Unplugged

Legends

Fred "Sonic" Smith

Fred 'Sonic' Smith was the high priest of the High Octane Rock Church of Detroit. Along with MC5 and Sonic's Rendezvous Band, he was ahead of the punk and distortion storms of alternative rock. His exchange of furious electricity discharge with Wayne Kramer were the punk equivalent to those of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. He never...

Hank Marvin

The tall svelte man with the mop of brown hair and large Buddy Holly - like glasses steps forward clutching his legendary fiesta red Stratocaster and waggles the wammy bar to kick off the opening bars of one of the best known instrumentals in history. The simplicity, clarity, feel, tone and phrasing of those famous opening notes are close to...

Leslie West

Leslie West is an exceptional guitarist, perhaps his music is not as well remembered as other artists of the time but his influence over several generations of guitarists is tremendous. He took over from Cream and hardened their music towards heavy. Everything about West is big, from his evident weight problems to his incredible tone, one of the...

John Mayer

Today we take a look at the career of one John Clayton Mayer, the American singer/songwriter, guitarist and record producer, born October 16, 1977, in Bridgeport Connecticut to two teachers, Richard and Margaret Mayer, the middle brother between older Carl and younger Ben. He got interested in the guitar after watching Michael J. Fox’s memorable...

Eddie Cochran

The world is determined to forget the greatness of Eddie Cochran. Almost reduced to a small footnote among the pioneers of rock, people forget that Cochran was more than just Summertime Blues. He wrote his own songs, produced them, was one of the first to experiment with multitrack and overdubs, played several instruments and was an...

Marc Bolan

The best rock and roll has always been built on spectacular riffs and addictive hooks, from "Go, Johnny, Go" to "No Future, no future, no future for you" through to "Talking about My Generation" or "Get It On, Bang A Gong, Get It On. " Marc Bolan knew all about it; maybe his technique as a guitarist left a lot to be desired but his Les Paul...

Lita Ford

When Guitars Exchange began to raise the profile of female guitarists on its pages, Lita Ford was one of the first to respond, well before the #MeToo movement exploded as a global force for change.       That should be no surprise to anyone who has seen her blaze a trail from the tender age of 16, when she joined The...

Steve Gaines

On the cover of the only studio album that he was given time to record with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Gaines, like the rest of the band, appears in the center surrounded by fire. And there may not be a more graphic definition of what he did for this band, by re-igniting the fire that seemed extinct and putting them back in their place as one of...

Alex Lifeson

Canadian guitar shredder Alex Lifeson (born Alexandar Zivojinovich) was part of the rock trio Rush along with Neil Peart/drums and Geddy Lee/vocals/bass, who carved a groove into progressive blues/metal/rock that still resonates and is recognised as some of the cleanest, yet rawest sounds ever put to vinyl. They were a heavy influence on acts like...

John Lee Hooker

He was known as “The King of Boogie”, a pillar in not only blues music, but a figure who transcended time and space, a true artistic legend, from his meager beginnings with his slow, bluesy approach on a simple guitar, to the heights of stardom even into his 70s, always listened to, heard, and everybody wanted a piece of him. John Lee Hooker...

Jerry Garcia

In 1959 Cortázar wrote a story called The Pursuer in memory of the great Charlie Parker, where a saxophonist tries to penetrate reality through the notes of his sax, it seems to me a good analogy to Jerry Garcia, an insatiable pursuer of notes, (possibly the rock guitarist with the most hours recorded) not always inspired but in search of nirvana...

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani is the most commercially successful instrumental guitar soloist the world has ever seen. He has 6 gold and platinum records, has sold over 10 million copies to date, and has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards so far. Impressive street creds indeed! So how did this all begin? On September 18, 1970, the legendary Jimi Hendrix...

Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn is one of the most influential guitarists in history. Few have made more people buy a guitar looking to unravel his sound. McGuinn is to Rickenbacker what Chet Atkins is to Gretsch, the man who comes to mind when you think of one of these guitars. Perhaps there were others before him who played one, but it seems evident who Tom Petty,...

Syd Barrett

Of all the rock stories full of myths, legends, and tortured souls, perhaps none is more tragic than that of Syd Barrett, the crazy diamond who created Pink Floyd, and shone a brilliant light for a short time until completely vanishing into the darkness. It’s impossible to separate Barrett from his legend, unlike others, Barrett didn’t die...

Mick Jones

How can one explain the tremendous importance of the Clash? The Londoners were not, by any means, virtuosos on their instruments, but they had what makes rock & roll big, raw energy, rage, fury, heart, and most importantly, the songs. In a way, they were the face of the rebirth of rock & roll through punk. They were also the band who best...

Matt 'Guitar' Murphy

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018) was such an elite guitarist, he was invited to play with a ton of greats who eagerly sought his nimble talents. It’s a long list starting off with Howlin’ Wolf as early as the late 40s to his appearance in The Blues Brothers 1980 hit movie with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. In this...

Derek Trucks

Normally there are two different points of view about life: one says that it is unjust and terrible, while the other says that itis beautiful; but it could be that neither are right and that life is unjust and terrible, as well as beautiful. Life took Duane Allman away from us at 24 years of age, a tremendous injustice and cruelty, but life gave us...

Steve Vai

You just turned 20, you’ve spent the last 7 or 8 years of your life in your bedroom studying up to 15 hours a day, the last 2 you even dare to try transcribing the most complex pieces from a mind as twisted as Frank Zappa’s and now you are before him auditioning for a spot in his band as guitarist. You greet him, strap on the guitar, and nice...

Paul Weller

Paul Weller is a restless fellow, always willing to take one step forward rather than settle down and live on his money. And believe me, if anyone can do it, it is the ‘Modfather’, one of the most respected and admired personality in British music, someone who has managed to create work as big as the greatest, the iconic figures from the 60s...