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Top 10 Rock Guitarists
13 July 2017
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Dark Overlord
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I decided that this deserved it's own thread since i can't find one similar to it and i think it's a discussion worth bringing up.

As a note, i will only be mentioning rock guitarists as i feel that classical and jazz guitarists shouldn't be compared to rock guitarists. I also won't be using heavy metal guitarists since heavy metal is a show off genre and metal guitarists typically use lots of blazingly fast and intricate solos although i will mention a couple of hard rock guitarists.

On with the show:

Image result for chuck berry

10. Chuck Berry

Genre:

Rock And Roll

He may not be as good at guitar as the other examples on my list but he pretty much pioneered the idea of a rock lead guitarist, there may have been Scotty Moore before him but he was nothing compared to Chuck.

Examples:

Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry Is On Top, 1959 (song originally released as a single in 1958), Gibson ES-350T)

Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry Is On Top, 1959 (song originally released as a single in 1956), Gibson ES-350T)

220px-David_Gilmour_and_stratocaster.jpgImage Enlarger

9. David Gilmour

Band:

Pink Floyd

Genre:

Progressive Rock

David was a great guitarist but his solos were especially amazing, who can resist with such classic solos as Comfortably Numb, this Gilmour used his Fender Stratocaster and took it to great heights.

Examples:

Time (The Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973, Fender Stratocaster)

Comfortably Numb (The Wall, 1979, Ovation 1619-4, Jedson Lap Steel, Fender Stratocaster)

LP_Harrison.jpgImage Enlarger

8. George Harrison

Band:

The Beatles

Genres:

Merseybeat, Rock And Roll, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Blues Rock, Rock

I think that George Harrison was a great guitarist for 2 reasons, his solos are like candy to the ears while not being flashy or trying to show off and he had a vast chord knowledge, he was the prefect fit for lead guitarist in The Beatles.

Examples:

Something (Abbey Road , 1969, Gibson Les Paul)

Let It Be (Let It Be , 1970, Gibson Les Paul)

Octopus's Garden (Abbey Road , 1969, Fender Telecaster)

Till There Was You (With The Beatles , 1963, Ramirez Classical)

Savoy Truffle (The Beatles, 1968, Gibson Les Paul)

170px-JimmyPage2.jpg

7. Jimmy Page

Band:

Led Zeppelin

Genres:

Hard Rock, Blues Rock

Although i do feel that Jimmy Page is often thought of to be better than i think he actually is, i still think of him to be an excellent guitarist and his solos are often some of the best.

Examples:

Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin II, 1969, Gibson Les Paul)

Since I've Been Loving You (Led Zeppelin III, 1970, Gibson Les Paul)

Stairway To Heaven (Zoso, 1971, Harmony Sovereign H1260 and Fender Electric XII before the solo and Fender Telecaster for the solo and outro)

Image result for stevie ray vaughanImage Enlarger

6. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Bands:

David Bowie

Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble

Genre:

Blues Rock

This king of blues rock took heavy influence from various blues players and rock players and made into a style of his own that is always fun to listen to.

Examples:

Let's Dance (Let's Dance, David Bowie, 1983, Fender Stratocaster)

Texas Flood (Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble, 1983, Fender Stratocaster)

Pride And Joy (Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble, 1983, Fender Stratocaster)

[Image Can Not Be Found]

5. Carlos Santana

Band:

Santana

Genres:

Jazz Rock, Blues Rock, Latin Rock, Jazz Fusion

This guitarist is considerably more jazzy than the other ones on our list but you gotta love his sweet jazz and blues inspired guitar solos and licks.

Examples:

Black Magic Woman /Gypsy Queen (Abraxas, 1970, Gibson SG)

Oye Como Va (Abraxas, 1970, Gibson SG)

zap_clapton.jpgImage Enlarger

4. Eric Clapton

Bands:

The Yardbirds

Cream

Blind Faith

Derek And The Dominoes

Genres:

Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Very well rooted in the blues, Eric gave us some great classic solos and riffs that are a beauty to the ear and he sure knew how to make great solos.

Examples:

Crossroads (Wheels Of Fire, Cream, 1968, Gibson SG)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles, guest solo for The Beatles, 1968, Gibson Les Paul)

Layla (Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek And The Dominoes, 1970, Martin D-28 and Fender Stratocaster)

tumblr_m7subeq7oT1r6h3dro2_400.jpgImage Enlarger

3. Brian May

Band:

Queen

Genres:

Progressive Rock, Glam Rock, Hard Rock, Rock, Pop Rock

It's not about what you can do with one guitar part, it's about what you can do with one guitar. Brian May built his Red Special guitar in 1963 and used it on the vast majority of Queen songs and he is an excellent guitarist as well, taking full advantage of his Red Special and layering multiple guitar parts to make his guitar parts really shine, some songs having as many as 7 or even more guitar parts layered on top of one another. He also uses delay harmonies, which is when you use a delay pedal to make harmonized guitar parts with one guitar, used most prominently on Brighton Rock, his signature song. Even if you hate Queen, you have to admit that Brian is an excellent guitarist.

Examples:

Brighton Rock (Live Killers, 1979, Red Special, originally on Sheer Heart Attack, 1974, Red Special)

Killer Queen (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974, Red Special)

Bohemian Rhapsody (A Night At The Opera, 1975, Red Special)

Tie Your Mother Down (A Day At The Races, 1976, Red Special)

It's Late (News Of The World, 1977, Red Special)

Image result for eddie van halenImage Enlarger

2. Eddie Van Halen

Band:

Van Halen

Genres:

Glam Rock, Hard Rock

The king of tapping and whammy bar effects, this guy's got it all, impressive solos, tapping, lots of skill, 2 hand tapping, the misconception that he invented 2 hand tapping, did i mention tapping. Making fast solos filled with lots of tricks and tapping was Eddie's job in a way.

Examples:

Eruption (Van Halen, 1978, Charvel Frankenstrat)

I'm The One (Van Halen, 1978, Charvel Frankenstrat)

Jump (1984, 1984, Charvel Frankenstrat)

Honorable mentions:

Kirk Hammett, Metallica

Slash, Guns N' Roses

Angus Young, AC/DC

Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne

Les Paul

article-2239775-1640F870000005DC-349_634x796.jpgImage Enlarger

1. Jimi Hendrix

Band:

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Genres:

Psychedelic Rock, Blues Rock

Jimi is truly the best guitarist of all time, you may think that he's overrated but he does so much that makes him deserve #1 on this list. To start, he often added fills into his rhythm playing and did hammer ons and pull offs while playing barre chords, he also can play both great soft solos and great heavy solos and there's no way i'm not giving a fellow southpaw the top spot.

Examples:

Purple Haze (Are You Experienced, 1967, Fender Stratocaster)

The Wind Cries Mary (Are You Experienced, 1967, Fender Stratocaster)

Hey Joe (Are You Experienced, 1967, Fender Stratocaster)

Little Wing (Axis Bold As Love, 1967, Fender Stratocaster)

All Along The Watchtower (Electric Ladyland, 1968, Fender Stratocaster)

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13 July 2017
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Dark Overlord
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Did you guys like the list, i hope you did.

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13 July 2017
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sir walter raleigh
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Here are my top ten:

1. Jimi Hendrix

2. Jerry Garcia - Grateful Dead 

3. Eric Clapton - The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek & The Dominos, Solo

4. Duane Allman - The Allman Brothers Band

5. George Harrison - The Beatles

6. Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin 

7. Mark Knopfler - Dire Straits

8. Trey Anastasio - Phish

9. Steve Morse - Dixie Dregs

10. Albert King

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13 July 2017
7.48pm
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Dark Overlord
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Where's Eddie Van Halen, is he really undeserving of your top 10.

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13 July 2017
7.51pm
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Probably wouldn't make my Top 100.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

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13 July 2017
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I like evh - he invented some cool tricks and noises, and played funny solos

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

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13 July 2017
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This is my subjective top 5. I need to listen to more guitarists before I can make a top ten. a-hard-days-night-paul-10

1. David Gilmour -- no one, no one can move me like David Gilmour. If I could marry a guitar tone, his would be the one. heartheartheart
2. George Harrison -- he had a sense of melody that was always exactly what you may not have realised you wanted to hear, and his slide guitar work is absolutely wonderful.
3. Jimi Hendrix -- he's not a guitar player; he's a force of nature.
4. Jimmy Page -- this man must have had a seriously desirable soul, because he sure got a good deal out of the devil.
5. Can I say David Gilmour again, or is that cheating? I actually can't think of a fifth. I really need to work on my musical education. a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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13 July 2017
11.38pm
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Dark Overlord said
Where's Eddie Van Halen, is he really undeserving of your top 10.  

Nope. I do not like tapping and I'm not ranking the fastest players, but the best. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

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-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

14 July 2017
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1. Hendrix

2. Bruce Anderson, MX-80 Sound

3. Page

4. Zoot Horn Rollo, Beefheart's Magic Band

5. Buck Dharma, Blue Oyster Cult 

6. J/G/P in varying combinations

7. Robert Fripp - King Crimson, Bowie, etc

8. Tony McPhee, Groundhogs

9. Carlos Santana

10. John McLaughlin 

.

.

.

24. Eddie Van Halen 

Most of this made up just now without too much thought, but the first three are pretty much permanent. 

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10. Pete Townshend (The Who) - Not the most flashy guitarist but he makes up for it with ferocity.

9. Eric Clapton (Cream, Yardbirds, Derek and the Dominoes, and others) - Some of best blues/rock guitar work from the sixties and seventies.

8. Brian May (Queen) - Some of best guitar tones I have ever heard.

7. George Harrison (The Beatles, The Travelling Wilbury's) - Not a flashy guitarist either but he did what suited the song.

6. John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Trickfinger) - He continually reinvents himself and will play what he thinks is suitable and what he is feeling at that moment.

5. Chris Cheney (The Living End) - This might be obscure but Chris Cheney is one of the best rock/punk/psychobilly guitarist in my opinion. He can play rock/blues/country and he can shred if he needs to. A true jack of all trades.

4. Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Prophets of Rage, Audioslave) - I like that he turned the guitar into a DJ by using strange effects and scratches in place of traditional guitar solos but he can do a solo if he feels like it. 

3. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) - I know he might be considered Heavy Metal but having a top rock guitarist list without Tony Iommi is ridiculous as he was a riff machine. 

2. Slash (Guns "N" Roses, Slash's Snakepit, Velvet Revolver ) - Same as above but I think Slash was a better soloist. A nice mix of hard rock and blues. 

1. Jimi Hendrix - Regularly topping the list of best guitarist and with good reason as he changed rock guitar forever.

Other guitarist that I would have included:

Dimebag Darrell (Pantera, Damageplan) - I only didn't put him in because he is a metal guitarist.

Kirk Hammet (Metallica) - As above.

Synester Gates (Avenged Sevenfold) - Also a metal guitarist but I consider him a modern guitar hero.

Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) - He was good and innovative but there's better guitarist out there.

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14 July 2017
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Very difficult to rank my favourite guitarists since they all have distinct styles. 

I try not to factor in technical ability too much when rating guitar players. The list is also affected by musical taste to an extent. 

I'll also list 3 examples of my favourite guitar performances by each.

My list: 

 

10. Mick Ronson - He made so many of Bowies songs great and just had a brilliant style/sound (Moonage Daydream, Cracked Actor, Ziggy Stardust)

9. Jack White - Just love his analog aggressive style. (Ball and Biscuit, Icky Thump, Salute Your Solution). 

8. Johnny Greenwood - Brilliant guitarist with a very unique style. Also very multi-talented. (Paranoid Android, Bodysnatchers, Just)

7. George Harrison - Underrated guitarist and great songwriter. Not the most technical but that doesn't matter. (Something , Day Tripper , I'm Only Sleeping )

6. Johnny Marr - The ultimate indie guitarist and technically amazing. He could play anything. (Bigmouth Strikes Again, How Soon is Now?, What Difference Does it Make?)

5. David Gilmour - Just love his sound. He's influenced my playing a lot. (Time, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Comfortably Numb)

4. Eric Clapton - Not a big fan of his music but his playing ability is undeniable. (Layla, White Room, Crossroads)

3. Jeff Beck - Perhaps has the most unique playing style of this list. Was lucky to see him live in 2009. (Cause We've Ended as Lovers, A Day In The Life , Becks Bolero)

2. Jimmy Page - Technically brilliant and a great songwriter. I like his soloing style also. (Ten Years Gone, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway) 

1. Jimi Hendrix - The greatest rock guitarist in history - period. (Little Wing, May This Be Love, Up from the Skies)

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14 July 2017
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Not a numbered list because that's just silly.

George Harrison , not an improviser but an incredibly hardworking musician, nothing he did came easy but he made it look easy. Greatest Solo: Something .

Frank Zappa, not just a songwriter and bandleader but an amazing improvisational soloist. Arguably half of his tours were an excuse to make up live solos. Greatest Solo: Rat Tomago which is actually a slightly edited solo from a live performance of The Torture Never Stops.

Robert Fripp, another one who had to work hard to make it look easy, a genius for picking other geniuses and making genius music. Greatest solo: no idea where to start. My opinion changes all the time, particularly since some of his best work isn't technically soloing, but the wailing desolation of the desert.

Brian May, a great songwriter, but also a unique style and sound. Greatest solo: God Save The Queen (seriously, its amazing).

Dave Gilmour, who literally saved Pink Floyd and had to do most of the work as well. Rumour has it that he's also the best bass player in the band. Greatest solo: that would be unfair, since literally everything he does sounds like an angel tearing their wings off.

Jimi Hendrix. If Gilmour is a tortured angel, and Fripp is the desert, than we have no language to describe Hendrix. Greatest Solo: the trouble is, his best were entire songs. But to pick one, House Burning Down.

Prince, of course. When he wanted to solo, he was untouchable, so there can be no favourites. Also a brilliant imitator, listen to All The Critics Love You In New York for the Fripp rip-offs.

Neil Finn. Say what? The guy can play anything if it's needed. There's a reason he's good mates with Greenwood and Marr. Not flashy, but how many pop writers can you count that use open tunings in your favourite singalongs and then switch to a scorching lead? That was him on I See Red, the Split Enz song.

Jim Moginie, the main songwriter in Midnight Oil, and the main lead guitarist. Maybe you've heard of the band, but you probably don't know him, and that suits him fine. But he's amazing, and also a mate of Neil Finn's (you begin to see a pattern). My favourite solo is the live version of Stand In Line with the amazing Peter Gifford on bass:

-- there are other great versions of this song, but I particularly like how the band sped up just to keep up with Moginie's feedback!

and that's my list.

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14 July 2017
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sir walter raleigh said
Here are my top ten:

1. Jimi Hendrix

2. Jerry Garcia - Grateful Dead 

3. Eric Clapton - The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek & The Dominos, Solo

4. Duane Allman - The Allman Brothers Band

5. George Harrison - The Beatles

6. Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin 

7. Mark Knopfler - Dire Straits

8. Trey Anastasio - Phish

9. Steve Morse - Dixie Dregs

10. Albert King  

Zounds! I forgot my main man Gilmour! I'll place him just ahead of George and move everyone else back 1 slot, giving Albert King the honorable mention for his smooth licks and soulful tone. He's also extremely influential. 

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14 July 2017
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Zounds, I forgot Zappa!

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One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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14 July 2017
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I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Keef yet. Or Hank Marvin of The Shadows to that fact.

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14 July 2017
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I don't think Keith Richards is that good of a guitarist, i'd rank myself above him he's that unimpressive. Sure, he's created some decent simple riffs but i just don't think that he's a good guitarist, just an average one.

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Dark Overlord said
I don't think Keith Richards is that good of a guitarist, i'd rank myself above him he's that unimpressive. Sure, he's created some decent simple riffs but i just don't think that he's a good guitarist, just an average one.  

Completely agree. While his speciality tuning is clever, he's never done anything that special aside from the Sympathy solo which is amazing. 

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15 July 2017
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And I can't believe you had Stevie without mentioning Little Wing, @Dark Overlord ! 

Here's my list (favourites not a definitive list).

sorry for the length, I couldn't figure out how to use the spoiler feature (I'm on mobile). 

10. Eddie Van Halen 

Band: Van Halen 

Style: Hard rock/ metal / tapping

Signature songs: Eruption, Hot For Teacher, Ain't Talking About Love 

9. Angus Young

Band: AC/DC

Style: Hard rock 

Signature songs: Back In Black, Hell's Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long 

8. Slash

Band: Guns N Roses, Snakepit, Velvet Revolver , Solo, The Conspirators 

Style: Hard rock/ blues rock 

Signature Songs: Sweet Child O Mine, Don't Cry, Rocket Queen 

7. Mick Ronson 

Band: David Bowie/ Spiders From Mars

Style: Hard rock/ glam rock

Signature Songs: Ziggy Stardust, Starman, Sufragette City

6. Dave Gilmour 

Band: Pink Floyd 

Style: Blues? I'm not really sure 

Signature Songs: Comfortably Numb, Time, Shine On You Crazy Diamond 

5. John Squire 

Band: The Stone Roses, The Seahorses 

Style: Hard rock, jangle pop

Signature Songs: I Wanna Be Adored, She Bangs The Drums, Love Spreads, I Am The Resurrection, Made Of Stone 

4. George Harrison  

Band: The Beatles, The Travelling Wilburys 

Style: Rock/ blues / slide / rock n roll, folk rock, jangle pop + others (his versatility is what gets him on here) 

Signature Songs: Something , Let It Be (album version), Old Brown Shoe , If I Needed Someone  

3. Jimi Hendrix 

Band: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

Style: Hard rock/ psychedelic/ blues 

Signature Songs: Little Wing, All Along The Watchtower, Purple Haze, Hey Joe 

2. Jimmy Page 

Band: Led Zeppelin 

Style: Hard rock/ blues/ folk 

Signature Songs: Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven, The Ocean, The Rain Song, Heartbreaker, Going To California 

1. Johnny Marr 

Band: The Smiths (amongst others) 

Style: Jangle/Byrds 

Signature Songs: This Charming Man, How Soon Is Now?, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before 

note: I'm not really a big fan of Van Halen, AC/DC or GNR apart from select songs but I'm including their guitarists. 

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15 July 2017
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@ewe2 said
Dave Gilmour, who literally saved Pink Floyd and had to do most of the work as well. Rumour has it that he's also the best bass player in the band.

Point 1: Now that's just unfair, ewe. I think it's safe to say Roger Waters did a fair amount of the work; you can't deny him that, even if he was a fairly pedestrian bassist. ahdn_george_06 Gilmour helped Pink Floyd not go extinct, but they helped him not go extinct, too, so I think it was mutually beneficial.

Point 2: I won't argue with that; his bass work is superb.

Greatest solo: that would be unfair, since literally everything he does sounds like an angel tearing their wings off.

Jimi Hendrix. If Gilmour is a tortured angel, and Fripp is the desert, than we have no language to describe Hendrix.  

I love this description so much a-hard-days-night-john-6

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15 July 2017
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Dark Overlord
Nowhere Land
Rishikesh
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9 March 2017
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I mentioned Little Wing with Jimi Hendrix and i didn't feel the need to mention it twice. Also, i know that you like Johnny Marr's guitar playing but is he really that good that he gets top spot.

If you're reading this, you are looking for something to do.

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