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What’s in a name? Could it be that there is some cosmic power that brings out great guitar players when they are named Steve?
If you think about it, a lot of famous guitarists are named Steve. Or it could be that Steve just happened to be a popular name about 45/55 years ago.
Whatever the reason may be, it makes for an fun topic.
This article will spotlight some of those artists.
In the tradition of our top “11” s, here they are:
1. Steve Vai : There is a reason why I put him first, in my opinion he is the God of guitar. Born Steven Siro Vai on June 6, 1960.
At age 14 Steve started taking lessons from legend Joe Satriani. At age 20 Vai had started writing and playing for Frank Zappa. He has since become an iconic player. He has played with Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, and many more including an impressive solo career.
As you should know as a faithful Guitar-Muse reader, On March 3, 2011 the online education division of Berklee College of Music and Steve Vai, set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest online guitar lesson.
The guitar he plays the most would probably be his own signature Ibanez JEM.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughan: One of the best blues rock players of all time.
Stephen was born October 3, 1954 – Tragic death on August 27, 1990.
Most famous for his Texas blues style.
Stevie grew up playing in many local bands and along with his brother Jimmy in Double Trouble. One of my favorite songs is his cover of Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). Stevie’s life was cut short when the helicopter he was riding in after finishing a concert crashed into a hill on a foggy night.
His favorite guitars to play were Fender Stratocasters. He had purchased in 1974 a beat up 1963 Strat that would become his favorite. He called it “Number One” and “First Wife”.
3. Steve Miller: Steve’s parents were best friends with Legendary Les Paul and Mary Ford. In fact , they were the couples best man and maid of honor at their wedding.
Born October 5, 1943, young Steve miller was encouraged by Les Paul to keep playing and Les is quoted saying “perhaps he will be something one day”.
In high school Steve taught his classmate Boz Scaggs to play guitar so he would join his band.
Steve is most famous for his unforgettable hits Fly like an Eagle, Jet Airliner, and The Joker.
4. Steve Clark: Born Stephen Maynard Clark ( April 23,1960 – January 8, 1991).
English guitarist for Def Leppard.
He had a reputation for being “wild” which later would contributed to his death. Steve “Steamin” Clark was on a leave of absence from Def Leppard when he over dosed on drugs and alcohol.
You can hear Steve’s work on early Def leppard albums with co guitarist Pete Willis / Phil Collen.
Steve primarily played Gibson Les Pauls. However, he did have a Fender Stratocaster that was given to him by fellow British guitarist Jimmy Page. You can hear Steve’s playing showcased on the song Switch 625.
5. Steve Morse: Born Steven J. Morse was born July 28, 1954.
Morse was voted “Best Overall Guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine for five years in a row, qualifying him for their “Guitar Player Hall of Fame”. He is known for being able to play various styles and techniques.
Steve played with Deep Purple after Ritchie Blackmore had left the band. He has also played in other bands including Kansas and Dixie Dregs. Steve Morse is well respected in the industry as a top player.
He has an impressive solo career as well. Steve has several instructional videos and host many guitar clinics.
Most notable guitars that he plays are his own Music Man Steve Morse Signature Model and Fender Telecasters.
6. Steve Howe: Born Stephen James Howe born April 8,1947.
One of the original “progressive” early guitarists. Steve has an impressive career with countless solo albums and playing in bands like Yes and Asia.
Like Steve Morse above, Howe was also voted “Best Overall Guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine. The two Steves and Eric Johnson were the only guitarist who shared this distinction.
Steve is identified with playing Gibson Es-175 model guitars. Later in Howe’s honor, Gibson came out with the Steve Howe Signature ES-175.
Steve paired up with another “Steve” great, Steve Hackett. They played together in GTR and their only album titled GTR went Gold. The band was short lived as the guitarists departed ways.
7. Steve Hackett: Born Stephen Richard Hackett February 12, 1950.
Hackett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Genesis. As stated above he and guitarist Steve Howe put together GTR in 1986. Their single “When the Heart Rules the Mind” was on the Top 20 for several weeks.
Hackett primarily plays Gibson les Paul Guitars. Listen to the solos in the songs Firth of Fifth and Fly on a Windshield to hear Steve’s incredible feeling and sound he gets out of his instrument.
Preferably try to find the live versions, you’ll love it.
8. Steve Cropper: Born Steven Lee Cropper, October 21, 1941.
Steve Cropper was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Steve is an American Blues guitarist. He played in the famous Blues Brothers Band. Steve was given the nick name “The Colonel”.
Peavey had endorsed a guitar and named it the Steve Cropper Classic. If I am not mistaken, the guitar is no longer endorsed or available. He also plays Fender Telecasters.
Cropper Grew up in Memphis Tennessee and was influenced by R and B artist like Bo Diddley, The “5” Royales, Chuck Berry and Chet Atkins.
9. Steve Lukather: Steve “Luke” Lukather born October 21, 1957.
Lead guitarist for Toto. Steve also has done session work on over 1000 albums! He has worked with countless musicians on projects and collaborations.
Lukather plays Ovation Adamas acoustic-electric guitars along with his signature “Luke” Ernie Ball Music Man model.
Go to You Tube and pull up “Steve Lukather Guitar Solo [Falling in Between LIVE DVD] “ you will be blown away. I was. Speed picking, tapping , tremolo, sound effects, you name it this solo has it.
10. Steve Gaines: Steven Earl Gaines (September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977).
Guitarists for southern rock bands The Ravens and Lynyard Skynyrd. Steve’s older sister Cassie was a back up singer for Lynyard Skynard. When Ed King had left the band Cassie was able to get Steve into the band as Ed’s replacement. Singer Ronnie Van Zant was impressed with Steve’s musical contributions to the band. He was quoted saying that the band would “all be in his shadow one day.”
Steve Gaines along with his sister and Van Zant were killed in a tragic plane crash. Gains was only 28 years old.
11. Steve Stevens: I saved this Steve for last, because he has Steve for a first and last name!
Born as Steven Schneider on May 5, 1959.
This New York born prodigy can play everything from rock to jazz fusion and even flamenco. He looks like Chris Angel on guitar, with painted black fingernails and all.
I must say some of the stuff I have heard him play is unbelievable. But seriously, Steve Stevens is a unique and talented player.
He has worked with and endorsed several guitars for different guitar manufactures such as Hammer, Charvel, and Washburn. However, Steve prefers to use Gibson Les Paul guitars, Ernie Ball Axis model guitars, Suhr guitars, and Godin electric acoustic guitars.
You can hear Steve Stevens on Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, and Vince Neil albums. He also has several solo albums.