Top Ten Blues Guitarists – Part One

Lists are difficult …

Especially when it comes to something as unique and divers as music. One person’s junk is another man’s treasure. Human nature. Human choice. Human ears …

The Blues are an integral part of so many forms of music. Arguably – the single most used genre in every genre known. Rock n Roll … the Blues. Country … the Blues. Jazz … the Blues. On and on right up into Rap and Hip-Hop. Is it impossible to narrow down a group of guitar playing blues men to a Top Ten list of the greatest …? Probably. But why not try? Why not irk the millions of music fans around the planet who will surely disagree with some – if not most of the choices?

Here are the Top Ten Blues guitarists …

10.  Buddy Guy

Considered the first Blues player to combine showmanship with talent. A scholar of B.B King and T-Bone Walker. Once Guy arrived commercially with the release of ‘Damn Right I got the Blues‘ in 1991 – there was no turning back. For fans – for musicians – for Guy …

Geez, you can’t forget Buddy Guy. He transcended blues and started becoming theater. It was high art, kind of like drama theater when he played, you know. He was playing behind his head long before Hendrix. I once saw him throw the guitar up in the air and catch it in the same chord. – Jeff Beck


9. Eric Clapton

Clapton was the first Englishman to pick up a guitar and emulate every Blues guitarist that came before him. Adding his own talent and songwriting – allowed Clapton to become known as God in the music world. An inspiration to every white Blues and Rock guitarist who followed, Clapton also helped to elevate the style of Country Blues to a higher level by imitating his friend and mentor – J. J. Cale.


8. Otis Rush

Probably the least -known guitarist on the list to the general public. Not with Blues musicians however. His ‘bending’ of chords, considered to be among the first and an inspiration to Clapton and Buddy Guy.  No Rush – no Clapton.

A guy will promise you the world and give you nothin’, and that’s the blues.

-Otis Rush


7. Elmore James

The ‘Father of the Slide’. Elmore James was the precursor for most of the Blues – oriented artists who rose to fame in the sixties and onwards. His version of ‘Dust my Broom’ ( an argument exists as to whether he or Robert Johnson wrote it), remains the most recognizable riff in Blues music. Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones ( the Rolling Stones) – both highly influenced by James’ ‘electrifying’ of the slide guitar. Along with Muddy Waters – a forefather of ‘loud’ Blues …


6. Muddy Waters

The inspiration of The Rolling Stones – in spirit and literally.  His song; Rollin’ Stone, the perfect name for the perfect Blues band -turned Greatest Rock n Roll band of all time. His ‘pluggin in and turning up’ the guitar to levels previously unheard of in England and most of the world. Author of some of the greatest Blues tracks ever and a teacher to everyone. The father of modern Chicago blues.

“It’s going to be years and years before most people realize how greatly he contributed to American music” – B.B King


Stay tuned for Part Two

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