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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

OOtar, on Aug 8 2009, 04:07 PM, said:

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.

Didn't realize you mentioned him.

He was Chicago. After his death they got so gay as Cetera took over writing all those lame KOST love songs.

Chicago made Jazz rock hard during Kath's tenure.
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Mr. Naron, on Aug 9 2009, 08:22 PM, said:

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:

How many have actually heard of him? How many list him as their big influence? All of the Allman brother guitarists are underrated and each one was better than the one before.
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DodgerKing, on Aug 9 2009, 08:39 PM, said:

Mr. Naron, on Aug 9 2009, 08:22 PM, said:

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:

How many have actually heard of him? How many list him as their big influence? All of the Allman brother guitarists are underrated and each one was better than the one before.

I'm just saying the big time music writers obviously rate him very high. And, btw, I personally introduced Duane Allman to about 160 high school students. I'll introduce him to another 160 or so this year, too. :)
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JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 9 2009, 08:44 PM, said:

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.

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 . . .


It is a real live 1965 Ventures model Mosrite bass. I bought it from a well known Mosrite guitar guy named Tony Hunt in North Little Rock in 1983. Tony refinished it to this color. The frets are very low and it is pretty fast, if I was that good... :thumbsup: That's not Bogle in the picture, that's his replacement Bob Spaulding, the guy who accepted the induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Bogle.

Mel's son Leon is the drummer now and he's very good.
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Wyn, on Aug 9 2009, 09:50 PM, said:

JOCS, USNR(RET), on Aug 9 2009, 08:44 PM, said:

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.

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 . . .


It is a real live 1965 Ventures model Mosrite bass. I bought it from a well known Mosrite guitar guy named Tony Hunt in North Little Rock in 1983. Tony refinished it to this color. The frets are very low and it is pretty fast, if I was that good... :thumbsup: That's not Bogle in the picture, that's his replacement Bob Spaulding, the guy who accepted the induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Bogle.

Mel's son Leon is the drummer now and he's very good.


I envy you -- and I don't play bass! Gorgeous instrument. And with those autographs, it's a real keeper; now a true Mosrite Ventures six-string would be a real find, even though I don't play well enough to justify owning one. Sheesh! The guitars I make play better than I do; 'course arthritis ("trigger finger") in both ring fingers doesn't help a whole lot.

Thanx for the clear-up; both Bobs look(ed) much alike. My mistake. Mr. Bogle is now a member of the greatest band ever assembled.

You can't tell Leon from Mel, and that's a Good Thing. But Howie had the "touch" that "made" the Ventures sound over their first six, or so, albums (Mel first got credit on the "Telstar" album). Maybe this needs to be continued off-line . . .
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