Under Appreciated Guitarists
Disclaimer: These are in no particular order and it’s 100% my opinion. Also, I’ve grouped people together as duo’s because that’s how I wanted to do it!
1. Stone Gossard and Mike McCready- Pearl Jam’s dynamic duo never gets enough credit. When we think of the 90’s, people always sing high praise of Slash, Kurt Cobain, Metallica, etc. but for some reason these two guys are overlooked and are only appreciated as being “part of Pearl Jam”. The reality is that Stone and Mike were pivotal in paving a way of new guitar playing that combined heavy Zeppelin type riffs with Stones like counterpoint. The interplay between the two of them is beautiful when you actually analyze what’s going on. And unbeknownst to many, it’s Stone who is playing the opening figure of “Alive,” the oh so iconic guitar riff that launched the band into stardom so early on. Not to mention Mike McCready can really rip on the guitar and if you’ve ever seen them life he’ll go on for a REALLY long time diving into all sorts of crazy things.
2. Izzy Stradlin- the quite one of GNR, but did you know he wrote a large majority of our favorite Guns riffs? Plus the lyrics and the melody, but we’re focusing on guitar playing right now. Poor is Izzy so under appreciated for his contribution to rock n’ roll. Slash’s playing is so perfect and rich that we often don’t realize it was always supported with phenomenal rhythm guitar playing. Songs like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Rocket Queen” are excellent examples of the interplay that goes on between the two of them. Izzy is often less aggressive and plays a little behind the beat, while Slash is right on top. And what do you get when you put it all together? Total awesomeness. I’m telling you that without Izzy Stradlin, Slash would not have been such an iconic figure that he is today nor would those songs have been the hits they were.
3. Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner- you might not have heard of these two, but you should. They started off as the axemen in Alice Cooper’s band, but I first discovered them in Lou Reed’s Rock n’ Roll Animal album. To make a long story short, the most under appreciated soloists in all of rock. I pretty much owe a large majority of my chops and aggressive style to listening and transcribing everything on this album. The tone, the accuracy, and the groove of both of these guys is absolutely mind blowing. Steve has a bit more of a bluesy/country/rock thing going on and Dick is a little more rock n’ roll. If you get a chance, listen to this song and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
4. Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen- there is no doubting the awesomeness of Rancid. They are without a doubt one of the greatest bands of the past 30 years, let alone punk bands of all time. Their songs, message, hooks, and continued dedication to punk music is so inspiring and admirable. But what about their guitar playing? How come I never hear people talking about the genius that goes on between the two of them? If I may be so bold, but if you want to imagine what a truly Punk version of the Stones (all incarnations) would be, Rancid is your answer. Tim generally plays lead and solos, but Lars handles the Keith style intricacies of what’s going on in the song. One of my favorite bands and absolutely worth listening to if you want to figure out punk/ska guitar playing.
5. Dave Matthews- WHAT??? HOW DARE I? Well folks, remove all your judgements of the music and you tell me who inspired so many people to pick up an acoustic guitar in the past 25 years. From a technical stand point and a song writing one, Dave Matthews is a genius. There, I said it. If you try and figure out what he is playing, you’ll start seeing things on the guitar that you never knew were there. Not to mention the rhythmic element of his playing is mind blowing when thrown against his vocals.
Did I leave anyone out? Please leave your comments on our Facebook Page and we can gladly get into a little debate!