Simon Hosford’s top 5 guitarists

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Simon Hosford’s top 5 guitarists

Words by Nancy Malone
Photo by Jason Rosewarne

Ahead of his Melbourne Guitar Show 2023 appearance, Australian guitarist/producer/songwriter Simon Hosford sat down with Mixdown to share his top five shredders of all time.

Simon Hosford is a an Australian guitarist/producer/songwriter that began playing Classical guitar at age 5, and by 19 was a member of Virgil Donati’s rock/fusion band On The Virg, began touring Australia and America with Tommy Emmanuel, and a year later was recruited by Colin Hay and Greg Ham to be part of the new Men At Work, as well as being the guitar clinician for Roland guitar products for Australia and Asia.

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He has since toured more than 48 different countries around the world with artists including Vanessa Amorosi, Taxiride, Jon Stevens, Shannon Noll, Birtles/Shorrock/Goble, Anthony Callea, and recorded for artists including Bachelor Girl, Peter Andre, Guy Sebastian, Ross Wilson, Christine Anu, and Anna-Maria LaSpina.

Ahead of his full band performance at this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show, playing Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Trilogy’ at Whammy Bar on Saturday March 4, Simon sat down with Mixdown to tell us all about the guitarists who inspire him and light his fire.

Eddie Van Halen

The first time I ever heard Eddie was on a cassette compilation of Van Halen songs from the first 5 albums. He sounded like an alien from another planet to my 12 year old ears, and I’m sure I almost physically fell onto the floor when I put my headphones on. I had NO idea how he was making those incredible sounds on the guitar… it sounded like the guitar was an alive creature – screaming, and singing, and squealing! And that eternal smile of his – that is burned into all our brains forever. And not just an innovator and virtuoso, but a wonderful songwriter too. RIP Edward… those of us whose lives you changed forever, WE are the notes of your ‘greatest composition’, your ‘final symphony’.

Yngwie J Malmsteen

If Edward Van Halen was like the boy next door, the ‘smiling angel’, Yngwie was surely the ‘pouting devil’ on my other shoulder! Just like Yngwie’s biggest influence – the 19th century wild violinist Niccolo Paganini (the ‘devil’s violinist’) – Yngwie is full of neo-classical fire and passion and blistering virtuosic speed that rivals any of the hardest violin concertos. His Bach-like use of harmonic minor tonality and ‘take no prisoners’ live shows make him a true innovator, and there’s only one like him in the whole world. He sure does polarise people, but that’s what I like about him.

Michael Landau like a super charged modern Jimi Hendrix! The way he brings the influence of Hendrix into the modern era is inspired. And to my ears, he has the best Fender Strat guitar tone of anyone in the world. He’s so versatile, but plays with incredible feel and pocket. An amazing session musician, but also has his own style and sound. Listening to him play always hits me right in the spot.

Steve Lukather

Steve Lukather’s beautiful flowing jazz influenced phrasing really made my ears stand up when I was young. He plays with fire, and seemingly effortless fluidity, plays such interesting melodies and lines.. and wow can he write a great song! A true all rounder, and a musician with such depth and it comes out in his guitar playing.

Angus Young

Angus’ fearless aggression and attack on the instrument is what you first notice! But his aggression is matched by his musicality, and his guitar solos are etched into my brain since a young kid. AC/DC changed rock forever, and Angus’ solos are all singable and memorable, but have such tough attitude. Guitar playing would not be the same if he never existed.

Honourable mentions (in no particular order):

Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Emmanuel, Nuno Bettencourt, Ian Moss, Nile Rogers, George Benson, Joe Walsh, Brian May, David Gilmore, Richie Sambora, Tony Macalpine, Steve Stevens, John Sykes, Jim Peterik, Kee Marcelo, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Allan Holdsworth, Slash, Joe Satriani, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith.

For tickets and information on the Melbourne Guitar Show 2023, visit the MGS website.