Never was a big Hendrix fan, no matter what his legend was... I'll take Page over him...... Ive never been a huge fan of the 'Stones nor Jim Morrison either ... I would put Jeff Beck up there in the top 5 ..
I agree with nowheels, it's a tough call but I'm more partial to Page. I heard it said once that Jimi Hendricks was asked who the best guitarist was and he said Duane Allman. Don't know if he actually said that but You could make a good case for that.
Hendrix was left handed but his dad thought that was the mark of the devil and made him play right handed and he became ambidextrous. He picked on the neck of the guitar with his right hand. He would drop his left picking hand and pick on the neck with only his right hand. There is black and white video of him playing hey joe picking with his teeth. Google it.
..of those two Jimmy Page easily....no contest There were/are so many great guitarist it is hard to compare when true TALENT is in the spotlight. Acoustics...hands down from the musicians own mouth and I do believe them was Duane Allman. Clean electric /call and response/ phrasing....Mark Knoplfler/Jeff Beck/ Alvin Lee and for clean outright dueling speed Hughie "the Flame" Thomassen was unmatched.
I am going to crack some eggs here but....take out the short lived "acid rock" and Hendrix would not crack the top 100 IMO for pure musical string manipulation....but then again except for the talented Don Henley I could not stand the Eagles either and we know how insanely popular they were. When my father started humming their tunes I knew they were not for me. ;-)
Not even close. Both were groundbreaking and influential but Page was at least coherent. I can see where Hendrix expanded the limits of the instrument, sure. But he's difficult to listen to on many of his cuts.
I still believe if Steve Gaines had lived another decade or two, he'd be the starting point for many GOAT lists. But that did not happen and he's not. I agree with bb, Duane gets serious consideration if for no other reason than Clapton deferred to him.
SRV is so good, he broke away from the other celestial bodies and created his own gravity. Page, BB King, Hendrix, Allman, Van Halen - they all did that. But Roy Clarke is probably the greatest living guitar player.;)
I think there are a lot of guitarists who can make a guitar speak....if that is the context. Uncle Ted is real good at that. Check out his Youtube of Hibernation. He has also been performing much longer than most guitarists dead or alive.
I think Brian Setzer can make a guitar sound good. Eddie Van Halen is another one. Prince was real good too. Who was a big influence....Chuck Berry without a doubt.
When the Dixie Dregs came upon the scene, for pure raw talent Steve Morse as a guitar player. He's what? currently touring with Deep Purple.... recently did a Dregs reunion tour... dang missed that one.
A point of soapbox order that has broad application.
If the choice was only 2 guitarists....this would be a one-n-done and very short thread that would likely die on the vine once the usual posters say their piece. Without some latitude for thread drift....and this happens frequently, many threads would loose their interest after a few posts and become boring. Off the soapbox.....
Bonamassa's "Blues Deluxe" is about as close to perfection as one can get in guitar playing. AMAZING. Check his performance(s) out at Royal Albert Hall. Then check him out performing "Mountain Time" at the same venue, less "bluesey" but phenominal.
If we're expanding the list in putting Page in context, I think he's about right where he is - somewhere in the back half of the Top 10. I personally wouldn't put him in front of Hendrix, Clapton, King, Allman, or Johnson.
That is why I mentioned Uncle Ted earlier.....he is real good. I believe he comes from the 1960's mold of guitarists who began early. Roy Clark is a good one. For the pickin' style.....Jerry Reed was very good.
In truth the greatest axe player ever is the musician and the genre that you personally favor. Many of the simplest intro's, the mark of excellence for Rock and Blues came from the most capable hands. One for me that comes to mind is Can't you Hear me Knocking by the Stones Keith Richards and Mick Taylor. Smoke on the Water is another as is ZZ Tops killer intro "Tush" and Jethro Tulls fabled "Aqualung". These sounds move me because I am a Rock head.
Both great guitarists. But neither IMO on the level of Chet Aikin, Knoffpler, Vai, Santriani, Malmsteen, VanHalen, Lynch, Guthrie Govan, Eric Johnson, Roy Clark, Banjo Ben, Brad Gillis and many others. There are a thousand players youve never heard of that would fall into that group. Ted Nugent? There's 10 players in every mid size town in America who are as good or better.
Funny, Sharpstick, before I opened this thread again, I was thinking of Warren Haynes and what a disservice it is that we have not mentioned him. The guy is the definition of prolific talent. His cover of "Cortez The Killer" with Dave Mathews is one of my all time favorite jams.
Anyone who can make a simple two coil pickup Fender Telecaster sound like that is beyond great in a 100 seat venue. No triples or humbuckers. Anybody who bought a Telecaster should bring them back immediately. The only guitarists I ever heard or saw who could "harp" the strings into a true melody not just noise. I am simply in awe of this guy and I have seen some of the great ones and great performances. He was voted best guitarists by his PEERS in 1971 in a MAG I had seen online. In 1987 when Mick Taylor left the Stones it was reported MJ offered him the spot and he turned them down. A year later Roy Buchanan was dead. I wish I had known of him and his music long before. Tragic.