Get to Know Us!: Chris Mulder’s Top Ten Guitar Players

Howdy folks! If you remember from my first “Get To Know Us!” post, my favorite style of music is rockabilly. New or old, if the guitar is twangy and the jeans are cuffed, I’ll probably dig it. Here is my top 10 guitar players (today, ask me tomorrow and it will probably be different, as is the nature of top 10 lists), and as you’ll see, half of them are rockabilly guys.

Marc Ribot

10. Marc Ribot – Mr. Ribot is a prolific jazz player, but he’s on my list because of his work with Tom Waits. He’s played on Tom Waits albums since Rain Dogs in 1985. Required listening: “Jockey Full of Bourbon”, “Cold Water”

9. Jonsi – Not the first to put a bow to a guitar, Jonsi took that idea and came up with a sound beyond what I though possible with just a guitar and some reverb. Seeing Sigur Ros live was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Required listening: “Svefn-g-englar”, “Festival”

8. Keith Merrow – I don’t normally go for the virtuoso style metal playing. Generally I find that kind of music offensive. Merrow is a YouTube musician from Portland, OR who plays instrumental metal and skirts that virtuoso line sometimes, but his riffs are so amazing. Also, watching his videos makes my brain hurt trying to figure out how he plays so fast and accurately. Required listening: “Pillars of Creation”, “Andromeda” and “Andromeda II”

7. Django Reinhardt – Need I say more? Two fingers paralyzed on his fretting hand and he still played better than pretty much anyone had or has since. Amazing. Required listening: “Ultrafox”, “Tiger Rag”. Required viewing: “Sweet and Lowdown”

Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley

6. Scotty Moore – Elvis Presley’s guitar player behind the big gold Gibson ES-295. Elvis would not have the King of Rock and Roll without Scotty’s guitar work. Required listening: “Just Because”, “”I Got a Woman”

5. Cliff Gallup – The guitar behind Gene Vincent. Seriously amazing note choices. His solos are deceptively complicated and his rhythm work is perfect. Required listening: “Race with the Devil”, “Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail”

4. Eddie Cochran – The father of modern rockabilly. His influence, along with Gene Vincent’s, can be heard in Brian Setzer, JD McPherson, Reverend Horton Heat, and many amazing rock and roll or rockabilly musicians. Required listening: “C’mon Everybody”, “Twenty-Flight Rock”

3. Luther Perkins – “Well, Waylon, whatever you’re looking for, I’ve already found.” This quote from Walk the Line pretty much sums up Luther’s style and what I like so much about it. Whenever anyone tries to play any of his guitar parts they always make them more complicated, but that always seems to make them worse. Luther’s charm is in his simplicity and confidence. Required listening: “Get Rhythm”, “Folsom Prison Blues”

2. Brad Paisley – Mr. Paisley (Yes, as far as I can tell that is his real name) is a modern country player, but don’t let that distract you from his amazing guitar skills. He has a jazz background which shines through and makes his melody choices amazing. I love his use of a ‘g bender,’ which he has installed on pretty much all of his guitars. Also, anyone who can rock a paisley Telecaster has to be pretty darn cool. Required listening: “I’m Still a Guy”, “Two Feet of Topsoil”

Brian Setzer

1. Brian Setzer – I know, I know… He’s the obvious choice for rockabilly guitar legend, but his recording blow me away every time I listen to them. Also, he brought rockabilly back into popular culture not once but twice with The Stray Cats and The Brian Setzer Orchestra (you can argue that the orchestra isn’t rockabilly, but it is pretty darn awesome!). Required listening: “Fishnet Stockings”, “Trouble Train”

What about you? We’d love to hear if you agree or disagree with my choices? What other songs would you recommend for required listening??

(All images courtesy of Wikipedia or

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