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View Poll Results: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?
Yes, absolutely. 3 9.38%
Well on any given day he can be up there with the very best. 13 40.63%
No, not even close! How can you even ask such a question on a serious music discussion forum? 9 28.13%
Who's Jeff Beck? Is he one of Beyonce's dancers? 1 3.13%
Dunno. I'll get back to you on the question after I finish arranging my sock drawer. 0 0%
All of the above. 0 0%
None of the above. 5 15.63%
Could you repeat the question? 1 3.13%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #1
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Question Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

So what do you think? Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitar player of them all? Here are some clips of his playing:














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Old 03-10-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

It's obviously a very subjective question. I think Beck is incredibly good and definitely can be among the best on any given day, but he isn't my favorite player, so FOR ME, I could never say he's the best. A lot goes into what I would consider to be the best outside of pure talent and technique. There are plenty of classical guitar players that are absolute monsters on the instrument that I couldn't care less about, therefore, they aren't the best IMO.

Beck has made some terrific records both solo and with bands, but I also think he has made albums that are not good at all and some that bore the hell out of me regardless of his virtousity.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

IMHO he's a mid-level guitarist. Neither the sheer power of a Hendrix or a Page, nor the understated glory of a Buchanan, Green, or Trower. Beck may well have technical chops above all these guys, I wouldn't know. But I've never heard anything from him that really impressed me. He has some cool songs, that's true, but the guitar playing seems standard to me. Like a Clapton without the special touch.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

Yeah, he's the greatest. Blows doors on both Page and Clapton. Anyone who disagrees is nuts :)
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:42 PM   #5
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

No, not even close! How can you even ask such a question on a serious music discussion forum?
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:35 PM   #6
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

No, not even close! Jeff Beck is a nice guitarist but no where near the "greatest". At least for me there are several who I feel are way better.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:35 PM   #7
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantastico View Post
Yeah, he's the greatest. Blows doors on both Page and Clapton. Anyone who disagrees is nuts :)
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

I have no idea what possessed you to ask this question. I agree with Deja that he has very good chops but is just not that unique to his approach. Now, I like Blow By Blow and it's probably one of my favorite fusion records, but that's because of the arrangements and the songwriting. Not so much the guitar work. And with the exception of Beck's Bolero, I never really understood the praise behind his Truth album. It doesn't really hold a candle to Led Zeppelin I or II.

The question is definitely subjective, and really...is there a such thing as the greatest guitarist of them all?

Maybe I should ask if John Bonham is the greatest drummer of them all?
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

No not the best although he could keep up with many of the best ROCK guitarists. Where beck falls apart with me is his lack of song structure. Very few beck songs are memorable in my opinion. then again when I think great guitarists I turn to classical and they mostly just interpreted other composers.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

No
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:22 AM   #11
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

He seems to be everywhere today. I heard this song on a contemporary jazz station and loved it. So he knows how to market himself. Long live Jeff Beck!

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Old 03-11-2014, 06:54 AM   #12
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

he's definitely up there, he has unique style and can hold is own with the best of them, is he the best that comes down to personal preference, my preference is Hendrix
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:41 AM   #13
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Exclamation Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicDancer View Post
Beck has made some terrific records both solo and with bands, but I also think he has made albums that are not good at all and some that bore the hell out of me regardless of his virtousity.
Truth. I've always thought that Jeff Beck is at his best playing in a band or for another artist on tracks he's not arranging.

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Old 03-11-2014, 10:09 AM   #14
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Exclamation Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

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Originally Posted by Phantastico View Post
Yeah, he's the greatest. Blows doors on both Page and Clapton.
I agree. I attended the Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck concert on 21 February 2010 in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre (a venue built primarily for hockey games I might add). Here's the review I wrote a few days later:

1. The joint "tour", immortalized already of course in t-shirts, was the second most curiously abbreviated tour of which I'm aware. (The Cream's reunion tour was the shortest.) This Clapton/Beck tour was confined to London, New York, Toronto and Montreal. Eric will now be performing a few concert dates with Roger Daltrey while Jeff is heading off to tour Australia with his band.

2. An old buddy of mine, Dave, and his older brother had come in from out of town for the show. Their college age kids had chipped in together to buy the two of them nosebleed tickets for the concert. The kids though had no interest in attending the show....

3. The stage was set up at one side of the rink. Floor tickets and lower level seats up to the end boards were all $225. I passed on the $225 tickets since the only ones that were still available ten days before the concert were in the corner seats at the opposite end of the rink. I had mixed feelings about attending the concert in a hockey barn but I finally broke down and bought a pair. Mine were $150 tickets fifteen rows up at the other end of the rink.

4. I'm not entirely convinced that the show was completely sold out. There might have been some empty $225 seats at the sides of the arena.

5. The view from that distance was helped along by a pair of TV screens although these weren't that big compared with the huge monitors at say Stones' concerts.

6. The tickets gave a start time for the concert of 7:30 PM and start at 7:30 it did with Jeff Beck taking the stage. He cleverly ensured a standing ovation when he came out by playing the first few notes of "Oh Canada", which of course had the crowd rising to their feet. He then broke into "Eternity's Breath".

7. He was accompanied by Montreal native Rhonda Smith on bass, a drummer and a twelve piece orchestra complete with conductor. No singer though. This is the fourth time I've seen Jeff in the last fifteen years and he's never had a singer so I wasn't surprised. I would of course have sneered at any less sophisticated fan who was expecting vocals. Jeff's style is to have his guitar take the place of vocals, substituting his notes for the words of a singer.

8. It was therefore Jeff's guitar playing that carried the melody on such classical pieces as “Corpus Christi Carol” and “Nessun Dorma”. He often used a whammy bar, a.k.a. a tremolo arm, and I found the notes that flowed so freely from his guitar to be both plaintiff and spellbinding.

9. He introduced his band mates at one point and Rhonda Smith launched into an extended bass solo version of "Voodoo Child".

10. Jeff ended his set with his crowd pleasing cover of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life". He ended up playing for exactly 45 minutes.

11. But because there were no vocals, the focus of his set was entirely on his guitar playing. I therefore knew that Eric Clapton would be very hard pressed to top Jeff's set when it came to straight forward guitar playing.

12. I had taken in a fabulous Eric Clapton concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1995(?) which consisted entirely of Eric covering old blues classics. A set of old blues classics into which Eric could intersperse searing guitar licks would have been a more than adequate way to follow-up Jeff's blistering fusion guitar set.

13. The break between Jeff's set and Eric's set wasn't much more than fifteen minutes. The fellow alley dweller known as Red that I'd brought with me was a big Eric Clapton fan and she was waiting for her idol's appearance with rapt anticipation.

14. Eric arrived backed by a bass player, drummer, Chris Stainton on keyboards (both piano and organ), another keyboardist who may have been handling both synthesizer and mellotron duties since I detected strings that I hoped weren't canned at points during Eric's set, and two black female backup singers. He never did introduce his band though.

15. The first two numbers Eric performed were acoustic - "Driftin' Blues" and the unplugged version of "Layla" which has always struck me as being a completely emasculated version of the original. After a set of Jeff's blistering guitar leads though, I found Eric's opening numbers to be a letdown.

16. Now Eric was never a great singer but he's evidently been losing his voice lately which is why he needed the backup singers to add some punch/projection.

17. After he electrified his most crowd pleasing numbers was the reggae influenced "I Shot the Sherriff" which Eric performed as a full fledged calypso number with the aid of his backup singers. It was about the liveliest number he performed.

18. He played "Cocaine" but I could not have found it all that inspiring because I just had to check to make sure it really had been part of his set. In fact, I didn't notice Eric playing any seering extended guitar solos at all. Red was disappointed in the omission of "Bell Bottom Blues" and "I Can't Stand It" from his set.

19. Eric played for about 45 minutes before being joined on stage by Jeff Beck. With both of these guitar legends sharing the stage together, I expected some serious joint guitar pyrotechnics. But it was not to be. Eric played the bandleader and front man, but Jeff was the hotshot young guitar god throughout the rest of the performance. While Jeff pealed off solos, Eric was content to strum rhythm guitar. Jeff was the flashy one, while Eric was workmanlike. I guess that's why they call Eric "Slowhand".

20. One of the numbers they performed was a very interesting instrumental cover of "Moon River" with Jeff's guitar and whammy bar taking the place of the vocals.

21. Their cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher" was a crowd pleaser. The backup singers certainly got into that one. My buddy Dave had a dissenting opinion though. He didn't think the tune was done justice without the presence of brass.

22. They performed a well received version of "Crossroads" as their encore in which Eric finally traded some guitar licks with Jeff.

23. They never did perform the original version of "Layla" though which was a big disappointment since Jeff was there to fill in Duane Allman's guitar parts. Neither did they perform Jeff's signature "Beck's Bolero" which was also quite the disappointment since Eric would have been there to fill in the guitar parts that Jimmy Page had originally added to the track.

24. The show was over by 10:35 PM.

25. Red professed her profound disappointment in Eric's performance. In her own words, Eric looked "old and tired" in comparison to Jeff. She had come in with the expectation that Eric would prove to be the star of the show but she left with a newfound appreciation for Jeff.

26. My buddy Dave disagreed. He thought Eric was just fine. But Red and I later agreed that since Dave had probably not seen a big time act for over thirty years and had never even seen any kind of event at the Air Canada Centre, he wasn't going to be difficult to impress.

27. Now Jeff Beck has for many years been my favourite guitarist so I wasn't the least bit surprised. But I'll reiterate a point I've made on a number of occasions. Jeff delivers his best music playing for someone else. Whether for the Yardbirds, Donovan ("Goo Goo Barabajagal"), Rod Stewart ("Infatuation"), Buddy Guy ("Mustang Sally") or Mick Jagger, that's when Jeff comes off the best musically. Unfortunately, Jeff doesn't take direction well from others. That's why he could never have made beautiful music as part of the Rolling Stones for very long. Mick and Keith being control freaks, Jeff would sooner rather than later have ended up clubbing one of the two over the head with his guitar.

It's therefore a good thing that Jeff typically needs no direction when it comes to adding the guitar parts that take a song from the ranks of the very good to the transcendent. The problem is that on his own he very rarely provides himself with any good songs. His signature piece, "Beck's Bolero", was actually written by Jimmy Page. Jeff is a great guitarist, but his music is too outré to capture the imagination of the record buying public. Sometimes I actually think he should be left to experiment by himself in the basement of some monastery.

28. So my final verdict was the same as the one I held before buying the ticket - Jeff is the better guitarist, but Eric remains the better musician.

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Old 03-11-2014, 11:34 AM   #15
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

I've seen Jeff Beck live a half dozen times, and I've always come away feeling he was the best I've ever seen.

Jimmy Page is great, but notoriously sloppy.

Johnny Winter and Ritchie Blackmore might have been contenders at one time, but they're past their prime.

Joe Satriani and Steve Morse are two of the most amazing guitarists playing today, IMO. Still prefer Beck.

Derek Trucks is a monster. Would love to see him play with Beck.

John McLaughlin is in Beck's league, and rates right up there. Might like him as much Beck, especially because he played with Miles.

Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Jerry Garcia are of three of the most lyrical guitarists I've seen, but I prefer Beck.

Neil Young is one of the most passionate guitarists I've seen, but I like Beck more.

when it comes right down to it, I just like Jeff Beck the most.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:04 AM   #16
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Exclamation Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

Hmmmm. Still only my own vote for "Yes, absolutely" though.

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Old 03-12-2014, 11:59 AM   #17
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

any given day
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:57 PM   #18
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Re: Is Jeff Beck the greatest guitarist of them all?

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Hmmmm. Still only my own vote for "Yes, absolutely" though.

He's good but there a lot of other great guitarists. Wes Montgomery, Peter White, George Benson, George Harrison. Nobody is the greatest of all for me.
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