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Is Don Felder underrated guitarist?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JeffMo, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:45 PM.

  1. JeffMo

    JeffMo Give The Gift of Music! Thread Starter

    New England
    I was watching a gig on YT from '77 tour and he is by far the best musician on the stage. His solos are fantastic and it makes you wonder if Henley/Frey took the "paint by numbers" constraints off what he was capable of!

    Yet he doesn't seem to get much attention on this forum relative to other classic rock lead guitarists. He's even overshadowed by bandmate Joe Walsh.

    GarySteel, longdist01, carlwm and 2 others like this.
  2. CHIP72

    CHIP72 Forum Resident

    Silver Spring, MD
    It's a cliche, but anyone who wrote the music for and played lead guitar on "Hotel California" has to be pretty good.
  3. Hall Cat

    Hall Cat Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    I'm a Leadon/Frey guy myself, but Felder did more for the Eagles than Walsh guitar-wise for sure imo
  4. hiterss

    hiterss Forum Resident

    I love the dude, and from his book I got this idea he is pretty good musician, good chops for the music the plays, I am not a musician so that's all I know and like, I do know he learned a couple of things from Stephen Stills , Duane Allman, he also loves blues and let's not forget he had to learn how to play pedal to play a couple of eagles songs when Bernie left.
    They would not calling him Finger Felder for nothing.
    Sanctuary, JeffMo, longdist01 and 3 others like this.
  5. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident

    Bronx, NY, USA
    He's damn good. Part of the problem may be that the Eagles did so many things so well that he gets a little overshadowed (and constrained) by the bigger picture. Add Joe Walsh to the mix and their dual guitar work on Hotel California and he's sharing the spotlight. I think he may be overlooked somewhat because his personality did not draw attention as it often does with other hotshot guitarists. Again, being in the Eagles might not have allowed for that sort of thing where Henley/Frey were running the show with tight control over how things were done.
    JeffMo, longdist01, Jack Lord and 3 others like this.
  6. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Well, he is kind of a paint by numbers player. But he also is creative while staying in that framework. When you can create then being strict comes together as something great at times. Joe on the other hand is more loosey goosey and like a rubberband. Both great players but different approaches and styles that complimented each other.
  7. GregM

    GregM No static at all

    Daddyland, CA
    Turn up the Eagles. The neighbors are listening.
  8. hiterss

    hiterss Forum Resident

    I do believe he held back a lot with the eagles, had they pushed him to improvise more he would've been much more amazing IMHO, he did play on a fusion band and knows theory.
    Solid guitar player IMO
  9. Drumaniac - R

    Drumaniac - R Forum Resident

    Toronto, Ontario
    He is a solid player and I think he gets his due. It is a shame he was fired and replaced by a side man, the business part of music is a slippery game. As far as Joe Walsh, people may think he did not add as much as Felder but he is one hell of a player, writer and performer. He did not need the Eagles to make his name, his James Gang material is top shelf and stands on its own.
    BDC, JeffMo, longdist01 and 5 others like this.
  10. Paul Gase

    Paul Gase Everything is cheaper than it looks.

    Great guitarist in my book.
    Mr.Sean, JeffMo and longdist01 like this.
  11. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Houston, TX, USA
    Yes, Don is underrated. Notice that this thread is still only one page.

    Also, I predict that someone with a Clapton avatar will find his way into this thread and tell us how he wasn't that great. :sigh:
    JeffMo, mark winstanley and hiterss like this.
  12. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    One of These Nights is one of rock's all time great solos.
  13. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    As is much of his solo material.

    Walsh's James Gang material is indeed top shelf, but the some of the stuff Tommy Bolin did with JG was positively mind blowing.
  14. Hi Lizard

    Hi Lizard Forum Resident

    Frankfort Kentucky
    Honestly it would have been pretty cool to hear where Felder and Leadon would have, could have gone, had they gone further.
    Would have been ultimately cool to have had the three guitar attack and songs created with Leadon, Felder and Walsh.
    To me, all three were equals yet completely different and recognized as such.
    Mr.Sean, JeffMo, longdist01 and 3 others like this.
  15. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident

    Bronx, NY, USA
    Second thought -- his parts tend to be very melodic and musical, much like George Harrison. So they can be overlooked by casual observers who are more impressed by razzle dazzle flash a la Eddie Van Halen and that breed of guitarist.
  16. armin

    armin Forum Resident

    Good guitarist but a very bad singer... saw him once at Rock meets classic performing some Eagles standards ... very awful - worst part of the show, sorry!
    Yankeefan01 and Andrew J like this.
  17. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Not seen him live but I think his two 21st century albums show a marked improvement on his tentative vocal performances of the late '70s. He's not Don Henley or Tim Schmit but I don't listen to his newer records and wonder what they would be like with another singer. He nails the songs perfectly well.
  18. Andrew J

    Andrew J Forum Resident

    South East England
    No - his solo work is generic and indistinctive, which suggests he's no Jeff Beck. If he had been the great artist that some people paint him to be, he wouldn't still be playing Hotel California as the highlight of his set.
    Record Rotator likes this.
  19. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    People have to keep in mind that the Eagles were a song-first band with very little room for improvisation. Felder never seemed to have complaints about his guitar playing not being showcased enough, he did understand that displays of guitar pyrotechnics was not who or what the Eagles were.

    I would find him comparable to Lindsey Buckingham as a guitarist.
  20. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    I don’t think he is underrated because he is known as being a great guitarist. He had a fantastic tone. I do think some fans overrate him at times, often overstating his overall writing contributions to the band, but his guitar work was integral to the band’s 1974-1980 sound.
    Mr.Sean, JeffMo, longdist01 and 6 others like this.
  21. Record Rotator

    Record Rotator Forum Resident

    No. He added some great, blistering guitar work to several Eagles songs, we all know that,
    but that was then. His solo career has been lacklustre. Admittedly, I'm not a guitarist, but
    I don't care how technically skilled he may be, I know which guitarists excite me, and to my
    ears, he's predictable and uninspired, both as a guitarist and a songwriter.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 2:53 PM
    JeffMo and PacificOceanBlue like this.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    To be honest I have no idea how he is rated... but his work with the Eagles was excellent.
    I see some folks saying his solo stuff isn't great....
    Well it needs to be remembered, no matter how good anyone's playing is, it needs to have roots in a great song/piece of music, and whether folks like it or not, the Eagles wrote great songs.
  23. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    His solo albums are great, at least to my ears. He's a fine songwriter as well as a top guitarist.

    Agree with your Eagles comment. They were rarely less than good and usually far better.
  24. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    Rated just right. Most think he's a very good guitarist. Walsh gets more attention because they play his solo hits live.
    Skydog7, JeffMo, longdist01 and 2 others like this.
  25. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    And he was one of the best guitarists of his generation. Antics aside, Joe Walsh not only was a great songwriter, but an excellent guitar player.

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