Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The #73 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Neil Giraldo

We don't just publish a list; we actually put some work into it.  That way, if you don't agree with the rankings (and let's face it, no one is going to agree with everything...), you can still enjoy the music and the information.

Inside the Rock Era began working on this about six months ago.  We looked at some of the other lists as a basis to go on.  Then we listened and listened to each of the top guitarists of the rock era.  We evaluated them on their overall ability, the sound of their guitar-playing, their popularity, their longevity, their experience, their guitar riffs, the ability to play a melody, their speed, creativity, their entertainment ability and live stage presence.  We narrowed it down to about 160.  Then we listened some more, continuing to evaluate each on the factors above.  We ranked them then re-ranked them, doing our best to compare each guitarist and rank them where they truly deserved to be ranked.  

You always hear the term underrated and in a category as subjective as this, even more so.  This is much of what you read about the #73 Guitarist:
#73:  Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar
35 years as an active guitarist
(some of his best solos)

Neil Thomas Giraldo was born in Cleveland, Ohio December 29, 1955.  He got into music at an early age, starting to play guitar at age six at his parents' insistence.  He is the driving force behind one of the most respected and successful female singers of the Rock Era.

Neil was influenced by Elvis Presley in those early years.  Much as Neil is the great guitarist behind Pat Benatar, Scotty Moore was the great guitarist behind Elvis and Giraldo admired him and studied him.  Soon, Neil began hearing about some of the British guitarists and was influenced by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.  Giraldo soon took up the piano at age 12.

Neil's first performance was at a church when he was 12 and he soon played in several combos.  His first professional playing was playing keyboards with Rick Derringer on the album Guitars and Women.    Neil then left for New York City, where he met Jeff Aldridge of Chrysalis Records.  Famed producer Mike Chapman had produced the Derringer album and was assigned to work with Benatar, so Aldridge introduced Neil to Pat.  Neil was brought in as the lead guitarist and musical arranger for her band.  

Today, Neil is known not only as a great guitarist but also an accomplished songwriter and producer.  He began producing albums with the Crimes of Passion album.  Giraldo has produced all of Pat's albums since as well as John Waite's album Ignition and he has worked with Kenny Loggins and Rick Springfield. Giraldo also played the guitar on Rick Springfield's songs "Jessie's Girl" and "I've Done Everything for You".

Giraldo plays GMP Guitars, Les Paul Standards, a 1958 Les Paul Special, a rare 1965 Fender Stratocaster in Ice Blue Metallic, a 1967 and a 1973 Telecaster, a 1951 Fender Nocaster and a ’59 Gretsch 6120, among his collection of 95 guitars.

This year, BC Rich came out with the Neil Giraldo Signature Eagle Guitar. He uses Line 6 amplifiers run through Marshall cabinets as well as Soldano SLO-100 heads. Neil plays a Maxon OD-808 and a Maxon compressor. He also uses a Way Huge Aqua Puss, a Klon overdrive and a Vox Wha.

The incredible Neil Giraldo at #73...

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