My band played Rockin in the Free World back in the early 90's at a well established Biker bar. I'm no shredder, but I was sure getting some strange looks by the audience when it came to the solo I played. It was just too smooth sounding for a Neil Young tune. Now that I'm older, I appreciate and understand why I got it wrong. Really didn't get it in my early 20's.I love Neil's electric solos. When you hear some shredders solo it sounds like they could be getting a pedicure, be eating a sandwich while watching tv and play the same thing no problem. With Neil it's sounds like he's giving it all he's got every time.
Many people I have heard on forums have said the same things. Mr. Stills commented on his unorthodox playing as not being a "purist". It works with his acoustic playing but in my opinion and it seems yours as well, it doesn't with his electric playing. It's not just the tone, it's the playing.He's living proof that good, cool gear, will not always give good tone. I think his electric guitar sounds like dog poop in a blender.