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The Campy Forum

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Most Influential Guitarist's of the 20th Century....
  • Some friends and I discussed this topic via email about two years back until it drove us all crazy... Here's our list, never completed... and we couldn't trim it down to 100 (I think it's very close).
    The key premise is "influential" which might keep Ace Frehley on the list and maybe Tommy Emmanuel off. Remember, this a 20th Century list....
    Robert Johnson
    Muddy Waters
    Eddie Lang
    Django Reinhardt
    Merle Travis
    Chet Atkins
    Jerry Reed
    Lenny Breau
    Don Rich
    James Burton
    Grady Martin
    Eldon Shamblin
    Roy Nichols
    Roy Buchanan
    Danny Gatton
    Hank Garland
    Jimmy Bryant
    Albert Lee
    Brent Mason
    Freddie Green
    Charlie Christian
    Luther Perkins
    Richard Thompson
    Les Paul
    Billy Butler
    John Lee Hooker
    T-Bone Walker
    Jimmy Reed
    Lonnie Mack
    Albert King
    Freddie King
    BB King
    Steve Cropper
    Jimmy Nolan
    Ike Turner
    Cornell Dupree
    Eddie Hazel
    Curtis Mayfield
    Hubert Sumlin
    Scotty Moore
    Cliff Gallup
    Chuck Berry
    Elmore James
    Link Wray
    Nokie Edwards
    Tommy Tedesco
    Barney Kessel
    Johhny Smith
    George Van Eps
    Howard Roberts
    Wes Montgomery
    George Benson
    Jim Hall
    Ted Greene
    Pat Martino
    John McLaughlin
    Julian Bream
    Pat Metheny
    Paco de Lucia
    Allan Holdsworth
    John Fahey
    Leo Kottke
    Joni Mitchell
    Micheal Hedges
    Tony Iommi
    Yngvie Malmsteen
    Carlos Santana
    Jimi Hendrix
    David Gilmour
    Pete Townsend
    Duanne Allman
    Keith Richards
    Adrian Belew
    Mark Knopfler
    George Harrison
    John Lennon
    Jeff Beck
    Peter Green
    Eric Clapton
    Ernest Ranglin
    Dick Dale
    Jimmy Page
    Antonio Carlos Jobim
    Robert Fripp
    Marc Ribot
    Ry Cooder
    Randy Rhoads
    Bob Marley
    Joe Pass
    Neil Young
    Angus Young
    Jerry Garcia
    Ritchie Blackmore
    Tuck Andress
    Leo Nocentelli
    Al Dimeola
    Johnny Ramone
    The Edge
    Andy Summers
    Eddie Van Halen
    Stevie Ray Vaughn
    Bill Frisell
  • woha! i can see how a topic like this can drive somebody mad... :) i'd add nels cline to the list... but that's just me...
  • I would put Nels in my top 25, but this is before 2000 and world wide and yes... this can drive you crazy!
  • right... i keep forgetting this is the 21st century. damn it! :)
  • I would add:
    Lonnie Johnson
    Big Bill Broonzy
    Kenny Burrell
    Grant Green
    Bill Jennings
    Johnny Guitar Watson
    Guitar Slim
    Duane Eddy
    Sabicas (flamenco player) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabicas
    João Gilberto
    Johnny Winter
    and if we add some strings:
    Bob Dunn
    Bud Isaacs
    Leon McAuliffe
    Jerry Byrd
    Don Helms
    Speedy West
    Buddy Emmons

  • All good players, some were repeats in the original post... Anyway, who do you alleviate from the original list? I mean it's fun to come up with great players and I love steel guitar, but there is supposedly a 100 limit. So if you add Guitar Slim, who do you eliminate and why? That's the somewhat mind-boggling challenge that drove us away from it compiling a top 100 list...although ours was far superior to Rolling Stone magazine!

  • Steve - As much as I love Leon, I think Lennon was more influential...but I don't want to go crazy again!
    Good to see your post Steve.
  • it's super hard to eliminate someone from the list and replace him with someone else. Actualy i think its IMPOSSIBLE...i do believe though that Tom Verlaine deserves one spot in the (ever expanding) top#100. So i guess i would take Bob Marley off the list. Dont take this wrong, i have the utmost respect for his music. But i dont think he was as INFLUENTIAL to guitar playing as he was as an artist in general, and as a personality of course.
  • ouch!! I can't see Franck Zappa on the list.
    ok...i know the rules
  • John Cipollina, West Coast Sound. I don't know who you drop, but he's gotta be in there!
  • This list hurts my head! If we're just talking about who is most influential, I think Lou Reed needs to be on the list. I didn't see his name. So, correct me if I'm wrong. As far as taking somebody off? I dunno. Maybe Tuck Andress? I mean, Tuck Andress is so good that it's ridiculous. All due respect to him! But, has he influenced more guitar players than Lou Reed when he played with the velvets?
  • Wow...no Steve Vai, huge for guitar practice and spiritual discipline on guitar since the 80's and his mentor Frank Zappa, the master of strange arrange and odd time sig, (I have sooooo many friend guitarists who went to Berklee and love this guy). One of my favorites, who I believe robbed the "Sebastopol tuning" from the Hawaiians. Leo Kottke. I love seeing Eddie Hazel and Jerry Reed on this! But, we are talking about JC!
  • maybe one more important guy on the top of the list between Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt, i think about Roy Smeck.
    In their time so many other musicians like Lonnie Johnson, Frank Zappa, Ray Gomez was very influential too...You're right It's really difficult to eliminate someone of the list and it's too late i'm crazy now:)
  • I love these lists, and I think this list is far, far superior to the Rolling Stone list. I would say maybe looking at this list, It might be best to call this the most 'Innovative' rather than 'Influential". Not to step on anybodies toes, though. The point of these lists is to encourage debate, right? All nitpicking aside, great list.
  • Hello Angryrooster
    i'm agree with you,innovative is the word and i love these lists too:)
  • One man's innovator is another mans's scourge. A few of the fellows on the list I haven't heard. But if somebody gots to go.......it's Robert Fripp n I'm adding Joe Maphis. Fripp may be an innovator but he makes me wish that he never innovated. I seen pictures of Joe's guitar for years before I think I ever heard him play........When I heard him............I liked it. Dont know if it was him that started the "whole bunch of players on one guitar".....but it's good.......n he can play really fast n hillbillyish.
  • Greetings Campy:

    Brilliant that you named Joni Mitchell -- the only chick on the list and a true musical pioneer. For that, I'll add you to My List of Honorary Women. (Among others, it includes John Lennon for writing "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" which didn't get much airplay.) We're gonna have a regular wing-ding on this forum! Thanks for getting it together. Now I don't have to sign up for facebook!

    Mz DeVille, San Francisco

    p.s. - Howdy kgharper!
  • Hola Mz DeVille........how's things on the hill?
  • PS -Hi Mz Deville!
  • Tal Farlow is missing on the list. I think he should be added.
  • if we're talking influential, then I think you gotta have Billy Gibbons... But who to bump to make room for him?

    And I'm with KGHarper on trading Fripp for Maphis!

  • Fripp has earned his place in that list, IMHO. You can hear his influence in the music of modern bands like Tool and Porcupine Tree. Another thing to bear in mind that he was (and still is!) a key figure in the creation of looping through No Pussyfooting. Looping has steadily increased in popularity through the advent of affordable loopers and many musicians incorporate them in their works nowadays, but Fripp demonstrated the viability of it to a larger audience.

    Fripp has also demonstrated how the guitar can take a more textural role in music with his Soundscapes albums, and some of them are quite astonishing. All in all, I see no reason why he would not be on the list.
  • Yeah Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill.........They sound real good and the way they innovated twirling there instruments on there belt buckles in unison made me set up and take notice. Vmoney....I will suggest you bump Jerry Garcia and add Billy. If it was "Cherry Garcia" ice cream........I'd say keep it. That stuff is good, especially the chocolate coated bars. It's "shot with sugar through and through" so I dont eat much of it.........anymore.
  • I would disagree with bumping Garcia from the list. I like Billy Gibbons and don't know Dusty Hill. Jerry melded too many styles into a unique voice and influenced way too many people to be bumped. Plus... no one could "deliver the mail" like Jerry could.

    My humble opinion of course.
  • I would add BERT JANSCH. Neil Young calls him the Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar -- and he is.
  • I think you can leave Tuck Andress out for Billy Gibbons!
  • Fun list! I'm happy to see Cornell Dupree's name on there. I first heard him on the compilation "Atlantic Blues: Guitar". The cassette version had two songs by him, Blues Nocturne and Okie Dokie Stomp. I really dig his playing; so smooth and tasteful.

    Hi everyone, this is my first post on any forum in probably 5 years. It looked like a good chance to get in on the ground floor. I had the chance to see Jim play at Yoshi's this past December. Great, great show. I couldn't stop smiling.

  • I still think Cipollina should make the cut if only for his amp stack:image
    chippo stack.jpg 84K
  • Hi Seadub8. Welcome to the Forum.

  • Glad someone put in Kenny Burrell. The guy's amazing still and pushing 80. Listen to Autumn Leaves.
  • Glad someone put in Kenny Burrell. The guy's amazing still and pushing 80. Listen to Autumn Leaves.
  • I'm with MzDeVille - Bert Jansch HAS to be on the list. Not just for Neil Young namechecking him all the time, but Jimmy Page ripping him off and a whole generation of folky fingerpickers (Nick Drake, Donovan and Paul Simon right through to modern day guys like The Tallest Man on Earth and Kurt Vile) getting their inspiration from him.

    While I'm letting my Britishness shine through, I'd have to add Johnny Marr to the list, too - he made people really want to play, and so-called Indie rock would be a far different (and less melodic and interesting) beast without him.
  • As for removing people, I'd start with Marc Ribot. Yes, he's astonishing - truly - but most influential?
    And while I'd never be stupid enough to dismiss Bob Marley in any way, influential as a guitarist?
  • @BrianSSF - that is an insane rig! Do those horns actually do anything or are they just for show?
  • Cipollina was a Fender man, like someone else we know, but the SG was his weapon of choice. Here's the scoop on his amp stack taken from his memorial website:

    "To create his distinctive guitar sound, Cipollina developed this one-of-a-kind amplifier stack. All of his guitars, including the one here, were wired with two pickups, one for bass and one for treble. The bass pickup fed into the two Standel bass amps on the bottom of the stack. Each Standel was equipped with two 15-inch speakers. The treble pickups fed the two Fender amps-a Fender Twin Reverb with two 12-inch speakers and a Fender Dual Showman- that drove the six Wurlitzer horns."
  • What about Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson and Clarence White?
  • BrianSSF - re: Cipollina's rig -- any idea what those devices are that are attached on either side of the Twin?

    EDIT: Found the answer:

    "Cipollina used a custom foot-switched system to select reverb, tremolo, Astro Echoplex (the unit mounted on the right of the Twin Reverb), Standel Modulux (on the left of the twin reverb) or the horns. Truck running lights indicated which effect was being used. Cipollina also employed a Gibson Maestro Fuzz and Vox wah-wah and volume pedals."

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