Your Personal Top 10 of Guitarist Who Inspires You The Most!


Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2012
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I would name them but the names would be meaningless to you. I am and have always been inspired by guitar players who are out there playing anyplace and everyplace, always giving it 105% night after night for years on end without being rich or famous.

You know, the ones that load in and set up their own gear and sometimes even play events for zero compensation other than the joy of bringing music to the people.
You don't realize that you are describing the early days of just about every legendary guitarist mentioned in this thread? You really think a young John Lennon was paid ten thousand dollars when he played this gig:


Or how about when he and his buddies were playing this dive pictured below...what do you think he earned? Fifty thousand dollars and an all expenses paid room at The Ritz including limo ride to and from club?


I know what you are trying to say in your post how you admire the guys who sweat it out day and night giving 105% simply for love of music, but you are really being condescending to the big stars and completely forgetting the fact that they started out playing dive bars giving 105% simply for love of music. You really think the legendary guitarists we all listed here started out playing Madison Square Garden as their first gig?

Tony M

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2004
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I do so realize that they (we?) all started out that way.
I'm just giving credit to the unknown ones that keep at it.
The players that have no dreams of fame or fortune.
I did not intend in any way to cast aspersions on your idols.
They all played their asses off to get where they are now.
(For the most part anyway. Some of them just got lucky.)


Well-Known Member
Jul 11, 2012
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Guitar players who play in biker bars, coffee houses
and wedding bands. Guitarists playing in bookstores,
houses of worship and out in the streets.
Thank you Tony, we appreciate it.:cool:
Jim Schell ,(Taught me how to play "Mother, the Queen of My Heart" and "A Sailor's Hornpipe" while we bounced down the highway in a puke green 64 Mercury Comet)
Michael Chapman-( Taught me Texas cool without chilling my Texas hot. His fluency with the fretboard inspired me to be a better technical player.)
John Newton-(Texas Blues demon)
Lare Crawley-(master player of any and all styles and best blues guy I ever played with.
John Cuthbertson-(acoustic balladeer)
Jim Borsdorf-(Hawks and Eagles)
Banjo Bob Freedman-(West Coast Country Boy)
Paul Emery-(Backwoods Jazz-Emery, Schmidt & McCann)
Carlos Santana-(West Coast Latin/Jazz/Rock)
Gabor Szabo-(Jazz )
So many more, I love 'em all.
I've had more fun playing in bars and grange halls, college auditoriums (auditoria?) and church halls with some of the weirdest bands I could have ever imagined.


Feb 16, 2019
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In no particular Order:

Clapton (especially his later stuff, Journeyman, From the Cradle, etc)
Johnny Greenwood (the reason I'm a telecaster fan)
Angus Young
Kim Thayil
Alain Johannes (for his work on Euphoria Morning, QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures)
Derek Trucks
Josh Homme
Chris Rea (thats my kinda slide tone)
Chris Isaak (simple, raunchy, effective)
Gary Clark Jr


Active Member
Dec 19, 2018
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As said make a list of the 10 guitarists who personally inspires you the most, not necessarily in any particular order.

Mine are, in no particular order:

- Syd Barrett
- Nick Drake
- Alan Sparhawk
- Bill Frisell

- Fred Frith
- Thurston Moore
- Lee Ranaldo

- Sonny Sharrock
- Frank Zappa
- Adrian Belew

- Adam Jones
- J. Mascis

My all time number one absolute most favorite might be Bill Frisell.

Yes, you counted right, there are 12 on my list, I cheated, what are you going to do about it? :D :cool:

Edit!!!: I just needed to add Alan Sparhawk as well, from what might be my number one favorite band, Low.

He might not be the most technical proficient, but he works absolute true magic with what he got and the open G tuning that he uses.

Wrote an update to my personal Top 10 list of inspirational guitarist, that I cheated to include 12 of them, now with an added short description of each of the guitarists:

: Syd Barrett :
Very unique, charmingly quirky and unconventional approach to song writing, and one of the greatest original psychedelic rock guitarists.

: Nick Drake :
Just wrote astonishing beautiful melancholic folk, and truly mastered finger picking chords on his steel string acoustic guitar, using various alternate tunings.

: Alan Sparhawk :
A very unique, minimal, but extremely effective approach to writing and playing hauntingly beautiful rock and folk influenced slow music, making each note that he do play count and having an impact, with his guitar tuned in open G.

: Bill Frisell :
A very unique jazz guitarist and composer, always with the most beautiful vibrant guitar tone, an amazing sense for just exactly what is needed and a really tasteful use of effects, his playing leaving an incredible powerful impact in all it's delicate sensibility, and with a signature sound that leads one to think of strong Americana and folk influences.

: Fred Frith :
Very innovative and experimental avantgarde and experimental rock and jazz guitarist, multi instrumentalist and composer, who is not afraid to invent new alternative and unconventional ways to use the guitar to create music.

: Thurston Moore :
Avantgarde and noise rock legend from Sonic Youth, with a wide use of incorporating noise and feedback into their compositions and guitar playing, and using various alternate tunings.

: Lee Ranaldo :
Avantgarde and noise rock legend from Sonic Youth, with a wide use of incorporating noise and feedback into their compositions and guitar playing, and using various alternate tunings.

: Sonny Sharrock :
Avantgarde and free jazz guitarist and composer with a somewhat controversial, or at least quite unconventional, often heavy handed, and sometimes even somewhat primal and crude, approach to guitar playing, with a wide use of disharmony and occasional bursts of feedback.

: Frank Zappa :
Avantgarde and experimental pop, rock and classical composer that was also an excellent rock guitarist, mastering odd time signatures, and the odd, controversial and bizarre in general.

: Adrian Belew :
Guitar wizard from King Crimson and his own Adrian Belew Power Trio, truly a master of experimental and progressive rock, as well as odd noises and time signatures.

: Adam Jones :
Heavy driving, yet quite melodic, guitarist from the progressive metal band Tool, who contributes to the compositions, and effortlessly and seamlessly navigates through the many shifting odd time signatures and complex structures of the band's songs.

: J. Mascis :
Famous for his wall of heavy fuzz signature sound in the loud and noisy, but actually at the same time also very melodic, indie rock band Dinosaur Jr, where he also sings and writes most of the songs, and where he with his extremely emotionally charged squealing and shredding solos was the first to really introduce proper guitar solos to the noise and indie rock genres.
Not without reason he has sometimes been compared to Neil Young, which both his approach to singing and to playing guitar shares some similarities with.
In my book J. Mascis is one of the greatest rock guitarists of all times (here I mean rock in a more traditional/classic sense, not counting progressive and metal guitarists e.t.c).

Bill Frisell is still probably my number one favorite guitarist out of the 12.

The short intro solo to this song is one of my favorite J. Mascis solos:

And the solo that starts around the 2:34 mark in this song is another J. Mascis favorite, so damn packed with pain and emotions:

And 2 of my favorite Bill Frisell tracks:

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New Member
Dec 4, 2014
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* Eric Clapton (mainly until Derek and the Dominos)
* Jimi Hendrix
* John Lee Hooker
* Muddy Waters
* Keith Richards
* Wayne Krantz
* Bill Frisell
* Robben Ford
* Leo Nocentelli (from The Meters)
* Nick Jaffe (local musician from Chicago I think, not famous but he has inspired me a lot lately. A lot of his music is great)


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Feb 15, 2015
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Bergen, Norway
I love lists like this. For me, the list will not be static, but a few names will always be included. Right now it would include these guys:

Edward Van Halen - The guy that made me want to pick up the guitar.
J. Geils - The guy that made me realise speed and dexterity is not what makes your playing great.
B. B. King - Sometimes what you don't play is as important as what you play.
Peter Green - Pure elegance.
Eric Clapton - Revolutionised rock guitar and turned me on to the blues
Duane Allman - Slide master
Derek Trucks - Slide Grand master
Michael Schenker - Fluid, melodic rock guitar
Robben Ford - Refined, subtle and complex
Josh Smith - Amazing blues player with an eye for jazz and hard rock

Honorable mentions:
Jesse Ed Davis
Robert Johnson
Guy King
Albert King
Freddie King
Kirk Fletcher
Paul Kossoff
Leslie West
Ted Nugent
Dickey Betts
Angus Young
Tony Iommi
Joe Bonamassa
David Gilmour

Hola Vibrola

Jan 20, 2020
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Looking at this (with some hindsight) from the viewpoint of who got me interested to start, and keep, playing guitar as a kid up thru high school, the names are necessarily old guys, and roughly in this chronological order:

Nokie Edwards/Bob Bogle/Don Wilson, The Ventures
George Harrison, The Beatles
Roy Clark
Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel
Pete Townshend, The Who
Eric Clapton, Cream
Jimmy Page, LZ
Neil Young, CSNY
James Taylor
Terry Kath, Chicago,
Steve Howe, Yes

o' course theres been hundreds? more since then, up thru funk, punk, country, new wave, jazz, prog, grunge, alternative, Americana, etc., those each in themselves are conversations of their own!

John J

Active Member
Jul 1, 2008
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You all have a lot of good choices. I'd like to add another.
Rod Price/Foghat


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Aug 27, 2020
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Well I try not to play/sound like anyone but I’m sure it comes out anyway lol. Here are my 10 even though 10 is too few. In no particular order.
Tony Iommi
Jeff Beck
Steve Morse
Angus Young
Frank Marino
Dave Mustaine
Alex Lifeson
Randy Rhodes
Jimmy Page
Michael Schenker

Back Street Kid

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Oct 15, 2020
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My top 10:The one and only Tony Iommi - Gary Moore - Chris Olivia - Michael Schenker - BB King - Stevie Ray Vaughan - Randy Roads - Adrian Smith - Satriani - George Lynch. 1st 4 definitely in order.
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