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Danielle Andrea

Jimmy Page greatest guitarist ever?

  

141 members have voted

  1. 1. Jimmy Page greatest guitarist ever?

    • Yes!
    • No..
    • He's not the best. But he's up there, of course.


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I would probably put Blackmore or Hendrix or even Bolin ahead of him technically, but unlike them Page was a system builder and brought the whole package.  Definitely an amazing musician, and up through '73 his guitar playing was on par with anyone's.

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What makes someone a "great" guitar player?

It can't be just technical skill, skill is essential to musical expression but, as Zappa opined "Given enough practice anyone can learn to shred."  He would know having hired the likes of Stevie Vai and Mike Keneally!

It can't just be album sales either, being popular is a sign of greatness but big sellers like Peter Frampton, Ace Frehely or Lindsey Buckingham don't strike me as G.O.A.T.s!

I don't think it should be outside skills, like being a good singer or producer, those are different skills, however songwriting should count.

I've thought about this a lot and I've come up with a few measures of truly great guitar players:

1. They are influential.  I know this lets out the new players since we can't yet see how influential they will be in the future, sorry youngsters!  But who inspired them to pick up an ax?  How many people say something like "Dude, the first time I heard _____________ play, I knew I wanted to learn guitar!"  Big points here for Jimmy and Jimi as well as Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, John Lennon, Duane Allman, B.B. King.  etc.

2. They are innovative.  When someone comes along and does something new, that no one has done before, that really changes how the rest of us think of "guitar playing", that's really BIG.  Again, Jimi and Jimmy come up big here, Chuck, Duane, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Eddie Van Halen, Lennon, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and others do too!

3. They are evocative.  They make you feel it, they have soul, they bring it, they "get that feeling"!  Duane called it "Hitting the Note". Jimi once said of Elmore James, "He only had three riffs but he made you BELIEVE them each time".  These are the guitar players that make you shout and laugh and cry!  These are the ones you want to see LIVE!  More points for Jimmy and Jimi here, and SRV, Duane, Jerry Garcia, etc.

4. They are creative. These are the players who write those instantly recognizable classic riffs, the songs everyone covers; Rock and Roll, Voodoo Chile, Smoke on the Water, Satisfaction, etc.  Jimmy, Jimi, Ritchie Blackmore, Keef, Lennon, etc. score here!

5. They are iconic.  You know who they are in two notes, they have their own unique guitar sound.  Jimmy's crunchy Communication Breakdown tone, or that Telecaster on the Stairway solo, Jimi's full range Stratocaster chucking away through his wah-wah, Keef's five string Les Paul, Duane's soaring slide through over-driven Marshalls, Van Halen's finger tapping, Jeff Beck's whammy bar, Garcia's jazzy pop through a McIntosh MC2300 , Steve Howe's big hollow body sound!

 

What else makes someone a candidate for Greatest Of All Time?

Edited by chef free

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When I think of "greatest", guys like Satriani and Vai and Malmsteen just shouldn't even be on the list. Now, if the question was "most skilled" rather than "greatest", then sure. But let's be honest, if you polled 100 rock fans and asked them their favorite Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen solo, maybe all of 3 out of the hundred would even be able to name one. Whereas if you asked those 100 rock fans to name their favorite solo by Page or Hendrix or Blackmore or Clapton or Van Halen, probably all 100 of them would have an answer.

The point is you could be a brilliant guitarist, maybe more skilled than anyone ever, but if nobody can even name anything you've done, you just can not ever be considered among the greatest. Decades from now, the likelihood is that nobody will remember who the hell Yngwie Malmsteen even was, much less be able to name a single song he's done. But guys like Page, Clapton, Hendrix, people will be listening to them forever. That, I think, is the true measure of greatness. 

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On 5/20/2016 at 7:02 AM, Balthazor said:

When I think of "greatest", guys like Satriani and Vai and Malmsteen just shouldn't even be on the list. Now, if the question was "most skilled" rather than "greatest", then sure. But let's be honest, if you polled 100 rock fans and asked them their favorite Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen solo, maybe all of 3 out of the hundred would even be able to name one. Whereas if you asked those 100 rock fans to name their favorite solo by Page or Hendrix or Blackmore or Clapton or Van Halen, probably all 100 of them would have an answer.

The point is you could be a brilliant guitarist, maybe more skilled than anyone ever, but if nobody can even name anything you've done, you just can not ever be considered among the greatest. Decades from now, the likelihood is that nobody will remember who the hell Yngwie Malmsteen even was, much less be able to name a single song he's done. But guys like Page, Clapton, Hendrix, people will be listening to them forever. That, I think, is the true measure of greatness. 

I think that's mainly down to people like Page, EVH, Blackmore, Hendrix and Clapton are very capable songwriters, and often put that in front of Flashy guitar playing.

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Has to be Jimmy Page.

Think of just the second song off the first album. The first album! BIGLY - just magic. So pure and beautiful. Playing, structure, the interpretation of it. It blew me away when I listened to the re-release after exhiling myself from listening to Zep for months leading up to getting it.

then going through every damn album. The songs he wrote/co-wrote. The sound. I don't have to tell you all. LOL

Unreal gems like

In My Time of Dying

10 Years Gone

Bron-Yr-Aur

Not to mention Zeppelin live. Unbeatable.

HAS TO be the best!!!!

 

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Just my opinion, but for me it's not Jimmy, studio wise, Hendrix is for me the greatest guitar player, he's just incredible in his playing. The first album of the Jimi Hendrix Experience just leave a mark forever on the guitar world. His phrasing is simple, "mean" and dynamic with great tension and release, I don't think Page has as much of that "wild side" as Jimi. When I hear Jimmy recording his song, I see a calm, strict and very professional man  (because of his studio guitar playing past I guess) but when I hear Hendrix I just see a crazy guy doing awesome thing very naturally.

On the historic side he's more important (Monterey : playing with his teeth (I know most of the note at pull off/ hammer on but he still played with hi teeth and sounded great) burning his guitar and what happened just after haha..) and woodstock where he was miming the sound of war while playing star spangled banner.

that's just not something I see when I talk about Page, I just don't have any very distinct image of the guy. Because I think the historic mark is very important I would say Hendrix is the greatest, Page would still be in my top 5.

On the live side, I really love Page,more interesting and amusing to hear than Hendrix.

Oh and Hendrix play and sing, which is harder than you might think it is (But I'm going off topic we are talking about guitar)

Edited by Klape

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On 5/7/2016 at 3:08 PM, chef free said:

What else makes someone a candidate for Greatest Of All Time?

Artistic vision, and the ability to deliver artistic statements that reflect the vision.  He is second to none in this regard.  Jimi Hendrix and Alex Lifeson are my two and three. Thurston Moore rates #4 - he rewrote the  entire language of the guitar, has been accused of killing experimental jazz.  Robert Johnson because he's so influential and on the edge of darkness, full circle - like Page when he's playing live.  And this is why Page is No. 1.

Honorable mention to Davey Graham, acoustic genius.

Edited by Mercurious

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IMO, the BEST is not only about playing ability, but also being able to write great songs. Jimmy may not be the greatest player, but no one wrote better songs.   

Edited by dacop13

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7 hours ago, dacop13 said:

IMO, the BEST is not only about playing ability, but also being able to write great songs. Jimmy may not be the greatest player, but no one wrote better songs.   

Page did not write "Like a Rolling Stone" to name but one song,  so "somebody" has written better songs, besides he didn't write the "Songs", he just borrowed and improvised the "Tunes", well  some of 'em, of course he did compose many great riffs  got to give him a bit of credit..... ;)

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20 hours ago, JTM said:

Page did not write "Like a Rolling Stone" to name but one song,  so "somebody" has written better songs, besides he didn't write the "Songs", he just borrowed and improvised the "Tunes", well  some of 'em, of course he did compose many great riffs  got to give him a bit of credit..... ;)

Huh? "Like a Rolling Stone"? I am sorry but I wouldn't call that a great song, not even in the same league as Zeppelin material. Yeah, at times Page was guilty of "borrowing" riffs and arrangements. However, lets take a close look at the stuff Jimmy wrote on his own such as Ten Years Gone, Achilles Last Stand, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song. The guitar work is stellar, nothing compares, I am sorry bother.  

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On 10/11/2016 at 3:27 AM, dacop13 said:

Huh? "Like a Rolling Stone"? I am sorry but I wouldn't call that a great song, not even in the same league as Zeppelin material. Yeah, at times Page was guilty of "borrowing" riffs and arrangements. However, lets take a close look at the stuff Jimmy wrote on his own such as Ten Years Gone, Achilles Last Stand, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song. The guitar work is stellar, nothing compares, I am sorry bother.  

+1

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1 hour ago, Xolo1974 said:

+1

You have no taste Sir...

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All personal preference.  To me, if it was solely based on the electric guitar alone, Hendrix probably gets the nod, actually not probably, most definitely. When one considers acoustic and song writing, Jimmy and Jimi are equals or one can easily prefer Page.  Both of them know how to play with sheer emotion and it's really just based on how one feels.  If I hit the gym I'm not in the mood to listen to Stairway to Heaven but might prefer Voodoo Child.  It doesn't mean I prefer one song over the other, it just means one song gets you going while the other is more reflective.  if I had to choose the catalogue of one artist or the other I would prefer Zeppelins over anyone elses.

I've always said the biggest difference between Page and Hendrix was that Page was a studio wizard who was more structured in his playing while Hendrix was free flowing and only interested in a general idea, or no idea at all before he played.  Either style has it's strengths, I just couldn't imagine Hendrix having the patience to structure together a song like Stairway to Heaven, Ten Years Gone or Achilles Last Stand, but, this was partially out of a need to be "The Show", Page had the best musicians behind him and he used them.  Page worked songs to perfection and could work alone for many hours behind the scenes on his own, Hendrix was encouraged by producers and engineers to work things through.

There are so many others to consider depending on your preference, SRV, Slash, Beck, Clapton, Chuck Berry, Iommi, Robert Johnson, Santana, EVH.  All depends on ones mood.  The problem brings too many variables to add up.  Can one imagine Hendrix playing in front of a band like LZ?  Not having to sing?  What about Johnson playing an electric and in front of a band?  

There are some who would consider other issues such as political views.  Hendrix dabbled in this later in his career (songs I didn't really didn't have much use for except for Machine Gun, which is a genre on it's own).  While Zeppelin really avoided political statements for the most part outside of The Rover, That's The Way.  

It's always a fun discussion, but it can never be put to rest.  

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On 18/11/2016 at 9:15 PM, JTM said:

You have no taste Sir...

Not a criticism of Dylan. Highway 61 is a brilliant album. More an endorsement of the other points raised. 

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