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JOE PERRY - Real Guitar Hero - Guide to the World's Best Guitarists

Updated on August 24, 2015

Joe Perry Guitar Maestro

No world's best guitarist lineup would be complete without Joe Perry. Guitar player known oh so well to Guitar Hero players, Perry has inspired many to try to play. As the lead guitarist for what has come to be known as "America's Greatest Rock-n-Roll band" (Aerosmith, for those who have been living in a box for the last 10 years), Joe Perry has received more than his fair share of awards: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; two People's Choice Awards; four Grammy Awards; six Billboard Music Awards; eight American Music Awards; 12 MTV Video Awards; 23 Boston Music Awards; and an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (from the soundtrack to "Armageddon"). Since reuniting in 1984 with his old bandmates, Perry and Aerosmith have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide.

Joe Perry

(c) Owen T Muir 2007
(c) Owen T Muir 2007

Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing. ( Armageddon soundtrack )

Influences On Perry, And His Guitar Influences On Others

Joe Perry grew up in a small town in Massachusetts with, of all things, an accountant for a father. His first and only guitar lesson at age 15 lasted one week—the instructor died a week later (Joe says he took it as an "omen"). So, he learned to play guitar along with bands like the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck played onstage with Aerosmith in 1976 as a birthday present to Joe), the Beatles, Roy Orbison, Jimi Hendrix, and of course the Rolling Stones. Joe's also mentioned that he's a big fan of Peter Green, the first guitarist for Fleetwood Mac; and Slash wrote in a 2005 article for Rolling Stone that the 1976 album Rocks was the thing that changed his life and pushed him to learn to play the guitar.

Aerosmith as a band formed as early as 1969, when Joe Perry (lead guitar) and his former bandmate from Jam Band, Tom Hamilton (bass),  combined forces with Steven Tyler (vocals)(then named Steven Tallarico) and his high-school buddy Joey Kramer (drums).  For a short while, their second guitarist was Ray Tabano, but he would soon be replaced by longtime band member Brad Whitford.  Meantime, the band moved to Boston and began playing in clubs, colleges, bars, and just about anyplace that would give them half a chance.  Though they signed with Clive Davis and Columbia Records in '72 and put out a couple of albums (Aerosmith and Get Your Wings) the watershed moment didn't happen for them until 1975's Toys in the Attic, which has since gone 8x platinum.

RUN DMC - Walk this Way.

Equipment Used And Some Well-Known Songs

All right, so everybody's got their favorite Aerosmith song. "Dream On," on the debut album, has to be one of the first and best power ballads of all time, with some nifty fingerwork by Perry and Steven Tyler at his screaming best. Although today Perry is mostly a Les Paul man, he's used a variety of different guitars over the years, including other Gibsons, a B.C. Rich Mockingbird and a B.C. Rich 10-string guitar, various Fender Telecasters and even some left-handed Fender Stratocasters, turned upside down and restrung for a right hander.

Perry said in an interview with Steven Rosen that he thought his guitar for the first album (Aerosmith) was a Fender Stratocaster, and that his setup for Toys in the Attic was "Gibsons and a ’65 Tele. I changed the pickups in the Telly with Bill Lawrence pickups."

Perry often uses one of the restrung Stratocasters to play "Sweet Emotion" onstage when the band performs live, and the distinctive raunchy guitar distortion on classic '70's rock anthem "Walk This Way" screams "Gibson Les Paul" if ever a song did.

Aerosmith - Love in an Elevator - Music Video

After the reunification of the original band in 1984, a few of the more well-known hits were "Dude Looks like a Lady," "Love in an Elevator," and the social anthem "Janie's Got a Gun." By this time, Perry was more or less exclusively using Gibson Les Pauls, although in that category was included Juniors, Standards, and Customs. Some of the other Gibson guitars Perry has used throughout his career are: an SG, a Firebird, ES-175, ES-335, and ES 355, and a B.B. King signature model, known as "Lucille," with "Billie Perry" written on the headstock instead of "Lucille." In the same interview, Joe said he used Music Man heads with all kinds of modifications done to them through Marshall cabinets.

Joe Perry

(c) Owen T Muir 2007
(c) Owen T Muir 2007


Around the time of Nine Lives (1997), Gibson added their first Joe Perry Signature Les Paul to the line of custom Les Paul models. With its Translucent Blackburst finish and variety of tone pots to choose from, the Joe Perry Les Paul is a welcome addition to any collection—if you can afford the $4,000+ price tag. They added to the series in 2004 with the Gibson Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul model, and for those of you who can't afford to spend more on your guitar than you did on your car, there's always the officially Joe-sanctioned Epiphone Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul. A less expensive version of the Gibson model, the Epiphone has all the features of a guitar you actually play rather than collect, and looks pretty sharp to boot.

But by far the most interesting (and least expensive) Joe Perry item on the market today is "Joe Perry's Rock Your World Boneyard Brew Hot Sauce" (now available also in Mango Peach Tango Sauce flavor as well). Oh, and they also have some Joe Perry dog tags and gold Joe Perry guitar picks available on the website too, with Mac N Cheese coming soon. So, if you can't even afford the Epiphone Joe Perry model in today's economy, take heart: the hot sauce retails for just $7.89.

Joe Perry is one of the world's best guitarists, no doubt. A Real guitar hero - but is he the best? Check out my other hubs on world's best guitarists and see where you rank him!

If you're interested in Music Talent, check out Got Music for the latest up and coming YouTube music stars!

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, twitter ghostwriter and owner of international writing agency


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    • jsuarez33 profile image

      jsuarez33 8 years ago

      Just saw some video of Brad Whitford playing with Jonny Lang on the Hendrix tribute tour and I walked away thinking that Joe P isn't even the best guitarist in his own band....

    • profile image

      Andrew Morgan 8 years ago

      Joe Perry had more than one guitar lesson.

      You should read the autobiography "Walk this Way" to read about who taught him.

      I'm saying this because my grandfather was the one who taught him.

      perry acknowledges this in the "Walk this Way" autobiography, as well as the April, 1 1999 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

    • profile image

      Sean 8 years ago

      Man you've got the facts wrong. I saw perry play the face-melting solos on Train kept a Rollin in concert during Aerosmith's '74 tour in support of Get Your Wings.

    • profile image

      george 9 years ago

      Perry is not that great, and was not good at all in the early album days...producer bob ezrin had to get studio pro dick wagner (best know for his work with alice cooper and lou reed's rock and roll animal band) to do a bunch of the hotter licks, such as train kept a rollin off of get your wings. exquisite writers do their homework!

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Great! Thanks for circulating!

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      Great Hub about one of the bad boys from Boston (Aerosmith). I'm forwarding this to my sister who is a HUGE Joe Perry fan! Looks like she'll get nothing done in work today! (Hi Eileen! - listen to the music while you work)