Inspiration On And On

List of figures (guitarists and others) who continue to inspire my music, and why... if your focus is exclusively metal, you'll probably be bored to tears. Otherwise, read on!

Ultimate Guitar

Plenty Of Inspiration

I hope this is not too boring, and I know I will be dating myself by some of the names I will be dropping. I'm aware that most of the readers/members at this site are into metal or predominately heavy music. Same way with me when I was 19 or 20. I wanted to write a list article for Ultimate Guitar, but not the typical best of list. So the following is a list of (mostly) guitarists that I was exposed to early on, but after 12, 15, or 20 years, still get inspiration from. They're not listed in any particular order:

  • Jeff Beck - He continues to surprise, and he has never been afraid to change in order to progress. His playing has such attitude! He hasn't been able to hide behind a lead singer since the early 1070s, and he can still fill arenas. Smart enough to develop other interests and not tour 200 days a year into his 50s - I think that helps him maintain his enthusiasm for new albums and tours, when he decides to do them.

  • Glenn Phillips - not the Glenn Phillips in Toad The Wet Sprocket, this guy is based in Atlanta and has been releasing albums on his own for years with short regional tours. I guess you could call it rock/fusion. Very broad in command of styles and uses lot's of dynamics. Should be huge and playing on lot's of other peoples albums, but I guess he never wanted to make the move to NYC or LA.

  • Jimi Hendrix - What can you say? He sculpted air with electricity, it's like his soul came out his fingers. He and Dylan proved you don't have to have a pretty voice to be successful in rock. I really like the soul and beauty in his quieter chord work, like Little Wing or Castles Made Of Sand.

  • Jimmy Page - I appreciate him more for his skills arranging parts in a song than for his solos. Plenty of classic riffs, and he gets a real variety of tones in the studio. And maybe most importantly, he rarely overplayed on studio recordings.

  • Eddie Van Halen - Another What can you say? musician. I think what I get out of him is a ridiculously expressive vibrato, and he is an excellent rhythm player as well. Killer tone, of course. Proved that guitar brand is irrelevant; most of what he used on the first album was slapped together with parts from different guitars.

  • Mitch Easter - ... Whom many of you may have never heard of. Had a band in the 80s (Let's Active) that put out four of five albums. Engineered REM's first two albums. Has played on and produced gobs of other peoples records. Plays in alternative/pop/rock band Shalini today and runs his own studio never overplays on records, he achieves incredible tones in the studio. For me, proved that someone with talent and desire could achieve at a high level and make great sounding records without leaving their definitely not-hip home state of NC.

  • Marty Willson - Piper and Peter Koppes - Both of these guys play in an Australian band known as The Church. Started out as a very poppy band for teenage girls, evolved into one of the most psychedelic bands in the world, and really use a lot of dynamics and atmosphere in their songs. Usually I here something new when I go back and listen to their songs. They just kept getting better and better, and don't really pay attention to trends.

  • John Scofield - Where jazz meets soul and funk, John will throw some curves at you. Played with Miles Davis a long time ago. Keeps his music fresh by playing with a lot of young guys. I like the playful attitude in a lot of his playing.

  • James Honeyman-Scott - Incredible sense of melody, and could play solos that did not overshadow the singer (Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders). Too bad he had to check out early.

  • Peter Erskine - What a drummer can be. Incredibly dynamic and powerful, even in quite passages.

  • Bill Frissell - Another jazzbo who uses effects in new and unusual ways. Great melodies and quirky enough for repeated listening.

  • Jerry Garcia - Not the most talented but he always had a signature tone, something everyone wants. Great melodies

  • Paul Westerberg - Formerly of the Replacements, the influence I get from Paul is songwriting. The Replacements were a rocking combo in their day, Paul is doing the solo thing now and still writing good songs.

  • Dave Faulkner and Brad Shepherd - Incredible power-pop tag team, excellent energy, always manage to get a great tone to tape. They broke up for a couple of years and now they are back together.

  • Johnny Marr - Guitarist for the Smiths, The The, and now has his own group, Johnny Marr and the Healers. Melodies that stick in your head for days. Good interview here. Plays for the song, good at layering parts in a song that still don't overwhelm the vocal. I usually hear something new when I listen to a Smiths song with headphones. I have to admit I don't like his new stuff as much.

    Honorable Mention / Albums And Singles

  • Steve Vai, The Attitude Song, on Flexable. His sense of humor, tone, and atttude are all there right at the start!

  • Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares - I heard this album 9 years ago and it's still incredible. They are using scales that are unfamiliar to Western ears and the some of the melodies stick in your head.

  • The Chills, Heavenly Pop Hit (single) - It is what it is

  • 47 comments sorted by best / new / date

      It's decent, i'm still taht 19 year old who likes hard rock/metal though, so it didn't appeal to me too much
      dave grohl should be on that list, I think he is the biggest band in modern rock, he was in the last big band and still makes great music with a lot of artists in a lot of styles
      Joey The Suit
      pretty good list... I wish i knew who most of those guys are WE page and hendrix kick ass
      Daysra: Jeff Beck Early 1070s? get the *** over it, seriously. how old are you? he obviously meant to say the 1970's. so grow a dick and stop bein a twat.
      evening_crow: He hasn?t been able to hide behind a lead singer since the early 1070s huh? and you're an absolute tosser as well
      the first one to point out the 1070's thing was funny, the rest should just realize when something is as pointed out as it can be
      that was pretty good except that part about Jerry not being one of the best he is a very good guitarist he just didn't show off as much as others
      I think jeff buckley was one of the most innovative, original and inspirational guitarists ever. I also think any article that introduces people to quality music should be commended. Page, Hendrix, Van Halen and Beck are, as many people have said, often mentioned, but there's a good reason for that. Slash is a bit of a Page clone. 1070's? (joke)
      Not here to say anything bad, most of the people I have never heard of, so it gives me something to look into. Since this isn't my list or anything, I'm not gonna sprawl out and start naming names, but to anyone else who wants someone else phenomenal, listen to Paco de Lucia, he is beyond amazing. I said my two cents, good read though.
      i know, all these fags keep looking for THEIR faves. its his opinion, morons!
      once again for those who had trouble comprehending the first paragraph of the article. this is his inspiration list, so when you say "it should have had this" you sound like a moron
      pretty standard list... no one who hasn't been mentioned before... but you missed a lot as well...
      good list but you should have included thier band names and stuff so poeple could check them out and stuff so they can get
      metalbred: slash should have been in there though. overall quite a good article
      oh so very true, younger people may be inspired by tom morello, i actually think it is pointless making a list of inspirations because everyone is different, thank you for sharing yours with us. Im only inspired by 2 people from your list, hendrix and page. Brian May is good
      Most of my inspiration doesnt come from other guitarists ironically enough. A few away from the obvious legends, I like Josh Parrington's style as well as Vin Accardi (spelled his name wrong probaly). It's just unique and different. Parrington is an effects master who can make his gutiar sound like anything and Vin just has this out of this world unique sound.
      Emenius Sleepus
      I always get inspired to do anything by Alice In Chains. I believe nothing more needs to be said but I will. Simply hearing their music inspires me to play and write and just makes me feel awesome about music in general.
      whoa, Beck since the 1070's? He must have made one hell of a pact with Satan or something... Man, I've been missing out on like, 900 years of his material...
      i think the point of the article is not really a "best of" list but serves as a good guide to discover some more underrated guitarists. People are missing the point when they say "you missed slash" or "you missed clapton". There are quite a few guys up there whom i have not heard before and would definitely check them out. I personally think its a shame that this article gets a 2 stars. I give it 5. On its own i don't think its worth 5. But since there's only 2.....i give it 5
      Hey people its not about who you think he should get inspiration from its about who he does get inspiration from. Not everyone wants to play like Slash or Clapton
      not into hendrix or van halen, havnt heard of a few of those, steve vai is ok i got one of his albums but i can only listen to shred for about 10 minutes now and it gets boring. i think many guitarists here will bre influenced (or at last enjoy listening to) one of these artists, but in my opinion jeff beck rules the whole list hes a very inspiring musician
      underrated guitarists? jimmy page? jimi hendrix? hahahaha :p only one of those inspires me as well, being vai
      hey, good article, but i feel that Mr. George Harrison (RIP) could have been in the list
      u missed a couple. slash clapton satch? personally frusciante inspired me 2 play guitar in the first place b4 id even heard of slash or nyone. me love chilis. not even gna mention 1070's. oops