The Five Most Underrated Guitarists

Categories: Commentary

tabbenoit02.jpg
Tab Benoit
We all know that the flashy types like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen get (or got) kudos simply for playing super fast. But being a great guitarist is more than just burning up a fret board. Here are the five folks who best know that nuance is just as important as flamboyance.


Tab Benoit
Hailing out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tab Benoit should be a household name. The guy's guitar and composition skills are top-notch; but playing the blues these days gets a lot of great guitarists the short shrift.


Robert Fripp
Whether as a member of King Crimson or as a solo performer, Robert Fripp is the king of discipline. He once claimed that Eric Clapton didn't know how to hold a pick. Fripp's playing is technically overwhelming, but never showy. Hell, in the '80s, Fripp would often play seated and shielded from the crowd by his amps.

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10 comments
golfingig
golfingig

Mike Zito should be on this list....no question.

golfingig
golfingig

Mike Zito should be on this list.

rosanova2
rosanova2

Richard Thompson is the greatest... but you posted one of his worst ever performances! A bad version of a poor song. Post him doing one of his own songs for God's sake

fracquestions
fracquestions

Any list like this that does not list Buddy Whittington is a sham! Not one of those "guitarists" mentioned holds a torch to Bud, who John Mayall called "the Greatest Bluesbreaker of them all", and "them all" refers to Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor Coco Montoya, Peter Green and other guitar greats who played with Mayall through the years.

http://buddywhittington.com/

jonfromtjs
jonfromtjs

these lists usually make one angry.  this is a good one!

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

great post, i'm sure you had a lot more in mind. I would add Pete Anderson, very unique style and versatile.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

@fracquestions

Here's what John Mayall said on this blog a couple weeks ago: 'Silly people say any guitar player is the best. All of the best players sound different from each other. There is no way of comparing them.'

fracquestions
fracquestions

@ChrisYu @fracquestions Actually, from a technical standpoint there IS a way of comparing them. While one cannot argue subjective points of view there are mechanics that can be evaluated on an objective level.

Having been a classically trained rock and blues guitarist I can tell you that not every guitarist knows his way around the neck or how to incorporate the perfect phrasing or tone for the situation demanded by the music. An example is to listen to the nuances of Mozart, as opposed to other composers of his day who just did not hear the music the same way or understand what little pick-up note or string was just the perfect one for the moment.

THAT is where Buddy Whittington stands head and shoulders above most guitarists I have ever heard, along with RyCooder, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Bugs Henderson, Brian May and others who strive for that perfect phrase every time.

I agree with Mayall that, on a subjective level, you really cannot compare guitarists because it is all a matter of personal taste and preference, but there is a VERY real difference in the technical abilities of some over others, and that is a fact.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

@fracquestions @ChrisYu you put a lot more thought to it than I have! i'm more of the subjective who can appreciate Johnny Ramone, but I understand he doesn't have the skill of the greats you mention.

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