The March 2008 issue of Guitarist magazine was the publication's 300th issue, and, in celebration, it featured a summation of what its readers, staff and contributors reckoned to be the 50 greatest electric guitar sounds in history.
Genres from grunge to jazz are represented, but before the rundown is revealed in full, Guitarist editor Mick Taylor explains exactly what makes a guitar tone great:
"Is it the abrasive punk rock thrash of Johnny Thunders? The full, fat 'n' fruity blues of Billy Gibbons? Great tone is a divisive issue, but the one common denominator we should agree on is that it's memorable. It might not have changed history, it might not have been the first example of its breed, but a truly great guitar tone is the kind of sound that compels you pick up that guitar and play. Wood, metal, volume, overdrive. Bring it on…"
So, without further ado, we reveal what might just be the ultimate iPod playlist for guitarists, and link to some classic clips along the way. First up, a genuine trailblazer...
The first electric guitar star’s Gibson ES-150 defined jazz tone: neck pickup, warm and clean. Coming as a package with an EH85 amp the outfit cost $150 – the fee Benny Goodman paid Christian, per week, in 1939. “I wanted to be like Charlie Christian,” said George Benson. "I’ve always liked the hot guys."