The best guitarists aren't always the ones we most immediately think of. But from classic rock to symphonic metal, some of music's finest guitarists are reinventing guitar technique, applying old tricks to new and brilliant sounds, and touring stages the world over. Here are five amazing guitarists you should know.
A brilliant songwriter and guitarist, Steven Archer of Baltimore-based Ego Likeness applies both traditional and unconventional guitar techniques to EL's darkwave industrial sound. Utilizing guitar as both a supportive instrument and equal partner to the vocals, Steven's technique with guitar playing hearkens back to the era of lieder – art songs – where instruments and voice are equal partners musically. With intensive energy and yet a sonorous quality rarely heard in guitar, Steven Archer and his wife, singer and writer Donna Lynch, tour regularly throughout the United States.
Guitarist to industrial rock band Doomsday Virus, Rahb Eleven delivers an intensity with guitar that many guitarists lose to years of training. With more than two decades of experience in guitar, Rahb combines brilliant technique with a unique rawness rarely heard even in this driven genre of music. Rahb is the mastermind of the avant-garde industrial project Destroy Eleven, and additionally teaches and creates art in the Capital District of New York.
Longtime guitarist to goth rock band Bella Morte, Tony Lechmanski has a high level of skill in creating intense and yet incredibly melodic guitar strains to flow within the band's varying and yet cohesive sound. Tony has worked with a number of other artists, including synthpop performer Shawn Decker and singer Lauren Hoffman. Married to stage and circus performer Opal Lechmanski, Tony lives in Charlottesville, VA.
With a melancholy nostalgia and chordal precision, Nicole Maher is a quintessential example of the young singer-songwriter. Nicole studied audio engineering at SUNY Schenectady, and as a performing artist produces both original material as well as cover songs. In addition to guitar and voice, she plays violin, and lives and teaches in upstate New York.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Though she is no longer among the living, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was both mother and midwife to rock and roll. A lifelong recording and performing artist, Rosetta was described as “the original soul sister,” she was the progenitor of many guitar techniques we now recognize as standards in rock – and many of the performance techniques she pioneered are still studied by modern guitar students. She passed away in 1973 in Philadelphia.
Each of these guitarists represents a different styles, genres, and levels of technique – and each one presents a unique approach to the guitar that is well worth listening to.