Before you can run, you gotta walk, and playing guitar is no different. This year, big names like Doug Aldrich, Devin Townsend, Andy Timmons, Eva Gardner, Matt Heafy, and others detail their earliest, biggest influences.
10. Does It Doom?’s Steve Reis on Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”
The envoy of evil honors Tony Iommi‘s ominous opening odyssey that is a foreboding fight between light and dark that ultimately sparked several subgenres of metal.
9. Joey Landreth on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood”
The Canadian guitar slinger recalls the moment that cemented his passion for playing thanks to SRV’s evocative delivery and compelling chord voicings.
8. Jason Richardson on Lamb of God and Dream Theater
The All That Remains shredster details two technically challenging riffs that leveled-up his playing and he shouts out the latter for springboarding him into 7-strings.
7. Daniela Villarreal on Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole”
The Warning’s guitarist remembers first being mesmerized by Matt Bellamy’s captivating performances and then empowered to front her own power trio.
6. Trivium’s Matt Heafy on In Flames’ “Artifacts of the Black Rain”
The heavy metal maven details how music made more sense to him after digesting the swift Swedes coupling of “raw, intense screaming vocals with such beautiful guitar melodies.”
5. Andy Timmons on the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”
Thanks to an older brother, the instrumental star became fascinated with the Fab Four who’s early B-side introduced him to the guitar solo.
4. Melissa Dougherty on Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”
The 6-string foil for Grace VanderWaal and Mayer Hawthorne was mesmerized by the guitar god’s dexterous orchestration and explains why the song is great for teaching solo-guitar compositions.
3. Eva Gardner on Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”
The bassist for Pink and Cher explains how John Paul Jones’ rhythmic tightrope of whimsical melody and driving might still hits her today.
2. Devin Townsend on Judas Priest’s “The Sentinel”
The once Strapping Young Lad chronicles the “pinnacle moment” with the Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing riff that helped him earn “social collateral” and he became “moderately accepted” with schoolmates.
1. Doug Aldrich on Free’s “All Right Now”
The Dead Daisies’ sharpshooter guitarist runs through his favorite A-chord riffs before zeroing in on Paul Kossoff’s magic.