The latest issue of Rolling Stone updates the rag’s “The 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time” list of 2003 with a new crop of six-string deities. They didn’t rank ’em, but they did prominently feature three: John Mayer, Derek Trucks, and John Frusciante. And like good little apostles, all three have divine praise for Jimi:
John Mayer: As for Hendrix, all guitar players feel that way: “I’m not him” … The songs on Axis are an extension of beautiful guitar playing. You can almost hear Hendrix looking at the guitar as he plays, going, “I wonder what that does?” There is an element of discovery. Are You Experienced? is like a rough draft. Axis sounds like the colors on the cover.
Derek Trucks: I almost feel like pedals are a cop-out. I hate to say it’s always that way. Guys like Hendrix use them as their voice. But I’ve never had the urge.
John Frusciante: I’m an Electric Ladyland guy. His music always sounds perfect to me, because he’s bending sound, taking care of music in every dimension. Where most people think of it in two dimensions, he’s thinking of it in four. I don’t think there’s a better guitar player in history. He’s not something that can be improved on. And there’s the spirit that goes into it. He creates a place where you can be high and hang out and lose yourself. He’s bringing out aspects of sound we didn’t know were there. I feel there are people moving ahead on that front, but they’re not so much guitar players — like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. They continue the work of Jimi Hendrix started, but not on guitar.
The rest of RS’s picks come with cute descriptors. Jack’s is the best.
The Avant Romantic: Nels Cline (Wilco)
Blues-Rock Warrior: Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule)
Skynyrd Art-Theorists: Jim James & Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket)
Prog-Metal King: Adam Jones (Tool)
Van Halen Meets Bootsy: Kaki King
Four-Armed Monster: Mike McCready & Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam)
Iron Man Of Hip-Hop Guitar: Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine)
Space Guitar Heroes: Chuck Garvey & Al Schnier (moe.)
The Extremist: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Mars Volta)
Dark Side Of The Moon Explorers: Ed O’Brien & Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
Stoner Metal Ruler: Matt Pike (Sleep and High On Fire)
The Crawling King Snake: Jack White (The White Stripes and The Raconteurs)
We’ll accept any additions you’d like to make to the new council of Mt. Olympus, as long as it’s not Chris Funk. His chops are lacking, and we have video proof.