Let's keep this light, 'cause it has potential for Eruption (subliminal suggestion there...)
Which guitarists - that you enjoy listening to - make you think "how the heck did they choose those notes?!" I've been listening to a lot of players for a while now, and for some of them it's "playing by numbers" - I just know what they're going to play next. It's very often still a joy to listen to, let me make that perfectly clear.
And there are some players, who I just feel "this person is a clear channel for the power cosmic"
...I literally wouldn't dream up that solo or that riff in ten lifetimes.
For me the main culprit is EVH. For a time I thought I was onto him...so much has been written about him and analysed, and I was about to grab it, and then I realised - the guy is liquid, pure and simple. Shifting from one mindset to another totally different one. He makes me sick! Hey, in a good sick kinda way. I'm sure countless others also thought they were onto him.
Because...I know it's Eddie playing in a heartbeat and I know how he's going to go into a solo and come out again, and I can guarantee there'll be some tapping or something...but darn it, he's gone again!! Some of "it" is somewhat fixed, like he stays in a certain key for a time and uses some particular runs over and over...but then he'll blow that out all out of the water and do something totally out there again. Arrghhh!!
It's his live playing that continually staggers me. I've heard the same song played in ten different ways and it's mind-bending. His improvisational skills are quite breathtaking.
Steve Vai I suppose on occasion too...Touching Tongues comes to mind...where that came from I have no idea. And Eric Johnson on occasion too...without wishing to sound pompous, I can sort of follow roughly where these two geniuses are going to head in a song. Still fall in love with their music on a daily basis, mind you.
Marc Bonilla - absolutely have no idea how he does what he does, but I love it to bits.
Hendrix - how!? Why?!
I have a few others in mind, and I'll end there for now...just to see what you lot offer.
Like I said, please keep this light. And no: I can't play any of their stuff for squat, so I'm really not being a showoff!