Eric Clapton: Most versatile and successful guitarist ever?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by 2HBStrat, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Playing aside, whether you like his playing or not, if you consider his body of work, the different styles he worked in, his level of success, and his longevity, has any other guitarist been as versatile and as successful as Eric Clapton? :stir
     
  2. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    Versatile is about the last word i would use to describe Clapton-I like his playing but he does not fare well when he strays from his comfort zone.
     
  3. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    It's difficult, however, to argue with "successful."
     
  4. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    I'd go with most successful, but versatile? No way...
     
  5. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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  6. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Clapton's a great for sure, but there's umpteen guys who are more versatile. Consider Jeff Beck, Michael Landau, Carl Verheyen, Brent Mason, Guthrie Govan, Steve Morse, etc, etc. No-one's calling Slowhand to a jazz gig for starters. Blues, blues rock, bluesy pop: sure. Outside that? Probably not your best bet other than for name recognition.
     
  7. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    If you are combining the two, then yes - though I don't really understand why. I am a Clapton fan, but I am often puzzled by his longevity. In my opinion, he has cranked out a ton of half hearted albums (and I think he would agree by reading his bio), yet he is huge draw. I know I keep shelling out cash for whatever he puts out, though I by no means am a fanatic.

    There are many more versatile guitarists, but Clapton has the IT factor that draws fans to him year after year.
     
  8. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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  9. Alister

    Alister Member

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    I'm not quibbling and this is probably not what you're driving at, but the "jazzers" I've known and played with are not nec. any more "versatile" going the other direction, if you will, toward rock and blues, than Clapton is in theirs.
    I'm not contesting that jazz is probably more complex; simply that playing it automatically makes you more "versatile."

    But Clapton is an interesting case. His longevity and long-standing mega-success seems to frustrate a lot of guitarist, including people who never knew "pre-Clapton" guitar playing, but also older guys who want to crab about his not sticking with Marshall stacks and Gibson guitars.

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but I've always found Clapton an interesting "case." Reading his autobiography last year cleared up absolutely nothing, for me. He seems to be rather oblivious, or at least cryptic, about his own success and how it came about.
     
  10. Ben R

    Ben R Member

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    Wow.

    Look... I realize that the OP obviously likes Clapton. To each his own. And, we all have different tastes and opinions.

    Having said that... most versatile ever??? Please. Despite what you think of the overall styles over the course of his library of songs, he still essentially plays blues and pentatonic stuff for the most part. Very predictable and repetitive if you ask me. And, he's nowhere NEAR the best at doing THAT.

    And, most successful ever? I think that guys like Hendrix, Paige, Van Halen, and others can easily have arguments made for them otherwise.

    .
     
  11. suckamc

    suckamc Member

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    I have a better vote:

    Dan Huff has been a musical success on many levels and across a million styles (he now produces a million country albums a year), but not truly famous. He's as good a player as there's been. Insanely versatile, brilliant ear for melody.
     
  12. Zingeroo

    Zingeroo Member

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    His contemporaries Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were both way more versatile as musicians.

    But successful? Yeah, he's got that.

    "Versatile" definitely wouldn't be on the top 20 list of adjectives I'd use to describe Clapton. Not hating him, some guys do one or two things really well. He's just not versatile.
     
  13. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    I'd say yes, he's very successful, but he's not quite as versatile as one may think.
     
  14. mdrake34

    mdrake34 Member

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    Clapton's my favorite, monster player and what I consider a pretty diverse body of work. From his early blues stuff, to power trio, to stripped down rock, to reggae/country influences, 80's pop-rock, and back to the blues, he's covered a lot of ground and wrote a ton of great music. Is the best player ever? Nope. Best singer? Nope. But I love him.
     
  15. mdrake34

    mdrake34 Member

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    I've never understood why it became cool to hate Clapton.
     
  16. iamdavea

    iamdavea Silver Supporting Member

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    Just off the very top of my head, Phil Keaggy & Eric Johnson are far more versatile than Clapton.
     
  17. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    You said it much better than I did!
     
  18. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    Nothing but admiration and respect for Slowhand.

    Younger players may not "get it" but Clapton invented modern overdriven lead guitar tone and finger vibrato.

    No one was playing with that tone, phrasing and finger vibrato before Clapton made it popular - not even the blues masters Eric says he was emulating.

    That said, I don't see him as being the most versatile because I've never thought of him as being a GREAT rhythm guitarist.

    Most guys aren't.

    And for me, being a great rhythm player is #1 and is what makes a guitar driven song work.
     
  19. JPF

    JPF Member

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    Successful - absolutely, and I've been a fan of Clapton's playing since his stint with John Mayall, but I've never really thought of him as being particularly versatile.

    In terms of sheer versatility, I'd think of Richard Thompson first, but that's merely my opinion.
     
  20. mdrake34

    mdrake34 Member

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    I think this is perfectly acceptable and honest criticism of Clapton. I've honestly never thought of it, but I do agree now that you mention it.

    Hendrix, Page, and EVH were all better rhythm players then lead players, IMO. That's not to take away from their brilliant lead work at all, but their rhythm playing, riffs, and feel were just as interesting as their solos and lead fills. That's the sign of a truly great electric player, IMO.
     

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