The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time
Players whose talents, attitude and style have made the guitar the coolest instrument ever.
Born November 4, 1956 (died June 16, 1982)
Band The Pretenders
Iconic Guitar 1980 custom metal-front Zemaitis
Coolest Riff “Tattooed Love Boys”—The Pretenders
James Honeyman-Scott’s moment in the spotlight was far too brief. He recorded only two albums with the Pretenders before he died of heart failure, but those tracks revealed incredible talent and versatility that quickly made him the most revered guitarist to emerge during the early days of post-punk new wave.
Honeyman-Scott’s solos were concise and economical, getting the point across in only a few measures. His solo on “Kid” is a pop song unto itself that evokes the Beatles’ finest melodic moments, while his three- and four-second bursts on “Tattooed Love Boys” unleash more emotion, fire and style than most guitarists can convey in an extended 15-minute solo.
Unlike most new wave guitarists at the dawn of the Eighties, Honeyman-Scott had impeccable fashion sense. He always maintained a timeless detached rocker look, and his aviator shades, medium-length shag haircut, suit jacket and jeans attire never really went out of style, unlike the geometric haircuts and DayGlo suits that many of his contemporaries wore. He always played the coolest guitars onstage as well, from classic Gibson Les Pauls and Firebirds to custom-made Hamers and Zemaitis metal-front guitars.
He even married a model with coolest imaginable name for a guitarist’s girlfriend—Peggy Sue Fender.
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