Stevie vs. Jimi

bruski1986 The Best Guitarist Ever

To me, the fight for the #1 spot comes down to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and if I had to choose one, I'd give it to Vaughn. Hendrix was phenomenal; he absolutely ripped on guitar. But to me he was more of a creative force - a guy who sounded different than anyone else, past and present.

Many of Hendrix's live performances, while entertaining and explosive (sometimes literally), were also usually muddy and chaotic. Whether he was playing with his teeth, behind his head, trashing gear, or getting sounds from his guitar that no one had ever heard before, Hendrix put on shows of epic proportions. But live, Vaughn was cleaner, faster, and tighter.

Hendrix had some absolutely incredible performances, but he also had his fair share of sloppy ones. You can find them on YouTube with not a whole lot of effort, but try locating some footage of Vaughn on an "off-night" and you'll be searching for a while. The man was on, all the time, even if he was one drink/shot/line away from collapsing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Hendrix was all "show" and just "smoke and mirrors." The man was phenomenal. If I made my own Top 10 list, he'd easily be #2, but when I have to choose between him and Vaughn, he just doesn't meet my criteria.

If the two took the stage together, the level of awesomeness would surely cause the world to explode. Barring that, I can't help but speculate that while Hendrix would likely outperform Vaughn, Vaughn would be very capable of outplaying Hendrix. Innovative, influential, and revolutionary Hendrix was - the best ever he was not; I think that distinction should go to Stevie Ray Vaughn.


I must say I think Stevie is better than Jimi. Hendrix had spirit and he introduced the world to something new. But as a musician overall Stevie sounds better and probably the best blues guitarist EVER. - visitor

Creativity and showmanship go to Jimi but I have to give the edge to Stevie Ray on ability + heart. - visitor