My New Favorites

I went to see Santana with my son last Saturday night, and I can tell you that 67-year-old Carlos Santana is still the man on the guitar.  2-3/4 hours of straight guitar and percussion goodness.

But my new guitar fav's are probably Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mexican guitarists who went from street musicians to stars in Ireland.  Here is Diablo Rojo

And while we are on guitarists, I can't help but give a shout out to fellow Princetonian Stanley Jordan, still the most amazing thing, technically, I have ever seen on guitar.  If it looks like he is playing piano rather than the guitar, that's because his original training was on the piano.  When playing piano, all one is doing is causing strings to get hit.  He wondered why he couldn't just do it directly.  Skip to about a minute in if you are impatient:

Or watch him playing two guitars at the same time in Stairway to Heaven around the 4:00 mark (Jimmy Page had his two-neck guitar but never played them at the same time!)

  • Vangel Vesovski

    For my money the best is still Buddy Guy.

  • Dr. T

    I like Carlos Santana, but Joe Satriani is my favorite guitarist. Joe turned 52 this July, so I can make the bad joke and say that now he's playing with a full deck.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Satriani does a little of the tapping & hammering like Jordan in some of his stuff, but I just can’t get excited about him like I used to (Surfing With The Alien was nearly as revolutionary to guitarists when it came out as Van Halen 1).

    Stanley Jordan cheats a little using alternate tuning (E A D G C F), making the intervals easier. “Normal” guitar tuning is fairly stupid.

    The more I hear the old stuff (Hendrix, Beatles, some Stones, Gilmour), the more I’m impressed by their technique and overall presence. Much of that got lost in the evolution of technology and music production.

  • After thirty-one years in live productions (lights), I still say that Santana put on the single best rock show I ever saw, for sheer musical blast. Manley Fieldhouse, Syracuse University, autumn of '79 or '80. About 4000-4500 people, four encores. I thought they would tear the place down.

  • Jeremy Ayrton

    Nils Lofgren used to have a pretty good act too. I recall seeing him at the Rainbow (I think it was, but it was a long time ago). He would play his guitar and a piano at the same time, and he and the other guitarist would play each others' guitar, left hand on their own instrument, picking the strings of the other guy's guitar with the right, if you follow me.

    But for me, the best I recall was Zappa. Not only was he superb musically, comparable to Garcia and Clapton, but he was much funnier. Those were the days!

  • Nils Lofgren -- several years ago, a friend of mine sat me down with a Bruce Springsteen DVD. Madison Square Garden. There are moments in that thing when Springsteen, Lofgren and Litte Stevie reminded me of Blue Oyster Cult for sheer guitar-dominance. The three of them working together were extremely powerful and I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn't expected that.