Guitarist

Guitarist

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Guitarist'
Start a new discussion about 'Guitarist'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A guitarist is a musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 who plays the guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 such as classical guitar
Classical guitar
The classical guitar is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones...

s, acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitar
An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

s, electric guitar
Electric guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

s, and bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

s. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing
Singing
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm. One who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music known as songs that can be sung either with or without accompaniment by musical instruments...

.

Versatility


The guitarist controls an extremely versatile instrument. By using techniques such as bending
Bending
In engineering mechanics, bending characterizes the behavior of a slender structural element subjected to an external load applied perpendicularly to a longitudinal axis of the element. The structural element is assumed to be such that at least one of its dimensions is a small fraction, typically...

 and vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

, the guitarist can make the guitar express a near vocal quality.

While with an ensemble, a guitarist can take the role of rhythm (playing with bass in the ensemble) or lead (playing on top of the bass in the ensemble) guitar.

A guitarist can also play along with a harmonica
Harmonica
The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

 as a second instrument. Examples include Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 and Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Percival Young, OC, OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation...

. Other instruments can be played successfully by a guitarist, i.e.; hi-hat cymbals
Hi-hat
A hi-hat, or hihat, is a type of cymbal and stand used as a typical part of a drum kit by percussionists in R&B, hip-hop, disco, jazz, rock and roll, house, reggae and other forms of contemporary popular music.- Operation :...

, organ pedals, bass drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

, nose harp, etc. Many guitarists also can sing or whistle. Some guitarists are also adept at other instruments, such as the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

, hammer dulcimer, tuba
Tuba
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...

, and tympani. It should be noted, however, that it is rare to find a guitarist who can perform on these instruments while playing a guitar. Likewise, although some guitarists are accomplished in skills unrelated to playing guitar (such as snorkeling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling is the practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually swimfins. In cooler waters, a wetsuit may also be worn...

, shooting
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

, finger painting, basket weaving
Basket weaving
Basket weaving is the process of weaving unspun vegetable fibres into a basket or other similar form. People and artists who weave baskets are called basketmakers and basket weavers.Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials•anything that will bend and form a shape...

 and cattle roping
Team roping
Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders. The first roper is referred to as the "header," the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around...

), these activities are hardly ever done at the same time as one is playing a guitar.

Techniques


The guitarist has several ways of playing the guitar including the guitar pick
Guitar pick
A guitar pick is a plectrum used for guitars. A pick is generally made of one uniform material; examples include plastic, nylon, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, and stone...

, fingernail, and/or fingertip (see fingerstyle guitar
Fingerstyle guitar
Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking ....

). It involves techniques derived from other stringed instruments such as legato
Legato
In musical notation the Italian word legato indicates that musical notes are played or sung smoothly and connected. That is, in transitioning from note to note, there should be no intervening silence...

playing' and various harmonics.

Art


The guitarist has long been a popular subject for artists. One of the more famous examples is the painting
Degas's Father Listening to Lorenzo Pagans Playing the Guitar by Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

, which was painted sometime between 1869–72 and is currently owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest museums in the United States, attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas...

.

Notable guitarists


There are several lists made by magazine
Magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...

s or website
Website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

s with the purpose of finding out who are the greatest guitarists of all time for example
The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine or 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World
Guitar World
Guitar World is a monthly music magazine devoted to guitarists. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year...

 magazine. Based on different criteria, these lists, particularly Rolling Stone polls, often meet with criticism and ridicule by many guitarists but they are also praised by others. A 2009 book, The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists
The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists
The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists is a book by British author Joel McIver, published in 2009 by Jawbone Press and featuring a foreword by Glen Benton of Deicide. Foreign-language editions appeared shortly after the original English language version. It contained a list of 100 guitar players in...

, attempted to define the best players of the heavy metal field and caused much controversy in doing so.

Rolling Stone


In 2003, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine published a list called The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. This list included 100 guitarists whom the magazine considered the best, with a brief introduction for each of them. The first in this list is the American guitarist Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 introduced by Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career...

, guitarist for The Who
The Who
The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey , Pete Townshend , John Entwistle and Keith Moon . They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction...

, who was, in his turn, ranked at #50 of the list. The list is heavily in favor of electric US blues rock guitarists.

In informing the list to readers, Paul MacInnes from British newspaper The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

expressed: "Surprisingly enough for an American magazine, the top 10 is fair jam-packed with Yanks", although he also noted three exceptions in the top 10. The online magazine Blogcritics
Blogcritics
Blogcritics is a blog network and online magazine of news and opinion. The site—a self-proclaimed "sinister cabal of superior writers"—was founded in 2002 by Eric Olsen and Phillip Winn...

criticized the list for introducing some undeserving guitarists while forgetting some artists perceived being perhaps more worthy, such as Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr is an English musician and songwriter. Marr rose to fame in the 1980s as the guitarist in The Smiths, with whom he formed a prolific songwriting partnership with Morrissey. Marr has been a member of Electronic, The The, and Modest Mouse...

, Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy is an American acoustic and electric guitarist and vocalist who has released more than 50 albums and contributed to many more recordings in both the contemporary Christian music and mainstream markets...

 or John Petrucci
John Petrucci
John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Along with his former bandmate Mike Portnoy, he has produced all Dream Theater albums since their 1999 release, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory...

.

In 2011,
Rolling Stone updated the list, with the top 5 consisting of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

, Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page...

, Keith Richards
Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an English musician, songwriter, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine said Richards had created "rock's greatest single body of riffs", and placed him as the "10th greatest guitarist of all time." Fourteen songs written by Richards and songwriting...

 and Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck
Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck is an English rock guitarist. He is one of three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds...

.

The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time is mentioned in many biographies about artists who appear in the list.

Guitar World


Guitar World
Guitar World
Guitar World is a monthly music magazine devoted to guitarists. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year...

, a monthly music magazine devoted to guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

, also published their list of 100 greatest guitarists in the book
Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time from the Pages of Guitar World Magazine. Different from the list of the Rolling Stone which was introduced in descending order, Guitar World preferred dividing the guitarists by music genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 such as "Lords of Hard Rock" for hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 artists or "Jazzmen" for jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 players. Despite the appearance in other magazines like
Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

, this publication by Guitar World was criticized for including no female musicians within its selection.

Others


Following the death of Les Paul
Les Paul
Lester William Polsfuss —known as Les Paul—was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations...

,
TIME
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 website presented their list of 10 greatest artists in Electric guitar
Electric guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

. Like the
Rolling Stones list, Jimi Hendrix was chosen as the greatest guitarist followed by Slash
Slash (musician)
Saul Hudson , known by his stage name Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N'...

, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Gigwise.com
Gigwise.com
Gigwise.com is an online music magazine that features music news, photos, album reviews, music festivals, concert tickets, and a community forum. Founded in 2001, the magazine is based in the United Kingdom....

, an online music magazine, also ranks Jimi Hendrix as the greatest guitarist ever, followed by Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Keith Richards and Kirk Hammett
Kirk Hammett
Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and a songwriter in the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stones list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time...

.

See also