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Your personal guitar inspiration?

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When I started playing guitar I was into stuff like R.E.M. who were a great band for someone learning the guitar. My dad was into all the classic players like Joe Walsh, Clapton, Hendrix, etc.

The frst thing I remember really blowing my mind was Gary Hoey's video when he did Hocus Pocus (where he's in that video camera contraption with the monkey crawling on his guitar and sholders). I only saw it once, but I never forgot it. Then it started to get a bunch of radio air play.

Some short time after I asked a friend of mine for some Van Halen tunes, since he was really into him. I wanted to see what the guy was all about, and all I knew was I didn't really like DLR's vocals so I never really listed to the band (though I did like Sammy's voice). He gave me a mixed tape of various VH tunes that I thought was pretty cool.

He also gave me another tape that he said "I don't know if you'll like this but check it out." Now I was not a "metal guy" at all at the time so VH was already pretty heavy by my standards and I didn't dig bands like Metallica. I looked at the tape and it was "Rust In Peace" by Megadeth. Now if you don't like heavy metal that's a pretty evi soundig band that I knew by some vague bit of their reputation only.

Severa days went by listening to VH and being impressed. Finally put in the Megadeth album (I remember exactly where I was standing and everything). When Holy Wars came on I was like "WTF?!?" It was so angry sounding and I wasn't sure what the hell was going on with the vocals, but it wasn't normal to be sure. Then "Hangar 18" came on and nearly fell over!!! Holy mother of God, everything was like Hoey's Hocus Pocus on crack!!! From that moment on I became a metal head/shred fan. I eventually wore out 3 copies of that album on cassette, before I bought it on CD (when CD players were becoming more common in cars, etc).

A fe months after that I bought "Surfing with the Alien" on cassette fom a friend (non-guitarist) for a $1.00 who said i might like it. I'd read this Satriani guy's name in a few guitar magazines here and there. Again, Holy Crap!!!!!

Between those two records, and somehere between them, the discovery of Randy Rhoad's I was forever changed.

Edited to add:

Rhoads and Megadeth's use of modes and scales clicked with me immediately (probably the reason I loved Hocus Pocus so much). It took me a few years to really appreciate EVH , probably necause his stuff had a bluesier vibe, which I didn't like as much. I later came to love Van Halen, especially the early stuff. Interesting how our tastes change. I used to dislike brussel sprouts too. Now I eat them whenever they're offered.

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Stared off with:

Steve Morse... The Introduction did it for me... Cruise Missle... DAMN!

Tommy Bolin...... Poast Toastee blew my mind

Alex Lifeson... all the wonderful chords he plays

since then I dig so many players it's hard to list.... but now I'm more interested in song writing, how parts fit together.... and playing the "perfect" part to fit the song... some of these masters in my mind:

George Harrison

Joe Walsh

Steve Lukather

Larry Carlton (70's Steely Dan era)

The Deleo Brothers (STP)

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Johnny Thunders and Johnny Ramone but of course you knew that.

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Peter Buck, Johnny Marr, Robert Smith/Porl Thompson, and The Edge, all made me interested in wanting to play..

Joey Santiago, John Strohm, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready made me buy a guitar..

Jeff Tweedy, Evan Dando, and Gary Louris make me want to write songs..

Nels Cline makes me wonder what I did with my life when I was younger!

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You guys have all said it very well so far.

For me, my "Megadeath-type" experience was when I first heard Deep Purple. I remember going "man that doesn't sound like The Carpenters"!

Later, I had similar experiences when I heard Neil Schone of Journey (very melodic), Pat Benatar "Heartbreaker" (Neil Geraldo rocks), EVH, Michael Schenker, Mathias Jabs, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie and Wolf Hoffman of accept. The next guy to really blow me away after that was Steve Morse and John Pretucci.

OK, here's where I share a personal story that I may regret later!

When I first heard the Pat Benatar song I was in my room making a speaker.... out of a wood frame covered with sheetrock in the shape of a monitor! It had a car speaker in it. I made it so my GE clock radio would RAWK Harder!! It actually worked ok!!! :lol:

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When I was 11 or so I would play air guitar with a tennis racquet to Journey's Escape (on 8-track, no less) for hours on end. Neil Schon is still an inspration to me: very melodic but can still burn when he has to.

A few years later I got my first guitar and made a habit of learnig Journey tunes. I then got into George Lynch, Yngwie, Wilton and Degarmo from Queensryche, Mark Kendall from Great White, Vinnie Moore, etc... My absolute fave guitar player is John Petrucci.

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In about 1956, my folks took me to a rodeo. We were way up in the nosebleed section and I don't really remember all that much about it. What I do remember was that, during intermission, a three-piece cowboy band came out to the center of the arena. They were dragging tweed amps and extension cords and plugged in. It was all one big echo and jumble-of course, except for the guitar. His amp was pointed right at us and it was like God's voice speaking to me. I'd never heard anything like it and that planted the seed.

The late '50's greats (James Burton, Luther Perkins et. al.) cemented the idea. I'd watch Ozzie and Harriet just to hear the Ricky Nelson thing (with James Burton) at the end. Later on, I found the 'wrong' stations on the radio dial and got hip to the blues and R & B that the white kids weren't supposed to listen to.

The Beatles and all the guitar greats of the 60's inspired me to work harder at it, and John McLaughlin nearly made me give up.

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The 1st "guitar album" that I ever heard was "Electric Ladyland," but it was Jeff Beck's "Wired" that made me want to play guitar.

Immediatly following were the 1st three Queen albums.

EVH was the Jimi of the '70's, and then there was a lot of dark times where everything was someone copying someone else (usually EVH).

I have to say the first guy to blow me away since then was Johnny A. Completely amazing and original.

Also, Greg Koch will tear your head off. Listen to "Spank It" and tell me I'm wrong.

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Guest pirateflynn

I have an older cousin who is a huge Beatle fan and as a kid I listened endlessly to his albums.

So for me, it was definately....The Beatles!

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There's to many to count -- but I will mention one who rarely gets mentioned:

Relatively few people play guitar

Fewer still play well

Fewer still play well and play fast

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo and sing

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo and sing well

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo and sing well and write

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo and sing well and write well

Fewer still play well and play fast and solo and sing well and write well and produce

And the fewest of all play well play fast and solo and sing well and write well and produce and make money at it!

Mark Knopfler

Tape "Dire Straits" off Ovation Channel (it's on this month) for a look into his songwriting & playing style. The songwriting was the most interesting part of it to me.

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Great thread, guys.

It's an ongoing journey.

Early influences that are still huge for me:

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

George Lynch


That moved me on to:

Steve Vai

Joe Satriani

Kirk Hammett


Stanley Clarke

Andy Summers

Michael Wilton

Chris DeGarmo

More recently:

Miles Davis

John Coltrane


Bob Balsley (my guitar teacher)

And +1 to Kiz for Greg Koch (he used to work at the old guitar store I bought my gear at as a teenager).

All these guys still matter to me, and I forgot even more I bet.

Edited to add Monte Montgomery.

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All pre-me playing the guitar

Hendrix- when I was a kid

Joe Perry- when I was a kid, cuz he looked really cool with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and the guitar was real low.

Queen-I wanted to be a singer originally and thought Freddy Mercury was the best.

EVH- what can I say?

Angus Young, great player, great songs, and looked cool.

Ted Nugent

The Cars

Tony Iommi

Then Everything Changed:

Dave Murray and Adrian Smith

I saw Metallica so Hetfield and Hammet, that's when I knew I was going in a lot harder direction. This was 1984.

The Accusseds Tommy Niemeyer-incredibly fast power chords, his left had/arm was like a robot/six million dollar man, a freakin blur!

Prongs Tommy Victor- that guy takes a less is more aproach, plus he and I have become friends. Also my Band Force Fed is named after Prongs second CD.

Coroners Tommy Impelreti-that dude smokes, he can play every style known to man and play it well.

Carcass's Bill Steer and later Mike Ammot

Then the top five guys on my influence sheet are:

David Gilmour

Joe Walsh

Alex Lifeson pre Moving Pictures

Tony Iommi

Angus Young

Then there are a few local guys, Greg Martin from Deadhorse, very Joe Walsh-ish in a Death metal text. Stuart Lawrence from Agony Column and Jason Frankhouser who plays in about 10 bands and my band happens to be one of them.

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Mine have changed, or new ones were added over the years too. But my first inspirations when I was a kid, before I even started playing guitar, that made me want to start playing were probably Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower and David Gilmour.

After I started playing, it was everyone from Lifeson to Metheny to David Torn to Satriani.

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I can't believe nobody's said this guy's name yet.......JEFF BECK!!!!

"Cause we've ended as lover's" still stop's me in my track's today as much as the first time i heard it,so i would have to say Jeff!!!


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Ace Frehley - the solo on Alive II in the middle of "Shock Me" is kickass and that began everything for me.

Alex Skolnick - Testament is my all time fave thrash band and he was/is so musical, plus I am a huge Jazz fan so it was cool seeing someone that was a metal guy go into jazz which I was also into at the time (and still am).

Mike Stern - got into him from his Jigsaw album and haven't stopped since...

John Sykes - The Whitesnake record he played on has some of the sickest playing I have ever heard in the Hard Rock vein. The Blue Murder stuff is good as well. I saw Thin Lizzy with him singing a year or so ago and he completely ripped it up. That guy is sick.

John Petrucci - technically great. Looks like a robot when he plays but he does some amazing things from time to time.

Danny Gatton - Holy Crap. When I heard 88 Elmira Street I was floored. What a shame that he is gone. He inspired me to break out and learn new stuff.

Doug Aldritch - Unsung hero from the 80's who now plays in Whitesnake and Dio. Get the Evil Or Divine Dio DVD and have a seat. Tone, taste, and chops out the wazoo. The dude is awesome. I saw him live with WS and he played some unreal slide on "Slow and Easy".

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in 2nd grade i started listening to KISS because they looked like comic book heros. did the "tennis racquet in the mirror w/ headphones" thang.

during 5th - 6th grade i got a guitar & more music, i was all about

ACE, PAGE, JIMI, & IOMMI. these are my primary influences.

jr high & high school was all metal, faves were


in jr college i branched into listening to a little fusion & shred,


a big turning point in jr college was discovering JAMES BROWN,

the 1st non rock guitar music that i loved.

i listened to a lot of music & guitarists thru college, studied jazz & theory, but it wasn't until the mid 90's that my playing was again influenced,

this time by the NEO JAZZ of the 90's albums by


edit: i just re-read the initial post... my post is more about my influences, so i guess i missed the point. there are lots of guys who "blew my mind", i won't list 'em, but i've always been more into the general vibe or groove of music ( i do enjoy watching an amazing player up close, but i prefer to listen to tunes).

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I can't believe nobody's said this guy's name yet.......JEFF BECK!!!!

"Cause we've ended as lover's" still stop's me in my track's today as much as the first time i heard it,so i would have to say Jeff!!!


Easy, mate....I did.

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At 15 I had been learning guitar via Metallica for about 3 months when on the way to the Master of Puppets concert in San Francisco Yngwie's "I'll see the light tonight" came on the radio. I was completely blown away. I bought the Marching Out album that week and when it came to the song "Marching Out" it gave me chills.

I was a shred head for the next 3 years then it happened again.....

I was in the car with my mom and I was flipping the radio and came across SRV's version of "Little Wing"....my jaw dropped. Here was a guy applying insane technique AND insane feel. That day I stopped being so metal/shred oriented and really opened my mind to all types of music from SRV, Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Prince, Vangelis, Megadeth, Michael Jackson...etc. Pretty much everything except country.

I discovered Marty Friedman and Jason Becker in 1988 and they CONTINUE to blow me away. Those guys had other-worldly technique, feel and music that really spoke to me.

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Joe Satriani - Not of This Earth was probably my biggest inspiration. I'm still amazed today when I listen to it. Most impressive was the fact that "regular" people (such as my mom) could actually stand to listen to his songs (my mom was a particular fan of "The Snake").


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