Best 6 Guitar Players Under Age 51

Posted May 11 by Cool Waters Band

I have seen many “top guitar player” lists and the top 10 are normally filled with legends such as Jimi, Stevie, Eric, Jimmy, etc. I have decided to compile a list of people under 51 just for fun. The thing is, when you get to a certain level of guitar playing, there really is no right answer to who is “better”. So my list is not based on how fast a guitarist can play or how high of a profile they own, but instead it is based on my opinions of tone, creativity, skill, and overall effort to make their respective band sound better. My intention is to provoke musical thought and potential discussion. So here goes!

6. John Mayer – When I hear “Your Body is a Wonderland” on the radio in my car, I typically respond with, “No John, my body is not a wonderland. Stop. Just stop please.” Then I can’t help but click to the next station. BUT, when John started playing with his trio shortly thereafter, he began to really come in to his own as a guitar player. And no, arrogance is not a category in which I am judging. John is one of those guys who takes blues guitar soloing to an entirely different level. When he plays, it is completely effortless and very soulful. I would highly recommend checking out his live album: John Mayer Trio entitled Try!

5. Jake Cinninger – Jake plays with the prog rock/jam band Umphrey’s McGee. I have never seen a guitar player own the fretboard the way Jake does. He knows the ins and outs of every scale and has a great feel on how to mix notes to make his guitar playing truly brilliant. Here is a pretty cool solo by Jake…

4. SLASH! – Slash was one of the main reasons why I wanted to play the electric guitar. I remember getting a guitar, amp and wah pedal and annoying the crap out of my family by wha whaing my face off!!! Have you ever heard somebody misuse the term “bad-ass?” As in, “my garlic-toasted, kale, roasted pepper, and hummus sandwich was so bad-ass!” Well I have news for you- it’s not. Not even close. You know what is “bad-ass?!?!” SLASH!!! SLASH is “bad-ass!” NEXT!

3. TREY! – Trey is the reason why the list is under age 51. Trey is 50 and we are playing by my rules. Trey Anastasio was also another huge influence growing up. He has set the record for most goosebumps given many times. He was the originator of taking a section and building it to a pinnacle and then releasing all over the audience. Sounds gross, but the eargasms are endless. My favorites would have to be Maze and Chalkdust Torture.

2. John Frusciante – John has gone back and forth between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the deepest dungeon of his basement since he started rockin and rolling. John is a pure genius when it comes to tone and different guitar sounds. He plays with so much passion that you can almost feel it. He is one of the bigger risk takers that I have seen as far as guitar playing goes. He is willing to try anything on the spot and hope for a magical outcome. More times than not he succeeds. Here is a little compilation…

1. Derek Trucks – Derek’s playing is pure genius. He is so far ahead of the game and he does most of his work playing the slide guitar. I feel like every note that he plays means something. He became famous very early by jamming with his uncle in the Allman Bros. He has also made quite the name for himself with his own band, The Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Just for fun, here is a list of my 4 favorite local guitar players:

Aaron Zepplin (4) – I have only seen Aaron play once and it was pretty awesome. He fits right in with the very talented Kyle Megna and the Monsoons. He has a very cool jazzy funky kinda style that makes you want more. His note placement is unbelievable. And if you have never seen his band, you should. I have never crapped my pants from listening to great musicians but I feel like this band could possibly make me do it some time.

Ryan Gleason(3) – I played with Ryan in the reggae band Unity for about a year and I was blown away night after night. Ryan has a very unique style of slapping his strings around. Dude has game. He now plays in Phocus with on of the Valley’s best bass players, Tim Burton. When Ryan is on his game he will “lick” your face right off.

Jeff Johnston(2) – Jeff gave me guitar lessons when I was a middle school whippersnapper. He has been one of the best blues musicians in the Valley for quite some time. He is the Clapton of Appleton. Always smooth. Go and say hi next time you see him play.

Rod Zimmerman (1) – Rod Squad! Rod plays with Bad Haji, A-Town, and has been known for leading some of the wildest Apple Pub jam nights. What I love about Rod’s playing is that he plays with tons of emotion and is not afraid to take some chances. Rod is the only local musician to ever bring me to tears.


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