The term guitar hero is usually reserved for the likes of guitar royalty such as Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton etc. While the following three guitarists may not feature on the list of the top 100 guitarists of all time, for me personally, they have served as my biggest influence and inspiration as a guitarist
While some might find the stage name a little bit too ridiculous for him to be taken seriously, after one listen there is no denying the talent. Synyster Gates, real name Brian Haner, is the guitar powerhouse behind Orange County metal output Avenged Sevenfold. Hearing them for the first time when I was 14, I knew in that moment that I had found my guitar inspiration. Such was the influence on me, I tried to grow my hair like his while at the same time buying his signature guitar. Far from style without substance, songs like Beast and the Harlot, Bat Country, Nightmare and The Stage serve as evidence for the virtuosic talents of this modern guitar hero. From sweeping arpeggios to melodic finger tapping, there is very little he cannot do as his continued evolution as a guitarist has inspired me to be the best guitarist I can be.
While perhaps not the flashiest or most technically gifted guitarist on my list, as lead guitarist and singer for the British rock band Muse, Matt Bellamy consistently features in any conversation as to who are the greatest guitarists of all time. A classically trained pianist, Bellamy takes elements of classical and hard rock music and takes them into outer space with his signature falsetto and penchant for electronic effects. Tracks such as Stockholm Syndrome, Knights of Cydonia and Reapers show off Bellamy’s range as a guitarist as he pushes his guitar to its sonic limit. While Bellamy’s riffs and solos may not impress guitar purists, his song writing and level of musical creativity has served as a constant source of inspiration for me and someone I strive to emulate not only as a guitarist, but also as a musician.
Blending elements of death, thrash, and progressive metal, French quartet Gojira technical and rhythmic style of heavy metal may be too ‘heavy’ for the casual listeners but their textured and atmospheric approach to metal music contains a hidden sensitivity. Lead guitarist and vocalist Joe Duplantier explores life, death, spirituality, rebirth, and nature through complex and metaphorical lyrics with a particular focus on man’s search for meaning and the impact of humanity on the natural world. Their innovative use of rhythm, syncopation and tempo is demonstrated on tracks such as Flying Whales, Toxic Garbage Island and The Gift of Guilt and have provided me the opportunity to approach guitar playing from a more rhythmic perspective.