Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend Named Top Rhythm Guitarists
3. Jimmy Page: Fans who revere Jimmy Page for his breathtaking solos and extraordinary riff-making should add Page's rhythm playing to that list. Few guitarists have moved more nimbly between earth-shaking power chords and subtle triads and tasteful arpeggios. Much of Page's magic emanated from the range of dynamics he achieved with various strumming techniques, which he often employed in acoustic settings. Punk guitar maestro Johnny Ramone once revealed he improved his down-stroke picking style by listening over and over to Page's playing on "Communication Breakdown."
2. Pete Townshend: Few musical sounds are more instantly recognizable than Pete Townshend's revved-up flamenco style or his wind-milled power chords. Townshend spoke about his love of rhythm guitar in a 1980 interview with Sound International. "I wouldn't object at all to have a [lead] guitar player in The Who so that I could just concentrate on rhythm. I love it. It's a physical thing. It's like a dancing thing. There's a strong syncopation element in it. My style has been formally rhythmic. I laid down the beat and John [Entwistle] and Keith [Moon] worked around it."
1. Keith Richards: Rolling Stones producer Don Was once offered up a terrific assessment of Keith Richards' greatness as a rhythm player. "[His] rhythm guitar parts are often the melody of the song, just by virtue of the way the Stones write. Normally the rhythm guitar player plays in the holes, where the singer isn't singing. But in the Stones' case, Keith is doing what the lead guitar player normally does." Richards offered these thoughts: "[Rhythm] has always fascinated me. Mainly because I realized after quite a few years that the thing that really intrigued me, that turned me on to playing, was suggested rhythms going on, or a certain tension. Especially in early rock and roll, there's a tension between the 4/4 beat and the eighths going on with the guitars." Check out the full list here
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