Ritchie Blackmore List Down His Favourite Guitarists of All Time
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He Also Talked About Guitarists Who Failed To Impress Him
Ritchie Blackmore is, without a doubt, one of the greatest guitarists in rock history. He may be best known for his riff in Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water but his guitarwork in other classics are just as mind-blowing and jaw-dropping. However, like every other musician, he has his idols and favorite players too.
In one particular interview with Guitar World in 1991, he discussed other axeslingers who inspired him and influenced his music.
“Hendrix inspired me,” Blackmore said. “I was impressed by Hendrix. Not so much by his playing, as his attitude—he wasn’t a great player, but everything else about him was brilliant.”
“Even the way he walked was amazing. His guitar playing, though, was always a little bit weird,” he continued. “Hendrix inspired me, but I was still more into Wes Montgomery. I was also into the Allman Brothers around the time of those albums.”
When asked about blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blackmore admitted he’s “surprised everybody thinks he was such a brilliant player” especially since there are other blues legends such as Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Peter Green and Mick Taylor. He then went on to call Johnny Winter “very underrated” and “one of the best blues players in the world” with an “incredible” vibrato. For him, SRV was “intense” but “didn’t do anything amazing” as a guitarist.
Perhaps not surprising at all was how Eric Clapton also influenced his finger vibrato style.
“I originally carved my reputation as one of the “fast” guitar players. Than I heard Eric Clapton,” Blackmore recalled. “I remember saying to him, “You have a strange style. Do you play with that vibrato stuff?” Really an idiotic question. But he was a nice guy about it. Right after that I started working on my vibrato.”
He also shared his thoughts on Yngwie Malmsteen. Blackmore clarified that the latter’s nice to him and they get on pretty well. But he doesn’t understand Malmsteen’s playing.
“Normally you say, “Well, the guy’s just an idiot.” But, when you hear him play you think, “This guy’s no idiot. He knows what he’s doing,” Blackmore mused. “He’s got to calm down. He’s not Paganini—though he thinks he is. When Yngwie can break all of his strings but one, and play the same piece on one string, then I’ll be impressed.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Blackmore expressed his bafflement over his guitar god status. After they got broke into mainstream, people started noticing him and his guitar playing.
“I found people saying, “Oh, you play guitar really well,” he shared. “I’d say, “How can you say that when you’ve got these guys in Nashville who just tear me apart?” I still say it.”
“Thank goodness all those amazing players stay in Nashville!” he added.