Many thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts last week. It was incredibly difficult for us to narrow the field down to five, but in the end the Dear Scotland contributors settled on Adamson, Braithwaite, Jansch, Robertson and Young. This poll will close in exactly one week. So vote now.

I know that Roddy Hart and others will be surprised to see that John Martyn is missing from this list, I know that Vic Galloway and Kenny McColl will be slightly peeved that John McGeoch didn’t make the final five, I know that Alec Downie will continue to argue the case for Zal Cleminson and I’m pretty sure that all the Runrig fans who campaigned for their man Malcolm Jones will be disappointed when they read this, but I think we can all be proud of the five music legends listed below.

And though this poll will run for only one week, the comments section on these articles will remain open and unedited forever.

So, in alphabetical order, the Dear Scotland top five are:

Stuart Adamson (The Skids, Big Country)

“We tried as a band on numerous occasions to do something as good as Into The Valley. Stuart Adamson’s guitar playing left me feeling wholly inadequate. He had a big influence on me.” [The Edge]

Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai)

“It would be Stuart Braithwaite for me, best by a mile IMO…. Anyone who’s seen or more appropriately HEARD him in action will surely agree….Those that havenae, be prepared….he can be very melodic….& a tad LOUD….” [Fiery Pict]

Bert Jansch

“At one point, I was absolutely obsessed with Bert Jansch. When I first heard that LP [1965], I couldn’t believe it. It was so far ahead of what everyone else was doing. No one in America could touch that.” [Jimmy Page]

Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson (Thin Lizzy, Motorhead)

“In Cava Studios one day, with a bottle of Jack in tow, I watched Robbo play an incredible guitar solo in one take. I asked him how the feck he did it. He looked at me, put his hand on his heart, ran his fingers over his chest, along his arm and down to his fingertips as he confessed: ‘Well it starts here, and comes out here’.” [Alec Downie]

Angus Young (AC/DC)

“Alongside Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi, Angus is one of the greatest heavy blues/rock guitar players of all time — his touch is magic and instantly recognisable. I’m claiming him as one of ours!” [Vic Galloway]

Next week: Who is Scotland’s greatest ever drummer?

Photo Credit : Glasvegas at T in the Park by Two Thumbs Fresh


  1. where is Martin Taylor in this poll. A True Virtuoso Taylor is renowned as the foremost solo acoustic guiatrist in the world. Famous through his cover over “Johnnny & Mary” Renault cleo advert and playing with the likes of Stephane Grappelli, Chet Atkins, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Sacha Distel Bryn Terfel and Jamie Cullum. Martin Taylor is a Legend among Legends and must be included in this vote.

    Grant Tyrie

  2. Bert Jansch is the man. What’s with the english accent though, probably just putting it on right?

  3. Scotland’s Greatest Drummer? It has to be the drummer in Runrig. Absolutey no argument. He is the best ever ever. No question. Whatever his name is.

  4. A wee bit of trivia – the guitar Braithwaite is playing on his vid was originally owned by Jansch. A pristine pre CBS tele he hacked the electronics to add an on/off switch and defaced the body by adding a Saltire decal.

    The purists would be aghast but I say well done. It is a tool still in use to this day rather than an artifact owned by a collector waiting for capital appreciation.

  5. Watch the Robbo video at 0.58 – 1.12. Thats all you need to know. I think he even makes himself say “woah!” at then end of that solo.

  6. For me it has to be Stuart Adamson for his broad appeal and melodic guitar solos and also his longevity, having been very successful with both The Skids and Big Country…R.I.P

  7. Stuart Adamson for me. A fantastic and highly influential guitar player who brought emotion, integrity, humility and understated excellence to everything he did. No need for flashy tricks with Stuart, his songs and his playing spoke for themselves. Not just Scotland’s finest guitarist and songwriter, one of the greatest these islands have ever produced. His name will never die – RIP Stuart.

  8. Stuart Adamson, no question – I watched him mature from the Skids in the early days to the days before Big Country split. Melody, innovation, technically astounding and a complete songwriter to boot.

    Sadly missed, never forgotten…

  9. Have to agree, with Stuart Adamson.

    Anyone heard his Johnny B.Goode when he was in the Skids? Became a songwriter with Big Country but his live work always shone through.

    Left us too soon………

  10. Has to be Stuart Adamson…

    The man and his band compiled the sountrack to my life,for that i will always be eternally grateful.

    Sadly missed

  11. Stuart Adamson by a short head from Malcolm Jones…can`t believe that whoever compiled this list of 5 could possibly leave out Runrigs finest…obviously not got a clue about guitar players…or not Scottish

  12. Just watched the ‘Anvil’ documentary last night and guess who makes a brief cameo – the legend that is Robbo!
    2% really? Talk about no clue.
    By the way, I’m Scottish and I can confirm that Runrig are shite.

  13. Sorry to have missed your poll.
    So glad it’s Stuart Adamson who won – his music was the soundtrack to my life too.
    Never met him, but he seemed the genuine article to me.
    Of all the gigs I’ve been to, there was nothing to touch a Big Country concert – the love & warmth shone through.
    Words won’t express how much I miss not having him around.

  14. Stuart
    He had EVERYTHING!
    The Working Man’s HERO.

    A bit surprised that Dick Gaughan isn’t mentioned..

  15. Stuart Adamson:- A unique and special talent…. Live, Stuart & his BC colleagues, delivered ‘rock’ music in an untouchable fashion. Lucky enough to have met the man on two occasions and he was as impressive off stage as he was on it. RIP Stuart!

  16. A lot of people who influenced my life musically have passed away, eg Ramones,Malcolm Owen etc, and I can cope ok. One man however, Stuart Adamson, still leaves me emotional whenever I hear him sing and play. I thank him for so many happy times over the years and put quite simply, the man was a legend. R.I.P Stuart

  17. I absolutely love Stuart Adamson and his Skids and Big Country work – both live and in the studio. I’m wondering if Roddy Frame made the top 10. Roddy’s playing certainly covers a wide range of styles and his songwriting is also first rate.

  18. Why the hell did you pick THIS clip of Adamson? I love him but listened to the first 4 mins before anyting at all interesting happened…

  19. Stuard Anderson….His music changed my life and inspired me!!! “A Clown and a Wolfman”……Bear the Torch for the one who died…… I’m a Restess Native!!!! Stuart…you were the best!!!!

  20. Why the heck wasn’t Manny Charlton of Nazareth not included on this list? He was around and popular before any of the above fellows, though Robbo and Angus will work for me.

  21. Type your comment here… How are runrig shite they r the biggest scottish band ever. Or r u just jealous .

  22. There is a difference between loving Runrig and loving Scotland. I love Scotland but Runrig are pish – that’s why no one outside Scotland has ever heard of them.

  23. Got to be the SAHB axeman-Zal Cleminson-totally awesome-didn’t even make the list -obviously readers are too young to remember.
    And does Mark Knopfler not qualify-Scottish born-although a Geordie upbringing from about 8 I think! These two must be all time greats up there with Angus Young.

  24. Stuart Adamson is a fantastic guitarist, I would vote Judas best guitarist as well, Plus Big Country is my favorite band… RIP Stuart.

  25. Stuart Adamson is the best guitarist I’ve ever seen. The other guitarists are pretty good as well but I thing Stuart had a little more experience with guitar, he had a great, awesome band as well. RIP Stuart