The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time
Players whose talents, attitude and style have made the guitar the coolest instrument ever.
Born November 27, 1942 (died September 18, 1970)
Band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys
Iconic Guitar Fender Stratocaster
Coolest Riff "Machine Gun" — Band of Gypsys
Most guitarists view the guitar in terms of scales to master and tones to tame, but Jimi Hendrix viewed the instrument as an open canvas for his imagination, pulling sounds out of his Stratocaster and Marshall stacks that no one previously knew the guitar was capable of making.
The first guitarist to chain effect pedals together, Hendrix combined their tones and textures with whammy bar squeals and growls and unorthodox playing techniques to make the guitar sound like a symphony, animals, armies or the far reaches of outer space. While most Sixties psychedelic music was banal bubblegum pop with fuzz-tone guitar hooks, Hendrix made music that actually sounded like a trip after ingesting a cocktail of LSD, mushrooms and THC.
What makes Hendrix stand out is how he could play chilling, beautiful music without the sonic bombast as well. Naked, unadorned songs like “Little Wing” and “Red House” still burn with intensity even without sound effects and studio trickery, showing Jimi’s uncanny ability to speak through his instrument.
His playing shocked, awed and frightened even Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, who still view Hendrix as some sort of supernatural, mythical being. Of course, they may have also been scared of how Jimi could make even a puffy shirt and a marching band jacket look fashionable.
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