Eric Clapton is the best at playing his music
same for all the other Top Guns:
David Gilmour, Stevie Ray, Yngwie, Steve Vai, Santanna, Dick Dale, Joe Walsh, etc, etc.
You can go online and learn in minute detail exactly the guitar used for a particular song during a particular tour, how it was tuned with what strings, the effects, amps, etc. AND all the tricks how the song was played yet no matter how hard you try nobody can get the identical sound as the master. This is echoed by the guitar techs of these greats and they have a front row seat with the master and still can't do it. There is just something in the way each master touches that instrument that no one seems capable of imitating. Sure, you may sound close but I dare you to show me someone who is mistaken for the original.
Jeff Beck has this trick he does with the volume and tone control knobs AS HE PLUCKS. Clapton said he's watched Jeff closely and practiced it but still cannot do it. Eric has recognized Jeff on more than one occasion as better than him including an award show.
There are many amazing guitarists out there who will never be a houshold name. Most kids today cannot recognize the music of any of the above masters unless you give clues. For instance, no kid today will recognize Dick Dale's surf guitar but they will recognize 'Miserlou' from the movie Pulp Fiction. Dick was famous for blowing amps, busting strings and aggressive use of the whammy (tremolo) bar. Gary Hoey is following in his footsteps and well worth catching btw.
I think Dave Gilmour is the greatest effects wizard around. He knows more about subtle effects to get what has been called *The Tone from Heaven*. Google the website 'Gilmourish' to read how this kid from Norway has documented every piece of equipment, the settings-the works.
You just don't appreciate the level these guys go to to achieve the tone they are known by. You can try to play Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) but you need a gold coin for a pick (plectron). To get that psychedelic Hawaiian sound from Jimi Hendrix on 'All Along the Watchtower", you'll need a plastic comb covered with Saran Wrap used as a slide.
I enjoy ALL classic guitar rock. Some guys have a readily identifiable 'sound' in all their music (Gibbons, Young of AC/DC, Rush, etc.), then you have those like Gilmour or John Fogerty who can probably play a brick and make it sound incredible.
Last thought: sorry to bust everyone's bubble but Eric Clapton is NOT God--Jesus Christ is.
There is no comparison between Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton, sorry.
Nor is there any comparison between Zappa and Joe Walsh and Pat Metheny. All great musicians develop a style over time that they are comfortable with and the audience understands this. They are just there to enjoy the music.
Here is a link to an incredible rendition of Herbie Hankock's "Cantelope Island" with Dave Holland, Pat Metheny and Jack DeJohnette together with Hancock! Metheny plays a very classy guitar solo in this jazz fusion classic. Hancocks keyboard work is superb as usual.
Here is a link to Jeff Beck performing Billy Cobhams stratus" in 2006.
Vinnie Coliaiuta is a great drummer but he is no billy Cobham. :>)
Signature on hold. Trying to find a real Jefferson quote I like. Others here have bogus Jefferson quotes too.
For all you guys still following this thread: Thank you for the reassurance in my belief that music isn't what it used to be! Agreed, you would be hard pressed to find many to follow in their footsteps. Maybe Gary Hoey, Nuno Beten... can't spell his last name, Sartriani.......
As for the show: BEYOND WORDS! (made me want to go home & throw my Strat in the garbage) He did a little of everything, Yardbirds, blow by blow, guitar shop, truth, Somewhere over the rainbow & (believe it or not) A day in the Life!
Yeah he did the control knob whammy bar thing (couldn't figure it out either).
My girlfriend wins the "good sport" award for being with me. Not her thing (she listens to top 40 radio) YUCK! She still could a appreciate his talent!