15. Steve Albini—Shellac
The word that comes to mind listening to Steve Albini play guitar is control. First off, you know that due to his legendary skill as an engineer and just a gearhead, his guitar sounds exactly the way he wants it to, both live and on record. Second, Albini doesn’t merely play a note, he places it precisely where he means to. Listen to “A Minute” off the Chicago-based Shellac’s At Action Park for a demonstration of this. Riding on top of the band with a characteristically abrasive guitar tone, Albini whips the trio into a marshaled charge, then narrows its focus to a one-note distillation of the song’s riff that repeatedly hits twice, then once, then stops on a dime. You can tell he spent his formative years jamming with a drum machine in Big Black.