Revolutionary Mainstream Rock Guitarists Besides Jimi and Eddie?

It's undeniable, I feel, that Hendrix and EVH revolutionized the way rock guitar was played in terms of both technique and use of gear. There have been lots of players who have innovated in those areas to be sure, but none to the level of either two in their respective eras.

So I was wondering, are there any players of mainstream rock who came before Hendrix that people feel had a similar impact? Personally I don't think there's been anyone since Eddie, playing mainstream rock music, that has, but I'm open to debate on the subject.
 
the lord of the riff & the master of the studio

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I've been thinking about this lately, There are a lot of great guitarists but few that genuinely changed the game i.e. the guitarists that had the chops and popularity to influence millions of others. The mid to late 60's saw a huge explosion of change in rock guitar and it was almost a case of convergant revolution. A number of guitarists were coming to the same conclusion in a style derived from the blues players. Clapton is regarded as the original innovator merging blues licks with the Marshall rock tone we all take for granted today. Then Hendrix. I would argue that the majority of licks we all play today were created by 1971.
 
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Before Hendrix- an argument could be made for Clapton. Plugging a Les Paul into a cranked Marshall basically invented what rock guitar would sound like, at the basic level, for the next 50+ years.

Between Hendrix and EVH- Tony Iommi essentially created an entire, massive genre of rock- heavy metal and all its offshoots. He’s pretty revolutionary/important in rock guitar history.
 
Before Hendrix- an argument could be made for Clapton. Plugging a Les Paul into a cranked Marshall basically invented what rock guitar would sound like, at the basic level, for the next 50+ years.

Between Hendrix and EVH- Tony Iommi essentially created an entire, massive genre of rock- heavy metal and all its offshoots. He’s pretty revolutionary/important in rock guitar history.
Iommi definitely needed to be mentioned. He took a horrific accident, which forced him to change his style, and Geezer’s idea of horror-music and created an entirely new style of guitar based music.
 
Some great contributions so far, thanks. Personally I think they're all great guitarists but not necessarily all game-changers. So far, in my mind it's:

Chuck Berry - invented the genre, including the on-stage showmanship
Eric Clapton - originator of modern rock guitar
Hendrix - redefined modern rock guitar and introduced the idea of effects as extensions of the instrument
Tony Iommi - godfather of heavy rock
Eddie - took it all to the next level

And to be honest, I've always struggled with the reputation that Clapton has, probably because so much of his style has become ubiquitous, but then I make myself remember he did it first.

It's undeniable that The Edge changed the way people used delay as an effect, but I just don't see it as being on par with these other guys. It's similar to how Tom Morello re-invented how guitar can be played, innovative but not necessarily revolutionary.

The players mentioned above changed how everyone that came after them approached the guitar. Anyone else?
 
  • Chuck Berry - brought the guitar out from the backline, and made it a front and center instrument
  • Jimi Hendrix - set the standard for rock guitar
  • Tony Iommi - gave birth to an entire new genre
  • Eddie Van Halen - ushered in the shredder era
  • Edge - showed us that guitar can be interesting without being an Olympic sport
 
I've seen a few mentions of Jimmy Page, and I will say he is one of my all time favourite players, but did he revolutionize guitar technique or the usage of gear? There's no denying his musicianship of technical ability, but I don't feel he personally took guitar to totally new places.

I think he revolutionized the way guitar(s) are used in the studio to create an entirely new level of guitar based recordings enabling longer formats to become far more normal on the radio.

Also, his use of alternate tunings and the way he brought that style of playing to the mainstream was quite unique.
 




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