General Question

marinelife's avatar

Brian May or Eric Clapton?

Asked by marinelife (58571 points ) August 23rd, 2008

Who is the best rock guitarist? One of these two or someone else? Just make your case.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

59 Answers

lefteh's avatar

David Gilmour is my favorite. Watch this and you will know why.

SuperMouse's avatar

If I had to pick between the two it would be Eric Clapton. My own nominees would be Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler and Alex Lifeson.

hearkat's avatar

Jimi Hendrix

whatthefluther's avatar

Stevie Ray Vaughn then Hendrix then Beck then Clapton then Gilmour then Blackmore then Schon then May

whatthefluther's avatar

In support of my list of eight: the guitar was not merely an instrument for Vaughn and Hendrix, it was an extension of their bodies and souls. They could make a guitar do anything with no effort whatsoever. They seemingly toyed with and teased the guitar and it submitted to their wishes. The other six are absolutely masters of the instrument, but they do not have that special extra connection that Stevie Ray and Jimi had.

marinelife's avatar

@SuperMouse Got good links?
@hearkat Great choice Your favorite link?
@WTF I was hoping you’d chime in, you rocker. Love Stevie Ray Vaughn. Got a clip you can point us to?

Here’s my May clip.

augustlan's avatar

Eric Clapton is my favorite, even if he’s not the best.

lefteh's avatar

He spends most of his time here in Columbus. Very neat house.

marinelife's avatar

@lefteh I did like that clip very much—thus your lurve.

marinelife's avatar

Any other Joe Satriani fans here besides me?

marinelife's avatar

@augustlan Give us a clip to back it up, please.

whatthefluther's avatar

Here’s Stevie Ray Vaughn doing a couple Hendrix songs. It will show why I make him #1!

marinelife's avatar

@WTF A lot of soul there.

SuperMouse's avatar

Eric Johnson is pretty amazing too. So was Jeff Healy, here is a clip where he is playing with WTF’s nominee the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan.

hearkat's avatar

I’m on my iPhone so I can’t post a link.

marinelife's avatar

@all This is a great way to spend some time on Saturday night.

@SuperMouse I enjoyed the Jeff Beck clip. Listening to Mark Knopfler now while I Fluther.

@heakat OK, I’ll post a good Hendrix. Live 1969 Band of Gypsies, Fire. Seattle, forever!

whatthefluther's avatar

Sorry, I’m off having too much fun at YouTube and I’ll try to share some more links in a bit, noticeably missing in the posts thus far are Page and Van Halen and a couple of guys who don’t get enough credit in my mind: Martin Barre of Jethro Tull and the late Terry Kath of Chicago who Hendrix once said was better than him.

whatthefluther's avatar

@Super…Great clip…Healy is awesome!

SuperMouse's avatar

@WTF, my husband and I were just talking about Eddie Van Halen. Remember back in the late 70’s early 80’s when everyone considered him the guitar god? His reputation has really slipped over the years hasn’t it? Our theory is that it might have something to do with all the widely publicized personnel changes in the band over the years.

marinelife's avatar

This got me started looking at the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists List. I also left off Robert Johnson in my own thinking even though I love him.

@Super and WTF That clip made me go listen to a bunch of other Healy clips including this Roadhouse Blues video that I really liked.

I am now going back to take a listen to some Duane Allman and see if I think he rates Number 2.

trumi's avatar

Jack White always seems to get left behind. He may not rival Clapton and Hendrix, but he is still incredible. I put him in the top 10 best as far as actual skill (because like Marina pointed out, Johnson was amazing for his ingenuity and writing but not for his actual playing ability).

marinelife's avatar

OK, so nobody took me up on Joe Satriani. I still think he is great.
@wtf, you king of concerts, did you ever see him? I did, once in Seattle.

marinelife's avatar

@Trumi Link to a good example for Jack White?

@All Eddie Van Halen supporters Link?

whatthefluther's avatar

@Super…I met Eddie, Alex, David Lee and Michael before the band hit it big. I attended a Queen concert with Eddie and David Lee and was at the Whiskey at their debut on the strip. Eddie has always been an excellent player and has a times shown flashes of brilliance that I thought would propel him into my top three with SRV and Hendrix. But, I think you’re right that the problems within the band, and the excessive drugs and alcohol, which were responsible for many of those problems, took a toll on Eddie. Thankfully, he is still with us and playing brilliantly, which unfortunately I can not say about too many of the guys on my list.

@Marina…Duane Allman was an excellent player that I often forget to include. I suspect that is because a couple of my friends were such die-hard Allman Bros fans, that they would play nothing else and that sound became overwhelming. I think I will give them a fresh listen now that a few years have passed. No, I’ve never seen Satriani but have been a fan.

@trumi…Jack White does incredible things with a guitar and in time may be at the top of everyone’s list. That reminds me, I need to pick-up the new Raconteurs CD.

@all…I think we need to mention acoustic virtuoso Leo Kottke, a genius with the guitar.

whatthefluther's avatar

Just thought I’d mention a couple of my other favorites that deserve honorable mentions: Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Leslie West (Mountain, West, Bruce and Laing), Dave Mason (Traffic, etc), Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), and this one is for wildflower: Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi).

…then there’s Johnny Winter, Alvin Lee, Rick Derringer, Rory Gallagher…..

trumi's avatar

Here is one that I saw on a top 20 best guitar solos list.

I can’t find any of him on his seven string….

AstroChuck's avatar

Ian Bairnson

wilhel1812's avatar

David Gilmour and John Petrucci

Lightlyseared's avatar

Brian May. Except when he was playing on the roof of Buck Palace.

SuperMouse's avatar

@WTF, how cool that you mentioned Dave Mason. Since he moved from band to band back in the day, he is forgotten a lot.

I gotta throw in George Thorogood. Yes, I know, simple chord progressions, not many amazing solos, but no one since Chuck Barry could dance with a guitar like Lonesome George. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a great clip to represent.

Shall we go with drummers next (Neil Peart anyone)? Bassists? (John Entwistle).

cyndyh's avatar

I’d have to go with Jimi Hendrix for the top of my list. I’d agree with a lot of the guitarists you folks have offered. I’d add a few, though. Warren Haynes, Steve Vai, and I always liked Joe Perry.

If we aren’t talking strictly rock guitar anymore, I’d add John Hammond, Jorma Kaukonen, Ben Harper, and John Butler.

Cheers!

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

SRV hands down. Riviera Paradise.

stratman37's avatar

Marina – “Satchmo” is certainly one of the best. Did you know he taught Steve Vai? You can see them together with John Petrucci (Dream Theatre) in “G3 – live in Tokyo” DVD.

BTW, while I am a rabid Queen fan, I think Mr. Slowhand Clapton would win over Brian May as far as chops go. But I LOVE May’s tone! That homemade guitar just oozes rock.

lefteh's avatar

Satchmo?

Satchmo will always be Louis Armstrong. Who stole his name? Johnny Winter?

MooKoo's avatar

Billy Corgan is my favorite, just because of the heart he puts into. Plus, he has written some of the greatest guitar riffs evar. coughjackbootcough Seriously, that riff melts faces.

The greatest though I believe is Steve Vai. His stuff isn’t only amazing, but beautiful.

cyndyh's avatar

@MooKoo: I saw Steve Vai in concert in Seattle last year. He was better than ever. It’s still very much worth the ticket price if you get a chance to see him.

wilhel1812's avatar

@stratman37, i hate correcting people, but i also hate when people spell Dream Theater wrong (so do Dream Theater)
But yeah, the g3 DVD is nice. and queen is teh win!

stratman37's avatar

Thanx for the correction.

whatthefluther's avatar

@Super…Mason is an exceptional 12 string player and played on several Beatles recordings. I never saw him with Traffic, but did see him solo a couple of times and he is still performing regularly. For drummer, I would have to go with my former classmate, the late Jeff Porcaro (Toto, as well as hundreds of recordings for artists such as Steely Dan, 10cc, America, Bee Gees, George Benson, Jackson Browne, Cher, Joe Cocker, Natalie Cole, Les Dudek, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Michael McDonald, Pink Floyd, Leo Sayer, Boz Scaggs, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Warren Zevon, etc, plus countless soundtracks) and on bass, I’d have to go with flea (RHCP), another local musician (Fairfax High School…he was initially a trumpet player).
PS: I’ve love Thorogood…saw him a couple of times just in the last several years. He can’t play guitar quite like he used to (has a good lead guitarist in his band) but still puts on a great show.

marinelife's avatar

@lefteh and stratman37 I believe Satriani only uses Satch (not Satchmo, who is the one and only Louis as lefteh points out).

I did know he taught Steve Vai and a lot of other good guitarists too. I saw some of the Tokyo video.

@cyndy I am going to listen to all of your clips as quickly as I can fit them in. Thanks.

cyndyh's avatar

@wtf: I think you’re mixing up Dave Mason with someone else. I think you’ll find he didn’t play on “Beatles recordings”. He played with Traffic, on one album of George Harrison’s and I think I only see one Wings album, but nothing by “the Beatles” exactly. Check this out.

On bass, I love flea and Les Claypool and would have to add Jaco Pastorius. I’ve seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers live and Les Claypool live a couple of years ago and about a month apart. Both were wonderful, and I couldn’t have picked a favorite if I wanted to. Unfortunately I never saw JP live.

I checked out your friend, Jeff Porcaro. Holy mole! What a resume! He’s done a lot more than even you have listed above. Even though I never recall hearing his name before, I was familiar with his work and I’m willing to bet that about 95%+ of people my age are familiar with his work without even knowing it. Thanks very much with sharing that.

cyndyh's avatar

@Marina: Good deal. I hope you enjoy them. Some of the linked clips are a much better quality than others, but all are wonderful guitarists. I’d love to hear what you think when you get the chance.

whatthefluther's avatar

@cyndyh…I stand corrected on the Beatles mention for Dave Mason…it was Harrison’s All Things Must Pass that my memory failed me on. I did see Primus once…Claypool is an excellent player and quite a character. I, too, never caught Pastorius live…his was certainly one of the more tragic stories in the music business. Jeff Porcaro was a nice guy, very friendly and could always be seen walking through school with drumsticks in hand. Thank you very much for the enlightening links.

cyndyh's avatar

@wtf: No problem. I’ve been enjoying the discussion and the links and clips all around. I’m an old fan of Traffic, so Dave Mason is a name I like. :^> I’ll be looking for your friend’s name on some old favorites now.

SuperMouse's avatar

@WTF, my first concert was George Thorogood, December 11, 1981 at Perkins Palace in Pasadena. We had nosebleed seats and he looked about the size of a gnat but I spent that entire concert on my feet dancing in the aisles. Good times.

dalepetrie's avatar

Between the two, Brian May.

MooKoo's avatar

@cyndyh: I will! No doubt about it. There are few people/bands I would pay big money to go and see, him and The Smashing Pumpkins are two that I would without flinching/hesitating. lol

cyndyh's avatar

I’m about to have a big music weekend myself. Who should I be sure to see from this Bumbershoot lineup? My husband and I are going all three days and haven’t yet decided entirely who we’re seeing.

Knotmyday's avatar

J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. And I agree, opinion of Eddie is waaay overinfluenced by the politics of the band. Listen to the music.

Nobody mentioned Angus Young? Randy Rhoads? Carlos Santana? Steve Howe?

Les Paul, for goshsake?

And May over Clapton, by nine miles straight up.

cyndyh's avatar

Ok, I’m shocked. I could have sworn someone mentioned Carlos Santana before this, but I guess not. You see how long it took to get a mention of Jimmy Page, though. Those are some great additions, Knotmyday.

marinelife's avatar

@knot Care to share links to clips you like?

Knotmyday's avatar

@mar- I would love to, but the damn firewall at work won’t let me link to any streaming sites. I’ll get back on after work…

MooKoo's avatar

@cyndyh: I know I’m late, but all of these would have been great to see. Band of Horses, Beck, Nada Surf, Stone Temple Pilots, Bedouin Soundclash, Flobots, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and Aiden. Once again, sorry I’m late, but if you didn’t get to see ‘em, check ‘em all out one way or another. lol

Knotmyday's avatar

@Marina et al: here is J performing Get Me live in Amsterdam on an acoustic guitar. The solo kicks in at 2:02 minutes.

Eddie giving Les Paul some well-deserved love,

Angus Young working the crowd,

Randy Rhoads in form,

Santana from one of my favorite concerts of all time,

Steve Howe doing something beautifully unexpected,

And last but absolutely not least:

Here is Les Paul being an unabashed badass.

Thanks.

tennesseejac's avatar

Trey Anastasio is the greatest guitar player to ever live.

Smashley's avatar

Thank you @Marina for at least a little Randy Rhodes props. He certainly should be named among the best of all time. Dang… Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, my man Randy, Jim Reeves… can’t we stop talented musicians from getting on Beechcraft planes?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I would definitely put Clapton over May, not to diminish May’s talent. Add to my list, in no particular order, Vai, Santana, Mason, Pastorius, and probably about a dozen I can’t hink of right now.

Speaking of drummers, try this one from Bernie Pershey with Eric Burton and the New Animals. I’ve known this guy most of my life. In this video he is in his mid 50’s!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther