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Why You Should Learn About Great Guitar Players


If your goal is to become a great guitar player, performing before millions of screaming fans, you already have an idea of the commitment you will need to make in terms of time and effort. If your desire is to develop your guitar talents so that you can enjoy a relaxing hobby with friends or family, you probably still realize the fact that learning to play well is not an easy undertaking. As with any skill, becoming a good guitarist requires determination, discipline and hours of practice. So, what benefit can you possibly derive from just reading about great guitar players? The answer: plenty. Learning about other people who have accomplished something that you wish to do yourself can provide knowledge, inspiration, and life lessons that will benefit you as you work to attain your goal.

The articles in this section of the website profile great guitarists from many different eras of rock music. You will find information about some of the "grandfathers" of the movement like Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and B.B. King. They were responsible for taking the rhythms found in blues and gospel music and tweaking them enough to create a whole new sound. They were some of the first musicians to use electric guitars and amplifiers and laid the groundwork for developing great guitar solos that are still loved today.

You will also read about some of the talented musicians of the 60's and 70's like Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison of the Beatles, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. They helped to create classic songs that will live forever and did a lot to develop new techniques and equipment that permanently changed the sound of popular music.

Dimebag Darrell Abbott and Eddie Van Halen are just two of the innovators that made metal music such a sensation in the 80's and 90's. With their screaming solos and dynamic presence on stage, they wowed audiences around the world and inspired countless young musicians to follow in their footsteps.

There are several artists profiled here that are still producing great music today and drawing large crowds whenever they tour. Paul Gilbert, and Joe Satriani, for example, just released new albums this year.

These great guitarists all have a few things in common that should inspire and inform you if you wish to follow in their footsteps. First and foremost, they all spent hours and hours in diligent practice. There is simply no substitute for spending time with a guitar in your hands. The best players have used different methods to advance their skills. Some play scales relentlessly, some gather their friends and have endless jam sessions. Some, like Keith Richards wake up in the middle of the night to write down an idea for a great solo or chord progression so that they can re-create it in the morning. But, all the high-caliber guitar guys, without exception, have loved their craft to such a degree that they considered the time they spent in practice to be the best part of their day.

Another commonality these famous musicians have is their understanding of the structure and theory of music. It is true that not all the greats were formally trained at institutions of higher learning. Many did not even take guitar lessons from qualified instructors. However, all of them managed to grasp the concepts of chords, scales, and modes, so that they could produce riffs and licks that would please their audiences. The individual stories of the way each person learned to understand and create music have a lot to teach guitar students of today.

A third quality possessed by the most influential guitarists is their willingness to take risks with their music. None of these performers were content to play in the style they had listened to all their lives. They continually pushed the edges of their genre, by changing the technique, equipment, chords, or rhythms they employed until they produced a unique and memorable sound. The way that each man helped to shape the world of music during his time on the stage makes fascinating reading.

Sadly, the lives of some of these musicians also present cautionary tales about the darker side of the world of rock music. Too many of these talented players lost years of valuable time to drug or alcohol abuse that could have been spent producing great music. Some even lost their lives at a young age because of their inability to break away from addiction. Others, however, provide inspirational stories of their emergence from the drug culture and return to creativity. These are accounts that should encourage and motivate musicians of all abilities to focus on their music and use their talents wisely.

Overall, the information you find here will provide you with valuable knowledge and moving tales of success that can only enhance your own effort to become a good guitarist. Use the facts you learn to stimulate your practice time and reinvigorate your mindset. The world is waiting for the next great guitarist to make his appearance. It could very well be you.


Choose a guitarist from the right-hand navigation to see how they became one of the greats.


Also, if you're looking for guitar lessons, be sure to check out the MGL Review Board to see which guitar courses, if any, are for you.  Although Learn and Master Guitar is our top pick, it may not be for you.

Eddie Van Halen
Joe Satriani
Eric Johnson
Steve Vai
Paul Gilbert
Jimmy Page
Randy Rhoads
Kurt Cobain
Kirk Hammett
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Yngwie Malmsteen
Robert Johnson
Pete Townsend
Jerry Garcia
Bo Diddley
Jeff Beck
Duane Allman
Jimmy Hendrix
BB King
John Frusciante
Joe Perry
George Harrison
Chuck Berry
Eric Clapton
Dimebag Darrell
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