The Gear behind Rolling Stone 100 greatest guitarists...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Melange, May 19, 2019.

  1. Melange

    Melange Member

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    Just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out what electric guitars the top guitar players play or played. I looked at the infamous list of 100 Greatest Guitarist published by the Rolling Stone Magazine in December 2015. IMO, this list is highly biased and but it was handy

    I acknowledge the data came from an incomplete or questionable list of players (it excludes great guitar players like Joe Satriani, Job Bonamassa, Steve Vai , Yngwie Malmsteen, Roy Buchanan, Robin Trower, Earl Hooker, John Scofield, etc. and includes some that IMO should not be in the list) nevertheless for the purpose of this little exercise, this list of 100 players is good enough to get an approximation ...at least among these artists . Note that none of Ibanez' famous players were include in RS's list so Ibanez is unfortunately not represented .

    The results are as follows

    Brand % of Players
    ------------- ------------
    Fender.............43%
    Gibson.............34%
    Gretsch.............4%
    Rickenbaker.......4%
    Dean.................2%
    Peavey..............1%
    Turner...............1%
    Carl Thompson...1%
    Jackson.............1%
    Mosrite..............1%
    Brian May..........1%
    PRS...................1%
    Charvel..............1%
    Epiphone............1%
    ESP...................1%

    Between the top two: Fender and Gibson

    Model % of Players
    ---------- ---------------
    Strat...............24%
    LP...................16%
    Tele................13%
    ES....................9%
    SG...................7%
    Explorer...........2%
    Flying V............1%

    A couple of disclosures. There were players on the list that played acoustic instruments. I excluded those since my focus was on electrics. There were others that was difficult to determine what was their primary guitar, I excluded those as well .

    Anyways, I had fun putting this list together. I hope you enjoy it too.
     
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  2. disconnector

    disconnector It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down. Silver Supporting Member

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    Plenty of great Ibanez players out there . . . too bad they left those off.

    Great work putting this together. As an engineer and numbers guy I salute you!

    No surprises here though - Strats. Teles, and LPs rule the rock roost. Especially rockers that started in the 60s and 70s.
     
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  3. sahhas

    sahhas Member

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    haven't read one of these lists in years...don't really care that much, but interesting to see the gear used.

    I think the point for the guitarists you list that are excluded, is RS is looking at guitarists who are working in the "pop realm"...you can debate the merits of "pop realm" or what is pop anymore-i personally don't hear a lot of guitar anymore....technology has changed that....so I would imagine that most of the pop music from 1995 on is probably not overly guitar oriented. It would be interesting to see what the eras/decades are represented, i would guess there is a heavy 60s/70s slant ...but again I haven't looked at the list much.

    This sort of reminds me of back in 1985, NBC ran back to back rerun episodes of Letterman, and on one episode Mark Knopfler was the guest guitarist on the show, and the one after, Eddie Van Halen was the guest. A couple of friends and I debated Knopfler vs. EVH for quite a while...looking back at it, it's pretty funny....

    the thing about all of it is the grammies, is the fact that they still have "best album" and all those categories, and people don't buy a lot of albums or CDs anymore....
     
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  4. Melange

    Melange Member

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    Thank you !
     
  5. Mike Duncan

    Mike Duncan Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I would love one of those pie graphs of what percentage of Brian May uses Brian May's guitar.

    What a great list! Well done!
     
  6. monty

    monty Member

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    Nice work OP, actually more interesting than the original list!
     
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  7. Melange

    Melange Member

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    :beer
    Thank you !
     
  8. eigentone

    eigentone Silver Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for compiling. :aok

    Many guitarists play more than one model during their career. How did you account for this? Let's take Jimmy Page. He is known for playing Les Pauls, Teles, 1275s etc. to varying degrees. Did you just count that as a Les Paul or another model or did you attempt to divide this? Clapton Played Strats, Firebirds, 335s, Les Pauls, Teles, etc. The Edge is constantly changing guitars.
     
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  9. Melange

    Melange Member

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    Hey Eigentone -

    You raised a very good point. In some cases it was very hard to determine what was the player primary guitar so I took the easy route and excluded them from the count . For the others , I tried to find out what was their preferred guitar or the most iconic guitar they were famous for and got them to the RS list.

    As an example, in the case of Mark Knopfler I counted a Strat even though nowadays he seems to be preferring LP.

    :beer
     
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  10. Electricb

    Electricb Member

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    Interesting exercise. One of the things that’s hard about this is that the instrument a guitarist is most known for is not always reflective of what they were playing for what I think is their best work.

    Yes, Clapton is known for Strats but all his truly great stuff was cut with Gibsons. Keith Richards didn’t get his iconic tele until the early 70s and all that great late 60s stuff was cut with Les Pauls or other P90 Gibsons.

    It’s always fun to find out what’s actually used on your favourite tracks!



     
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  11. Jimmy R

    Jimmy R Member

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    I never understood why Eric Johnson was not on that list for "Cliffs of Dover" alone.
     
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  12. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    I assume the 1% for PRS is for Santana. But he didn’t make the list for anything he did with the PRS, or at least not primarily. Also, not having seen the list, I’m gonna assume that Cooder made it, and that you are putting him down as a Fender player, though it’s not clear at all to me to what extent the Coodercaster is still a Fender.
     
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  13. Melange

    Melange Member

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    same here
     
  14. Melange

    Melange Member

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    You are correct. I went back and forth with him. At the end decided to give it to PRS since that's what he uses now and it's his signature model . Cooder didn't make the list :-(
     
  15. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    Cooder not on the list immediately disqualifies it from any serious consideration.

    Also, it looks like you did not assign a make for Garcia. I would probably have put Doug Irwin on the list. Garcia used Gibsons early on, then a modded Fender for a couple years, then Irwin Guitars and a Travis Bean for a long time, and then Cripe guitars. Tough call actually, but I still think Irwin would be the one.
     
  16. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Who plays the Brian May guitar? :p
     
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  17. eigentone

    eigentone Silver Supporting Member

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    I see. Yeah, with some players it's obvious but it's hard with some of them and complicated to try to divide them. Thanks for the explanation.
     
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  18. eigentone

    eigentone Silver Supporting Member

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    Would that count as a Strat or 335? :hide
     
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  19. Melange

    Melange Member

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    that will remain a mistery :aok
     
  20. PickPlucker

    PickPlucker Member

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    Do you remember who played the Thompsons?
     

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