A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar by singing or playing the harmonica.
The guitarist may employ any of several methods for sounding the guitar, including finger picking, depending on the type of strings used (either nylon or steel), and including strumming with the fingers, or a guitar pick made of bone, horn, plastic, metal, felt, leather, or paper, and melodic flatpicking and finger-picking.
The guitarist may also employ various methods for selecting notes and chords, including fingering, thumbing, the barre (a finger lying across many or all strings at a particular fret), and 'bottleneck' or steel-guitar slides, usually made of glass or metal. These left- and right-hand techniques may be intermixed in performance.
Several magazines and websites have compiled what they intend as lists of the greatest guitarists—for example The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, or 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World magazine.
There are many classical guitarists listed as notable in their respective epochs.
In recent decades, the most "notable classical and cross genre" guitarist was Paco de Lucía, one of the first flamenco guitarists to have successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a "titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar",and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as "one of history's greatest guitarists.". Another classical guitarist who has enjoyed great success is Tommy Emmanuel.
Eric Patrick Clapton, is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted only four years, but he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".
Slide guitar is a particular technique for playing the guitar that is often used in blues-style music. The technique involves placing an object against the strings while playing to create glissando effects and deep vibratos. It typically involves playing the guitar in the traditional position with the use of a tubular "slide" fitted on one of the guitarist's fingers. The slide may be a metal or glass tube, such as the neck of a bottle. The term "bottleneck" was historically used to describe this type of playing. The strings are typically plucked while the slide is moved over the strings to change the pitch. The guitar may also be placed on the player's lap and played with a hand-held bar and is then referred to as "lap slide guitar" or "lap steel guitar".
The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an American-English rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, and bassist Noel Redding comprised the group, which was active until June 1969. During this time, they released three studio albums and became one of the most popular acts in rock.
Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English singer and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboard player, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he has played all instrumentation, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.
John Graham "Mitch" Mitchell was an English drummer and child actor, who was best known for his work in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2009.
Electric Ladyland is the third and final studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the final studio album released in Hendrix's lifetime before his death in 1970. Released by Reprise Records in North America and Track Records in the UK in October 1968, the double album was the only record from the band produced by Hendrix. By mid-November, it had charted at number one in the United States, where it spent two weeks at the top spot. Electric Ladyland was the Experience's most commercially successful release and their only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, where it spent 12 weeks on the chart.
John McLaughlin is an English guitarist, bandleader, and composer. His music includes many genres of jazz combined with elements of rock, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco, and blues. He is a pioneer of jazz fusion.
George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr. and John Mayer. In the 1960s, Guy played with Muddy Waters as a house guitarist at Chess Records and began a musical partnership with the harmonica player Junior Wells.
Are You Experienced is the debut studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Released in 1967, the LP was an immediate critical and commercial success, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music. The album features Jimi Hendrix's innovative approach to songwriting and electric guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music.
Edwin H. Kramer is a recording producer and engineer. He has collaborated with several artists now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including the Beatles, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, and Carlos Santana.
Francesco Antonio Marino is an Italian Canadian guitarist, leader of Canadian hard rock band Mahogany Rush. Often compared to Jimi Hendrix, he is acknowledged as one of the best and most underrated guitarists of the 1970s.
Francisco Sánchez Gómez, known as Paco de Lucía, was a Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer, and record producer. A leading proponent of the new flamenco style, he was one of the first flamenco guitarists to branch into classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a "titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar", and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as "one of history's greatest guitarists".
Axis: Bold as Love is the second studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Track Records first released it in the United Kingdom in December 1967, only seven months after the release of the group's highly successful debut, Are You Experienced. In the United States, Reprise Records delayed the release until the following month. The album reached the top ten in the album charts in both countries.
"Little Wing" is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967. It is a slower tempo, rhythm and blues-inspired ballad featuring Hendrix's vocal and guitar with recording studio effects accompanied by bass, drums, and glockenspiel. Lyrically, it is one of several of his songs that reference an idealized feminine or guardian angel-like figure. At about two and a half minutes in length, it is one of his most concise and melodically-focused pieces.
"Sunshine of Your Love" is a 1967 song by the British rock band Cream. With elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, it is one of Cream's best known and most popular songs. Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song. Recording engineer Tom Dowd suggested the rhythm arrangement in which drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm, although Baker claimed it was his idea.
"Voodoo Child " is a song recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968 that appears as the final track on the Electric Ladyland album released that year. It contains improvised guitar and a vocal from Jimi Hendrix, backed by Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The song is one of Hendrix's best known; it was a feature of his concert performances throughout his career, and several live renditions were recorded and released on later albums.
Hubert Charles Sumlin was a Chicago blues guitarist and singer, best known for his "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions" as a member of Howlin' Wolf's band. He was ranked number 43 in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix is a 1993 album recorded by various artists in tribute to Jimi Hendrix. The artists were drawn from many genres of popular music. Contributors include his classic rock contemporaries Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, blues man Buddy Guy, classical violinist Nigel Kennedy, alternative pop/rock bands Belly and Spin Doctors, hip hop artists P. M. Dawn, among others. According to the liner notes, the "artists were encouraged to not only record one of their own personal favorites but to also place their stamp on Jimi's songs." Several artists recorded radically different interpretations, particularly, P. M. Dawn, The Cure, Nigel Kennedy and Pat Metheny. Some artists, on the other hand, recorded versions that were rather similar to the originals.
"The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time" is a special issue published by the American magazine Rolling Stone in two parts in 2004 and 2005 and updated in 2011. The list presented was compiled based on input from musicians, writers, and industry figures and is focused on the rock & roll era. It predominantly features American and British musicians.
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