I have now had four guitar lessons and week three was the best fun yet as I was given twelve bar Blues (in various keys) and Johnny B. Goode to practice for homework; my first real tunes. Excellent!
On the face of it, you would think it was a fairly simple question. If, for example, I was asked to name my favourite band, the answer, without a moments thought, would be, Rush. If I was asked for a favourite drummer, it's Neil Peart - no question. Favourite bass player - silly question. Nobody has a favourite bass player. (Or at least nobody important, so we can safely ignore them.) But favourite guitarist... I'm finding that tricky.
One issue is a question of style. Are we talking Rock, or Metal, or Blues, or... Here are some examples and contenders to make my point:
I still remember hearing Van Halen's debut album for the first time (I bought it on cassette!). I was simply stunned by Eruption - 1 minute 42 seconds worth of guitar genius. I'm still hugely impressed with it, so does that make Eddie Van Halen my favourite? Well perhaps. At least he might be until I listen to John Lee Hooker who is perhaps the complete antithesis of Eddie's finger tapping pyrotechnics but a single-note solo from Mr Hooker, accompanied by foot-stomping and moans can blow the flashier competition out of the water with its power and emotional depth. Then moving sideways to Chris Whitley, we have a sparse, almost discordant guitar sound that can be achingly beautiful. Or there's Stevie Ray Vaughan (who I first heard on a single by David Bowie), and Clapton, and Hendrix, and Page, and Young, and ... the list goes on. How are you supposed to pick a favourite?
If I pick a favourite today, it is likely to change tomorrow. But if you force me to pick one, just now I'd probably go for Joe Bonamassa. I like the way his solos flow naturally out of the music so they don't feel tacked on as an afterthought. He is steeped in the Blues but he knows his Rock and isn't afraid to experiment and explore other genres. And he is frighteningly prolific!
So, today, it is Mr Bonamassa. Tomorrow, who knows?
Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just me? Who is your favourite?