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Main reason why Alex Lifeson as a guitarist is not held in high regard as Geddy and Neil?


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#21 JohnnyBlaze

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:24 PM

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Oranges are fantastic but there are simply too many fruits which are better. Bananas, strawberries, mango, pears, and apples come to mind.

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#22 thirteen

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:27 PM

I've played guitar for many years. Love Alex. But you know what 'air' instrument I played at the two shows I went to?

Air-mutha-f**king drums. Like a man possessed. That's the power of The Professor. :Neil:

#23 RUSHHEAD666

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:53 PM

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 20 February 2018 - 03:36 PM, said:

It's normal for a guitarist to play as flashy and showy as Alex (often it's normal for a guitarist to play a lot more flashy and showy), but it was shocking to hear Geddy and Neil play with such business and flash (and that's not to take away from their feel and connection). Obviously Ged and Neil were going to stand out from their piers, but in order for Alex to stand out, he'd have had to be on another level past Hendrix and Page, past Howe and Gilmore, and after 1978, past EVH. If he'd done that it would've ruined the power trio dynamic and turned Rush more into Alex's personal showpiece, and that's not what anyone wanted. Sure, show off, use your best skills, but never at expense of the music. Ged and Neil get so much more recognition because they were more unusual on their respective instruments than Alex, though I'd consider the three almost equally skilled at their respective instruments.

Now as for influence, I've always thought I've heard a LOT of Alex in EVH's rhythm playing. So there's that.

That my friend is a very interesting observation.  EVH is my all time favorite guitar player on the planet.  I wish I could understand your connection to Alex.  I fuckking love Alex Van Halen, I mean Alex Lifeson.  BUT!  Strangely enough Alex is not in my TOP TEN.
Alex is a LEGEND. A genius player.  He is graceful, beautiful and an intellectual prog shredder.  A Riff Master. However there is just something that makes him not crack my top ten.


1.  Eddie Van Halen
2.  Michael Schenker
3.  George Lynch
4.  Warren DeMartini
5.  Wolf Hoffmann
6.  Dave Meniketti
7.  Stevie Ray Vaughan
8.  John Sykes
9.  Al Di Meola
10. Steven Rothery
11. Alex Lifeson

#24 RUSHHEAD666

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:55 PM

View Postthirteen, on 20 February 2018 - 10:27 PM, said:

I've played guitar for many years. Love Alex. But you know what 'air' instrument I played at the two shows I went to?

Air-mutha-f**king drums. Like a man possessed. That's the power of The Professor. :Neil:

Damn straight mutha fukka!  I'm lucky enough to play along with the Professor for real!  37 fuckking years of covering my man!

Sadly I'm a clone.

I chose business and a family anyway.

Cheers!

Playing along to Neil keeps me young.

#25 vaportrailer

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:42 PM

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Lots of drummers are technically better than Peart:
Bruford, Giles, Bozzio, Wackerman, Minnemann, Mangini, T. Lang, among others.
(Although, unlike the others, Lang doesn’t strike me as a musical drummer.)

I would’ve thought that Peart/Lifeson would be roughly the same in terms of accolades/being held in high regard.
Both are gifted players and very smart arrangers. And as many have said, Alex is a musical guitarist, more in line with Page/Howe than 80s 6-string wankery. Maybe his guitar solos should have had cowbells in them.

I remember reading a letter in an old Modern Drummer mag. Something along the lines of “When I want to listen to a musical drummer, I’ll listen to Ringo (or whoever). If I want to listen to something fast and on time, I’ll listen to a Japanese bullet train.” :lol:

#26 RUSHHEAD666

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 12:25 AM

View Postvaportrailer, on 20 February 2018 - 11:42 PM, said:

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Lots of drummers are technically better than Peart:
Bruford, Giles, Bozzio, Wackerman, Minnemann, Mangini, T. Lang, among others.
(Although, unlike the others, Lang doesn’t strike me as a musical drummer.)

I would’ve thought that Peart/Lifeson would be roughly the same in terms of accolades/being held in high regard.
Both are gifted players and very smart arrangers. And as many have said, Alex is a musical guitarist, more in line with Page/Howe than 80s 6-string wankery. Maybe his guitar solos should have had cowbells in them.

I remember reading a letter in an old Modern Drummer mag. Something along the lines of “When I want to listen to a musical drummer, I’ll listen to Ringo (or whoever). If I want to listen to something fast and on time, I’ll listen to a Japanese bullet train.” :lol:

Simon Phillips and Dave Weckl man!

#27 EagleMoon

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 01:07 AM

View Postthirteen, on 20 February 2018 - 10:23 PM, said:

He would have been a Guitar God.
And then the Flock of Seagulls era ruined everything.

He WAS a God except when he cut his hair he lost his mojo.

#28 RUSHHEAD666

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 01:22 AM

View PostEagleMoon, on 21 February 2018 - 01:07 AM, said:

View Postthirteen, on 20 February 2018 - 10:23 PM, said:

He would have been a Guitar God.
And then the Flock of Seagulls era ruined everything.

He WAS a God except when he cut his hair he lost his mojo.

The Achilles Hair Syndrome.......


Sad actually.

"Hemispheres" is the greatest album ever made on the planet Earth, and yes,  Alex is on it.

#29 thizzellewashington

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 01:36 AM

The instrument that Alex plays is synonymous with most people's image of rock and roll and therefore there have been many more iconic guitarists since the genre's inception. He's never going to compete in impact or influence with the likes of Hendrix, Page, etc. Bassists and drummers aren't generally as visible as guitarists are, so it's easier to be considered influential in those areas if you're one of the best.

#30 Fridge

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 04:23 AM

I think Alex took one for the team here.....He imo could have carried on developing as an out and out shred monster and ended up competing with the greats in that style, but he quickly realised that due to the type of music that Rush wanted to play as a trio  he was going to have to focus on occupying as much space as possible...just try and learn some of his stuff, and it's  all about ambiguous chord voicing and time based effects with a lot of "droning" and passing notes.  

It is true that Andy Summers and the Edge were doing stuff like this, but he took it and made it his own.

Other guitarists that spring to mind who have done this are Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains and Ty Tabor from Kings X...

Edited by Fridge, 21 February 2018 - 04:24 AM.


#31 Relayer2112

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:38 AM

When I first started learning how to play guitar, I would attempt a Yes Steve Howe track like Siberian Khatru and think to myself "maybe guitar isn't for me".  Seriously, Steve Howe does things that human fingers aren't supposed to do.  Then I would try something like Rush's Natural Science (which I think is just as good of a track) and think "maybe I can do this after all".  I would say that Alex plays more typical hard rock chords and passages than your average progressive guitar player, it's the way that his songs are constructed and his personal nuances which elevate him to genius status in my eyes.

Plus...Alex's songs are a blast to learn and play for someone just starting out with the guitar.

#32 Ultimate Rush Tribute

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:44 AM

View PostRUSHHEAD666, on 21 February 2018 - 12:25 AM, said:

View Postvaportrailer, on 20 February 2018 - 11:42 PM, said:

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Lots of drummers are technically better than Peart:
Bruford, Giles, Bozzio, Wackerman, Minnemann, Mangini, T. Lang, among others.
(Although, unlike the others, Lang doesn’t strike me as a musical drummer.)

I would’ve thought that Peart/Lifeson would be roughly the same in terms of accolades/being held in high regard.
Both are gifted players and very smart arrangers. And as many have said, Alex is a musical guitarist, more in line with Page/Howe than 80s 6-string wankery. Maybe his guitar solos should have had cowbells in them.

I remember reading a letter in an old Modern Drummer mag. Something along the lines of “When I want to listen to a musical drummer, I’ll listen to Ringo (or whoever). If I want to listen to something fast and on time, I’ll listen to a Japanese bullet train.” :lol:

Simon Phillips and Dave Weckl man!
I wouldn't leave Portnoy off that list.  The difference between Neil and the rest of these guys is that he incorporated his great playing with real songs.  Most of these others play instrumentals for the most part or songs that can be only appreciated by a few.  RUSH has legendary "songs"!  Alex has the talent to be a "great" guitarist but I agree his riffs are not in the overly flashy category.  He chose to go the more tasteful route in most cases and yeah the albums after Signals did not help his case. ;c)

#33 Stormtron

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:46 AM

Being a tasteful player should account for something. No one else can color a song quite like Alex. It's why I'd take a player like him over boring-ass-same-shit-for-thirty-years-Malmsteen any day.

#34 Wil1972

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:09 AM

View Postgoose, on 20 February 2018 - 07:22 PM, said:

A knock against Alex is that his playing is more derivative than innovative.  Alex hears something and takes it to another level (an awesome one!), but there's not a lot that he's done than is truly original. either technically or in terms of tone.  That's why he's not usually singled out among the greats.

I think you're right. Alex in 1974 is totally different from Alex in 1984. And 1994 etc. And that ability to change and adapt is a key to his greatness. But as for being innovative, he has moments but I think it's the blending of his collective influences that make him who he is as a player.

Edited by Wil1972, 21 February 2018 - 01:17 PM.


#35 JARG

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:37 AM

View PostFridge, on 21 February 2018 - 04:23 AM, said:

I think Alex took one for the team here.....He imo could have carried on developing as an out and out shred monster and ended up competing with the greats in that style, but he quickly realised that due to the type of music that Rush wanted to play as a trio  he was going to have to focus on occupying as much space as possible...just try and learn some of his stuff, and it's  all about ambiguous chord voicing and time based effects with a lot of "droning" and passing notes.
I agree that Alex may have made a choice about how the guitar would be used in Rush in later years. But in various interviews they've talked about how for most of the 70s the focus was on "getting good" on their respective instruments. I think by the time of, say, Hemispheres, Alex had gone as far as he could down the "shredder" path.

You and I are both players and I know for me, and suspect for you, that we would love to be able to shred but that we'd use those skills in a more intelligent and tasteful way. I think the same is probably true for Alex. I don't think he gave up being as technically proficient on his instrument as he could be; I think he achieved that goal and that his level of technical proficiency is simply quite a bit lower than that of many other players.

#36 grasbo

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 12:20 PM

Many people ask me who is the best guitarist and i reply  nobodies the best ,but there are many great players.If i mention Alex Lifeson their faces are usually blank.If i have to play them something to represent the band it is usually something like YYZ,relatively short and to the point and shows off the whole band.Most peoples idea of a great guitarist is stuff like shredders,Angus Young flying all over the stage,or Hendrix playing with his teeth.And here comes the image bit.Remember the ridiculous Rolling Stone best guitarist poll where EVH was below Joan Jett and Kurt Cobain.I find Alex's playing to be constantly evolving and searching for something new and because of that some people may have trouble identifing him because his style and sound have changed so much.I would rank him with Steve Howe for complexity and Dave Gilmour for solos.

#37 HemiBeers

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 12:24 PM

View PostEagleMoon, on 21 February 2018 - 01:07 AM, said:

View Postthirteen, on 20 February 2018 - 10:23 PM, said:

He would have been a Guitar God.
And then the Flock of Seagulls era ruined everything.

He WAS a God except when he cut his hair he lost his mojo.
The Synth era required Al to check his balls at the door.

#38 tangy

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 12:52 PM

View Postthirteen, on 20 February 2018 - 10:23 PM, said:

He would have been a Guitar God.
And then the Flock of Seagulls era ruined everything.

Too funny.

I think there was a lot more competition for alex.

#39 fraroc

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 01:22 PM

View Postvaportrailer, on 20 February 2018 - 11:42 PM, said:

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Lots of drummers are technically better than Peart:
Bruford, Giles, Bozzio, Wackerman, Minnemann, Mangini, T. Lang, among others.
(Although, unlike the others, Lang doesn’t strike me as a musical drummer.)

I would’ve thought that Peart/Lifeson would be roughly the same in terms of accolades/being held in high regard.
Both are gifted players and very smart arrangers. And as many have said, Alex is a musical guitarist, more in line with Page/Howe than 80s 6-string wankery. Maybe his guitar solos should have had cowbells in them.

I remember reading a letter in an old Modern Drummer mag. Something along the lines of “When I want to listen to a musical drummer, I’ll listen to Ringo (or whoever). If I want to listen to something fast and on time, I’ll listen to a Japanese bullet train.” :lol:

The only drummer I think that's even equal to Neil Peart is, and God rest his soul, Eric Carr.

Edited by fraroc, 21 February 2018 - 01:22 PM.


#40 snowdogged

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:16 PM

View PostJohnnyBlaze, on 20 February 2018 - 10:24 PM, said:

View Postfraroc, on 20 February 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

While Alex is fantastic, there are simple too many guitarists that are better than him. EVH, RR, Vito Bratta, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde come to mind

Oranges are fantastic but there are simply too many fruits which are better. Bananas, strawberries, mango, pears, and apples come to mind.
Is "better| the proper word to use here? I am not a musician but I would rather listen to Lifeson or Gilmore play guitar than any of those others. Both of those guys convey so much emotion in their guitar work. Listen to almost any Pink Floyd song and try to think of someone who could have come up with "better" guitar parts for them? The same applies to Lifeson with Rush, his guitar work and imagination up to Moving Pictures was incredible. He had a sort of way of playing in between the bass and drums like no guitarist I have ever heard do as well. All three of Rush's members melded together in a way that is very rare and almost nonexistent. There is no one on this planet who could have been a "better" guitarist for Rush than Lifeson,  just as there is no one who would have been a "better" guitarist than Gilmore for Floyd. Therefore there are no "better" guitarists than Lifeson, just as there are no "better" guitarists than Gilmore.

Edited by snowdogged, 21 February 2018 - 05:17 PM.





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