With the BBC 4 “On Guitar… Lenny Kaye” programme showing tonight, I was thinking about guitarists whose work I admire. As a dabbling guitarist myself I am probably of the early Billy Bragg style, ie choppy and percussive rather than virtuoso, using just a handful of chords and making a little go a very long way. Being of the more late 1970’s and 80’s persuasion I probably veer much more towards the punk/new wave/indie style than anything else but there is the occasional (and possibly surprising) exception amongst those I admire. This is a list featuring some of my favs, in no particular order:
Steve Jones (Sex Pistols)
Gets a mighty sound every time and makes Never Mind The Bollocks the superb album it is. Good in The Professionals too.
Probably an unlikely candidate for a “guitar hero” to many but hey, I learned to play using Billy’s songbook from 1985 (I think.) It’s made me the “less is more” kind of guy I am now! I even found a green Burns Steer guitar which even makes me sound acceptable…
Personally I can never get near the magic that Johnny comes up with, but he sounded great in The (especially early) Smiths. A virtuoso who always remembers that he is there to serve the song, not the other way round.
Will Sergeant (Echo & The Bunnymen)
I’ve lost touch with the Bunnymen somewhat in more recent years but from 80-87, Will was a master of effects and transformed many of their songs from good to sublime. Again, he was never a virtuoso, but his style still sounds like he’s adding the finer detail to songs.
A real latecomer to Jansch, I heard something of his on a Mojo compilation CD and then read a superbly written biography. On further investigation I found real beauty there to admire amongst what I heard. I did manage to see him live just the once, at a Green Man Festival, and I will never be able to work out how he made those sounds.
Anyone baffled by these choices or happy to share yours?