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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/23 12:37 p.m.

A topic of conversation during last night's guitar lesson/therapy session:

Will we ever see another guitar god?

Growing up, a lot of us worshiped the usual suspects: Jimi and Eddie, Angus and Townsend. 

One thing they all had in common: They were barely in their 20s, if that, when achieving that fame. Looking forward, who's going to fill in those shoes and get the next generation to pick up a guitar? 

Mark Tremonti? (age 46)

Joe Bonamassa? (age 45)

John Mayer? (age 45)

Tosin Abasi? (age 40)

St. Vincent? (age 40)

Orianthi? (age 38)

Nita Strauss? (age 36)

Taylor Swift? (age 33)

As my teacher notes, to someone high school, all those people are old. 

Discuss. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
2/10/23 12:44 p.m.

As a side note, it's always interesting to see that many under-the-radar but exceptionally talented guitar players (Gina Gleason of Baroness and Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails come to mind) have previously played with Cirque du Soleil. And that kind of makes sense because you're providing a live backing track to a live performance so your adjustment and improv skills, while still maintaining a very high level of accuracy, need to be really on point.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/10/23 12:48 p.m.

Tim Henson/Polyphia (age 29)

In the internet/IG/TikTok age, what makes a "guitar god" has changed.  Honestly, given the demographic of the guitar players on this forum (mostly older), I'm not sure we're qualified to answer.   The last two guitarists I saw live are older than me (Dar Williams - 55; and Chris Smither - 79).  And while I do listen to newer music, the artists themselves are in their 60's (Iron Maiden). 

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/10/23 12:51 p.m.

Billy Strings?

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/10/23 12:52 p.m.

Sure we will. It isn't going to be as mainstream, because of how the music industry and tastes have transformed over time, but they're definitely out there. Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Danny Donato...

I'm most familiar with bluegrass/folky stuff, but I'm sure there are tons of others in every genre.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/10/23 12:52 p.m.

The reason you're not seeing "guitar gods" is because popular music is not based around the guitar anymore. They're still out there, they're just not front and center.

I've had a long dinner discussion with a fellow musician who has been in the pit during Cirque performances. There's a surprising amount of reacting going on to what's onstage - they're adjusting constantly. You've gotta be good.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/23 12:53 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

Tim Henson/Polyphia (age 29)

In the internet/IG/TikTok age, what makes a "guitar god" has changed.  Honestly, given the demographic of the guitar players on this forum (mostly older), I'm not sure we're qualified to answer.   The last two guitarists I saw live are older than me (Dar Williams - 55; and Chris Smither - 79).  And while I do listen to newer music, the artists themselves are in their 60's (Iron Maiden). 

All good points.

What started the conversation: At last weekend's guitar show, I was among the younger people there. 

On the other hand, I believe PRS just had its best year ever. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/10/23 12:53 p.m.
EvanB said:

Billy Strings?

case in point - I'd never heard of him. But I don't really follow the bluegrass music scene.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/10/23 12:53 p.m.

Gabriella Quevedo is what, 26?

 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/10/23 12:59 p.m.

Andrei Cerbu if you like your guitar with a slightly harder edge:

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/10/23 1:07 p.m.

He's not exactly young anymore, but I'm huge fan of Brent Hinds. His crazy solos and "chickn' pickn'" are pretty unique for his genre.

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/10/23 1:09 p.m.

Kingfish? 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/10/23 1:09 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Guitar shows tend to be more collector focused and not really player focused.  I went to the first one I've been to in decades last year; partly to sell a semi-vintage guitar I had and didn't play and to look for a truss rod cover for my '79 LP Custom.  I have a hankering for a late-70's Strat, so I "might" go again with a wad of $$ when I can figure out a price range.  But again, that kinda falls into that "collector" realm... and it's usually folks our age or older who have the disposable income to spend that much on a guitar.

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
2/10/23 1:11 p.m.

I don't think so. Not in the same way. Guitar driven music isn't as popular. When the early guitar gods came on the scene, the public had been eating a steady diet of Elvis, Beatles, and their rock-n-roll contemporaries for a decade or more. That's what was on the radio. That was the western worlds mainstream music. So then the guys that came on the scene as prolific guitarists were building on that main course. They were the gravy at thanksgiving. 
These days I think the music scene has shifted. Most of the stuff on the radio (who even listens to that anymore?) is pop/rap/country/rock/whatever, but it's way more disposable, and even the heavy guitar guys don't really have anything to show that is both revolutionary and culturally relevant. 

Not to say there isn't talent; by all means they folks you see if you're looking are inarguably more proficient than the Hendrix/Page/Clapton/EVH generations. There's guys like Zakk Wylde, who landed the gig with Ozzy at 19 and is still going into his 50s. Or Petrucci. Or a million others. Tosin, Tim Henson, Ostro, the new generation is amazing, but they're making music for music nerds not for the masses. 
My personal favorite is Brent Hinds, but nobody who isn't a dork-level metal head is going to 1-know the name, 2-tolerate the tunes. 
 

I suppose it isn't just the guitar gods that have disappeared though, it's the rockstar. 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
2/10/23 1:26 p.m.

Hopefully not? When I think of "guitar god" I think of the insane players and I personally have little interest in them other than passing admiration for their mental fortitude to solo that long without getting bored like I do listening to it. When I think back a little further to your examples I don't think of those guys in that same context, I put them into the player/songwriter category which I have more respect for. I'd take a Bob Dylan over a Malmstein any day .. one gets to the point and moves the needle the other guy noodles. Meh.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/10/23 1:27 p.m.
barefootcyborg5000 said:


My personal favorite is Brent Hinds, but nobody who isn't a dork-level metal head is going to 1-know the name, 2-tolerate the tunes. 
 

I suppose it isn't just the guitar gods that have disappeared though, it's the rockstar. 

WWHHhhhaaaaaattt!!! Did you see what I just posted above you?

My fiance is terrible at keeping secrets so she let me know this week she got us Meet-and-greats for Mastodon at the Gojira/Mastodon show in April here in OKC.

There's alot of backstory that makes it so much more important than it seems.

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
2/10/23 1:28 p.m.

Also of note:

Id consider Prince a guitar god, though he'd be absent from most folks lists. 
 

Post Malone is a fair hand as well, but that's isn't what he's selling. 

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
2/10/23 1:30 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Oh I'm probably going to be at their Vegas date in April. Having met the guy in atl, and depending on the level of inebriation, you'll have a good time. He's an absolutely phenomenal musician. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/10/23 1:32 p.m.

Went to check how old Buckethead is.

Not young...

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/10/23 1:36 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Joe has been a guitar god since he was barely a teenager. I've always been surprised that he hasn't achieved more mainstream popularity. I may be tainted since he is from where I am and I used to fly RC planes with his dad but man can that guy play. 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
2/10/23 1:36 p.m.
barefootcyborg5000 said:

Also of note:

Id consider Prince a guitar god, though he'd be absent from most folks lists. 
 

Post Malone is a fair hand as well, but that's isn't what he's selling. 

LOL I was just thinking of Post Malone.  Dude is pretty talented.  

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/10/23 1:38 p.m.
barefootcyborg5000 said:

In reply to z31maniac :

Oh I'm probably going to be at their Vegas date in April. Having met the guy in atl, and depending on the level of inebriation, you'll have a good time. He's an absolutely phenomenal musician. 

I flew out to a meet and greet back in Nov '14 with them. My now ex-wife, proceeded to get so blasted we got kicked out of the show and didn't even get to see their performance. Just Kverletak and part of Gojira.

That wasn't the deciding factor, but we didn't live together anymore within a few months. 

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
2/10/23 1:49 p.m.
GameboyRMH said:

Went to check how old Buckethead is.

Not young...

Buckethead is a prime example. He wasn't doing anything (before the bucket) that would really set him apart from other shredders like Vai, Satriani, malmsteen, so add in some theatrics and get involved with video games (pop culture relevance) and finally get your (stage) name on the radar. 

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/10/23 2:00 p.m.

My 19 year old had his rap blasting in my car a while ago and of course I complained because it is not (in my elderly opinion) very good music. among other things I said that music was substandard today because the guitar solo had become extinct. His answer was "there is a good reason for that dad." 

Oh well. My oldest still likes country at least. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/10/23 2:20 p.m.
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) said:

My 19 year old had his rap blasting in my car a while ago and of course I complained because it is not (in my elderly opinion) very good music. 

As a friend of mine once said, "the 'c' is silent." :)

One thing to consider is that in the 50s and 60s musicians could really only connect with fans through the music itself.  Yes there were live shows and liner notes and stuff like that, but that was not all that commonly referenced by most people.  Then in the 80s MTV came along and all of a sudden fans were seeing their favorite artists dancing, acting, and performing in a larger setting.  Go forward another 20 years and with the popularization of the Internet there are even more ways to connect, look at the fan club/social networking "little monsters" thing that Lady Gaga has going on for example.  I suspect that the broadening of this interaction is going to result in each individual aspect being less deep.  If so, then it stands to reason that focusing just on guitar playing would be one of them.

 

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