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RightNation.US: All Time Most Underrated Guitar Player - RightNation.US

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My Facebook pals and a few of you other readers know about my last minute procurement of tickets to see Journey and Night Ranger last weekend. For those of you who hadn't heard, well, it happened. And it was awesome. Arnel Pineda is a great way for the Philippines to pay us back for World War II. That little dude can sang. And Neil Schon is an American treasure. That guy has been on top or near the top of the music scene for over forty years, and he still comes out night after night and rocks his wrinkled old butt off. Keyboardist, Johnathan Cain and drummer, Deen Castronovo were worth the price of admission as well. It was just an honor seeing original bassist Ross Valory. These guys know how to bring joy to their fans.

Something struck me during Night Ranger's opening set, though. These guys are top notch rock musicians who deserve to be known for more than their ballad, "Sister Christian". And that leads me to this week's list of the most underrated guitarists in rock...

5. Brad Gillis

You've got to be one heck of a guitar player to replace Randy Rhodes on short notice, and that's just what Gillis did. Bernie Torme had tried to fill in but couldn't handle the pressure of learning the songs and playing before a mournful crowd.

4. Jake E. Lee

I know this is beginning to look like a six degrees of Ozzy Osbourne list, but I assure you I've been pondering Jake's place in the pantheon of guitar gods for some time now. I know why he isn't more admired as a guitarist--he hasn't really done much since the release of Ozzy's The Ultimate Sin aside from his work with Badlands, which was good but not a great showcase for his creativity. But I think he was a much better collaborator and performer for Ozzy than Zack Wylde. Nothing against Zack, but Ozzy has never been able to approach the kind of greatness he had with Randy since Jake left. Oh, and Jake co-wrote "Holy Diver" when he was with Dio.

3. Vivian Campbell

Speaking of Dio guitarists, Campbell has played with the elf king as well as Whitesnake and Def Leppard, his current band. Not a bad resume. He's one of those guys who can come in and play for anyone.

2. Steve Morse

This is probably the best guitar player you've never heard of unless you're a guitar player yourself. Well, a rock, jazz, country or classical guitar player. If you're a punk guitar player you're probably not reading this anyway because your attention span ran out before you even got to the list. But I digress. The best Deep Purple show I ever saw did not feature Ritchie Blackmore, it featured Steve Morse. Plus he's one of the few rockers with a college degree who doesn't annoy the crap out of you with their politics.

1. Oz Fox

The reason why this guy isn't more revered--Christian rock. Despite the fact that his band, Stryper, had chart success and heavy MTV rotation, they were never able to shake off the baggage that comes with being a Christian band. And it's a shame because few guitarists in the world can match Oz's clean, technical style.

My Mind is Clean
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45 Comments On This Entry

Rick Nielsen is so underrated, he doesn't even make it on to the underrated list.
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DoD Smackdown, on Aug 8 2009, 01:38 PM, said:

Rick Nielsen is so underrated, he doesn't even make it on to the underrated list.

How can RS put Cobain on both lists? Retarded. We have to keep in mind that this is the same outfit that refuses to put RUSH in the R&R Hall of Fame.

Nielsen suffers from the same prejudice as Brad Gillis, I think.
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I think Rush Limbaugh should be in the R&R Hall Of Fame
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How bout a guy that Jimi Hendrix claimed was a better guitarist than him?

None other than Terry Kath, the heart and soul of the band Chicago.
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brian fellow's safari plan, on Aug 8 2009, 03:42 PM, said:

Many have already said Lyndsey Buckingham.

Are we saying 'great guitar players' or underrated, meaning they don't get the critical acclaim or people don't know of them.

I would add:

- Phil Keaggy
- Mark Knopfler - very unique style
- Ottmar Liebert
- Alan Holdsworth
- Jeff Buckley

He's one of my all time favorites. He's pretty well admired both in and out of musical circles, though. Dire Straits were wildly popular in the mid 80s.

Phil Keaggy is in the same boat as Oz Fox, both will spend eternity in paradise where they'll never know sorrow or pain, but they can't get a sniff from Rolling Stone.
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Hmmmm....underrated guitar greats...
my .02
Johnny Winter
will sargent
ty tabor (kings X)
flash bathory (RIP) - Look her up on you tube....so gifted an' tragically taken away
Stanley Jordan
jaoa Gilberto
Adrian Belew
Jane Weidlin
Daniel Ash
Don't know his name, but the guitar player for "The Ocean Blue" has some incredible chops that won't offend your ears (ballerina out of control, between something and nothing, drifting falling)

Sorry, Mr. N, but i could probably go on forever...there are soooo many guitar players better than me.
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Scotty Anderson

Never heard of him, did you B)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McjZiyWFbN4...feature=related

Brent Mason

He's not under rated in some circles, but very few people know all the stuff this guy can do and does do. Any style. He's only well known for one. He's played on so many records, rock, blues, and otherwise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOCq6lh9DMc...feature=related

Martin Barre - His later stuff is better played. But Aqualung had one of the best solos of all time imho

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9T8t3lcWs...feature=related

Jan Akkerman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGsTb__854w...feature=related

John Eric

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5jip62earg...PL&index=69

Tony Melendez - If you haven't seen this guy, watch it!! This is great guitar playing, no matter how he does it.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=5aJ2zP78MM4

Ritchie Blackmore - he should be top 5 all time imho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZv1NgAcsmc...feature=related
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Gotta go with Davey Johnstone. Guy can play anything, including a great mandolin!
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firecoco, on Aug 8 2009, 04:21 PM, said:

Not according to me, Rolling Stone and Wyn B)


Dam right!!

As far as underrated, how bout Robbie Kreiger of the Doors?
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Brian Setzer - from his Stray Cats Days
Bob Bogle - RIP
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Guest, on Aug 8 2009, 10:10 PM, said:

Alex Lifeson

:thumbsup:
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JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 8 2009, 10:24 PM, said:

Brian Setzer - from his Stray Cats Days
Bob Bogle - RIP


All right! Another Ventures fan! I would also throw in Gerry McGee and Nokie Edwards.
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Fred Head, on Aug 9 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 8 2009, 10:24 PM, said:

Brian Setzer - from his Stray Cats Days
Bob Bogle - RIP


All right! Another Ventures fan! I would also throw in Gerry McGee and Nokie Edwards.


Posted Image

Nokie holding my bass. They played Epcot last April for three days and had a fan get together one of the days. Signed everything in sight. Fiona Taylor took my pickguard, sent it to Bob Bogle, he signed it and sent it back. I got it a month before he died.

Posted Image

Nokie is 75 years old and still has amazing dexterity in his fingers. He can still play like he was a kid!
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Some great mentions so far. I'll add 5 that nobody's said yet:


C.C. DeVille (Poison)-No, this is not a joke. I'm not arguing that he was/is the second coming of Hendrix or should be a part of the next G3 tour, but he's hardly the hack that most critics make him out to be. The guy CAN play.......and pretty darned good too.


Rex Carroll (Whitecross)-Another Christian rock guitarist who never got the recognition he deserved because.....well, he's a Christian Rock guitarist.

Charlie Daniels (Charlie Daniels Band)-Everyone thinks of him as a fiddle player, but until recently, he only played the fiddle on 1 or 2 songs per album and only for the last half hour of his concerts. The guy is an amazing guitar player, often utilizing Spanish-style scales for his riffs and solos and playing in tamdem with his other guitar player Tom Crain.

Albert Lee (Emmylou Harris's Hot Band/Solo)-While Brad Paisley and Keith Urban were still watching "Sesame Street", Lee was tearing it up on stage with Emmylou Harris for much of the 70's and early '80's. Look him up on youtube, the man tears it up and could humble many guys we usually think of as Guitar Heroes.

Howard Leese (Heart/Paul Rodgers Band)-I saw Heart twice with him and once without him.....I wanted my money back the time I saw them without him. Holy crap can this guy shred! I know Roger Fischer was the original guitar player, but Leese's solos for "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You" were WAY better than the originals. Plus, Leese was also the keyboardist for Heart and a couple songs featured Leese hammering on solos with his left hand, while playing the keyboard parts with his right. Jawdropping!
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Doc, on Aug 8 2009, 07:00 PM, said:

Ritchie Blackmore - he should be top 5 all time imho.


I'll second that. Back in the Deep Purple days, he was dismissed as 'just' a heavy metal guitarist. But he goes way beyond that, and has stood the test of time.
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Kenny Wayne Sheppard

Jeff Beck

Terry Kath. Chicago got more popular after his death. IMO, they got much worse and he was Chicago and did most of the vocals. Peter Cetera, the bass player, took over the lead vocal role on most songs afterward and they quickly got gay.

Here is Kath doing a solo on his song, "Make Me Smile". Solo starts about 3:30 into the song.


Allman Brothers produced several of them: Duane Allman, Dickey Betts and Warren Hayes, and the best of all, Derek Trucks (with his uncle playing drums behind him and Warren Hayes assisting him). His wife, Susan Tedeschi ain't to bad herself. Although both are too young to be considered underrated at this point,
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Wyn, on Aug 9 2009, 05:51 AM, said:

Fred Head, on Aug 9 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 8 2009, 10:24 PM, said:

Brian Setzer - from his Stray Cats Days
Bob Bogle - RIP


All right! Another Ventures fan! I would also throw in Gerry McGee and Nokie Edwards.


Posted Image

Nokie holding my bass. They played Epcot last April for three days and had a fan get together one of the days. Signed everything in sight. Fiona Taylor took my pickguard, sent it to Bob Bogle, he signed it and sent it back. I got it a month before he died.

Posted Image

Nokie is 75 years old and still has amazing dexterity in his fingers. He can still play like he was a kid!


Where did you get that Mosrite - is it a real Ventures Model, not one of the ubitiquous ripoffs? Are the frets really as low as I've heard; i.e. no thicker than a couple of coats of paint? Looks like Bogle in the pic next to Nokie -- and he doesn't look well, more's the pity. You've heard the story, of course, of how Nokie traded Don Wilson Strat for Precision Bass on stage, in a concert, and they never looked back. Says a lot about Wilson's ability, too.

Nokie Edwards and Don wilson should be on this underrated list, too.

Off topic, but I think Howie Johnson was the definitive Ventures drummer. Not to take anything away from Mel Taylor, but there's just that nuance of difference . . .
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Fred Head, on Aug 9 2009, 02:39 AM, said:

JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 8 2009, 10:24 PM, said:

Brian Setzer - from his Stray Cats Days
Bob Bogle - RIP


All right! Another Ventures fan! I would also throw in Gerry McGee and Nokie Edwards.


You got that right! McGee fit in seamlessly when Nokie "retired" to his horse ranch. And when Nokie came back, Gerry stayed around and sat in as needed -- and who could tell the diffrence?
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DodgerKing, on Aug 9 2009, 05:29 PM, said:

Kenny Wayne Sheppard

Jeff Beck

Terry Kath. Chicago got more popular after his death. IMO, they got much worse and he was Chicago and did most of the vocals. Peter Cetera, the bass player, took over the lead vocal role on most songs afterward and they quickly got gay.

Here is Kath doing a solo on his song, "Make Me Smile". Solo starts about 3:30 into the song.
Allman Brothers produced several of them: Duane Allman, Dickey Betts and Warren Hayes, and the best of all, Derek Trucks (with his uncle playing drums behind him and Warren Hayes assisting him). His wife, Susan Tedeschi ain't to bad herself. Although both are too young to be considered underrated at this point,

Duane Allman was voted the second greatest guitarist of all time by RS, so I'm not sure how underrated he was. Maybe by the general public. :thumbsup:
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I almost forgot, the guy I think is very underrated, Walter Becker
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