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Songwriting & Fashion Make Guitar Heroes

"Guitar Virtuoso" Never Equaled "Rock Star"

Jimi and Eric (with perm) - HIPSTERS!
photo credit: ??? (all over the web)
"If Eric Clapton did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." 

Posted on Facebook this AM by fellow musician/blogger Jack Pribek of Pribek- Don't Eat Your Cat and Jack's Guitar Lessons. My response turned into a blog post...

Clapton represents the tipping point of Blues guitar into Rock n Roll mainstream. But beyond simply a "right place/right time" scenario, EC had some key songs with Cream as a great carrier for his guitar solos. A white guy playing electric Blues- British or American- wasn't enough. The songs and fashion were also necessary. 

Another question is how Hendrix would have broken into the mainstream without EC. And remember that as phenomenal as Jimi was, the tunes and fashion made the difference. Neither one of these artists would have broken thru by jamming traditional Chicago formats and wearing MIB suits. It was a fresh new package... and it was the whole package. Eddie Van Halen proved this in the next wave.

All the unknown guitar virtuoso's of today are focused on guitar virtuosity, and not songwriting, showmanship and fashion trends. Today, John Mayer (like him or not) is way more recognized than his guitar/age peers: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamassa and Jonny Lang-- because of songwriting. Now whether or not we all dig Mayer or his songs, many kids right now who decide to play Blues guitar are typically more influenced by John Mayer. It's shifting from SRV to Mayer. Eventually, these kids discover other great guitarists of past and present-- and that Derek Trucks IS DA' MAN guitar-wise

But it's about song-craft and what is hipster. We around here may not do today's hipster so well, but Clapton & Hendrix were hipsters too.  It was never enough to be a great guitar picker, and it never will be. Gotta have the whole package. 

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