My interest in guitar, Top 100 Greatest Electric Guitarists of All Time

Well, after all these ranking lists (like the 100 greatest NBA players ever), its time to talk about guitarists because well, I’m a guitarist and I’m self-taught so I’m influenced by a lot of different guitar players, and I want to make a list of the top 100 electric guitarists who I think are the best.

Beginnings
I started playing guitar after high school when I was 15. I remember starting with acoustic guitar, but then hearing a classmate play electric guitar was amazing, the first time I heard it, I thought wow I really want to have a tone like that. So my first guitar was a starter guitar package by Behringer back in 2005. I practiced for 2-3 hours every day after high school, so much so that my mom at one time (being a strict Chinese mother), locked away my guitar and laptop because she was so worried about me not studying. I played in two coffee houses events at my high school, at that time I was hugely influenced by Jimi Hendrix (clips downloaded off of Kazaa) and Jimmy Page (I watched the Led Zeppelin DVD numerous times) so I started trying to play guitar with my teeth, behind my back, behind my head etc for showmanship. This got me a lot of fans in my high school, and the first time I performed at the freshman talent show at the University of Toronto, I put on a display by doing all those tricks while playing Hendrix’s Voodoo Child. I would play in several battle of the band type shows after that, but haven’t really done many public performances since.

Influences
I had a few bands in high school and university, but didn’t perform that often. I played once in Barrie, Canada at a show and performed with university friends at a show at my university, but thats about it. 2005-2007 I was hugely influenced by blues and rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Page, then started playing piano in 2008, and was influenced by classical composers like Chopin and Liszt. Around 2009 I bought an acoustic and started to play more pop songs. I was hugely influenced by John Mayer, my favorite contemporary electric guitarist. Around 2010 I was obsessed with the Beatles and played a lot of Beatles songs, 2012 John Mayer’s Born and Raised came out and I was quite influenced by that as well. And from then on I played a mix of pop/rock/fusion/jazz songs whatever I like to listen to, I like to play. Recently I’ve been quite into jazz guitar, the likes of Larry Carlton, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and finger picking styles used by Chet Atkins.

Gear

My guitar of choice was and still is, the Fender Stratocaster. I first started with a Behringer beginner guitar in 2005 (which I painted to look like Hendrix’s Monterey strat sometime in 2006), then 2006 moved onto a G&L Tribute S500. Around 2009, I got myself an Ovation acoustic, my first acoustic guitar. Around 2010 I got myself a Fender Roadworn Stratocaster and swapped out the pickups first for Tonerider pickups (quite good value), then for actual handwound pickups from a guy in Virginia (Rumpelstiltskin Pickups). In 2012, I bought myself a really good acoustic guitar, the Martin OMJM. Then in 2014, I bought a Gretsch White Penguin. In 2015 I bought a Boho Moonshine (unique oil can guitar). You can see these in all my Youtube videos. But I think out of all my guitars, I will keep just the Fender and the Martin, those are the ones I play the most.

As for Amplifiers, of course I prefer tube amps like many people, but more specifically small Class A vintage style tube amps for their nice clean tone and easy breakup and portability. In 2005 I started with the Behringer practice amp, then in 2006 got a Vox Valvetronix 30, which was also a solid state amp but had a pre-amp tube to simulate tube power. In 2009, I got my first Tube amp, a Class A Epiphone Valve Jr, but the tone wasn’t to my liking, so in 2010 I switched to a Traynor YCV40 which is an actual Class AB big Tube amp which in 2011 I swapped out the speakers for Celestion Alnico Blues to make it more vintage and clean sounding. In 2012, I bought a Swart Atomic Jr, which is still the amp I use today. It’s perfect, small, portable, hand-wired class A tube amp that only weighs 14lbs and has a built in reverb which is nice.

I’m not going to talk too much about pedals, because I’ve used so many. But I have owned various pedals from Digitech, Boss, Electro Harmonix, BBE, Visual Sound (now Truetone), Dunlop, etc. Since 2014, I have used mostly boutique pedals from the likes of Xotic, Maxon, Keeley, Wampler, Seymour Duncan, Catalinbread.

Top 100 Greatest Electric Guitarists of all time
1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
3. Eric Clapton
4. Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
5. Jeff Beck
6. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
7. Stevie Ray Vaughan
8. B.B King
9. Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
10. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
11. Pete Townshend (The Who)
12. George Harrison (The Beatles)
13. Chuck Berry
14. Duane Allman (Allman Brothers)
15. Albert King
16. Freddie King
17. Charlie Christian
18. Les Paul
19. Chet Atkins
20. Slash (Guns N Roses)
21. Carlos Santana
22. Frank Zappa
23. Buddy Guy
24. Buddy Holly
25. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
26. Brian May (Queen)
27. Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple)
28. Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne)
29. John Lee Hooker
30. Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones)
31. Muddy Waters
32. Rory Gallagher
33. Johnny Winter
34. Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac)
35. Wes Montgomery
36. Michael Bloomfield
37. Otis Rush
38. Dick Dale
39. Prince
40. Angus Young (AC/DC)
41. The Edge (U2)
42. Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
43. Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)
44. Yngwie Malmsteen
45. Larry Carlton
46. Gary Moore
47. Roy Buchanan
48. John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
49. Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
50. Hank Marvin
51. Ry Cooder
52. Eric Johnson
53. Joe Satriani
54. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)
55. Joe Walsh (The Eagles)
56. Robert Fripp (King Crimson)
57. Stephen Stills (Crosby Stills & Nash)
58. Carl Perkins
59. Allan Holdsworth
60. Alex Lifeson (Rush)
61. John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
62. Robin Trower (Procol Harlum)
63. Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
64. Scotty Moore (Elvis)
65. Dicky Betts (Allman Brothers)
66. Elmore James
67. Steve Cropper
68. Tom Morello (Rage against the machine)
69. Link Wray
70. Steve Vai
71. Neil Young
72. James Burton
73. Johnny Ramone (The Ramones)
74. Bo Diddly
75. Albert Collins
76. Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
77. Duane Eddy
78. Robby Krieger (The Doors)
79. Johnny Marr (The Smiths)
80. John McLaughlin
81. Eddie Hazel (Parliament/Funkadelic)
82. James Hetfield (Metallica)
83. Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
84. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
85. Steve Howe (Yes)
86. Mike Rutherford (Genesis)
87. Mike McCready (Pearl Jam)
88. Robben Ford
89. George Benson
90. John Mayer
91. Mark Tremonti (Creed)
92. J.J Cale
93. Peter Frampton
94. Paul Kossoff
95. Jason Becker
96. Steve Morse
97. Zack Wylde
98. Kenny Wayne Shepherd
99. Joe Bonamassa
100. Ted Nugent

Disney, Movies/Music preferences, Korean drinking games

You know, I’ve had this blog since Feb 2009 and I still haven’t wrote about a topic that always comes up in those interview-style introduction meetings I have whenever I meet a stranger; what’s your favorite movies/music? Yeah, its a really boring topic cause everyone asks it, but surprisingly I haven’t posted this on my blog yet.

I’ve been kind of on a Disney marathon these days; I’m really into the older hand drawn Disney animations and prefer them to the CGI ones. My first Disney film was Oliver and Company:

Very underrated movie. I would say my top Disney films are in order:
1. Emperor’s New Groove
2. Hercules
3. Oliver and Company
4. Wreck it Ralph
5. Big Hero 6

You’ll notice no Pixar films on here; I like Toy Story 3 the best but they don’t compare to these 5. Surprisingly I would put Wreck it Ralph and Big Hero over any Pixar film. The only film from the “Disney Renaissance” I listed is Hercules, since I loved that film as a kid. I’ve never been the type of person to like “mainstream” stuff so there’s no surprise here. No Frozen, no Lion King, etc.

As for other films here they are in order:
1. Rush Hour 2 (watched this like 20 times with my brother)
2. Office Space (watched 20 times as well)
3. Airplane!
4. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
5. Grandma’s Boy

You’ll note these are all comedy movies; I have a strong preference for light hearted movies and dislike Horror because they are the opposite. I watched Groundhog Day three days in a row with different people a few weeks ago just cause it a movie I could watch over and over again. My favorite Action movie is probably X-men First Class believe it or not. And for Sci-fi the clear one being The Matrix. Favorite drama movie is Shanghai Kiss (its an indie movie). Again, I like blockbusters like Inception, Avengers, Titanic etc too but I’m judging movies based on how often I rewatch them. And clearly, the ones I listed I watched the most.

As for musical tastes, I like everything, and my youtube clearly shows that influence. I play songs from every genre. I started with Blues and Rock when I first started playing guitar in 2005. Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses were big influences. Then moved on to pop-rock led by John Mayer (still my favorite artist) in 2006. In 2008, I started playing piano a bit with my friend and was very influenced by classical music a la Chopin and Liszt. I also started getting alot into Taiwanese pop like Jay Chou and Wang lee hom at the time. Then in 2012, I got very influenced by pop thanks to a renewed interest in The Beatles, and bought an Acoustic guitar and started playing alot of pop songs. I also got very interested in Korean pop like Wondergirls and Girls Generation at the time. Then last year I was influenced by Jazz (Larry Carlton) and deep blues (Michael Bloomfield). So my musical interests are very diverse.

Here’s my favorite and most influenced artists by the date I started listening to them:
2002: Linkin Park, Blink 182
2005: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton
2006: John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan
2008: Chopin, Liszt, Jay Chou, Wang lee hom
2012: The Beatles, Wondergirls, Girls Generation
2013: Bruno mars, 90s pop
2014: Larry Carlton, Michael Bloomfield

As you can see, very diverse.

Now, a different topic…
Koreans love drinking games. I remember one house party in Incheon I went to in 2013 where me and my Korean friends drank until 6am. We played board games for drinking. My Korean ex-gf introduced me to some Korean drinking games back in 2012;
-Baskin Robbins 31, where each player names 1,2 or 3 numbers sequentially until they get to 31 and the person who says 31 has to drink.
-007 where a player points a finger at another person says 0, that person says 0 and points to another person and that person says 7 and says Bang! to another person and the people beside that person has to raise their hands up else they drink.
-Soju drinking game using Soju bottle cap. Every Soju bottle cap has a part that can be twisted, and each person takes turns flicking the twisted part of the cap until it comes off, then that person (or the people beside that person depending on which rules) has to drink. There’s also a number thats inside the cap. Each person takes turns guessing that number and the person who saw it has to say ‘high or low’ and the person who gets it right has to drink (or the people beside that person depending on which rules).
-the hand rhythm game.. I don’t how to really name this one, but each player has to do a series of movements in rhythm, first put their hands on their lap, second they clap their hands, third they make a thumbs up with their left thumb, fourth they make a thumbs up with their right thumb. The player who starts does these movements in rhythm then the last 2 movements (third and fourth) they say ‘player name’ on the third beat, and a number (1-4) on the fourth beat, then that player has to immediately keep the rhythm by saying their name 1-4 times. The number has to match the beat, so if its 1, then the player just has to say their name on the fourth beat. But if its 4, then that player has to say their name on beats one to four. This is hard to explain and maybe I’ll do a video sometime showing foreigners how to do this.
-The image game is a very popular one. Each person holds up five fingers on their hand. And then someone starts by saying an observation that applies to people in the group and whoever its true for has to put down a finger. So for example, if there were 5 people in the group and 3 were wearing glasses, the person would say ‘who here is wearing glasses’ and 3 of the people in the group has to put a finger down. Then it goes on to the next person. Whoever has no fingers up has to drink.

Me and my friend invented a game back in elementary school that can be played anywhere without requiring any object. It can be applied to all competitive situations and can be used for drinking as well. Its a game of knowledge, rather than physical skill. I personally like it since I read Wiki articles a lot and have a good breadth of knowledge. The rules are:
-A person picks a category. An example could be countries, states, colors, capitals, presidents, famous scientists, video games, programming languages etc I’ve even played this with the topic of Dinosaurs before.
-Then each person has to take turns naming one of the things in the category
-Each person has 30 seconds to think of something
-If a person names something wrong, or goes beyond the time limit or something that was already said before, they lose (or have to drink)

Its easy to play, and it tests a players knowledge rather than relying on pure skill. Try it out sometime with your friends next time you go to a bar or lounge!

Blues Guitar

My biggest hobby is probably playing guitar, and if you’ve read some of my blogs, you’d know I like to attach some videos of myself playing. My favorite type of music to play on guitar is blues. This is interesting, because blues isn’t a very mainstream kind of music, not like rock or punk or pop. Blues music originally came from black musicians, near the Mississippi delta. Later on, there became different types of blues like delta blues, Chicago blues, Texas blues, etc.

A lot of people find this interesting because its very rare that an Asian guy like myself would listen to blues music, let alone play it. And to be honest, there’s very few Asian American rock musicians, and even fewer Asian American blues musicians. However, someday I hope I can produce and record my own album, that would be cool.

I love to jam, improvise and record without any constraints on my music. This video is a blues jam in A minor, I used a bit of overdrive here, with a looper for the background music.

Here’s another funky blues jam that I fingerpicked, John Mayer style. I find this way you can get a lot of neat sounds and rhythm in. No backing track, but there’s a delay for a cool slapback effect. Both of these clips are near 10 minutes long, since I tend to lose track of time when I record >.<

Blues will continue to be one of my favorite genres of music. Its especially suited to guitar, and the first scale I learned on guitar (I’m self taught) was the pentatonic minor, which is the basis of blues. To get a better feel for blues music, listen to some Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B King, Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, etc for some of that old 50s style blues. For 60s and more ‘electric’ type blues, take a listen to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Eric Clapton (while he was in the Bluesbreakers), Mike Bloomfield, Roy Buchanan and Rory Gallagher. Those are some of my favorite blues artists.