I've seen a lot of the names I was going to mention, except for Vito Bratta and Paul Gilbert. Paul got a lot of money on that stupid "To Be With You" Mr. Big song, but he was a guitar god in the making long before that.
Nuno Bettencourt is right up there. For anybody who was into Extreme before "More Than Words" hit, then you know Nuno was the man. He was vastly underrated. His first solo album was all around excellent. He is awesome. I saw him live on one of my first dates with my wife, and he beat the shiz out of a guitar. I thought his hands would catch on fire. Very very excellent player.
But I'm going to throw out two names, and don't laugh... because I'm dead serious. Roy Clark and Wayne Newton. They both were amazing when I saw them at some random family 4th of July show. Roy Clark was seriously fast and an excellent technical player. Wayne Newton blew me away. I didn't even know he played the guitar, and he was flying man. I was like "Danke Schon Wayne... what the hell?"
I also want to add Danny Gatton. He was a master, and his demons took him much too soon.
I'm glad somebody put up that REO Speedwagon dude. I was thinking of him before I even opened this. He was dang good.
There are a few more random guys that nobody has ever heard of that are excellent. Of course everybody knows guys like Yngwie and the like from the "hair days". But they never quite made it with any mainstream success because they were technically good, but just didn't create music people liked. Eric Johnson was a real exception, and he is amazing. Cliffs of Dover is still one of my favorite guitar sounds and songs ever.
And I agree fully on George Lynch. Saw him live in his heyday due to my brothers being big fans of his. One had a George Lynch guitar (it might have been a Charvel, but it looked like a Jackson? Crackly lightning kind of neon finish with black). That was a kickass guitar. I LOVED playing it. Sooooo smooth, and the action was perfect. I have a strat and a les paul, and they are great guitars no doubt, but that Lynch model was my favorite guitar I've ever played. Seeing him live was a real revelation. A super super talented guy and seemed like a genuine musician and not some bozo that was stoned out of his mind and just doing the tongue wiggle at girls lifting up their tops in the crowd. He was very cool and put on a great show. I think there must have been 10,000+ there and he blew the doors off of the place. They were opening for somebody (Lynch Mob). I can't even remember who... maybe Kiss? I saw them though and liked it. The guy who played for Slaughter was surprisingly talented as well. Really a good musician. When the singer went off stage (Mark Slaughter?) the guitar player took over and pointed at everybody and then jumped up and when he landed the whole band had busted in "Back in Black". It was actually awesome, because I thought they were just posers, and they ripped it up on an instrumental version of it. The singer runs back out, and they just keep going with it... so he kind of dances around... and then looks at the guys like he wants them to stop and rip into another tune, and they just kept on going, so he left again. It was quite comical. I don't know if they planned it, or if they were just sick of his whiny singing and decided they were going to play some actual rock and roll that night.
R.I.P. Dad. I miss you. You will never be forgotten
1/12/39 - 8/7/08