Johnny Marr names John McLaughlin as “greatest guitar player of all time”

“He’s not everybody’s [cup of tea] because of his choice in music.”

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr. Image: Gary Wolstenholme / Redferns

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Former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has named jazz fusion maestro John McLaughlin as his “greatest guitar player of all time”.

In a new interview with The Line-Up podcast, Marr shared that he in fact had the opportunity to meet McLaughlin, but chose not to.”I was offered the opportunity to meet John McLaughlin, I don’t know whether he’s aware of this, only a few months ago and I elected not to,” Marr said.

He continued, “The greatest guitar player that’s ever lived, John McLaughlin. He’s not everybody’s [cup of tea] because of his choice in music, because he’s coming from jazz and fusion and all that, but the album My Goal’s Beyond is absolute genius music. And the early Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff.”

Marr also discussed the role of guitar music in the modern day, adding that he feels that he has a “duty to keep the guitar as modern in context” as he can, adding that it can be too easy to become too reverential to the past due to guitar music and guitar rock being the cornerstone of the ’60s and ’70s.

“I want to have that sense of modernity, I want to keep that sense of modernity, because it’s very easy to fall back into old tropes with the guitar,” he shared.

Fender released a fresh update of Marr’s signature Jaguar in September. The update sees the guitar return in a limited-edition Fever Dream Yellow finish, with Olympic White and Metallic KO iterations available prior to the limited edition run. Based on Marr’s beloved 1965 Jaguar, the guitar features a maple neck with a custom profile and a 7.25” radius rosewood fingerboard, 22 vintage-style frets, an alder body and a 24” scale length, reminiscent of some Mustangs.

The update follows a limited run of the model in Sherwood Green released in 2014.

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