The Telecaster is a versatile guitar, which is usable for most styles of music and has been used in many genres, including reggae, country, folk, rock, pop, soul, rhythm and blues, jazz, blues, heavy metal, and punk.
In 1949, Leo Fender developed the Telecaster in sunny California.
#1 James Burton
He is an American guitarist. His style of playing has always been very distinct. Burton uses a straight pick and a fingerpick on his middle finger. Due to his brilliant and unique guitar skills – James perfected a style he dubbed “chicken pickin.”
His parents got him his first guitar, which was an acoustic one. In 1957, his first recorded track was the Dale Hawkins hit, “Susie Q.”
Elvis Presley knew an amazing talent when he heard one, and hired Burton as the lead guitarist of his band. This lasted until Elvis’ death in 1977.
Since the 1950s, James has recorded and performed with numerous notable singers, including:
- Allen “Puddler” Harris;
- Bob Luman;
- Suzi Quatro;
- Dale Hawkins;
- Vince Gill;
- Ricky Nelson;
- Steve Young;
- Elvis Presley (and leader of Presley’s TCB Band);
- Townes Van Zandt;
- The Everly Brothers;
- Hoyt Axton;
- Johnny Cash;
- Joni Mitchell;
- Merle Haggard;
- Roy Orbison;
- Glen Campbell;
- Joe Osborn;
- John Denver;
- Elvis Costello;
- Gram Parsons;
- Claude King;
- Emmylou Harris;
- Jerry Lee Lewis;
- Judy Collins.
In 2001, Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Keith Richards.
#2 Roy Buchanan
He was an American guitarist and blues musician. His father was both a Pentecostal preacher and a farmer, that would bring the youngster his 1st exposure to gospel music when his family would attend mixed revival meetings.
In 1977, Buchanan appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits (season 2).
Roy was also a guitar innovator whose skill inspired a documentary, titled – ”The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World.”
”Guitar Player” praised him as having one of the “50 Greatest Tones of All Time.”
In 1960, Buchanan replaced Fred Carter Jr. as guitarist in Ronnie Hawkins’ Hawks.
In 1972, he recorded two albums for ”Polydor: Roy Buchanan” and ”Second Album.” Both were critical successes.
Roy has influenced many guitarists, including:
- Steve Kimock;
- Robbie Robertson;
- Jim Campilongo;
- Gary Moore;
- Mick Ronson;
- Danny Gatton;
- Jerry Garcia;
- Arlen Roth;
- David Gilmour;
- Jeff Beck.
#3 Jimmy Bryant
He was an American country music guitarist who only took up guitar when he got wounded while serving in the Army in 1945. Bryant mastered the instrument quickly during his recuperation.
After World War II, Jimmy returned to Moultrie, then moved to LA county where he played music in bars around L.A.’s Skid Row and worked in Western films.
Bryant is usually considered the Los Angeles equivalent of Nashville hotshot and “A-Team” session star Hank Garland – like Bryant, a knotty and difficult individual.
Bryant recorded the talking blues “Wild Card” with Williams at Capitol’s Melrose Avenue studio on August 9, 1950.
During the 1960s, Jimmy shifted into music production. For instance, Waylon Jennings made a hit of his song “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line.”
In 1978, Jimmy learned that he had lung cancer. At age 55, Bryant died in Moultrie in September 1980.
#4 Mike Bloomfield
He was an American composer and guitarist who became one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s to earn his reputation almost entirely on his instrumental prowess.
He was born on July 28, 1943, into a well-off Jewish family on Chicago’s North Side.
In 1964, Mike was discovered through his session work by the legendary John Hammond, who signed him to CBS.
In 2012, Bloomfield was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2015, Mike was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Bloomfield was ranked No. 22 on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
#5 Frank Black
He is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer who is best known as the frontman of the influential alternative rock band Pixies. In 1993, after the band’s breakup, he followed a solo career.
In 1995, Black was approached for the part of Victor Modino in Heavy. But, Frank turned it down, saying he “didn’t want to play that type of character.”
Black developed his trademark singing style after a friend told him to scream The Beatles’ “Oh Darling” “like you hate that b****!”
In 2004, Frank returned to prominence with a Pixies reunion, a project which included:
- the possibility of a new Pixies album;
- a new best-of collection, Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies;
- Pixies, a DVD retrospective;
- a performance at the T in the Park festival;
- dates in Europe and the United Kingdom;
- an appearance at the Coachella festival;
- North American tours that spring and fall.
#6 Jeff Beck
He is an English rock guitarist who formed the Jeff Beck Group and with Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, Jeff formed Beck, Bogert & Appice. Jeff is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds.
In 1992, Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Yardbirds.
#7 Phil Baugh
He was an American guitarist who was active from the 1960s through the 1980s, performing as a top recording artist in his own right as well as a highly sought-after session musician.
Baugh was known as one of the leading hot country guitarists whose “playing exuded joy and humor.”
#8 Syd Barrett
He was an English musician, songwriter, and singer who was briefly hospitalized amid speculation of mental illness and his excessive use of psychedelic drugs. In 1965, Syd co-founded the band, Pink Floyd.
Syd named the group and was their original lead singer, principal songwriter, and guitarist. In April 1968, Barret was ousted after David Gilmour took over as their new guitarist.
READ MORE: Famous Clarinet Players
#9 Jonny Greenwood
He is an English composer and musician who has written a number of film scores, and is the lead keyboardist and guitarist of the alternative rock band ”Radiohead.”
READ MORE: Famous Tuba Players
#10 Jimmy Page
He is an English musician, record producer, and songwriter, who achieved international success as the founder and guitarist of the rock band ”Led Zeppelin.”
Alongside Big Jim Sullivan, Page was one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Britain.
From 1966 to 1968, Page was a member of the Yardbirds. By the mid-1960s, Jimmy began his career as a studio session musician in London.
READ THIS NEXT: Famous Trombone Players