What Non-Classical Musicians Inspire You?

🎼 Let's explore the diverse influences shaping our musical journeys! Share the unconventional artists who ignite your creativity. Every influence adds depth to our musical palette, whether that be rock, R&B, jazz or any other genre. Join the conversation and discover new sources of inspiration beyond the classical realm!

⭐️ Share the non-classical musicians who inspire you, and WHY you find them inspirational! ⬇ 🎶

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  • Massive question, I have a lot, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Larry Carlton, Nile Rodgers, John Mcloughlan, Tommy Emmanual, Chet Atkins, Marcel Dadi, the list goes on. The why for me is, these guys influenced my musical journey, from when I first picked up a guitar to what I am playing now, and are also included within my gigging repertoire. 

    Like 5
    • Jacques farmer Truly a massive question. Where would we be without them? We stand on the shoulders of giants.

      Like 3
    • wolfgang
    • wolfgang
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Dani de Morón, Paco de Lucia, Richie Beirach, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau, Nir Felder ... Jazz and Flamenco stuff :)

    Like 2
    • ors
    • ors
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    There are so many. Frank Zappa for sure. Many great rock/hard rock guitar-virtuosos some of whom studied the classical guitar at some point or another (for ex., Randy Rhodes of Quiet Riot & Ozzy Osbourne, Alex Leifson of Rush). That said, and I mean no offense, I am not a huge fan of the "shredder" generation: I always yearn to hear some lyricism in guitar playing (CG-bias?) that pure "pyrotechnics"  approach tends to lack in my opinion, with few exceptions such as Eddie Van Halen and Steve Morse (if you would call them "shredders", maybe grandfathers of shredders!) I also search for some clear structure in the solo playing -- yet another CG-bias, I guess (for that reason, I never really managed to enjoy Santana whom everybody would agree is an amazing virtuoso - I guess my ear isn't subtle enough for his playing). Nowadays, I really enjoy listening to the jazz-guitarist Julian Lage - he has such an amazing touch and tone (yet another CG0-bias of mine).

    Like 1
  • I second every comment mentioning rock 'n roll, blues and jazz electric guitar heroes, also I'm huge fan of them all and those were also my inspiration to start playing guitar many years ago. Trying to keep my contribution to this thread as close to the classical guitar world though, and as a Brazilian, I'm going to post here some Brazilian guitar player names, that in a way or another, inspired me to be practicing classical guitar today. Some are world famous, but probably some are not known by all of you, so worth mentioning :)

    - Raphael Rabello
    - Baden Powell
    - Yamandu Costa
    - Alessandro Penezzi
    - Marco Pereira
    - Paulo Bellinati (and the Guitar Works of Garoto)
    - Ulisses Rocha
    - Fabio Lima
    - Fabio Zanon
    - Duo Assad (Villa Lobos complete has always been a reference for me)

    Of course there are others, but those really touched me in one way or the other. I hope some of them are new to you and that you can enjoy listening to them! Cheers!

    Like 2
      • Carlo Martins
      • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
      • Carlo_Martins
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Francisco Portillo Hi! Another Brazilian here, Heavily inspired by Chorinho. Thank you for sharing these great names.

      Like 2
    • Matt Hall
    • Matt_Hall
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Paco de Lucia, Paco Peña, and Juan Martin from the world of Flamenco for sure. I'd also give a really big shouts to Nile Rodgers and Johnny Marr, plus Jon Martyn and Bert Jansch from the world of folk. Michael Rother and Manuel Gottsching have to be here too - they don't get anything like enough love. Then there's the early blues guys - Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, John Lee Hooker, Skip James. So much great  guitar out there!

    Like 1
  • A great question, not everyone grew up with a $12,000 guitar in their laps! 

     

    So we were poor as f___, and my parents managed to get me an acoustic steel string for Christmas as a child around 8/9 years old but I wasn’t into it until around 11/12.
     

     I started playing electric guitar and like another has mentioned here, it was guitarists like Jake E. Lee & Randy Rhoads from Ozzy or for me a huge influence was Yngwie Malmsteen* and also the guitarist Marty Friedman of Megadeth was my favourite, most heavy influence - & Zeppelin, Sabbath, Megadeth, Ozzy, Pantera, Metallica all had a profound impact on my playing when I was younger and have enabled me to be a lot better guitarist at CG having came that route first as opposed to having no experience at all and then starting - some would argue the opposite is true, it just happened for me that way because CG wasn’t popular amongst the youth here in “Woe Canada” around the late 80’s/ early 90’s! 

     

     I tell anyone who hasn’t tried CG that as a guitarist/musician, I’d recommend everyone takes at least some studies in CG as it’s like putting all of your playing/styles on steroids. Wish I’d have studied it more a way back then! :) 
     

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  • Pianist Bill Evans who in turn inspired a whole plethora of wonderful jazz artists like Ralph Towner,

    John Taylor, John Abercrombie, etc. Also, am enamored with the playing of Keith Jarrett and Art Lande.

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    • David Levin Love the ECM label! And for that I would add Terje Rypdal and Jan Garbarek. And I have collected much of KJ's work (including the Sun Bear concerts--I am a completist by nature) before a stroke silenced those amazing hands.

      Like 1
  • Well, it all started with Chet Atkins (no surprise) and his cover of The Boxer (and his collabs with electric pioneer Les Paul on the Chester and Lester albums). Then, John Williams on his debut album and his collab with Julian Bream on their unforgettable Julian & John albums. Then Ed Gerhard, Andrew York, Pierre Bensusan, Phil Keaggy, Laurindo Almeida, Al Petteway, and now Gerard Cousins and Marcin. But my favorite all-round guitarist must be Al DiMeola.  Jazz fusion (he started in Return to Forever with Chick Corea), acoustic, ethnic, flamenco, both performing, improvsing and composing--the man has done it all. Check out his early albums, Elegant Gypsy and Splendido Hotel. Plus his collab with other legends John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia on Friday Night in San Francisco (and Saturday Night in San Francisco, if you can get it). Truly, an all round guitar giant! Still very much inspires me today.

    Like 2
  • Oh, and Pat Metheny, Peter Frampton, Chris Proctor, Mark Knopfler, and Eddie van Halen! Lol, too many to name....

    Like 3
    • Phil Brunkard
    • Enthusiastic Amateur
    • Phil_Brunkard
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I would call out the late, great Jeff Beck. Everything we learn about tone, volume, expression, dynamics, positioning for better quality playing he exemplified. Every note was considered and treated with attention - I don't see many other rock guitarists with his attention to detail. And I must add Steve Hackett who 'introduced' me to playing classical.

    Like 2
    • Phil Brunkard 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻💪🏼

      Like 1
  • I play jazz as well and it that genre Bill Evans is a great source of inspiration for sure. Harmonic improvisation at its best, in my opinion. Paul Desmond is also an inspiration in the tone and phrasing of his lines.

     

    My generation grew up with rock music, which I like simple and not over-produced. One or two guitars, bass, drums and a singer. Someone mentioned Eric Clapton who I find to be hit-or-miss, but when he is on his game, there is no doubt his playing is inspired. 

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  • Sure I love playing a ton of rock, but one of the big influencers for CG was video game music. If you've never googled video game CG look up Zelda or Final Fantasy.

    Like 1
    • Carlo Martins
    • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
    • Carlo_Martins
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi everyone! That's a great topic of conversation. As a fellow Brazilian, I was influenced from a young age by composers and guitarists like Paulinho Nogueira (for me, it all started with 'Bachianinha n.1'), Toquinho, Raphael Rabello and Baden Powell. Anything related to 'Chorinho' (the Brazilian Popular rhythm/style) has inspired me throughout my life 😍

    Francisco Portillo shared some great names up there in this thread. Really worth checking out, if you do not know them. We could also add Edson Lopes, who is highly active as a guitarist (both popular and classical music - with great arrangements of Brazilian music), professor and scholar.

    Like 2
    • Carlo Martins Hi there! I recently recorded "Bachianinha nº1" from Paulinho Nogueira! Please check it out when you have the chance: https://youtu.be/k-Dv22VCUOk . I'll definitely check Edson Lopes as I didn't know him so far. Thanks for sharing!

      Like 2
      • Carlo Martins
      • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
      • Carlo_Martins
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Francisco Portillo Great rendition of Bachianinha n.1! I really enjoyed it!

      Like 1
    • BRINA
    • BRINA
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I'm usually inspired to the movie music that is usually written for orchestra. I like authors like Ennio Morricone or Nicola Piovani, but also Disney Music (so then we have Alan Menken). I usually find some of these music arranged for guitar, but sometimes it is to difficult find a good arrangement for guitar.

    Like 2
    • Jack Stewart
    • Retired
    • Jack_Stewart
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I started music as a rock guitarist and my major inspirations then were early Eric Clapton (esp w/ the Yardbirds, John Mayall and Cream), Jeff Beck (Yardbirds and solo) and Jim Hendrix. I continue to find inspiration from Jeff Beck and Hendrix. As I got into Classical music I also became interested in fingerstyle guitar. My inspiration in fingerstyle were Ry Cooder, Joe Pass, Jerry Reed and, recently, Masa Sumide, Jørgen Ehlers and Brooks Roberston.

    I should note that Clapton was the only inspiration that was actually discernible in my playing. Beck, Hendrix and Pass were way beyond me. 

    Like 2
  • The non classical musician who has been a big inspiration to me is the great jazz saxophonist, Joshua Redman. Both his playing and his compositions are fantastic combining a contemporary sound with strong ties to past great saxophonists.  Another more recent inspiration is the jazz guitarist, Julian Lage. Saw Julian at SF Jazz recently perform a solo acoutic recital and was very impressed with his playing and compositions. 

    Like 2
  • For a totally unexpected artist to be listed here my choice goes to the Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer Devin Townsend!

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    • Blaise Laflamme Devin is so amazingly talented. Loved him since Steve Vai’s band! 

      Like 2
    • jeffreykirn you're right, he's an amazing creative mind!

      Like 1
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