutely awesome guitars, he has to very differing styles. I bought a CD of his awhile back because of his amazing country chops. When I listened for the first time though I was shocked. The first half of the CD was dominated by these crazy Bebop licks. Yeah that’s right Brent Mason is the Bebop country guitar king. For those of you who are not familiar with Bebop, it is a jazz style dominated by high paced songs with too many chords. Very tricky to play and scary for beginners. Want to know more then check out Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Should give you a bit of an idea. If you are in the mood for something just a bit different, check out Brent Mason.
John 5 – If you have heard of him at all, it will be for his association with Marilyn Manson as his guitarist or his time playing for Rob Zombie. But in his own right he is one of the most incredible guitarists I’ve seen. Very accomplished. He is most notable as a metal style guitarist and has a whole bag of tricks for this area of music. However, he also has considerable skill in other areas such as country. He brought the Fender Telecaster out of the Blues and Country arena and into the metal scene. Check out this interesting character if you are feeling a little uninspired.
Steve Morse – I was lucky enough to get to see Deep Purple play when I was younger. Current guitarist Steve Morse was there and I was in awe. Morse has been named guitarist of the year more times than I can count and lives up to his billing. He is just incredible and brings so much skill to the table.
Hopefully, you have found some new guitarists that will send you on a journey of inspiration. These are guitarists that have inspired me and helped me get my playing to a high level.
Honorable mentions go out to Slash, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Andy Summers, Chris Shiflett and The Edge.