Ten Rising Great Rock and Metal Guitarists - New Blood
By Team HC |
by Anne Erickson
Great guitarists tend to be of a more mature age, but let’s talk about the up-and-comers who are carrying the torch for the next generation of guitar shredders. Here are 10 great young guitarists, mainly rock and metal players, making major waves in music and helping ensure the electric guitar will rule for years to come.
Equipped with long blonde locks and razor-sharp guitar playing skills, Australia’s Orianthi has played with everyone from Carrie Underwood to Michael Jackson. She was supposed to serve as lead guitarist for Jackson’s This Is It concerts, but the shows never happened due to his tragic death in 2009. Orianthi has also earned her stripes playing guitar with Alice Cooper from 2011 to 2014 and released a solo album in 2010 called, Believe.
Nita Strauss may be best known as Alice Cooper’s current guitarist, but her history packs a diverse lineup of gigs, including playing with ‘80s rockers Femme Fatale, Critical Hit, Jermaine Jackson and, of course, all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens. Anyone who’s seen Strauss with Cooper on the current band’s run with Motley Crue can attest to her power and skillful playing. She fits perfectly in the Coop’s three-guitar attack.
Jake Pitts was just a baby when the ‘80s metal era was in full swing, but you’d never know that listening to the music of his band, Black Veil Brides. The Cincinnati hard rockers pay tribute to the Sunset Strip and bands like Motley Crue and Kiss with their glammed-up, theatrical music. A killer lead guitarist was at the heart of the greatest ‘80s bands, and Pitts’ lead guitar work in Black Veil Bridges takes on that character, with shy-high solos and playing that requires a solid grasp of technique.
Gary Clark, Jr.
Gary Clark, Jr. is such a name that the mayor of Austin, Texas, once declared May 3 to be Gary Clark, Jr. Day. The guitarist has shared the stage with BB King, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Alicia Keys. His one-of-a-kind blend of rock, pop and blues has made him one of the brightest, and most sought-after, young guitarists on the circuit.
Clark has his own signature Epiphone model, the Epiphone Gary Clark Jr. “Blak & Blu” Casino. “I absolutely love these guitars,” he told Epiphone. “I like putting them on stands and chairs and just looking at them.” He also has his very own signature Gibson SG.
Misha Mansoor plays leads in Periphery, an innovative, tech-heavy prog-metal band whose instrumentally challenging, syncopated style is spliced with elements of electronic and other styles. Mansoor and his band play a complex breed of metal music called djent, featuring a down-tuned and distorted guitar chord played in a palm-muted style. Mansoor is a gifted guitarist, producer and songwriter, so music buffs and those who just want to rock ‘n’ roll should appreciate his tracks.
When Richie Faulkner got the nod to join Judas Priest, he was faced with a massive task. Faulkner wasn’t just joining the legendary metal band for a tour—he was expected to be involved in the writing process for the band’s new album, Redeemer of Souls. He met that challenge head-on, showing off smart songwriting abilities and a capable guitar attack, gripping his bellowed Les Pauls Flying Vs along the way.
Sure Brittany Howard sings leads in rock band Alabama Shakes, but she can play the heck out of her guitar. Head to an Alabama Shakes show, and you’ll see Howard tearing it up on the six-string, along with her belting vocals. Some artists are all substance and no fluff, and Howards is one of them.
Ty Segall isn’t 30 yet, but he has the discography of a much more mature guitarist. Segall has released eight solo studio albums and performed with Fuzz, Epsilons, The Traditional Fools and others. His raw, lo-fi garage rock nuggets and experimental playing makes Segall an interesting young guitarist to watch.
Matt Heafy has been coined one of the greatest modern metal guitarists of his generation. As the lead singer and guitarist for heavy metal band Trivium, Heafy has played the world’s biggest stages, from Download Festival to Mayhem, and earned the respect of seasoned metal players, including Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. Heafy slings his two signature models: the Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom and the Ltd. Ed. Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 seven-string.
Who says pop-rock doesn’t have any great guitarists? Just listen to Joe Trohman’s catchy, chart-topping pop-rock tracks in Fall Out Boy. Trohman, who has been with Fall Out Boy since its beginning, has helped score the band three No. 1 albums and hordes of fans. While Fall Out Boy’s music doesn’t scream “guitar-heavy,” the guitars are certainly prominent and carry the music’s sweeping melodies to new heights.
Faulkner Photo credit: Anne Erickson
Anne Erickson holds years of bylines in Gannett Media publications, as well as music magazines Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge and more. She also hosts radio shows with iHeartRadio and has been syndicated in Seattle, Dayton, Central Coast California and beyond. Anne is a loyal Spartan and holds a Master’s degree from MSU. She resides in Lansing, Michigan.