The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time
Players whose talents, attitude and style have made the guitar the coolest instrument ever.
Born January 23, 1910 (died May 16, 1953)
Band Quintette du Hot Club de France
Iconic Guitar Selmer Modèle Jazz
Coolest Riff “Mystery Pacific”—The Very Best of Django Reinhardt
Electric guitarists like Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker rightfully get a lot of credit for introducing the concept of the single-string electric guitar solo, but many historians forget that Belgian Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was shredding the strings a few years before those gents—and he didn’t need electricity.
The acoustic solos Reinhardt recorded with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France between 1936 and 1940 are simply astounding displays of virtuosity, melodic taste and speed that left indelible impressions on players throughout several generations, including Les Paul, Jimmy Page and Michael Angelo Batio. Django didn’t even need all four fretting fingers either, using only two left hand fingers to play complicated chords and hyperspeed solos (his third and fourth fingers were badly burned in a fire).
Django’s “handicap” later inspired Tony Iommi and Jerry Garcia to keep playing guitar after they permanently injured their fretting hands. Django lived life as hard and fast as he played guitar. A notorious gambler, drinker, gourmand and womanizer, he died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 43, but his solos continue to awe players today.
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