100 Greatest Guitarists

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Derek Trucks
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images16/100

16. Derek Trucks

Literally raised in the Allman Brothers family, Derek Trucks – the nephew of Allmans drummer Butch Trucks – started playing slide guitar at age nine and was touring by 12. But Trucks' precociousness was charged with an explorer's fever. When he stepped into the late Duane Allman's slide-guitar spot in the Allman Brothers Band in 1999, at age 20, Derek's soloing exploded in thrilling directions, managing to incorporate Delta blues, hard-bop jazz, the vocal ecstasies of Southern black gospel, and Indian-raga modality and rhythms.

"He's got infinitely more sounds than I have," John Mayer concedes admiringly. In addition to touring regularly with the Allman Brothers, Trucks now co-leads the Tedeschi Trucks Band, a swinging 11-piece beast in the Delaney and Bonnie tradition, along with his wife, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi. "He's like a bottomless pit," said Eric Clapton, who took Trucks on tour as a sideman in 2006 and 2007. "His thing is very deep."

Key Tracks: "Joyful Noise," "Whipping Post" (One Way Out version)

In Memory of Duane Allman: Derek Trucks' Allman Brothers Playlist
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