When it comes to legendary rock guitarists, most kids know about the big three: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards. But there has been a pantheon of gifted and innovative guitarists contributing to the evolution of popular music over the years. From blazing bebop and country soloists to soulful blues and jazz players, here are the five most influential guitarists every kid should hear.
Albert “Mr. Telecaster” Lee
Born in England in 1943, Lee began playing guitar at age seven. As the sun of an amateur pianist, Lee was exposed to a variety of music as a chid. But his earliest influences are Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.
As a teenager, Lee played the local R&B and rock ‘n’ roll circuits. And by 1959, he was playing Memphis soul style guitar for Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds.
But Lee’s true love was for country music.
Today, Lee is known for his breakneck speed and virtuosity, but his playing is also soulful and melodic. Over the course of his career, he was named Guitar Player’s “Best Country Guitarist” five times.
He’s worked with notable stars such as Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, Tonny Emanuel, and Willie Nelson.
In fac, Lee joined Emmylou Harris’ group, “The Hot Band,” replacing Elvis Presley’s legendary guitarist James Burton.
Despite never achieving widespread commercial success, Lee is the consummate guitarist’s guitarist. He’s influenced countless guitarists with his blazing open string licks, his banjo style phrasing, and his uncanny ability to replicate the pedal steel on the guitar