17. You know all those contemporary players you enjoy listening to? Find out who they listen to. Then find out who those guys listened to. Go to the source.
Whether your interest is in Modern or Traditional music, you're really short-changing yourself if you fail to dig all the way back to the source - those early players innovated, too, and in ways you might not imagine!
Find an interview with your 2 favorite players. Read who their influences are. Now read their interviews and do the same. Keep drilling down until you find the guys that your guy's favorite player loved, then their favorites.
Drilling down in to the remote ancestry of the music you love will teach you more about the music than any other research you can do. Dig deep for the stories, anecdotes, secrets, but more importantly for names. Dig deep to learn who to listen to.
Here's a free tip for you: If you're a San Diegan, find Lou Curtiss and ask him what to listen to. Really.