Five of the Weirdest Guitarists in Rock History

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Adrian F
Just in case we ever write the Five Weirdest Guitars in Rock History.
In heavy metal, there's nothing better than an extremely talented guitarist. When a musician truly knows how to work some magic with that instrument it demands to be revered and acknowledged.

But there's a trade-off for said talent: Creative people are often labeled as "weird" by their peers from a young age. Some of them even are weird. But only a few of them are this weird.

Why's that? First off, people who grow up loving heavy metal are often ostracized. Maybe it's because everyone else in elementary school was mmm-bopping around to Hanson while you were head banging to Hammerfall, or possibly in high school you experimented with the goth look while the popular kids were scared of Marilyn Manson. Either way, being shunned gives you lots of time to memorize that killer guitar solo from Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher."

It's funny, because many musical geniuses admit to not being socially awkward: Think Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page. Back in the day, strapping on an electric guitar and cranking up an amp turned people off, not on--you were labeled as a rebel, a burn-out, or, as my grandmother likes to call it, "a damn hippie." It's true enough in the sense that 90 percent of talented guitarists end up living with their parents until they are 40, waiting for that "big break."

But for that small percentage who do happen to move on to bigger and better things, their defining uniqueness only intensifies. After all, besides the singer, guitarists are often a major part of the song writing process, constantly inventing new riffs and reinventing old ones, learning new styles, and challenging their talent to grow. So in heavy metal today, we have lots of interesting, jaw-droppingly awesome guitarists.

There are enough lists of the best guitarists in heavy metal, so let's give a nod to some of the most eccentric and weirdest, who truly let their freak flags fly. Not those dictated by popular trends or marketing teams, but whose unique personalities is an extension of their guitars just as much as the guitar is an extension of them.


5. Syd Barrett


Pink Floyd's original mastermind, songwriter, lead vocalist, and lead guitarist, Syd Barrett did what he wanted, when he wanted. The fact that he was regularly experimenting with LSD didn't help much. He wasn't just inventive and unorthodox in his technique and style--my favorite is the slide with echo units to make that spacey sound--he was also known for some pretty crazy antics.

His madness was more of an implosion, that brewed gradually while he was in Pink Floyd, after he left in 1970, and during his two solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. He was an extremist lyricist, with trancey riffs and intense, offbeat strumming--much like his personality. He once locked his girlfriend in a bedroom for days with nothing to eat but crackers, he reportedly styled his hair with Brylcreem and crushed Mandrax tablets, and he would go days without speaking. He slipped into schizophrenia and dementia, and pretty much dropped off the face of the planet before finally passing away in 2006.


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