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For Guitarists Only – features and interviews with guitarists and for guitarists.

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Alvin Lee – Woodstock Number 2 Most Electrifying Guitar Performance

At number two, Alvin Lee and Ten Years After with their classic performance of I’m Going Home.

“That’s near enough for jazz.”

For most in 1970, sitting in a theater and looking up at a larger-than-life Alvin Lee on the split screen tuning his guitar, this was their introduction to Ten Years After.

A quick intro – “This is a thing called I’m Going Home by helicopter” – followed by an explosion of rapidfire notes and 11 blistering minutes of music and Alvin Lee was suddenly a guitar hero.

I’m Going Home is a pulsating, electrifying showpiece tune for Lee’s guitar playing. Not only did their Woodstock performance put the band on the map, it inspired countless numbers of would be guitar heroes to take up the instrument.

The Woodstock version of I’m Going Home is raw and primal, epitomizing what rock and roll is all about. This one definitely earns the “classic” label.

Carlos Santana – Woodstock Number 3 Most Electrifying Guitar Performance

At number three, Carlos Santana’s performance of Soul Sacrifice.

The real story here isn’t Santana’s guitar playing, but rather drummer Michael Shrieve’s show stealing performance on Soul Sacrifice.

Heading into Woodstock, Santana was unknown. Witness their Woodstock performance fee of just $750. Their appearance in the Woodstock documentary film and album helped propel them to superstardom.

Most versions of Soul Sacrifice feature a great guitar sound on the solo. However, if you listen to the original album version, the guitar sounds thinner and the execution of the solo more accurately reflects Carlos Santana’s somewhat psychedelically altered state.

All this aside, combine the overdubbed guitar solo along with the fiery drumming of Michael Shrieve and you’re left with a timeless performance for the ages.

Visit the official site: Santana

Johnny Winter – Woodstock Number 4 Most Electrifying Guitar Performance

At number four, Johnny Winter, Mean Town Blues.

Although he didn’t appear on the original movie or soundtrack, Johnny Winter did make it to an official Woodstock release sometime later with Mean Town Blues, one of his concert staples.

Much like Leslie West’s Woodstock performance, this isn’t Johnny at his best. For that, you’d be advised to check out his superb live album, Live Johnny Winter And featuring Johnny and band at their best on Mean Town Blues and other Winter classics. As a bonus, guitarist Rick Derringer does an excellent job of complementing Johnny’s playing.

For more information on Johnny Winter, visit Johnny Winter

Leslie West – Woodstock Number 5 Most Electrifying Guitar Performance

At number five, Leslie West of Mountain, Blood of the Sun.

Mountain didn’t appear on the original Woodstock triple album; they came later on the Woodstock II double album. But here’s where things get a bit uncertain.

The two tracks on Woodstock II aren’t from Woodstock; they’re from a different concert.

Finding original Mountain material from Woodstock is a bit more challenging. We’re going with this version of Blood of the Sun, purportedly of original Woodstock vintage.

This might not be Leslie West at his finest, but it’s still a solid piece of work. As always, West’s tone, one of the best in the guitar world, shines. You don’t get shredding, machine gun licks; but rather, some of the tastiest playing you’ll hear delivered in typical Leslie West fashion.

As a bonus, West adds a great little guitar riff at the end to cap off the song.

Not Leslie West at his peak, but anytime this guitar master plays, it’s well worth a listen.

To hear Leslie West and Mountain at their best, give Flowers of Evil a listen. As a bonus, you get a live guitar solo with Leslie interspersing his trademark lead riffs and volume swells to create a masterful guitar piece. Also look for the live version of Stormy Monday to hear a 20-minute Mountain tour de force.

You can find out more about Leslie West and Mountain here:  Leslie West and Mountain

Woodstock – Top Five Electrifying Guitar Performances

In August 1969, half-a-million people, along with some of the biggest names in music, gathered on a farm in New York State. The weekend festival, billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music,” went on to become legend, legacy and a milestone in cultural history.

For guitar fans, Woodstock brought together some of the best players of the day. A number of them went on to achieve iconic status in the guitar world.

Trivia time: Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were two of the biggest names that didn’t make the weekend festival. The Jeff Beck Group, scheduled to play Woodstock, cancelled. Led Zeppelin received an invitation, but declined.

Let’s look back at some of the guitar highlights of the weekend music festival.