As one of the top three indie music sites on the web, we figured it was time that we settle the debate once and for all as to who are the best indie guitarists of all time.
So what exactly classifies someone as an “indie” guitarist? Good question.
But next, how do we classify a guitarist? We at Blocland define a guitarist as one who plays a fretted, stringed instrument with more than 5, and fewer than 7 strings.
1. Johnny Marr
The quintessential indie guitarist, Jonny Marr zigged when others zagged. Most famous for his tapping technique which he debuted on the Smith’s seminal hit, “Eruption,” his work is a constant source of inspiration for generations of guitarists.
2. Kevin Shields
Kevin Shields was the first guitarist to discover that you could use your guitar to sound like a vacuum cleaner and also bankrupt your record label. His work has been highly influential with people who are too lazy to learn how to play solos and memorize scales, but like spending tons of money on pedals.
3. Jonny Greenwood
A highly intelligent guitarist, Jonny Greenwood’s work was essential to Radiohead’s landmark album OK Computer, a concept album about how it’s okay to be on the computer. While Radiohead’s discography is widely critically snubbed, his influential style is most noted for inspiring the groundbreaking British rock band Coldplay.
4. J Mascis
What happens when Eeyore becomes obsessed with Marshall stacks and vintage Big Muff fuzz pedals, J. Mascis once shredded so hard it obliterated all pigment cells from his hair.
5. Carrie Brownstein
While Carrie Brownstein got her start on the adult children’s show Portlandia, she went on to found a punk rock Dixie Chicks cover band, Sleater Kinney, who rock so hard they often turn women lesbian.
6. The Guy From the Pixies
Just kidding, fuck that band
7. Annie Clark
Noted taco apologist and anti-burrito advocate Annie Clark has carved out a good deal of respect as a woman who also somehow manages to play guitar. I think she dropped out of Berklee, which is cool because it would be really hard to top Charlie Puth.
8. Old “Dirty Spoon” Herman the Schizophrenic Hobo
They don’t call him Dirty Spoon for nothing–be careful, he’ll bitecha!
9. Kevin Parker
Kevin Parker is arguably the youngest player on the list and definitely the worst at choosing band names. Though he has drifted somewhat from the instrument on his recent work, his earlier albums some pretty good riffs as far as chillwave goes.
10. Roger Miller
This guy literally played so loud he went deaf and had to break up the band. Your poseur punk rock bullshit is meaningless to him. Go play a ukulele or some shit.
11. Thurston Moore
Thurston Moore was among the first to discover that you don’t actually have to tune your guitar to make cool songs, and I use both terms loosely. In addition to pioneering alternate tunings, he also pioneered alternate definitions of “not cheating on your wife.”
Didn’t see your favorite indie guitarist mentioned on the list? It’s probably because they suck.
Please email all suggestions, discussions, and comments to someone else. Thanks,