I have been playing guitar off and on (mostly off - lol) for about 22 years. I never took any lessons, except for what I learned by reading a book, and essentially learned how to play to a point where I was somewhat capable on the instrument by playing with a band. I started my first band with a friend that I had known since 5th grade. Before that, I had never played the guitar but I owned one because my dad had bought one for me, along with a small practice amp, as a Christmas present one year. In those 20 years, I played typically the same type of music: punk rock. With that in mind, I never really had a need to learn how to play proficiently but I was able to do what I did well, or at least I think I did - lol!
Anyway, this is a list of the 6 guitar players that in some way, shape or form, influenced my guitar playing. They are not listed in any particular order.
1. Greg Ginn
Ginn was the guitar player for the punk rock band, Black Flag. For the most part, when I first started playing in a punk rock band I felt like I was emulating him in his early years. Songs like "Nervous Breakdown," "Jealous Again," and "White Minority" were, musically, a blueprint for a lot of the early stuff I had written.
2. Page Hamtilton
Hamilton was the guitar player and singer for metal/punk act Helmet. He started off playing jazz and eventually started playing Helmet's brand of metal. There is a lot of Tony Iommi influence in his playing in my opinion. He still records and tours with Helmet but he has branched off in many ways. His biggest influence to me was his tone. He had a crunch in his guitar playing that I wanted to get for a long time. I think I'm still searching for that tone. Listen to the album Aftertaste. It will give you a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from.
3. David Gilmour
By no means can I play even 1% as good as this man. If you don't know who David Gilmour is, get off my site! LoL! Just kidding (maybe). He, if you seriously don't know, was the guitar player for Pink Floyd for several years. He became the singer for the band after founder Roger Waters left the band. Gilmour is by no means the most technically efficient guitar player. That is, it doesn't really show much in his playing. By this I mean, he is no Jimi Hendrix. Despite that, this is a man that can play 3 notes together and make them sound better than somebody trying to play 30 notes, or 300 for that matter. The influence that I got from him is that guitar solos don't need to be blazing fast, guitar jerk-off attacks. They can simply be melodic interpretations of the song and still sound amazing. Check out the guitar solos for the songs "Comfortably Numb" and "High Hopes."
4. Phil Suchomel
The last Phil Suchomel was the guitar player for the punk rock band Naked Aggression. To this day, whenever I am trying to warm up my fingers, I play the song "Asturias" which I'm pretty sure is a cover song as it is a classical music-sounding piece. It is great as a finger exercise. Anyway, Phil was influential as a guitar player to me just because of his style of playing. He used aspects of other music genres to incorporate into his punk rock playing. The album Bitter Youth or the Naked Regression compilation album are a good place to start with him.
5. Jeff Gambill
Jeff was the guitar player for an Oklahoma City punk rock band called The Generics back in the early 90s. The reason he is on this list is based on one conversation that I had with him. My band was playing with his one night and after the show he had given me some pointers on how to improve my playing as I was pretty new to playing guitar at the time. The advice he gave me then still rings in my head today.
6. Stephen Egerton
By far, the greatest punk rock guitar player of all time. There is no way that I will ever be as good as Egerton is but this is the guy that presents punk rock guitar playing in a way that there is something more to just playing three-chords and calling it good. This guy interlaces rhythm and lead playing into one amazing concoction effortlessly. Oh yeah, he played guitar for the Descendents, ALL, and has done some pretty amazing solo stuff as well.