Syd Barrett named his favourite guitarist of all time

Syd Barrett

The tale of Syd Barrett will probably always captivate music lovers. The original Pink Floyd frontman, a mysterious genius who was perhaps too unique and far ahead of his time to be fully understood within the confines of his own time, set the stage for the band’s future and was instrumental in the psychedelic explosion of 1967.

Many frequently give Barrett the distinction of being a tragic hero. There is much more to this one-dimensional stereotype than just the fact that his mental health problems prevented him from living the kind of life that everyone could have dreamed of when he was at the top of his game. He wasn’t a made-up character; rather, he was a complicated man who suffered from a disease that the medical establishment of the time was unable to understand.

Just ask David Gilmour, the former bandmate and old friend who stepped in to help with the logistical challenges of his illness. In an interview with Musician in 1982, the guitarist opened up about the romanticization of Barrett’s mental health decline. He also addressed the long-held notion that consuming too much acid caused it. Psychedelics were not the catalyst; it was a systemic problem that “would have happened anyway,” according to him.

“Unfortunately, people believe he’s such a great subject, that he’s a living legend when, in reality, there is this poor depressed man who can’t deal with life or himself,” Gilmour remarked. People find him amazing, wonderful, and romantic, but he struggles with uncontrollable things in him. It’s simply a terrible thing—a kind and gifted individual who has simply fallen apart.”

Although Barrett’s story is undoubtedly depressing and tragic for him and his bandmates, beneath the catastrophe lies a gifted guitarist and songwriter who gave the fledgling psychedelic rock genre a distinctive edge and led it in more imaginative directions than anyone else. Pink Floyd distinguished themselves by creating a unique sound. They stood out in a strange world that evoked the Victorian opium-laced madness of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. The songwriter’s creativity and talent made this possible.

Despite having a small body of work, Barrett was regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of his generation by the time he began to withdraw from society in 1970, following the release of his two solo albums. The ailing artist revealed that he was purposely disappearing during an eye-opening interview with Rolling Stone. The interview was also heartbreaking, shedding light on his intentions and state of mind. He also revealed his favorite guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, which gave insight into his perspective on the instrument. The American, in his words, was a “perfect” player.

The realm of psychedelic exploration recognizes both individuals as trailblazers for their unconventional and daring methods. It is understandable why Barrett believes his contemporary is the perfect player. Barrett gave another dose of reflection and regret while elaborating on his belief that he would never be able to match Hendrix’s caliber.

Many underestimated his true abilities. But extremely aware of his consciousness,” he once remarked. Hendrix was the epitome of a guitarist. As a child, I wanted to do only that. Jump around and play the guitar well. But there were too many obstructions.

Barrett claims that Hendrix’s playing speed completely enthralled him. Despite his best efforts, he was never able to replicate it.

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