In the beginning Les Paul created the electric guitar, and it was good. Ever since then, a countless number of starry eyed pickers and want-to-be guitarists alike dreamed of becoming the greatest of all time, or in my case learn to play a whole song.
Some make it, some don't, but whether you are a musician or just a passionate music fan we all must agree, you can't please all of the people, all of the time.
This fact is all too familiar to those of us who venture to the bottom of these lists to read some of the posted comments. No matter how well thought out and/or in some cases voted on by readers or musicians, there are always some people who will disagree. And with all of the talented musicians in this world, many say 100 just doesn't cut it.
In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine's David Fricke proposed an idea to his editors, "a special issue devoted to the best and most influential guitarists in rock." His editors agreed to his proposal and suggested he rank them and limit his list to one hundred.
in the magazine's 2011 intro to his republished 2003 picks, that his original list reached nearly 500 artists and that he found it "frustrating work" to reduce the list to a mere one hundred of "the worthy."
Fricke reduced his list but not surprisingly came to the same conclusion nearly every other publication and/or private list eventually ends up with, there can be only one best of the best. Fricke wrote in his intro: "I looked at it this way, Jimi Hendrix was Number One in every way; the other 99 were all Number Two."
Now, I know what you're thinking, not all lists deal with the same type of music. You're right, but during my research for this article, I found that in general, with the exception of a few, the majority of them put Hendrix at or near the top with Clapton, Townsend, Beck, Page and Richards close by.
One case in point; Digital Dream Door
has Hendrix ranked as number one in the category of "Greatest Rock Guitarists
," shown in the video above. However, in its "100 Greatest Guitarists (All Genres)
" Hendrix is ranked number four.
Don't get me wrong, I think they are all great but I can see Fricke's point. It can't be easy to rank all that talent and quite frankly, my question is; who is truly qualified to do so?
With that being said, I did manage to find a few lists that were not basically carbon copies of each other. Here are the top ten results from the three of them.
2011 Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
#1. Jimi Hendrix
#2. Eric Clapton
#3. Jimmy Page
#4. Keith Richards
#5. Jeff Beck
#6. B.B. King
#7. Chuck Berry
#8. Eddie Van Halen
#9. Duane Allman
#10. Pete Townshend
2012 Spin Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
#1. Lee Ranaldo & Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
#2. Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine)
#3. John Fahey
#4. Kurt Cobain
#5. J Mascis
#7. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd (Television)
#8. Johnny Ramone
#9. Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic)
#10. Jam Master Jay (Run-DMC)
2011 International Rock Music's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
#1. Jimi Hendrix
#2. Duane Allman
#3. B.B. King
#4. Eric Clapton
#6. Chuck Berry
#7. Stevie Ray Vaughan
#8. Ry Cooder
#9. Jimmy Page
#10. Keith Richards