Photo Gallery: The Top 10 Session Guitarists

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redspecial

My list for top 10 session guitarists will have to be:
1. Larry Carlton
2. Tommy Tedesco
3. Dann Huff
4. Steve Lukather
5. Eddie Willis/Joe Messina/Robert White - Funk Brothers
6. Steve Cropper
7. Steve Hunter
8. Norman Harris/Norman Chambers/Bobby Eli - MFSB
9. Jimmy Page
10. Chet Atkins

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Rob Roise

I realize there isn't room in a top 10 list to include everyone, and I'm not sure I'd argue with any of your choices... But my own list would have to include Michael Landau, Dann Huff, Paul Jackson, Jr., Tim May, Gordon Kennedy, Marty Walsh, and Glenn Pearce... And of coarse Luke, Tim Pierce, and Ron Zabrocki!

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GeorgeMarinelli

Ron, great article, and you're so right about Jimmie Page. Jeez, he played on "Goldfinger" in addition to those countless others you'd mentioned. I guess Zep eclipsed them in people's minds, but he had a career before being a 'band guy'.
gm

stevedunn

So many to choose from.... what to leave in, what to leave out... Good picks for sure. It is crazy to go through a cd collection and see how much these guys have done!

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RonZabrocki

OK! New challenge! These are my choices for STUDIO guitarists! Guys who have done serious time as session players....we all know there are thousands to choose from. Let's hear your TOP 10 choices!

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burnedarm

You gotta be kidding! Jimmy Page is an awesome guitarists, but his session days do not equate Eric CLapton or Jeff Becks, all of whom played for The Yardbirds. You have never heard of Jesse Ed Davis whom did run in the same cirlces as Steve Cropper and played for such a wide range of music genres in blues, jazz, country, R&B and Soul and of course Rock. I think Guitar World needs a more indepth writer than this guy!

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PRMike

Wait - aren't you the guy(girl) who defended Kiss and their early years awhile ago? WTF?

You really gotta lighten up dude. People are entitled to their opinion - just like you - but to say GuitarWorld.com needs a more in depth writer for missing someone on a list that could easily be a Top 100 list is just plain egotistical and....well basically....you need a life dude.

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RonZabrocki

Be nice...we all have our opinions.....

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RonZabrocki

Sorry you feel that way about my choices! I respect your comment, but do stand behind Jimmy Page as one of mine. Page was a fulltime-devoted studio guy from 1963. Below is a copy from Page's Bio.
"One night he was spotted by John Gibb of The Silhouettes, who asked him to help record some singles for EMI, including "The Worrying Kid".
Page then got an offer from Mike Leander of Decca Records which gave him regular studio work as a session guitarist.
On his first session for the label was the recording "Diamonds" by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan which went to Number 1 on the singles chart in early 1963.
After brief stints with Carter-Lewis & The Southerners, Mike Hurst's group, and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men. Page committed himself to full-time session work. As a session guitarist he was known as 'Little Jim' so there was no confusion with Big Jim Sullivan i.e. 'Big Jim'. Page was the favoured session guitarist of producer Shel Talmy, and therefore he ended up doing session work on songs for The Who and The Kinks as a direct result of the Talmy connection.
In 1964 Page's studio output included Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By" ,The Nashville Teens " Tobacco Road", The Rolling Stones "Heart of Stone", Van Morrison's "Baby Please Don't Go" and "Here Comes the Night", Dave Berry's "The Crying" and "My Baby Left Me" and Breand Lee's "Is It True".
Under the auspices of producer Talmy, Page contributed to The Kinks 1964 debut album (although, despite rumours to the contrary, he did not play any of the guitar solos); and he sat in on the sessions for The Who's first single "I Can't Explain", and played on the B-side "Bald Headed Woman".
In 1965, Page was hired by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Olham to act as house producer and A&R man for the new lable Immediate Records, which also allowed him to play on and/or produce tracks by John Mayall, Nico, Chirs Farlowe and Eric Clapton. Page also formed a brief songwriting partnership with then romantic interest, Jackie DeShannon. He worked as session musician on the Al Stewart album Love Chronicles in 1969. He also played guitar on five tracks of Joe Cocker's debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends. "

This certainly is not a full list and there were more after Zep. So, I hope this clarifies my position.
As far as Jessie Ed Davis...I am a small part American Indian and of course am completely aware of his fine playing! I wish he were still around. His playing with Clapton and Taj mahal and Lennon ..to name a few...was magnificent. I just felt my choices were based on volume of work AND basically MY influences. Jessie is sorely missed in a world of calculated playing...he had heart...and depth...and emotion. We should all strive for that.
Have a great day!
Ron Z

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sbtele49

Who have you missed? “Skunk” Baxter, Chris Spedding, Jesse Ed Davis, and Hank Garland - and that's just a start!

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RonZabrocki

I know there are thousands I could name and dozens in the top position, Skunk certainly one of them...wish I could have put a top 100!
Thanks for the comment...when I said who did I mis, I knew there were MANY choices...these, as I said, were mine!
Thanks for the comment..and by the way, Hank Garland should have an entire magazine dedicated to him!

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Togo

How about Joe Messina from the Funk Brothers? He did all the original Motown sessions. BTW - Brent Mason is a monster. I met him in Nashville once. He's incredible.

Love the blogs Ron!

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RonZabrocki

Brent is crazy good! Wish the Nashville Producers let him play more!

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SirBoyce73

...and Blues Saraceno

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RonZabrocki

Ya got me on Blues! I was always impressed with his playing, and plaid gtrs!, but was unaware how active he has been in TV and Movies! Great call!

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SirBoyce73

...and Blues Saraceno

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RichMurray

Mike Landau!!!

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RonZabrocki

Great choice! Wish I had room to include him. Tried to vary my choices into different era's and styles. I could easily had all 10 from the LA scene!

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andett

I'm surprised you left Lee Ritenour off. He's got plenty of session time along with his own stuff. Oh, and he's not bad either :)~

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RonZabrocki

Yeah....Rit was a tough one to leave off the list. I followed his work for years. I left him off because of Tommy and Larry were there before him, so he lost on seniority. But Rit can play and his solo music is stellar. Great choice!

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PRMike

Every time I hear the slide work David Lindley did with Jackson Brown, James Taylor, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart and others from that period.....I'm speechless. Brings me right back and made those songs great. His playing was always as important as the song. I didn't know who he was until I saw some guy play a lap steel and then sing the high part of Jackson Brown's "Stay". Very distinctive, classic. Don't know what he has done since but he made a big part of the 70s music what it was.

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RonZabrocki

OK. David was/is a seminal multi instrumentalist. Pure creativity on some of the craziest instruments I've ever seen! He sort of is a niche player with many but select artists. Always memorable, just not the typical studio rat! He has his own thing and that's why he get's called. Great choice!

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gberisha

What About the One and Only "Duane Allman"!
I almost stopped breathing when I noticed you didn't put him in there!

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RonZabrocki

I love Duane!!! I unfortunately could only include 10. These other guys have more sessions, but certainly if Duane survived, he would have been included in every list possible! Sorry. He's still my fav slide man...I felt I had to go with the numbers, and these guys are all fine guitarist's besides...
Thanks so much!
I'm going to talk to the guys about a someone doing a special blog on slide, and especially Duane.
Please breathe now.
Ron Z

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RonZabrocki

COME ON...LET'S HEAR IT! WHO DID I MISS!!!

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SirBoyce73

Jennifer Batten

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RonZabrocki

Jennifer Batten kicks ass! Not really a session player, more of a live hired gun! But she is a talent!

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guitaricci

hey ron! great article. how about a list on the top 10 hired guns. like greg howe, andy fairweather low and the others. that would be cool.

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RonZabrocki

Great idea! thanks!

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