Will There Ever Be Another Great Guitarist?

If there ever will be another great guitarrist, what traits would they possess? Here are a few thoughts.

Ultimate Guitar

It seems that nowadays in the rock music genre, there seems to lack a band that goes beyond mediocrity. Sure, there are good bands, that make geniune music, but there isn't one that really cracks the charts, and manages to make its way into mainstream radio play without compromising its sound and selling out.

The question of "Will there ever be another great guitarrist?" is one that can be impossible to answer. The immediate thought is "no", simply because all the genres have been done. However, this isn't entirely true.

First of all, there can never be another truly great guitarrist along the lines of Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix for two main reasons:

1. The blues rock category has been done, which gave way into rock music as we know it, and 2. if people used effects like Jimi did, they wouldn't be given any credit.

Jimi was the first one to use so many effects in such a way, and he was pioneering the way to how many effects (most famously the Wah and Univibe effects), and referring back to part one, its impossible to be the exact copy of a former great.

But there is a possibility for another "great" band to come in and rip up the scene. The problem is, it would be immensely hard for such a band to make it into the marginal world of mainstream rock music. With the increasing commercialization of pop and rap music (especially the amount of singers/actors crossing the borders of careers) and the amount of clothing lines being launched to make current artists even more popular, a genuine band wouldn't last long, unless they truly did rock.

If there's one area of music that has yet to have its fifteen minutes of fame, it is definitely alternative rock. While the grunge scene was labeled "alternative", and it was to a point, there has yet to be a time of acoustic guitars, harmonic melodies, solid drum tracks and even some orchestral bass lines to dominate the charts. Now, there's also another side to alternative, along the lines of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Radiohead, which is much more recognized in mainstream music, while still maintaining their integrity.

One thing that would really define a new band its is music. For one thing, it simply cannot follow the now-common teenage angst era of music. Think about it - how many bands do you know play songs solely about angst and failed relationships? Evanescence, Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne... it simply has to stop. All this angst really is catering to 13 year old girls who think they have problems. People who are on medication for depression probably don't wallow in their sadness all the time, or at least don't want to. There isn't anything wrong with angst in music, but when a band makes all their songs entirely on such angst and failed relationships, it simply gets annoying and repetitive. Music is about feelings and emotions. There is simply a point where angst stops, and wanting to groove and mellow out takes over. One example would be Sam Roberts. His CD "We Were Born In A Flame" is entirely angst-free, even while there are song names like "Don't Walk Away Eileen" and "This Wreck Of A Life".

So, an angst free style would surely hit the spot - while still putting out some fresh sounds that young guitarrists would aspire to learn. Another part of a band's "persona" is its integrity.

There has to be a mix between a band going around on MTV, putting on tv-sponsored free concerts, and doing so many interviews that we can't keep track of them, while other bands don't do any press at all. Some artists like Matthew Good refuse to do any press at all, and while their music is truly great, they don't get the credit they deserve. Doing interviews in magazines like "Seventeen" or "YM" would be suicide for a band, where the only reason the target audience reads the interview is because they find them attractive. Leaping out for press interviews in bands only shows their need for attention. The music should always come first, but riding solely on music doesn't get a band very far.

Music videos are also an important part a band's press coverage. I've spent afternoons watching MuchMusic (a Canadian MTV wannabe), watching music videos that hit the "rock" category, and shaking my head at how unimaginative they are. For one thing, self-glorifying music videos that show crowds of target-audience teenagers worshipping them are simply ego-boosters. On the other end of the spectrum, solely performance videos without any artistic content can be pretty dull, and full of self-glorifying poses meant to appease the shallow obsessor.

A good music video should have true artistic content. A message inside it that has to be interpreted along with the lyrics. Otherwise, a music video is just a way to have their music played on a different medium.

To sum it all up, a new group that would bring rock music right back into the mainstream music arena would have to be something truly unique. Not writing songs completely out of 5 powerchords, and using effects to increase the quality of the music, not just make it sound cool. Having an attitude that won't bow dow down to what the record label exec wants, but not walking out on their fans because they aren't happy with how the music world works. Matthew Good Band's second album, "Underdogs", was recorded with $100, 000 (US) of the band's own money because their current label wasn't letting them do what they wanted. Obviously, they were in the business because they wanted to play music. Now, that is what I'd call dedication.

It's hard to peg exactly who a new band would have to replicate. Having a Kurt Cobain type attitude, with Eric Clapton playing chops, while taking over the nation with a Led Zeppelin, rock-the-house feel may come close to it, but the style of music may still be up for grabs.

It would definitely be nice to see a band be able to take an informed, intelligent stand on political issues as they happen, and maintain a modest personal life, and donating much of their profits to worthy charities. A band that would remain un-perverted by the rules of celebrity and fame, without being snobby to fans. A band that has a likeable public image, but doesn't get caught up in ridiculous scandals or pull dumb publicity stunts. In other words, a band whose members have true quality in their musicianship and character, while managing to break the charts is something the rock music scene has been waiting for.

Peace Out, - Backup Guitar

102 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hey buddy, stop preaching your hard-core views to everyone. most people wont care, including me. so quiten down...its almost as if you want them to become mainstream...meh
    i think there will be anoother great guitarist. weather they become hugly famous or dont even have a record deal, wearther they are one of us on this site right now or someone who hasnt even been born yet. there is going to be someone who has that unbelievable tallent that can kill a 15 year experianced guitarst affter only 5 years of playing.
    to robbie_merriman you are ignorant if you think the yardbirds became led zepplin. and jeff beck joined the yardbirds before page who was invited to join the band by beck. page quit that band and then formed led zepplin. on the article as a whole, i think guitarists should play with more emotion instead of playing with blinding speed.
    tom morello, ben harper, jack johnson, trey anastasio from phish, guys from moe., john fruschantie(?) from chili peppers, tim mahony from 311, whoeveer the hell the guy is from primus and of course les(bass), and many more
    John is A VERY VERY GOOD GUITARIST!!! i think he is one of the best out there, besides KIRK HAMMET!!!!
    Tom Martin
    two words is all i gotta say: tom morello hes a god. he is the best, most origional guitarist out there.
    And your point about rap, I couldn't have put it better without swearing or offending anyone. Keep up the good work!
    ACDCRox0417, the point you made about Nirvana is spot on. Althought they were a great band everyone else thought they could be as good. Thick pieces of shite they are.
    there are alot of great guitarists out there. mainstream music has warped the minds of millions. there are so many awesome ****in bands that play underground that rock, hardcore. they dont want the recognition they see on tv because its a bunch of bullshit. play guitar to express yourself, who said you have to become famous doing it?
    Next Jimi Hendrix: Omar Radriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta. Check it out you pathetic main-streamers.
    trey from phish plays solos the whole damn time on stage not to mention he sings, shut the hell up about how we wont have another great guitarist for awhile, we have them now (^)there pretty much not in gay hard rock or punk with the same riffs over and over, obviously this really isnt about bass players, but les claypool is the most talented bass player there ever has been, probly ever will be
    if you want to know what the problem is then look at what has happened since nirvana. now im not saying "nirvana killed rock" in a way the revolutionized it. Nirvana came out with these catchy, easy to play, easy to sing, songs and people said "hey hes makin money of this why cant we." so every no talent ass-clown in the world picked up a guitar and started singing about how bad there life was. If you consider "good" music is was much "deeper" than our current music. people actually made use of literary devices and the songwriting in itself became an artwork. I do believe that throughout the course of music's influence, the desire to better explain ones emotions, especcially through love and anger, will always taint the current (and probably future) aspect of song writing. I totally disagree with past rock forms being "over done" or "overplayed" Blues is where it started and there is plenty more to learn from it. the possiblities on the guitar are infinite. if you think any form of rock cant be "re-explored" then you my friend need to find a new hobby because you have lost inspiration. i agree our current music age is depressing, heck its horrible. AND MY GOD LOOK AT RAP MUSIC!! talk about a quick buck, any three year old with a rhyming dictionary can do that crap its quite rediculous. im sorry if i offend anyone but i feel that people have become lazy, they no longer take the time to learn the instrument and therefore have no knowledge of what real "music" is.
    not any new guitarists that are easily good and mainstream. Hendrix and Jimmy page were good, but you didn't have to "look for them".
    whoever wrote this article is a ***in douche. There is a shit load of great guitarists out there, as always, making great music. Its all about taste. I ***ing love the music that is being made right now. Some of you don't, and thats ok, its not your bag. If led zeppelin was the type of music that was popular today I would hate it because its not what I'm in to. Music has taken a turn to something OTHER people like. This article was gay because it just talked about some band the author liked that he thought was good. Obviously, since i"ve never heard of them they aren't that good. They may not be sellouts but that doesn't make them the best. Fact is, a lot of people love today's music and a lot of people don't. Guitarists are still great, they just express it in different ways.
    Backup Guitar
    I think people missed the point of hte article. I'm not saying that guitarrists today suck, its just that we lack, and have lacked for about 10 years, a guitarrist that can take rock music, and thrust it into the forefront of mainstream media while keeping their integrity. The article was about what kind of a guitarrist would most likely occupy that position, without saying WHO it was.
    Wow. I just read this article, and when i started reading, I was more than interested by the title. I'm curious as to who would actually have the testicular fortitude (read: BALLS) to say that there are no great guitarists out there. Luckily, I continued into the article, and realized that it was just another mindless drivel about how one person wishes things were, or about who should be in what band,blah blah blah. Then, much to my chagrin, I bumped into a statement that essentially defined Jimi's greatness by his use of two pedals. What nuts one must have to essentially degrade Jimi Hendrix by limiting his impact on rock to the use of a few pedals. The good news is, truth be told, this article is crap, written by someone that hasn't a clue, not even a shred of an idea of what he's talking about. Listen, kid, if you want to write articles, go for it. You need the practice. But stick to your topic. Don't "rage against the machine" because of musicians like Linkin Park, or Avril Lavigne. Quit trying to be a nonconformist, get your head out of your ass, and write music, or write articles. I'm not sure you've got the talent for both.
    I agree with most of the things said in this column but I beleive that there is good guitarists out there right now. A perfect example would be Sum 41's guitarist. In many of there songs there is some killer solos, In there new song Little know it all there is one of there better solos
    "Santana, Page, Hendrix, and many more were concidered the best guitarists of their time, but WE made them GREAT. WE made them LEGENDS. Like many other types of artists, great guitarist are always underappreciated in their prime, only after we don't have them anymore or they have retired, do we realize how GREAT they were" It's ironic when it happens this way, but that's not always true. Santana still makes music, even though it might not be his best, and wasn't Led Zepplin popular back in their day? Sorry if it's ignorant...I wasn't alive back then And I doubt there will be any new albums from Drowning Pool anytime soon, their lead singer being dead and all...
    Good article "we all agree that rock music needs a change...we probably won't be waiting that much longer because a lot of people say it needs a change, but these people are mostly around the same age...so in like 5 years or so, one of us will form a band that will do just what we are saying...so i'm just riding the waves and just waiting for my time at stardom to come or anyone elses. we really need a change." Awesome...th at's my dream, precisely...I'm working hard on my skills so by the time I'm out of High School I'd be good enough, but I live in a ****ass small town, and they always say that making it out of these kinds of places is alot harder. I agree that whatever band that does eventually come along and changes the face of rock would need to not buy into the fame bullshit and just focus on the music, and the fans. The cool thing about this is that most of the guitarists on this site understand that, so just maybe... It's good to see that you put in a mention of the Matthew Good Band. I've always thought they were underappreciated and respected them for having their views and not being too commercial or anything like that. I'm not a huge fan, though, because sometimes it seems like they're alittle too preachy.
    I don't think we'll know whether or not we have a great guitarist among us until a decade or two from now. Santana, Page, Hendrix, and many more were concidered the best guitarists of their time, but WE made them GREAT. WE made them LEGENDS. Like many other types of artists, great guitarist are always underappreciated in their prime, only after we don't have them anymore or they have retired, do we realize how GREAT they were. That's my opininon.
    Meh, how do you define a great guitarist though? Everyone has their own opinions about one is so techinically nobody is right.
    The reason this article is pointless is because it debates within itself something that cant be ratoinally defined by the person who wrote it. No one can say there will/will not be another great guitarist. Its an assumption that I, or anyone else couldve possibly attempted to make. Secondly, you ramble. You went from next great guitarist-to rock videos-to artists portraying their views on US hegemony (thats a term i guarantee no one on here will know what it means) in the star-spotlight sense. Wrong place for that issue.
    the next style of music that needs to be heard or played more should be psychadelic punk, my friends bands claims to of created that, i think he's full of shit but i also havn't really heard it anywhere else...
    great guitarists are always appearing it's just that most of them dont actually last that long, if you actually look at it a band will only last as long as it's lead singer then even if it tries to replace them it'll just dwindle into nothing, with two exceptions, black sabbath and in a way queen, but saying that the last two things they released were queen+, and 'we will rock you' with sh*tty 'five' but i hear they're releasing 'we will rock you' AGAIN!!!!, with britney spears singing the lead now, (poor freddie would be turnin in his grave!)
    try out the white stripes/ jack white, they are great,dont sell out, have very creative videos, and are just all around nice people who arent angry, they just revive rock and roll like you'd never believe... and they dont correct their music with fancy tech shiz, or record over a track, and they sound better live than in the studio
    in my opinion the greatest guitarists will never be the ones who can shred out million mph tunes because that, tbh, is just practice (maybe i'm jealous...who knows) the best guitarists of the moment are jack white and matt bellamy of muse, you may say muse is carried by it's bass but it would sound nowhere near as good without his beautiful guitar work. And he can play awesome piano ah well each to their own
    i agree there aint many good guitarist anymore the realy good ones are stuck playin in basements because clubs arent looking for rock bands or they dont have somekind of a demo to present to get the gigs pluse there realy isnt that many people that are into rock because they wernt brought up with it and the people that are just like to "listent to it".
    It's hard to peg exactly who a new band would have to replicate. Having a Kurt Cobain type attitude, with Eric Clapton playing chops, while taking over the nation with a Led Zeppelin, rock-the-house feel may come close to it exactaly what i was thinking, thats the type of band the world needs
    Yeah, to the people who mentioned Tom Morello, you're damn right because the article is basically describing Rage Against the Machine. Tom Morello uses a wide range of styles, and pushes the ways the guitar can be used with his effects. He also manages to maintain his integrity as far as I know. Mike Einzinger would be a close second for being exactly the sort of person the article describes, but Tom Morello wins out because of the style of songs Rage Against the Machine play. Incubus threw a bunch of poppier stuff onto some of their CDs to gain recognition whereas Rage Against the Machine never really changed to get famous. Oh, and they were a political band. So yeah, the answer is Tom Morello from before he moved to Audioslave.
    We've got brilliant guitarists, and they will only be getting better. Guitar lessons weren't as widely available in the 60s as today. Only brilliant guitarists teach guitar. They teach their skills to their students who in turn develop further and teach their skills to others, etc. We're only going forward. Unfortunately, the genres of music some people play don't require them to fully utilise their skills, so they're underappreciated.
    JPIG is right. how bout malmsteen, satriani, vai, etc. there are TONS of *great guitarists*...
    good guitarists..... just hear powermetal (you will know what is a good guitarist) . I just reccomend to all of you to listen: CHILDREN OF BODOM it's not powermetal but alexi is ***ing brilliant.
    WOW, dont know if I took this article all wrong or if my own opinions just kind of took over reading it and the comments following. The man was talking about the next great band...but with the name of the article seemed to piss many of you off? It is true and always will be that there are great guitarists in the world. I don't agree with at least 3/4 of what you commenters have said, yes you all have YOUR respected guitarists, you all have YOUR favorite bands but none of these bands have seemingly taken over rock. Began a new era. That is what I took from this article, Led Zeppelin rocked the late 60's and 70's, Hendrix ruled his time, as did Clapton, and many other guitar gods. These people are remembered for their music, they played guitar for their love of the instrument, but they also ruled the population. I dont know where all of you are pulling these new *amazing* guitarists out of but if they were truly the next great one's than people would know about them. The underground guitarists people keep mentioning may rock YOUR socks off, may be exactly what you want to hear, but modern music is not "set up" to work that way. I wait for the next big band that breaks the mold of todays 'mediocre at best' music and creates a wave of new bands that destroy all the shit put out by Good Charlotte, Blink 182 and such bands. In retrospect everyone has their opinions, you are never going to convince someone that what they like is wrong, its useless to argue symantics with someone. Telling people what to like is abysmal and that is the state that music today is at. Everyone loves Muchmusic or MTV..and they both suck. They chose which bands are going to be big, which bands everyone will like, the only thing I find more dissapointing is that the population as a whole today seem to accept it. Well I am done writing so flame this as you must... Peace Out
    ARE YOU CRAZY!!! There's hundreds of great guitarists, Bellamy, Morello, Wylde, The Hawkins Brothers, Homme, Lanegan, the list goes on
    o ya im gonna look up to a closed minded self centered fag like u. w/e ur the kinda person this article wuz writtin for. And how stupid can one be to put your whole name on a message board? cool article by the way.
    ^dude shut-up for all we know u sit at home with ur guitar takin pics of ur self holding it and giving it to ur friends and say u play made me open my eyes a little bit... thanks good article
    just FUKK mtv off life and if u want a 'great' practice and be yourself, couch pottato expect nothing from anybody
    Emenius Sleepus
    yay.. everyone missed the point of the article.. again. Go the "my favourite guitarist is.." debate. There's loads of awesome guitarists around, but with a lot of them band work actually restricts them from showing every single one of their abilities (although there are always those elements in one's music - Dave Navarro for instance played somewhat to the Chili Peppers style, but there was still his sound that can be heard more in Jane's Addiction). If all people who comment on this article are just looking for a shredder then you are missing the point. There's gotta be a mix. More importantly, music has to make you feel something - it's an outlet for emotions, whether it's anger (Slipknot for example), sadness, happiness or whatever. Music has to have taste, feel, substance, whatever the topic or the style or (urghhh... ) genre is. A solo can be played with a groove that draws you in, and it's good. A solo consisting of 3-hand-with-both-feet-on- the-fretboard that sounds like a maths exercise rehearsed 5 billion times will sound shit no matter how proficient technically it is. By the way, improvisation, especially live, really adds to the song, because it allows you to be in the moment and be creative. I favour improvisation for that reason. (and it's kinda hard and I'm too lazy to replicate my solos note for note). It just means you are not sticking to strict guidelines. So anyways, I drifted off the topic somewhat. THe guitarist that manages to make you feel something has at least accomplished the most important half of his job and is at least halfway to being great.
    Of course there will... and there'll be more genres explored, the reason you don't think there will be is becasuse you haven't heard them yet.... Besides, as far as i'm concerned, music is about songwriting, not technical abilities, and there are a lot of good songwriters about- Just listen to Mogwai or Godspeed You!Black Emperor for big bands, or bands like Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies, who are doing really cool music, thats different. There will be more great guitarists...
    Brand Nizzle182
    you dont have to be technically good to be a great guitarist. you just need to be able to make cool noises with an "ax" (that is such a ***ing gay term, lol). There will be more who can do that. theres is no way to know what is going to be invented or done...? this article is retarded.
    addind to those two, when does anybody think drowning pool will release another album? Personally i dont think we'll hear from them again for a long time at least which is a shame because their guitarist is amazing