Dan Sartain’s Favorite Guitar Players


One of our favorite songwriters, Dan Sartain, graciously agreed to provide us with the following list of favorite [electric] guitar players, including his reasoning behind each choice.  If you are unfamiliar with Dan, we strongly recommend checking out any of the albums listed at the end of this post.

The Best Electric Guitar Players According to Dan Sartain

1. Les Paul
The first electric guitar player is still the greatest. People have expanded upon his work, and many have a wider vocabulary of notes, but Les is still the champ. Innovation alone is enough to put Les Paul at the top of my list for all time.
2. Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen is a polarizing band. Even some of their biggest fans have to overlook decades of inactivity and mediocre output. They influenced some of the worst music ever. I understand, and sympathize with the critics. Having said that, Eddie Van Halen is a beast. People speak of musical “soul” quite a bit. Critics have said Eddie has little “soul”. I can’t expand on my feelings about that in great detail, because in my book “soul” can’t be accounted for. Don’t get me wrong, “soul” is important to me as a listener as well. I just believe that musical soul is something personal for the listener. I hear soul in Eddie, but I recognize others do not. What can’t be argued is that Eddie Van Halen has an insane vocabulary on guitar. I’d say his vocabulary is the widest. I don’t think anyone has a better understanding of the electric guitar on an elemental level than Eddie Van Halen.
3. Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry1972
My friend Bryan once said that Chuck Berry wrote the only guitar solo you need to know. He is right.
4. Johnny Ramone

Dictatorships work in bands sometimes. Without Johnny Ramone’s discipline and clear vision, the Ramones would never have made it out of the basement. What a lot of people don’t understand about the Ramones is how important the right hand is to their sound. All downstrokes, all 16th notes, all the time. People make fun of how easy it is to play Ramones’ songs. Those people are only thinking of the left hand, they refuse to acknowledge the hard work of the right. Those same people couldn’t last in the Ramones for longer than a verse and a chorus before they’d have to come up for air.

Those are who I think are the most influential and important guitar players of all time. There are so many more I love and respect, but those are the ones I think were real game changers. Men who changed the world for (mostly) better. Everything in rock and roll that I hold dear can be traced back to these men.

My other personal favorites are John Reis, Bob 1, and Glen Campbell.

Seriously though, Glen Campbell was a badass and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as a guitarist. His solos on Wichita Lineman and Galveston are my favorite guitar solos of all time. Just look at the motherfucker:

Click on any of the following albums for more information:


Too Tough to Live

Join Dan Sartain


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