Wow, I'm surprised no one mentioned Edge. I know he's never been known for great technique, but for sheer creativity on his instrument I'd venture he deserves a place in rock top 10. His attack always has that signature chiming presence, but he's expanded that sound across a lot of guitars in his career, and with each change has come a huge batch of new sounds, textures, colors, etc. (could anybody who didn't know better guess that Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were the same guy?)
Here's the rest of my list in no particular order:
George Harrison - not a virtuoso, but what great creative instincts!
EVH - too bad his image has gone to the dogs in the last 5 years, genius player. Has anyone heard the new Van Hagar songs or seen the tour? I'd be interested in your observations, though I'm not very optimistic!
SRV - better overall tone than Hendrix, I think
Randy Rhoads - did I spell that correctly?
Pete Townsend - very literate rhythm playing within a stronger songwriting ethos than most of his '60's counterparts
Jimmy Page - do I need to qualify?)
Eric Clapton - I actually don't like white blues all that much, but man, that guy has great instincts and tone for days
Brian Setzer - maybe he's "swing/rockabilly lite", but he's assimilated a lot of classic players' styles AND he's recorded in the modern era, so you can hear all the great nuances of the Gretsch sound
Andy Summers - another "serve the song" guy on my list who's capable of a lot; those early Police songs were brilliant
David Gilmour - another tone player I love
Wow, that's 11. Oh well.
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