Legendary axe-men Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton headed Rolling Stone’s recent compilation of the 100 greatest guitarists in history.
The venerable music publication polled an extensive panel of experts and guitar players to whittle down to their top 100.
Hendrix topped the rankings, which included an homage from Tom Morello.
“His playing was effortless,” Morello wrote. “There’s not one minute of his recorded career that feels like he’s working hard at it – it feels like it’s all flowing through him. The most beautiful song of the Jimi Hendrix canon is ‘Little Wing.’ It’s just this gorgeous song that, as a guitar player, you can study your whole life and not get down, never get inside it the way that he does.
“He seamlessly weaves chords and single-note runs together and uses chord voicings that don’t appear in any music book. His riffs were a pre-metal funk bulldozer, and his lead lines were an electric LSD trip down to the crossroads, where he pimp-slapped the devil.”
Clapton was the choice at No. 2. The Fender signature artist was subsequently honored by Eddie Van Halen.
“I respect him for everything he’s done and is still doing – but what inspired me, what made me pick up a guitar, was his early stuff,” Van Halen opined. “I could play some of those solos now – they’re permanently imprinted in my brain. That blues-based sound is still the core of modern rock guitar.”
The full list will be featured in a special issue with four different covers – Van Halen, Clapton, Hendrix and Jimmy Page.
Fender was certainly well-represented amongst the guitar gods, with Hendrix, Clapton, Keith Richards (No. 4), Jeff Beck (No. 5) and Pete Townshend (No. 10) filling out the top 10.
Fender signature artists Stevie Ray Vaughan (No. 12), David Gilmour (14), James Burton (19) and Buddy Guy (23) made the top 25.
Others on the list include The Edge (38), Mark Knopfler (44), Muddy Waters (49), Ritchie Blackmore (50), Johnny Marr (51), Rory Gallagher (57), John Frusciante (72), Kurt Cobain (73), Dick Dale (74), Buddy Holly (80), Nels Cline (82), Andy Summers (85), J Mascis (86) Bonnie Raitt (89) and Thurston Moore (99).
What do you think of the results? Who was overlooked/snubbed? Who should have been ranked higher/lower?