Leo'z Guitarz n' Stuff


Here are some guitar players who have made an impact on me over the years. Please do not construe this as a "best players" list. In the first place, I've never been one to subscribe to the "this guy is better than that guy" school of thought. In fact, I honestly believe that those who do think in those terms are missing the boat. It's not about who is better or not, but about what each has to say musically. I can honestly say that there are not many players whom I do not appreciate, but some of them just strike a chord and resonate with me more than others. These are the ones I listen to most.
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Jake E Lee
I jumped on the Jake bandwagon late in the game - '89 to be exact. After Randy died, I simply didn't want anything to do with Ozzy or his sidemen. It wasn't until I heard Badlands that I gave Jake a serious listen and I definitely liked what I heard. Jake is not your typical "metal" player - there's way more going on than that. His playing
is heavily rooted in the blues and is much more soulful than most of the 80's shredders. After seeing him play live five feet in front of my face, I became a true believer - the man is probably my favorite of them all.
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George Lynch
I think the reason I was drawn to the playing of George Lynch is that George never tried to be the next Eddie - he had his own thing going and he went with it. I've always been a fan of George's tone - especially on Dokken's Back for the Attack and Lynch Mob's Wicked Sensation. Can anyone say Soldano SLO100? My favorite recording of his is the
Sacred Groove CD, but for some reason he's not that fond of it himself. I recently got to spend some time with George at a local clinic, and I have to say he is probably the nicest, most humble guy you will ever meet.
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Edward Van Halen
No one changed the guitar world the way Edward Van Halen did when he burst on the scene in '78. His playing was fresh, innovative, agressive and he introduced the world to the infamous "Brown Sound" that has since become the holy grail of tone. I really can't say enough good about Eddie and Van Halen. To me, they epitomize what rock n' roll is all
about - great songs, great musicianship and having a good time. Although Van Halen 1 and Fair Warning are my favorites in terms of tone and chops, there really is no such thing as a bad Van Halen recording.
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Randy Rhoads
Randy was the first player to come along after Eddie that I got excited about. He had the same fire and agression in his playing as Eddie, but was much more structured and disciplined in his approach due to his classical training. Like Eddie, Randy was a songwriter and rythym player first. Unfortunately, we lost Randy on March 19, 1982, but the recordings
he left behind shall live on forever. Those of us who had the priviledge of witnessing Randy perform live will never forget the magical experience. Randy was one of a kind, and was truly the ultimate rock star.
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Gary Moore
While he never got the attention he deserved in the States, Gary Moore is one of the finest players to ever touch an electric guitar. He can rip it up and shred with the best of them, but his true mastery of the instrument shines through in his more subtle compositions, where his flawless phrasing and elegant choice of notes has created some of the 
most beautiful and emotional guitar music ever. Two compositions that stand out in my mind are Empty Rooms and The Loner, although his vast catalog is sure to have something that will please everyone.
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"Dimebag" Darrell Abbot
Dime is often dismissed by the snob crowd as just another metal player, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even though he could easily rip your face off with his monsterous chops, Darrell played with a lot of soul and emotion. Like Randy Rhoads before him, Dime's choice of notes was much more structured and disciplined than the average
shredder. He was also one of the only guitar players that continued to carry the torch for metal throughout the grunge era of the '90's. Sadly, Darrell was taken from us on Dec 08, 2004. May he rest in peace.
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Brian May
I can't say enough good about the playing of Brian May. This is a guy who is nothing short of a virtuoso guitar player, yet he continually takes a back seat and plays entirely for the song. His leads may not be the most flashy or speedy, but I honestly don't believe that anyone could possibly play anything in their place that would fit better within the
framework of the song. This, my friends, is what it's all about in the big scheme of things. Like Gary Moore, Brian's phrasing and execution is utterly perfect and his songs with Freddie Mercury are nothing short of masterpieces.
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Michael Schenker
UFO was one of my favorite bands in the '70's, and Michael Schenker's fluid, melodic guitar work still holds up against anything that has come out since. Strangers in the Night is easily one of the best live recordings ever, and his solo One Night at Budokan picked right up where Strangers left off. Unlike most of today's shredders, I can listen
to Michael Schenker play endlessly. He was truly the unknown EVH before EVH hit the scene in '78. I'll never understand why bands like UFO and Thin Lizzy never achieved the level of success they deserved.
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Joe Perry & Brad Whitford
Perry and Whitford are a team thats hard to beat. I absolutely cannot get enough of those early Aerosmith recordings. These two work together like a finely tuned machine with individual parts that are interwoven so well that you need both parts to make it work. Everything that one plays compliments the other with perfection. This is evident going all
the way back to the very first Aerosmith record in 1973 and continues to this day, although my favorite works of theirs are those up to Night in the Ruts. These two definitely set the standard for a twin guitar "team".
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Freddie Nelson
While not well known outside the Pittsburgh area, Freddie Nelson is one helluva guitar player. Those of us who saw him play with Triple-X in the late 80's and early 90's can certainly attest to that. I know I have left many a Triple-X show thinking "I've got to go home and practice". Recently, Freddie has teamed up with Paul Gilbert for the
"United States" CD - finally getting some recognition for his efforts. Freddie is also an accomplished singer and songwriter. Hopefully, his latest work with Paul Gilbert will allow more people to appreciate what he has to offer.
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Jimi Hendrix
How can any serious guitar player not appreciate the work of Jimi Hendrix? The magic of Hendrix is not in the notes he plays, but how he plays them. Jimi's playing truly touches the soul with emotion. RIP Jimi - your legend will live forever.
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Jerry Cantrell
Alice in Chains is often dismissed as a grunge band, but I hear more Black Sabbath than grunge in the playing of Jerry Cantrell. Jerry takes the dark, heavy riffing pioneered by Tony Iommi decades earlier in an even darker, moodier direction. 
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