Hero worship: Guitarists on their favorite players

From Hendrix to Page to Clapton, anybody who has ever picked up a guitar (or failing that, a tennis racket) has their nominated guitar-god... 

Even your heroes have heroes of their own - and that's exactly what this gallery is all about. As part of a new weekly series, Music Radar will be finding out which guitarists keep other players picking up the instrument and aspiring to new creative heights.

They'll be talking to a wide variety of guitarists from across a broad spectrum of genres about their picks, which will include everyone from bonafide guitar icons to lesser-known talents.

Maybe you might be surprised at some of their choices. And who knows? Perhaps you'll even discover a new guitar hero of your own.

Munky (from Korn) Fav. Player: Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N' Roses) Reason: "He's an amazing guitar player: live, technically, he puts his heart into every show I've seen him in, and he can do everything. I like the dynamics of his playing, because he can go from super-fucking aggressive to just playing a nylon-string on Hurt.

"That is super-delicate, and then he can just go to fucking smashing guitars. I love that – and I think he's an underrated player. You don't see him in magazines. I'm like, 'What the fuck's wrong with people!? I've just always thought he was a great player for, like, 20 years."

Austin Williams Fav. Player: John Frusciante

Reason: "I love John Frusciante. I think his riffs are so good. He's so clever and melodic, and there's this certain peaceful vibration that comes off him. You feel like you know what he means by that guitar line…

"That's who I aspire to play like. That funky style sounds so great, and the dance element is integrated into it. I really like to make people move when I play guitar. When you find yourself dancing to it, that's great."

Sam Fryer Fav. Player: Mick Jones, The Clash

Reason: “I suppose Mick Jones from The Clash was a guitar hero of mine. That kind of thing really inspired me. His playing seemed really effortless, and it wasn't about all of the notes that he hit.

"He only hit the notes that he needed to hit, and his guitar was really crunchy and crisp. And then, if you go through the different Clash albums, it sort of adapts and changes – it's really special.”

Jake Pitts Fav. Player: Paul Gilbert

Reason: "My favourite guitar player is Paul Gilbert. The techniques and styles that he uses [have fed into my own playing]. It’s funny, because I like a lot of sweep-picking and stuff, but he’s not really into that, he’s more into the string-skipping arpeggio kind of stuff, which I think sounds cooler.

"It sounds similar, and a lot of people mistake it for sweep-picking, but the dude is just insane. I don’t know if I could ever be that good. But I try and pick up on his techniques and his styles and incorporate it into my own style."

Will Rees Fav. Player: Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, (80s-era) King Crimson

Reason: "I really liked the way they played together. Robert Fripp had a very mathematical approach. Live, he’d be sitting on a stool, playing these grid-like arpeggios, like a metronome – everything pre-worked-out.

"Whereas Adrian Belew’s style was very spontaneous. He played a Strat with a whammy bar, and he was pulling out very weird parts, almost like animal noises - he was more of a fluid player. I always felt, 'Well, what if I could embody the two of those and combine those two styles?' I wanted to marry the mathematical with the crazy, the human. I think they did it so well. I really recommend them."

Corey Beaulieu Fav. Player: Marty Friedman, (90s-era) Megadeth

Reason: "I'd have to pick Marty Friedman. Rust In Peace was a record that was one of those defining moments. Being a young guitar player, I was like, 'Holy crap. I can't believe what I'm hearing.' The lead playing on that record blew me away.

"He's a guitar player that has so many exotic playing ideas - scales and weird bends and stuff like that. Whenever I'm in a rut or need something new to play, I'll go to his solos. His lead playing has always been a huge thing for me as far as giving me the inspiration to make my own playing better."

Ritchie Kotzen Fav. Player: Doyle Bramhall II

Reason: "If you don't know who he is, you should Google him. He's amazing. He's a buddy of mine, and we've written songs together. He's produced and written with Eric Clapton [on Riding With The King] and with Roger Waters [playing on the In The Flesh tour].

"There's a certain calm to his playing that I really like. A certain calm and confidence. It's not overdone. He's very tasteful, and he's a great singer, as well."

Paul Mahon Fav. Player: Leslie West

Reason: "I think he's very underrated. Clapton gets the credit for the 'Woman Tone', but I think Leslie one-upped that. I think his tone is even better.

"And also his phrasing. He's a master at that. I really like Never In My Life and Mississippi Queen, of course, and I like the octave pedal stuff he does as well. But yeah, he's an underrated player - a great singer, as well."

Danny Jones Fav. Player: Gary Moore

Reason: "It's his blues playing [in particular] that I love, his Blues Alive tour. I was just gobsmacked every time I heard that.

"I saw him twice at the Manchester Apollo, and as a kid I dreamed of playing like him – and I still can't play like that. He's a god. And I grew up on old blues music, so I love that side of him. He really was one of the best modern blues players."

Dan Auerbach Fav. Player: Fred McDowell/ Lightning Hopkins/ Junior Kimbrough

Reason: "When I was starting to play guitar, Fred McDowell blew my mind. He played in open-tuning with a slide; it was very rhythmic in his finger-picking, and a lot of it was just kind of one chord.

"It was not your basic 12 bar. That’s the kind of stuff I love, like Lightning Hopkins. He played 12-bar blues, but not basic at all. There was no time signature; rhythmically, he was very hard to follow.

"If you wanted to start hearing some weird electric s***, I would definitely say listen to Junior Kimbrough. He’s just amazing – he played his own style. He was another guy that was almost just one chord the whole song and just hypnotic finger-picking. I love that stuff so much.

"With Lightning Hopkins, Junior Kimbrough, Fred McDowell, their music was who they were; it was their life, whether they made money or not. It was a beautiful thing – the music just represented them. It was a natural extension of their personalities, of who they were as human beings."


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