As promised, I will veer away from movies for a bit. I have to restrain myself, though, as I watched Rush - Behind the Lighted Stage this past Saturday and want to review it for you. (The DVD comes out Tuesday - if you're a fan, it's a MUST!)
It did inspire me to consider my favorite guitarists and those who inspire me to play better.
Six Great Guitarists
1. Alex Lifeson (Rush)
I think it's clear by now that I am a huge Rush nerd. Alex's guitar work has always been amazing to me. His smooth and effortless fretwork, along with the great songs and memorable riffs put him among the elite.
Essentials to check out: Natural Science, The Spirit of Radio, La Villa Strangiato
2. Joe Satriani
I was in college when a friend suggested I pick up a rock, instrumental album called "Surfing With The Alien". The album was a masterpiece of precision and beauty. I was hooked and have been a Satch fan ever since. Watching him in concert is like watching a star athlete at the top of his game. If you enjoy rock with a hint of Jazz and Blues, then Joe should be high on your list.
Essentials to check out: Satch Boogie, Always With Me (Always With You), Summer Song, One Big Rush
3. John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
The readers of Guitar Player Magazine just voted him Best Metal Guitarist. What more can you say about a guitarist who keeps upping his game with every release. Not only technically impressive, John seems to feel music like you and I breath air.
Essentials to check out: The Count of Tuscani, Octavarium, Constant Motion
4. Dimebag Darrell Abott (Pantera)
Before his tragic death (he was shot to death while performing at a club) Dime changed the sound of metal music. His snarling, growling, vicious style of playing has influenced every guitarist that followed. His playing always reminds me of fighting because it's so aggressive and explosive...simply amazing.
Essentials to check out: Mouth for War, Cowboys From Hell, Cemetery Gates, Walk
5. Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme)
If you've ever seen "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" then you've heard Nuno. Remember the crazy guitar work playing during the mall chase scene, it's actually an Extreme song titled "Play With Me". Nuno reached elite status with the next album "Pornograffiti". Without a doubt, some of the best riffs and fills that you will ever hear can be found on this disc.
Essentials to check out: Play With Me, Flight of the Wounded Bumble Bee (He Man, Woman Hater), Decadence Dance, Warheads
6. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
One listen to "Rust in Peace" is all it takes to convince any guitar aficionado that Dave deserves to be on this list. The amazing fretwork of Dave and fellow guitarist Marty Friedman is truly epic. The lineup has changed over the years but Dave continues to shred with the best of them.
Essentials to check out: Holy Wars...The Punishment Due, Wake Up Dead, Symphony of Destruction, Train of Consequences
Here are few other great shredders and riffers to check out:
Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)
John Sykes (Whitesnake, Blue Murder)
Jesper Stromblad, Bjorn Gelotte (In Flames)
Steve Rothery (Marillion)
There are other great guitarists, but these are the ones I felt were the most diverse and talented, and who continue to improve and progress musically. And bottom line, they're my favorites!