Top 10 non-guitar players
They broke all the rules, they made noises that no-one else had thought of and they never did the obvious stuff with the guitar. These are the the top 10 non guitar payers who stepped outside of the trad rock rut and reinvented the instrument. Of course there are thousands of more obscure guitar players than this list who also kicked the guitar into new territories and Iâm sure someone will send some of them in but this list is about the ones who broke the rules and opened the door for others to followâ¦
1. Jimi Hendrix
Yes, he could do all the conventional stuff and maybe he is just too well known meaning that we forget just how much he went way over the boundaries but Jimi Hendrix did things with the guitar that no-one else had ever thought of. He just bent the electricity inside out and made noises that were unimaginable and have gradually became back of the six string parlance. Listen to him now years later and you still gasp at the ingenuity and plain rule breaking genius of what he did.
2. Keith Levene
Those early Public Image records still sound astonishing and having had the pleasure to sing for Wobble and Levene last year, I got a chance to have a close look at what Keith does with the guitar and Iâm no closer to how he got that noise out of his instrument. With his hands tapping the neck and the strings, all manner of hypnotic chimes and sounds came out of the instrument. In Public Inage this restless creativity meant that every song sounded completely different and the rulebook was positively sneered at and cast aside in an astonishing display of virtuosity.
3. Syd Barrett
He could write great three-minute psych pop songs but Syd was also great at the Glissando- the spooky slide that made those spectral noises that decorate the early Floyd and sounded like nothing else. He was one of the great guitar players who went beyond the rules but unfortunately didnât hang around long enough to leave a whole body of work.
4. Stephen OâMalley
There are many guitar players working in the area of drone but Stephen OâMalley with his work in Sunn O))) has taken the sound to an extreme- slowing noise down and working the noise/drone thing to its ultimate conclusion he makes the guitar sound like an avalanche of darkness and has broken every boundary left in creating soundscapes that are just, well, beyond.
5. Viv Albertine
Punk was tabloid famous for spitting and being naughty etc but it was also an opportunity for women to get a foothold in the trad male world of rock n roll. The Slits were one of those bands who sneaked through when the rugby club was not looking and made their way by creating music that made no attempt to follow the male rules of rock n roll. Viv was instinctively paying the guitar in a whole new way, combining the rhythm of dub and reggae with something else to make an innovative sound that redefined the instrument.