52 guitarists—the summary and the apology

For over three years now I’ve been trying my best to put together an annual list which I cleverly called the 52 series. It started with 52 guitars, followed by 52 amplifiers, 52 pedals and this year’s 52 guitarists. Last year I struggled to keep up with the weekly posts and this year is off to a very bad start as well. I will not go into the details of why, but I sadly need to admit defeat at this stage and recognise that I am not going to be able to further commit to the weekly article series.

The series stops today.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the 52 guitarists list itself had been written, I just needed to write about each entry weekly—something I can no longer do. So, the best I can do is share with you now the entire list as it would have played out during the year. For those who were reading these with me, I thank you for your feedback to date and hope to see you around on Twitter. My Facebook page is going to close down as well—it is also something I can no longer commit to.

I have no idea what this website will become, but it will be updated a lot less frequently for a while until I can dedicate the time this site needs to remain relevant. Hopefully in time I’ll work out a way to get my mojo back. 52 guitarists—the summary and the apology

52 guitarists, week 16—Joe Satriani

Back in the early 1980s, my parents were certain that my new-found interest in heavy metal music was going to cause me to either join a satanic cult or commit suicide. No matter what I did or said, they were convinced bad things were going to happen to me if I continued down this guitar-driven path of doom. That was until a few years later when they heard me listening to Joe Satriani—the track Always With Me, Always With You in particular.

This was the first distorted guitarist my parents heard that made my attraction to guitar understandable to them. From that point on, my life at home while listening to heavy guitar filled music was much easier. I gained some freedom and my Mum purchased the Surfing With The Alien CD. So I’d say Joe Satriani and I both had a small win back then. 52 guitarists, week 16—Joe Satriani

52 guitarists, week 15—Prince

Confession time. I had fallen behind a little bit again in my 52 Guitarists series and then news hit of Prince’s passing. That threw a spanner in my works for a few reasons. Firstly, Prince was the next intended entry in this series—the list of 52 has already been compiled and has been for some time now. Secondly, I didn’t want to appear to be attempting to benefit with this article through Prince’s passing. Finally, the 52 Guitarists series to date had only featured living guitarists and I really didn’t want to change that with Prince. There are guitarists to come in the list that are deceased of course, but they’ve been deceased for quite some time now.

I decided to take some some time before publishing this article out of respect and also to reconsider my approach to this particular entry. On that note I eventually decided to write the entry almost as I’d intended on writing it prior to Prince’s passing. So with that in mind, let’s look at the reasons I consider Prince to be an incredibly inspirational guitarist. 52 guitarists, week 15—Prince

52 guitarists, week 14—Brian May

I’d like to point out at this stage in my 52 guitarists series that I am clearly not an expert on each and every guitarist I write about. That’s OK. I’m not writing biographies here. I’m writing about guitarists that have influenced me and hopefully explaining along the way how and why they influenced me. Because this is my website. My rules. Heck, I could type “The coolest guitarists are those who have tinkered with their own guitars and not just played them off the shelf”. Luckily I could say that in this week’s entry and still make it relevant because Brain May is that kind of guitarist.

As someone who gathered a series of guitar parts to build his own Notcaster—not a real Telecaster—I do happen to believe in that statement I just made coincidentally. Integrity maintained. 52 guitarists, week 14—Brian May

52 guitarists, week 13—Daron Malakian

I still remember the first time I heard Chop Suey by System of a Down. Such intricate and diverse guitar styles. All in one song as well. I was blown away. I knew nothing about this band, but I knew I needed to learn more about the guitarist in the band—Daron Malakian. This guy was clearly an insanely talented guitarist. Over the years it became equally obvious to me that he was also a talented and passionate song writer. Daron Malakian ticks so many boxes for me. It would be impossible to not include him in my list of inspirational guitarists. 52 guitarists, week 13—Daron Malakian

52 guitarists, week 12—Scott Ian

If you’ve read any of the previous entries in this 52 guitarists series, you’ll know I favour the rhythm guitarists out there. Especially the incredibly good ones. The twelfth entry in this series is not only one of the greatest rhythm guitarists alive—my website, my opinions—but he is also one of the biggest fans alive of another iconic rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young. So he obviously keeps on winning. That’s just one reason why I admire Scott Ian from Anthrax as much as I do. 52 guitarists, week 12—Scott Ian

52 guitarists, week 11—Billy Corgan

For many, the early nineties was a dark time for guitar lovers. The popularity of the standard guitar solo was waning and the grunge era was booming. Not grunge—in my opinion at least—but making some incredible noise in the grunge era was The Smashing Pumpkins. The man responsible for the majority of that noise was of course Billy Corgan. What Billy did with his guitar still amazes me to this day. I’ve always been in awe of any guitarist who can truly control the screaming feedback of a guitar. Billy not only managed this, he also managed to incorporate many of those sounds into the songs themselves the way most of us incorporate regular guitar playing. 52 guitarists, week 11—Billy Corgan

52 guitarists, week 10—Kirk Hammett

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again … I’m not a lead guitarist and I never will be. My passion is rhythm guitar. Therefore most of my influential guitarists have strong rhythm guitar skills. That’s what appeals to me. But when a guitarist is responsible for my all-time favourite guitar solo, well then … That gets you added to my list. Kirk Hammett is that guitarist. He is responsible for one heck of a famous riff too. That helps. 52 guitarists, week 10—Kirk Hammett

52 guitarists, week 9—Angus Young

There are few bands that seem to do well with a decades-long approach to a single style of music. Most bands fade away after a decade while others alter their style in attempts to remain relevant. One band that has evolved while staying true to its origins is AC/DC. The band has experienced a vocalist change—arguably recovering from that loss like no other band in history—and several other lineup changes. One thing that has pretty much been constant however has been Malcolm and Angus Young. As much as I admire that duo, I will today focus on the guitarist who originally grabbed my attention in that band.

The ever-young school boy, Angus. 52 guitarists, week 9—Angus Young

52 guitarists, week 8—Tony Iommi

The first song I ever learned to play on guitar was Paranoid by Black Sabbath. To this day it’s still one of my favourite songs to play on the guitar and it remains one of the only songs I attempt to play lead guitar on.

Lead guitar is not my thing.

Having said that, this song that is almost as old as me, is as cool today as it was when I first heard it. Heck … It’s as cool today as the day it was recorded almost 46 years ago. Why? Simple … Tony Iommi.

The man is the God of Riffs. Pure and simple. As a rhythm guitarist, Tony Iommi started the guitar style that has continued to rule my world of guitars up until this day. He will continue to do so until the end of days I suspect. 52 guitarists, week 8—Tony Iommi