"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Creativity
October 11, 2006

Inspirational Guitarists

For no particular reason here’s a personal list of inspirational guitarists.

Made Me Want To Play
Eric Clapton
Mark Knopfler
Paul Weller
Chuck Berry

Inspired My Style
John Scofield
Robben Ford
Marc Ribot
Tommy Emmanuel
Al MacKay
Grant Green
Joe Satriani

Make Me Smile
Jerry Malekani
Trey Anastasio
Avi Bortnick
Bill Frisell
Joe Morris
Vernon Reid
Pop Staples
Frank Zappa

UPDATE: Re-reading this list in early 2022 it was surprising to see Chuck Berry, and Santana featured so prominently. It must’ve felt true in 2006 but it feels less true now. Folk guitarists like Cat Stevens and Don McLean drew me to guitar as a kid even before I started playing electric. It’s also surprising there’s not room on the lists for Eddie van Halen or Steve Vai. I’ve also become more aware of guitarists whose work influenced me even if I wasn’t thinking about them much at the time, like Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake. And of course, I’ve become a fan of several guitarists since writing that list, like Cory Wong and Annie Clark (St Vincent).

Damian 18 years ago

That list is so very similar to mine πŸ™‚ You just need Larry Carlton in the second group.

Jesse 18 years ago

I love these lists. Obviously this is slimmed down and with lots of overlap between headings!

Made Me Want To Play:
My Dad
Frank Zappa
Ry Cooder
Andy Summers
Joe Satriani
Steve Vai

Inspired My Style:
Michael Hedges
John Martyn
Steve Hillage
Robert Fripp
Allan Holdsworth
Bill Frisell

Make Me Smile:
Mike Keneally
Bireli Lagrene
Jimmy Bruno
Tom Morello

Rodd Jefferson 18 years ago

shock horror – where is Pat Metheny Fernando??


Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Damian – Larry Carlton is one I really should include. His tone and idea about solo-ing from chords rather than scales certainly had an impact on me!

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Jesse – great list! Ry Cooder, Andy Summers and Robert Fripp could easily have slipped into my lists!!!

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Pat Methany – Worst. Tone. Ever.

Rodd Jefferson 18 years ago

shock shock shock – and you’re OK with Scofield????

(methinks you need to get out more!).

Matt Stone 18 years ago

I must add Brian May…and yes, Angus Young

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

I really like Brian May – didn’t listen to much queen till I was in my late teens, but liked them from then on. That said, I never covered a queen tune, and probably only ever learnt 2-3 songs from them.

As for AC/DC, well I never drank from that well.

Reuben Mills 18 years ago

Trey Anistazio is one of my top ten for sure. He has a happy go lucky style, but does it with skills unknown to me by a long shot. Listening to him play live has labeled me a Phish Head, that mated to the fact that I have over 100 recordings from Phish and Trey on solo projects…

Trey rocks! πŸ™‚

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Hey Reuben – thanks for your comment. Trey is a great player and on his better moment has a tone that is to die for! I don’t have that many Phish recordings but the ones I do have are lots of fun. Trey’s first solo album is a fav though.

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