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The 100 Best GuitarIits List, Unveiled In The December 8 Issue Of The Magazine, Improves On Rolling Stone’s 2003 Rankings By Opening Voting To ‘A Panel Of Top Guitar Players And Other Experts’.

For the second time in 10 years Rolling Stone mag has named Jimi Hendrix the best guitar strummer in history. The 100 Greatest Guitar players list, unveiled in the December eight issue of the magazine, improves upon Rolling Stone’s 2003 rankings by opening voting to “a panel of top guitarists and other experts” including a few rock legends who themselves occupy spots on the list.

Like Rolling Stone editor David Fricke’s 2003 list, the first 100 is heavy on classic rock, with boomer-friendly, blues-influenced players dominating the top 10. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page tail Hendrix, while rhythm god Keith Richards finishes 4th. Southern slide master Duane Allman, Fricke’s runner up, slid to number nine, just ahead of the wind-milling punk ire of the Who’s Pete Townsend.

The remainder of the list is light on present day rockers and filled with the guitar gods of generations past. While this reflects the graying readership of Rolling Stone (the mag’s heavily white [75%] and male [58%] circulation audience is piled high with tie-died children of the 60’s) it also showcases rock and pop music’s gentle drift away from the guitar-as-lead instrument setup which dominated Rolling Stone’s early years. At number 33, Prince who rose to eminence 27 years back is the most highly ranking guitar player still actively evolving as musician. Tom Morello (fortieth), who earned guitar king standing with late 90’s revolutionaries Rage Against the Machine, stands as the very highest ranking guitar strummer to “recently” break onto the scene.
So where have all of the guitar gods gone? To the dance-floor, typically. The rise of hiphop and dance music have crippled rock music’s expansion, pushing it out of the conventional and toward the fringes of youth culture. One merely wants to spin the FM dial to see the evidence. In the past three years, the Big Apple metro area has lost its two biggest modern and alternative rock radio stations. Though the (former) 101.9 RXP lives on in the quick-growing web radio realm, a scarcity of FM presence certainly hurts{ as even the most avid ears need stations to tune up to.

Lacking important radio exposure, rock bands have seen sales suffer. Looking at the “Charts” page of the Greatest Guitar player issue of Rolling Stone, the top 10 Billboard best-selling albums contain only one entry from an act that might be given the “rock” tag. That band Coldplay exists 1 or 2 hundred weepy and insecure miles from the swaggering Led Zeppelin types who dominated the charts in years past. Meanwhile, the most recent edition of the pop compilation series NOW, the 40th contains just two tracks from rock and roll bands, one being perennial punchline Nickelback. Hip-hop and dance music fill the iPods of the Apple generation and rock sales plummet. In the place of the guitar using machismos of Rolling Stone’s list, rappers and DJs have become the new rock stars witness David Guetta hanging with Bono or Lil Wayne donning Wanderers and croaking Bob Dylan’s part on the “We Are the World” remake,writes

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