As guitarists, we all need someone to help us push the envelope. Every new set of innovative guitarists was simply following in a much longer line of unique thinkers, and all of their minds were opened by, you guessed it, other guitarists.
As a community, guitarists have a common goal; to play music, and to love playing music. But some of us get down on inspiration, and simply lose interest in the things we once admired. Some of us also lose that urge to push and experiment.
Here are some guitarists that we hope will get you to see your instrument in a whole new light. Whether that light consists of experimentation or just rebirthed love depends on you, but all the same, we hope you enjoy.
Howe is the inspirational lead guitarist for the progressive rock band Yes. Not only have Yes been pushing the bounds of progressive rock for four decades, but they have also made an enormous impact on the genre itself. Steve Howe has a very unique and dynamic style, with many apparent influences, and this is a large part of Yes’s music and overall sound.
Skolnick started playing with Testament at the age of sixteen, and by nineteen had recorded his first full album with them. What sets Skolnick apart from the thousands of amazing technical thrash guitarists of the 80’s was his unique approach to soloing. Skolnick tended to write extremely fluid pieces, his solos almost like liquid gold.
In 1993 he left Testament, playing for bands such as Savatage and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Then he started what is now known as the Alex Skolnick Trio, a trio of jazz musicians. He later rejoined Testament for their latest album. If anyone has fluid and well-honed chops from variety of genres, its Skolnick.
Our third inspirational electric guitarist is Jim Matheos of Fates Warning, and most recently, Arch/Matheos. Jim Matheos is one of those few players who truly has an entirely unique style. Once you have heard his playing, it sticks with you. Since his beginning on the album Night on Bröcken, to his superbly written new-age solo albums, Jim Matheos is yet another guitarist who has tested the bounds of music.
Our second from last inspirational electric guitarist is Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones. Unlike our other three guitarists thus far, Stephen Carpenter hasn’t covered much territory with his playing. In fact, he has been with the same band since the early 90’s.
What’s more is the fact that he hasn’t played a single guitar solo. Stephen Carpenter has written some of the most influential riffs of our generation. This isn’t due to mind bending technical skills, but due to the amount of emotion he is able to evoke in his writing.
Our final guitarist is a full trip back to the beginning of the list. This man’s name is Frank Zappa. Zappa is known as a legendary guitarist, one of the most innovative musicians to have ever lived, but most of the people who say those things have never truly sat down and listened to his work.
His style is style, and involves countless influences. He has the most outside-of-the-box playing, and has not only played with his own band, but with The Mothers of Invention as well. Zappa is a truly inspirational player.
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