First up: Muse’s Matt Bellamy. Why didn’t he just take on a dozen classic or slept-on tracks and put his own stamp on them? Below, we’ll shine a light on some of the guitarists who scored handsomely in our Top 30 (yes, we’re listing only the top 30 here), including Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Samantha Fish and newcomer Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram. Joe Louis Walker is best known for his electric blues guitar, but he is also a singer, songwriter, and producer. 7. There's a tale of redemption with Gales, but it's really a backstory to the incredibly complete player he's been for years. Jack White is one of the most prolific guitarists of his generation. Check out Resolution from his latest album, Bookends, for a novel blues-rock application of the DigiTech Whammy pedal. Expect some new music next year. I get your sentiment, I’m partial to strats of course, but dropping that caveat into the mix eliminates A LOT of incredible blues players, both past and present. Johnny Little John (Slidin' Home) 11. Lush but lithe and spanky, and perfect for his pop sensibility, which never quite seems at odds with the blues. He has been playing guitar since the age of 8, and by the time he was a teen-ager he was a regular on the Bay Area music scene. A true bluesman who refuses to showboat, only enhance. Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram: “I can’t be the kid wonder forever”. The world’s most high-profile blues guitarist has spent 2019 packing out pretty much every large, red-plush seated theater he can find in support of last year’s masterly Redemption. It brought the house down. It's that role as a band player that marks KWS as such a draw live. “It’s songs that haven’t been covered much but are worthy of attention and worthy of being heard,” says Trout. Martin Harley on Weissenborns, lap steel tips and how Nashville changed his playing. This Grammy-winning classical virtuoso has performed at the Obama White House, became founding director of Juilliard’s Guitar Department, and won Guitar Player’s Best Classical Guitarist honors. Another vote here for Christone “Kingfish” Ingram as a current killer blues guitarist. Here, we present the best blues guitarists of 2017. There's no hype train here. Whether he’s playing his cover of Willie Dixon’s I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man or Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues, Buddy’s playing is still off-the-charts, hold-the-bus genius - as his showmanship, gleaned from one of his all-time heroes Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones). Trout got the idea for Survivor Blues while driving around and listening to blues on FM radio. Hendrix started his music career in 1963, after discharge from the army. The fact he's a humble guy too only sweetens the deal. Gomes is another power player who is at his best when his gear is in the scorched earth between blues and rock. This year saw Benoit inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center Hall of Master Folk Artists, and launch his own label, Whiskey Bayou Records. “Best tip for live sound? Originally shot by "falkrik" Sorry dude. He was the master. Watch: Kenny Wayne Shepherd blues guitar masterclass. This F ender American Special Stratocaster has always been a unique guitar. After all, it’s the electric guitar; sometimes tickling it is not enough. Rolling Stone Send a Tip It’s little wonder his chops are always on-point. Latest Tadeschi Trucks Band album Signs found him taking it to a more reflective place that only heightened his tense of taste and restraint. Rory Gallagher (Tattoo) 9. Ry Cooder (The Dark End of The Street) 5. The internet has given the blues a gift; the sensation – huge exposure to remarkable players through sharing. Please refresh the page and try again. The blues don’t quit. Earl Hooker (Blues Guitar) 4. All rights reserved. This will be the last time you see this name so far down a list like this. He’s got a signature Gibson ES-345 incoming, too. Blues for our times. Kill Or Be Kind is a distillation of that and her versatility as a writer and potent player, but you need to see Samantha Fish live for the full effect. There are all kinds of floral endorsements we could make to this prodigious south Wales talent, about a melodic sensibility that’s write large through Buck & Evans’ work, and how their latest, Write a Better Day, was recorded live to retain that spontaneous feel that keeps Buck’s on the right side of his instincts. Kelly Joe Phelps (Lead Me On) Baby, Please Come Home is one of the year’s strongest blues releases and sees Vaughan take on old blues standards, tracks that need only a few bars before rolling the clock back to an era when the internet would be sci-fi and you’d have to get up off your chair every 20-odd minutes to turn the record over. He's definitely setting the pace, and the seventies strut of 2019's Laurence Jones Band album was a real landmark for the young musician. It’s quite the sleight of hand Mayer’s performing with that PRS Silver Sky of his. This year saw the release of his debut, Kingfish, and having already played in the company of Eric Gales and Buddy Guy, the best is yet to come. Why? Almost certainly the most dynamic and emotive of all the musical styles. So the world got to know 20-year-old Christone Ingram back when he was a teenager and it takes about a minute of watching him play on Youtube to fall under his spell. England and Wales company registration number 2008885. In fact, it racked up more than 60,000 votes (60,429, to be exact) from readers around the world. Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen, is an American blues, folk, and rock guitarist, best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Fish and her band are clocking thousands of miles on the road, and that sense of what listeners respond to feeds back into her music. Too right. Joe Bonamassa is definitely one of the greatest blues players we’ve never heard of! His raw guitar sound and preference for vintage, straightforward equipment made him in an exception at a time when guitarists were relying more and more on pedals and processors. His notes carry weight – and he uses that power with authority, but he's a player willing and able to buck tradition. With that in mind, we encourage you to explore the work of the top vote-getters (Eric Gales, anyone? Sure, all great players can tell a story within the blues scale, but Whittington tells those stories with no shortage of wit. Jonathan Horsley, But hip-hop, rock, whatever; when it spills out of Clark it goes all the way back to Johnson, Walker, et al. The 50 best guitarists of all time pays homage to the string benders, the finger tappers and the whammy wranglers, as voted by you. The Tedeschi Trucks Band’s latest album, Signs, is poignant, life-affirming, and full of soul. © Isbin has also explored mixing other textures with her style, most notably on her 2011 album Guitar Passions , where she recorded with Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan, Nancy Wilson, and Steve Morse. Trower might have a formidable back catalog but his appetite to create shows no signs of slowing. Alvin Lee. Trucks is the highest slide specialist in our voters’ list, and perhaps that is because his sensibility is such that he never overpowers the jam, often positioning his Gibson Artist Series Dickey Betts SG somewhere in the uncharted frequencies shared by vocals and guitar, and as an enigmatic counterpoint to his wife Susan Tedeschi’s Strat or Les Paul. This Land, his third studio album, is a work of searing passion and righteous indignation, its title track appropriating some of Guthrie’s original composition and transforming it out of sight. The bearded bastion of boogie’s most intriguing moment of the year came when Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme invited him out to perform on his Desert Sessions Vol.11/12 recording, with Gibbons opening proceedings in half falsetto on Move Together. But with super-limited custom shop models from Fender, Gibson and Martin minted in his name to coincide with the Crossroads festival, he remains the lodestar for contemporary blues culture. But his fluid style really sings loudest with an sense of emotion that takes on a vocal quality. Great blues guitar is relative to how much of a purist you are. It just crackles when he digs in, just a very physical player (with .013's on!) Bath Get ready for some surprises from the blues class of 2019, Best of 2019: Every time we think we've got the blues pegged someone will come along and shake our preconceptions. King’s tone is so hot that you could cook a 12oz steak just by waving it in front of his speaker cabinet. Gary Clark Jr. is another player who incorporates ostensibly alien elements into the mix and yet it’s still the blues. Hound Dog Taylor (Natural Boogie) 10. Both musical forms influenced each other and as the 20th century arrived, it had become what we recognize today. What a joy to see Eric Gales play – there were many smiles in the room at the UK Guitar Show while he held the room in the palm of his hand back in September. The 30 best blues guitarists in the world today 1. doesn’t have quite the same ring as 'Rock the vote!' He summons a voice from guitar that seems tapped into a higher plain. The 10 best blues guitarists in the world today 1. You will receive a verification email shortly. From Robert Johnson to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin to Nirvana, Oasis to John Mayer, the guitar has remained the defining tool of popular music over the last 100 years because of its chameleonic ability to change with the trends.. By way of evidence, we present The New Breed – 50 diverse young musicians who … Guitar World is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. 3. So the usual suspects are here, but the wide and wonderful world of the blues is clearly opening minds to upcoming names. Is Laurence Jones the hardest working bluesman in the UK? He's got the devine vibrato that recalls BB, and a purity in his love and absolute commitment for everything he plays that reminds us what the blues can be. BA1 1UA. There are so many to choose from. One of only a few players to be name-checked by Buddy Guy in his New Yorker article (Trucks, Clark Jr., Kingfish, and Keb’ Mo’ also got props), Robert Cray is a blues institution in his own right. 1. Today, the first 15. Latest album This Land is not a place for heroic guitar breaks; the guitar adds much more in the textures and atmosphere is creates in the songs. We took 170 guitarists from our big list and grouped them into six categories: classic rock, blues, heavy metal, shred, indie/alternative and a ‘best right now’ contemporary poll. King has a novelist’s sensibility for story in song. At 74, if anything, Trower is accelerating. This here is the future. The comparisons to Jimi Hendrix don’t begin and end with Gales’ preference for the right-handed Fender used southpaw, but perhaps there’s some SRV in there, too, especially in that super-juicy tone. You can hear the Robben Ford influence, for sure, but Schofield has a sound of his own design, and a lyrical melodic sensibility that works gangbusters when playing off organist Jonny Henderson. By Chuck Berry Son House (Roll and Tumble Blues) 6. Please refresh the page and try again. A supercharged word of mouth. But it’s not just his performances that make him so influential; his championing of his fellow blues players elevate the genre, bringing a little more light and heat to the fast-rising blues cats such as Eric Gales (his number one blues-rock player in the world, and your number 12). The Clarksdale, Mississippi, phenom is only 20 years old but already has a sense for feel, phrasing and vibrato that helps him shake the very soul out of his instrument. That really doesn’t work well when talking about blues guitarists. The nominees were what we considered to be the guitarists and guitar gear that have excelled in 2018. Last year's winner still rides high – and as well he should. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The most muscular style in the blues’ contemporary canon, Nichols excels whenever given a Les Paul and a tube amp pushed to the limit. And, crucially, he keeps it playful. The nominees were what we considered to be the guitarists and guitar gear that have excelled in 2017. Jimi Hendrix While Jimi Hendrix incorporated the blues into all his playing, he transcends the label of blues guitarist unless you add “from outer space.” His best work is otherworldly, touching on blues but defining rock guitar tone in ways that still sound fresh today. Kenny Wayne Shepherd His blues inspired tunes ultimately earned him six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards, along with a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame and recognition as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. If the measure of a player is how distinctive they are within just a few notes, Chris Buck is someone very special indeed. Kenny's stayed at the top of the game for good reasons. 5 guitar tricks you can learn from Gary Clark Jr. Thank you for signing up to Musicradar. The winning guitarists make up 80 of the 100 you’ll see here. There's an ongoing theme with these players that goes beyond the blues; hard work ethic. Visit our corporate site. Finnish singer-songwriter Erja Lyytinen is one of Europe’s leading blues players and her latest album, Another World, features guest spots from Jennifer Batten and Sonny Landreth, in what is another showcase for her awesome voice and ear for progressive, melodic rock. Anyone who caught the Texan six-string Svengali live this year will be able to attest to his undiminished ability to wring the most soulful and improvisational licks from his instrument. But the Raw Dawg’s cover of Little Wing is proof positive he can stamp his identity on anyone’s material - on the blues itself. Joe Bonamassa. The idea it's a closed shop and its heroes are already determined is about to get blown out of the water…. The guitar has simply done what the guitar has always done – evolved. Mick Fleetwood has just announced a concert in tribute to the Green and the early days of Fleetwood Mac, which will take place in February 2020 at the London Palladium, and see performances from the likes of Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Zak Starkey, Steven Tyler and Bill Wyman. Shares. As a blues guitarist who is looking for a classic Blues vibe, the Gibson ES-335 is jam packed with clarity and brightness but has just enough clarity of the middle and low ends to ensure that the tonal quality of the guitar is not dry. As a disciple of SRV, KWS shares that unpredictable quality to his phrasing, where he will be playing something traditional, say, in-the-pocket Albert King, before flipping the script on it and taking it some place new. King and Eric Clapton. The Bookends proved he's in a prolific creative period, even by his standards. Roy Rogers (Slideways) 8. He is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of our generation. The Total Guitar/MusicRadar Best in guitars 2018 polls received an astonishing 126,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. With such an opulent career portfolio, Today Joe is undeniably the pioneer guitarist in the world. He'll deliver fire and heartbreaking leads when the time calls, but moreover he's helping to craft memorable songs. Buyers' guides to all the best music gear, The 25 best VST/AU plugin synths in the world right now: all the best soft synths you need in your DAW, Free music samples: download loops, hits and multis from SampleRadar, The best new signature guitars in the world right now, as voted for by you, The 10 best electronic music producers in the world right now, as voted for by you, The 9 best new drum machines and samplers of 2020, The 13 best budget guitar amps under $/£500: the best amps for smaller budgets, Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin collaborate on six-part docuseries charting Macca's journey as a musician. Last year's winner still rides high – and as well he should. All rights reserved. This year has been spent touring in support of 2018’s Purple House, an album that sees Robben play infectious blues-rock such as the sour strut of Somebody’s Fool, but also take some chances and roll the dice with acoustic-led compositions such as Break in the Chain and the experimental balladry of Empty Handed. The Traveler was a reminder in case you needed it. For a player who made his bones in the ‘60s with Cream and Blind Faith, back when the color TV was still novel, Slowhand made a respectable attempt at breaking the internet when he played While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Peter Frampton at this year’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. But that didn’t keep GuitarWorld.com readers from voicing their valuable opinions in one of our most popular electric guitar polls in recent history - best blues guitarist - which ruled the site in June and early July. It is said that this guitar “ delivers traditional design elements from its birth in 1954″, which means that you will get those old tones, but at the same time, a taste of the fresh technologies of today. Most have reached #1 on the Billboard Blues Charts. This list needs additional citations for verification. Here, we present the best blues guitarists of 2018. The MusicRadar/Total Guitar Best in guitars 2017 polls have received over 136,000 votes, and we're ready to roll out the winners. Easily one of the best female guitarists in history, the fearless blueswoman even went toe-to-toe with Blues greats Big Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters in many a cutting contest – and won. The world’s most high-profile blues guitarist has spent 2019 packing out pretty much every large,... 2. That Mayer can still be pocketed in the blues tradition says much for his chameleon style. Don’t expect Patlansky to go easy on his gear, though, for he likes to play hard, boost his signal and drive the tubes has hard as possible. 40: Eric Gale (1938-1994) We still think he's a safe bet for that himself and in an unusual year where he didn't release a new studio album, he still proved to be one of the biggest live blues draws on the planet. If ever there was a contemporary player who could shift through genre and feel without causing a ripple, it’s Mayer. Joe Bonamassa. Damian Fanelli Josh Smith is the apex predator of modern blues guitarists to me. His signature Epiphone Les Paul is a straight-up rock machine. It remains to be seen if we will see a follow-up to 2018’s Happy Xmas. Eric Clapton. His 2019 debut confirms a young man with an old blues soul. He is the master. Joe Bonamassa's guide to 10 of the best blues-rock guitar solos of all time. There’s almost categories of blues guitar like slide guitar should be a category of its own. “I want to start ticking off a bucket list of accomplishments and statements I want to make before I hang it up”. Founding member of Gov’t Mule and with a long association with the Allman Brothers, Haynes has a spent much of 2019 on tour, and is currently in the bus with John Medeski, Lukas Nelson and others on The Last Waltz Tour 2019, playing a mammoth set each night in tribute to the Band’s 1976 farewell concert. Visit our corporate site. That’s exactly what he did, heading on down to Los Angeles to track the album at the Doors guitarist’s Robby Krieger’s private studio. Best known as the lead guitarist and vocalist of Ten Years After, Alvin Lee grew up in a family that listened to jazz and blues, but was inspired the most by rock 'n' roll music. Nichols scores highly for blues face, too, which, on the anguish scale, sits somewhere between passing kidney stones and stubbed pinky toe. There's a sense the Memphis man is going to have a landmark year in 2020 with a Bonamassa-produced new album. It’s not just his tone, though. England and Wales company registration number 2008885. Less pointless: GW’s lesson in Clapton’s jaw-dropping off-the-cuff phrasing. It's a great vid, I had to share it. by Daniel Eriksson. We’d love to stay in touch, sign up for the Guitar World team to contact you with great news, content and offers. (King of the Slide Guitar) 3. All the while Fish retains the blues’ storytelling power, rooting her sound in the blues tradition while imagining it anew. Grammy nominated, Joe Bonamassa, is an American blues rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, who has released 16 albums on his own label, J&R Adventures. Few are working harder than Mr B at being the best player they can, and few are as generous with their praise for their inspirations . He remains one of guitar’s most improvisational mavericks, whose solos are essential material on any blues syllabus. When Stevie Ray Vaughan passed away in 1990, he left a void in the world of young blues musicians. That speaks volumes. Buck a young player who is working hard and passionate about his music. His 2019 has been spent on the road in support of last year’s Born to Grow, which, well check out the talky guitar that moves around the vocal line in That for You Too for an example of how good Smith’s phrasing is. King’s played all kinds of stages this year, his set at Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival a particular highlight, and we eagerly await his debut solo album, out February 2020, which was produced by Dan Auerbach. For a player who made his bones in the ‘60s with Cream and Blind Faith, back when the color TV was... 3. His 2019 is much like that of any other, heavy schedules, sold out shows, and repeat. But those looking for something to put some Texas heat into their drive time commute would have found this year’s Goin’ 50 compilation a worthy reminder of ZZ Top’s inimitable style. There was a problem. And when you find something that works for you like that, well, it becomes an extension of the self, and the sky’s the limit. They're relentless in a mission to win hearts and minds the old way; the best way. If the measure of a player is how distinctive they are within just a few notes, Chris Buck is someone... 2. Is there a better slide player in the world right now? © Ford can do it all and has played with everyone. But, what guitar do we play the blues on? Schofield’s iconoclastic sound sees him loosen up that right hand on command for funk and play with the precision that jazz demands. The South African player will see out the year touring his home country as the run for Perfection Kills comes to an end. 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