Saturday, July 3, 2010

Famous Guitarists

By Peter Sax Smith

Since guitars changed the face of music, music has become an ever-exploding industry. And there is no shortage of famous guitarists worldwide either. Ask the average person and they could name at least a few. There is not one genre that can boast the best guitarist. Everyone has their own tastes and opinions and each genre of music is loaded with talented guitarists. No matter who our favorite guitarists are, we're all mesmerized with their amazing talent. The list of famous guitarists goes on and on. It's impossible to narrow it down to even the top five because every guitarist has such great talent. In the next few paragraphs we'll try to profile some of the greatest guitarists ever.

Jimi Hendrix is considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. He incorporated jazz and funk into the rock music he performed and he won some of the most prestigious awards in the music industry. Hendrix was born to a teen mother and army father in Seattle, Washington in 1942. He purchased his first guitar for $5 at the age of 15 and joined the army at the age of 19 to avoid jail time for some run-ins with the law. Hendrix's success came in the early 60's and the rest of his career is one for the history books. Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 but the circumstances surrounding his death have never really been confirmed.

Les Paul was born in 1915 and was a pioneer in the invention of the solid body electric guitar. He became interested in music at 8 years old, first playing the harmonica. At age 13 he was performing as a country singer and at 17 he dropped out of high school to play in a band. His first album was released in 1936. Gibson Guitar Corporation originally turned him down to manufacturer his solid body electric guitar. Les Paul died from pneumonia complications at the age of 93. He had a host of number one hits, record breaking inventions and won almost every musical award imaginable.

B.B. King is ranked # 3 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 List of greatest guitarists of all time. He was born in 1925 and bought his first guitar for $15 at the age of 12. B.B is arguably the greatest blues player of all time. He played more than 15,000 performances in 52 years and also won many awards, including 15 Grammy awards.

Stevie Ray Vaughn was inspired by his older brother, Jimmie to play the guitar. Born in 1954, Vaughn released 18 albums during his music career. Stevie Ray Vaughn's guitar of choice was the Fender Stratocaster and his blue's style was a mix between jazz and rock. He received dozens of awards in his career. Stevie Ray Vaughn died tragically in a helicopter crash in August of 1990.

Joe Satriani is probably the most famous guitar instructor of all time. Joe was mostly known for his rock guitar talent though he was greatly talented at playing other musical instruments too. The death of Jimi Hendrix inspired Joe to play the guitar at the age of 14. After moving to California to pursue a career in music in 1978, Joe started teaching guitar and taught members of some of the most successful bands in music today, including Steve Vai. Joe Satriani has had his hands in every single aspect of music and has built a legacy like no other. His legacy will surely live on, decades after he's gone.

It's impossible to mention all the great guitarists, without writing an entire book. Each guitarist has profoundly inspired and changed music forever. Their marks on the music industry are concreted in the songs, lyrics, notes and chords that made them famous.

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