Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Zakk Wylde Name Their Own Guitar Heroes

(Gibson) Guitar players all have their idols that got them to pick up the instrument in the first place. Sometimes those influences are directly indicative of the type of music they end up pursuing, but in some cases that initial contact with the world of rock or blues might just be a starting point and they end up veering off in a completely different direction. But what about our guitar heroes - who inspired them? In this list we've taken quotes from influential guitarists where they talk about their own guitar heroes.

Eddie Van Halen: In his first major interview as a professional musician in 1978, Eddie Van Halen told Guitar Player magazine about his influences: "My main influence was Eric Clapton," said Eddie. "I realize I don't sound like him, but I know every solo he's ever played, note-for-note, still to this day. My favorites were the Cream live versions of 'Spoonful' [Wheels of Fire, RSO] and 'I'm So Glad' [Goodbye, RSO]. I liked Jimi Hendrix, too."

Slash: "All of my playing is basically influenced by blues players," said Slash in an interview with MusicRadar. "That might sound surprising, but really, that's where my whole trip comes from. [...] Then there was Jimi Hendrix and Mick Taylor and Jeff Beck - all of my information was coming from the classic '60s and '70s players. [...] I realized that the licks were pretty much the same stuff I'd been listening to all along - only the context that was different. I've listened to a lot of great blues guitarists, but the two guys who I go back to consistently are Albert King and BB King. Their appeal never fades."

Zakk Wylde: When Gibson asked Zakk Wylde who his influences were, the guitarist revealed how he came to be a Les Paul player: "Well, there was Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Hendrix, Gary Moore—they all played Gibsons. Plus, I've seen pictures of Clapton and Keith Richards with Les Pauls. I said to myself, 'Okay, that's the guitar for me.' It's just the greatest guitar in the world. The spectrum of sounds you can get with a Les Paul is unbeatable. You can be crunchy, warm; you can play Al Di Meola licks or crank up the super metal. You can't do that on any other guitar. No way."

Joe Perry: Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry revealed to Premier Guitar that the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green at the helm greatly affected his style as a guitarist: "Peter Green's style, attitude and sound really got to me. These guys didn't care about being rock stars. It was all about the music for them. I became a big fan of Fleetwood Mac. I guess you could say I was most influenced by the second wave of British bands, like The Yardbirds, Mac and The Who." Check out the list from seven more guitar heroes.

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Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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