When it comes to guitar players, lead guitarists get the spotlight -- but rhythm guitarists pay the bills. Often overshadowed by their more-charismatic and face-contorting brethren, the six-stringers who focus on holding down a song's chord structure receive a little less glory. We'd like to change that. Not everybody can be Jimi Hendrix, but not everybody wants to be Jimi Hendrix.
We've combed through San Diego bands to find some of the best rhythm guitar slingers in town:
- Sherri-Anne: A core member of the alternative pop/blues/world group Sister Speak, Anne has been a solid guitar player as long as we can remember. The band's recent debut album, Rise Up for Love, is a solid, riveting testament to that. Buy it here.
- Daniel Cervantes: As the singer/guitarist for blues rock jam band Mrs. Henry -- as well as the primary guitarist for Deadly Birds and the Whiskey Circle -- Cervantes is a subtle, tasteful player. That's a skill. Don't get us wrong: The guy can absolutely wail during solos too, but he's got rhythm on lock.
- Justin Cota: The guitarist/co-vocalist in the garage punk duo Gloomsday and the massive doom-metal band Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Cota has mastered the art of rhythm playing by somehow holding down bass passages while shredding guitar at the same time. Apparently he's got four hands.
- Marcos Curiel: Listen to any song by hometown boys P.O.D. and you'll be hearing Curiel's vicious, massive riffs. At it for years now, this rhythm-guitar god seems to only be getting better with age: The band's 2012 album, Murdered Love, is one of its best.
- Tom DeLonge: Say what you want, but it's hard to argue with the highly addictive pop-punk riffs DeLonge has been crafting since 1992 with Blink-182. You'll rarely hear him rail off look-at-me guitar solos; instead, he's always been all about melody and the ever-important hook. We hope Blink hit it big someday: We're tired of seeing them toiling in obscurity.
- Steph Johnson: This arresting jazz/soul/r&b guitarist/vocalist is always a good choice if you can catch her and her band around town. Her exceptional guitar work can easily be overshadowed by her soulful, velvety vocals, but make no mistake: She's a true double-threat, only playing what the songs require.
- Tim Lowman: Anyone who's seen the one-man-band extraordinaire Low Volts has witnessed rhythm guitar taken to the next level. That he throws in some meaty slide with his blues-based stomp romps only further proves that few people in town do it better.
- Matt Molarius: It's hard to miss the towering frontman for local alt-rock favorites Transfer, who plays a mean guit-fiddle -- especially now that he also plays acoustically in the local peddlers of finely tuned mellowness, the Midnight Pine.
- Brian Reilly: We're thrilled that the New Kinetics are back at it -- and that we get to see Reilly hammer away at his battered electric guitar once again. This guy has got glorious tone for days and ravages the instrument as if his life depends on it. Every TNK show is a testament to the power of rhythm.
This list is, of course, not a definite statement by any means -- there are a ton of great guitar players in our fine city -- but if we left anyone off that should be recognized, let us know in the comments!
Links to some of our other lists: