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Monday, March 14, 2016

10 Most Overshadowed Guitarists

When people think of a famous guitarist, a set list of the greats come to mind. Some might say Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, etc. All of the greats that everyone and their parents still talk about. However, some guitarists that are just as skilled, if not better, haven't made it as big as these rock giants. In this list, I cover some of the more underrated guitarists with mad shredding skills that haven't made it as far into the spotlight as these guys.

1. Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani is a shred-worthy guitarist with material dating back to the mid-eighties. Satriani probably isn't as well known as he's strictly an instrumental artist. He likes to let his guitar do the talking, which, by God, it does. His most famous songs are from his 1987 album, Surfing With the Alien, including the title track, "Satch Boogie", "Always With Me, Always With You", and many other face-melting solos called songs. The whole album is a guitar-lover's paradise. Satriani's still going today, too. He just released an album last year with a cool Satriani-esque track, "On Peregrine Wings".

2. East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys)

Raymond John Pepperell a.k.a. East Bay Ray was the unique guitarist for the underrated punk band, the Dead Kennedys. The Kennedys came out in the early eighties and were very much pioneers in punk music. They were years ahead of their time, as they were way more serious, rambunctious, and profane than any musical act of that decade. The band later lost fame after some legal trouble with some of their albums, but have recently gone back on tour with a different lead singer. East Bay Ray's guitar style was like a heavy cross between surfer rock and your worst nightmare. Laying down sick riffs in "Police Truck", simulating the noises of the Vietnam battlefield in "Holiday in Cambodia", and chugging his way through "California Uber Alles", East Bay Ray has been quite the innovative and rockin' guitarist. Long live the Dead Kennedys!

3. Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys)

Dan Auerbach is probably one of the most overlooked guitarists of all modern alternative music. Though the band is primarily made up of two people (drummer and guitarist/singer), the sound they make is louder than most true alternative rock bands today. Auerbach's guitar style ranges from short and rhythmic, like in "Howlin' For You" and "Gold On the Ceiling" to passionately soloing his way through the song, like in "Weight of Love" from the Keys most recent album. Dan Auerbach is the true Key to the Black Keys, as his distinct guitar gives the music a nice kick. 

4. Steve Vai

This guitarist, much like Joe Satriani, is strictly instrumental and strictly dedicated to the shred. The difference between Joe Satriani and Steve Vai is that Vai's guitar tricks are much more mind-boggling, as he manipulates the guitar to sound like other instruments. Sometimes he'll slide it into sounding like a violin and others he'll use both hands to tap on the neck to simulate a keyboard. Steve Vai is a guitar artist and one heck of a performer. He's been going since the early eighties (before Satriani) and is currently trying to open a sort of guitar school. 

5. Bryn Bennet & Alex Necochea (Bang Camaro)

If you've heard of these guys at all, you've probably seen a song or two of theirs on one of your old Guitar Hero or Rock Band games. However, these guys are more than just a bonus song in a music game, but are pretty great shredders. The band is primarily made up of different members of several indie bounds from the surrounding areas of Boston, MA. The band's twin guitarists are shredders, delivering power chord after power chords and neck-run after neck-run. The band sadly only released two albums with the last being in 2009, but their best and most memorable performances came off of their first album. These songs include the decently popular "Pleasure (Pleasure)" and "Push Push (Lady Lightning)". 

6. Gian Pyres (Cradle of Filth, 1996-2002)

Cradle of Filth is probably the heaviest metal band you'll hear in a long time, with speedy drums, epic guitar solos, and the screaming growl of original vocalist Dani Filth. Pyres was with the band from the early days and started recording with them on their first album. The guitarist's prime song for me would be Cradle's cover of Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name." The guitar solo to me is better than in the original (don't slam me for that, I'm a Maiden fan too) and the tone is much more haunting. 

7. Adam Jones (Tool)

Tool may be the band on this list with the biggest following, as I know a great many followers of Tool. However, the band is still way more underrated than they need to be. Tool's probably one of the most intelligent, complex, and unique rock bands of all hard rock history. Adam Jones, the band's original guitarist, has delivered many complex and distorted rhythms throughout his years in Tool that have shaped the sound of the band right where it needs to be. From the heavy chugging in "The Pot" and "Stinkfist" to the complex rhythms of "Schism" and "Prison Sex", Jones is one of the most influential and versatile guitarists of all time. He helps give Tool the complex sound it's well known for. 

8. Terry Reid

This artist is probably one of the most obscure on this list and also one of the lightest, dating back to the early seventies. Terry Reid, though labeled as psychedelic rock, is just barely tottering on the ledge of progressive country. Regardless of genre, Reid is one of the best musicians in the acoustic category of guitar. His acoustic guitar style is always decently complex, whether light and upbeat like "Faith to Arise" or heavy and emotional like in "To Be Treated Right." He was also pretty nifty with a steel guitar, where the country side of his style starts to show. Terry Reid is truly an underrated song writer and definitely an under-appreciated musician in his acoustic trade. 

9. Steve Ouimette

Most of you may not recognize this famous shredder's name, but if you've played the 3rd installment of the Guitar Hero games, you've most definitely heard his song. Ouimette is the artist who recorded the heavy metal cover version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" for the final guitar battle with the Devil a. k. a. Lou in the game. This heavy-shredding performance alone is enough to reserve him a spot on this list. Though he may be a modern one hit wonder to the public, he has still established his prowess as a guitar master. 

10. The guys at Wavegroup Sound

Guys, bear with me. I know I've mentioned Guitar Hero enough, but that game is definitely a gateway to new music, though some of it isn't as well appreciated as others. A lot of people really hate the cover versions of the famous songs in the first few Guitar Hero games, but you have to give credit where credit is due. These guys had to practice, learn, and practically mimic at least a hundred different guitarists' playing style to the furthest degree they could. These guys get bashed way too much for being so skilled at the art of being an excellent cover band. The best performance Wavegroup ever did in my opinion is the cover of White Lion's cover of "Radar Love" from GH 80s. That one seems to be the most skilled and shreddy of the majority of the songs. 

Well, everyone, there you have it! If there's any guitarist you feel is terribly overshadowed and you want to share him, leave me a comment for me and everyone else to see. I hope you've enjoyed this list and stay tuned in the future for more obscure lists for the listless!

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