I’ve played guitar and bass for quite a while now. I started when I was 10 years old or so, but back then it was all about rock music and big stadium chords, which I couldn’t handle so for a long while, my main instrument was the bass. But when I got into post-punk, not only did my style with the bass get better, but I also got inspired to pick guitar up again. Guitar doesn’t have to be all power chords and massive solos, it is all about feeling and style. Here are some of the guitarists that have influenced me the most:
John McGeoch (1955-2004)
The main influence so to say. John McGeoch’s way of treating the guitar was so fascinating that I just couldn’t allow myself to merely look at others playing, I had to start practicing with guitar. The way he uses effects and the subtle nature of his playing is something truly magnificent. Screw Jimmy Page, we have McGeoch!
Jukka Orma (1956) & Ismo Alanko (1960)
Alanko and Orma are perhaps one of the most manic guitarist duos out there. Together they have written some of the most aggressive riffs and manic funks Scandinavian music scene has ever produced. Their guitars let out mesmerising noises while the two lads ran across the stage like mad men, which only made them appear as even more powerful musicians. They are also a proof that you don’t necessarily have to be from England in order to be a great guitarist. Fantastic.
Andy Gill (1956)
Now, as a bass player I pay a lot of attention to the rhythm and the beat, which is one of the reasons I can’t play too complicated guitar parts. I get all confused when trying to organise chords while I should support the beat as best as I can. Well, Andy Gill taught me that complicated chords and complex riffs are truly overrated when you can go out on a funky killing spree.
Will Sergeant (1958)
John McGeoch made me want to become an alternative sort of a guitar hero, who doesn’t impress people with his balls-to-the-walls attitude and huge Marshals. But trying to play along with McGeoch was frustrating and, at times, aggravating and depressing. But then Will Sergeant came along and showed me that skills aren’t that important. Really. Andy Gill might’ve made me realise that you don’t have to be too talented to sound great, but Will Sergeant showed me that you don’t need to be skilled in order to be imaginative. And that is what all learning guitarists should be told. Don’t spend too much time learning chords and such, spend more time learning by yourself, developing your own style and manners which you are comfortable with.
Paul Simonon (1955)
Yes, I know, Simonon isn’t technically a guitarist. But he is still my oldest idol as a musician. He’s always been there when I’ve been down and frustrated by my lack of skill as a musician and made me realise time after time that you will eventually become more and more skilled. Just try. Try harder. And if you try hard enough and have the courage to mess around a bit, you’ll become truly original and talented and be at the top of your own game. And also, what ever you do, do it cool. Visual style is never overrated when playing music. It is just as important as musical style.