Who is the best guitarist? 

My students often asked me who I think is the best guitar player or what kind of music is the best to listen to. My answer to them is that the best guitarist is the one that you think is the best and the best music is the kind of music that you like. I get a number of different reactions to this answer that I give them. Some students think that I am being politically correct and trying not to step on their toes and that I secretly hate their music and that's why I answered that way. Other students genuinely want to know what my favorite kind of music is so that we can gear their studies towards what I like the best. But the truth is that the answer I gave is the absolute truth. The music that you like is the best and the guitarists that you like are the best guitarists. It's only your opinion that matters in regards to what kind of music you like and also what kind of music you want to play.

I have liked many different genres of music ever since I was young. In a given day I may listen to classical guitarist John Williams, the rock band Wilco, Pop Star Billy Joel, soft rock group the Carpenters, jazz legend Miles Davis, hard rock band Living Colour, guitar ace Danny Gatton, Brazilian artist Milton Nascimento, experimental & Americano guitarist Bill Frisell, 70's heavy metal legends Deep Purple, jazz guitarist Joe Pass, instrumental hard rock guitarist Joe Satriani, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, blues guitarist Robert Cray, fusion legend John McLaughlin, 60s rock legends the Kinks, etc. etc. The common tie between all of these artists is their incredible originality and depth of performance. They lay down their heart and soul every time they pick up an instrument or sing a song. I try to have that level of commitment in my music and in my playing.

So, remember that the best guitarist is the guitarist that you think is the best and, that the best music is the music that you like!

Peace & happiness,

James Murrell