The Guitars of The Stones

Brian Jones

We all have our favorite guitarists.  For whatever reasons, they kind of stay with us for a lifetime.  And no, this is not a new list of favorite guitarists (we just did that, in a sense!).  So, let’s talk about the Rolling Stones.  During their 50 years in Rock and Roll, they have had four prominent guitars in their lineup.  One of them has been there form the start.  Of course, we all know that’s Keith Richards, maybe the coolest Rock persona in the history of Rock and  Roll (yes, my opinion).

Still, three other guitarists have been in their lineup.  The first, Brian Jones, actually more of a multi-instrumentalist, provided the band a diverse musical style.  In fact, it could be said that the band underwent more changes while he was a member of the band.  It could also be said that music was changing fast during his time, and he just had his finger on the pulse of it.

Mick Taylor

After Jones’ unfortunate demise, Mick Taylor was recruited.  Taylor brought some serious guitar legitimacy to the band.  He was able to play blues and slide like few other.  During his tenure with The Rolling Stones, he helped produce some of the finest ’70s Stones output that will never be forgotten.  But whether tension with Keith led to his early departure, or just a sense that he needed out, Taylor’s void led to the insertion of Ronnie Wood.

Ronnie Wood is a fine guitarist.  He was with every band he played with (he played bass with Jeff Beck Group).  His addition brought a more Keith-like guitarist into the fold giving the band a different perspective, including changing RonWoodit dramatically as they made their way through the rest of the ’70s, into the ’80s, and beyond until now.  Still, I feel that Ronnie  Wood doesn’t go the places he did with Faces.

Three important guitars in an important band.  Three, maybe four, even five distinct periods of the band.  Every period different, some of them even overlapping.  My question to you is this?  Which distinct guitarist was the band’s best, Keith excepted?  Which do you think provided the most support, the most spark?  Who gave us the best music? And let’s try to avoid the “they all did in their own way” statement.  We know that is true.  But there are favorite periods, and distinct reasons for those.