100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

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Robert Fripp

42. Robert Fripp

Starting in 1969 with King Crimson, this native of Dorset, England, has helped define prog-rock guitar. Robert Fripp's trademarks are swooping fuzz-tone solos that skirt the fringes of tonality; slashing rhythm parts in an array of tricky time signatures; intricate, finger-punishing single-note lines. In the mid-Seventies, Fripp and his friend Brian Eno invented the "Frippertronics" infinite tape-loop system, thus helping create a new subgenre: ambient music. As a sideman, Fripp played on David Bowie's Heroes; as a producer, he handled Peter Gabriel's second album and the Roches' 1979 debut.

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