Best Guitarists Ever

Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Contenders: Page 5

81Allan Holdsworth
Can't believe he's this low. This list is made from people listening to boring rock/blues which is tired and overdone. Most of these people are playing the same thing. Allan actually creates his own voice. But because it's different and complex, these musically malnourished boring clones can't handle it. They should try and broaden their horizons and listen to some new stuff.

I really can't understand how he's not higher than this. Phenomenal improviser both single note and chordal, amazing composer. Technically superior to everyone who is on this list (maybe Guthrie could challenge him on that one). His whole idea of music and the ways he thinks about are unique, I'm actually disappointed in everyone who who thinks jimi, slash and jimmy are better than this man. This absolute genius, legend. This man is a god if you've never heard of him you need to, and stop listening to the rubbish that gets poured into your ears everyday by radio and T.V. , who have to play this easy listening rubbish so people don't turn over. Listen to allan now and your whole life will change. He can do things no other can do. WHY IS HE SO LOW.
I have been blessed to see a true MASTER of his instrument. You will never see any tribute band or have any one cover his songs (good luck). I would put him against anyone, his dedication to the instrument is second to none! This is coming from a drummer, no less...
If you play guitar, you know who this guy is. If you don't know who this guy is, well, then I guess you don't play the guitar. Chords, scales ^^ compositions all equally impressive, inspiring ^^ creative. He has expressed himself as an exceptional guitarist; acoustically, electric ^^ synthesized.
[Newest]One of the very best ever.

82John McLaughlin
Wow - I trolled this list specifically looking for John Mclaughlin, and was starting to think he was omitted!. Well - now that I know he IS on the list - there are a couple tracks people should check out to understand the depth of his playing:

From his album "My Goal is Beyond" - Phillip Lane. My vote for 'If I could play ANYTHING on guitar it would be THIS...

Secondly - from the Miles Davis "Jack Johnson" - his electric playing on Right Off. Hard Core Rockers and Blues men alike should be able to connect to this, just in case Phillip Lane does not grab you by the throat.

I'm gonna check back here, and you children better get John AT LEAST in the top 10 based upon these two tracks. And if that is not enough - well, you can always go listen to his Mahavishnu Orchestra albums...

Really People...
He could grind most of guitarists listed here into the dust, then out the other side, he is that good. What makes John McLaughlin truly exceptional is his ability to come back each years stronger, with more melody and phrases under his belt. His ability to lead a band is second to none. His compositions are inventive and challenging to play.
I have been listening to top quality music especially jazz and jazz rock fusion for thirty years and there is no doubt john McLaughlin is the greatest of all time

U have to add in Larry coryell and paco de lucia and stanley clarke and many other jazz guys who are heads and tails above most rock musicians
[Newest]Is one of the best.

83Joe Walsh
Anybody that knows music would tell you what an awesome guitarist this guy is. He should be in the top twenty if not higher.
I think Joe should be in top ten I play guitar and I always try to match his sound it's awesome I wished I could play wit him and learn just a piece of what he knows and I don't his style is just great
Singlehandedly gave the Eagles an "edge." Top 25 player, without-a-doubt. Also, check out the riff at the beginning of Funk 49... A classic.

84Joe Pass
If any one was ever the fastest or most inventive or technically amazing in the world of guitar it was the legend who possesses the name "Virtuoso". You think Ingwie or Batio are fast, Pass improvs 32nd notes (fluently and with musical inventiveness) at 240 plus using all conventional techniques, no tapping and without a pick, sometimes on acoustic. You find me anyone else who can match even half that and I�ll eat my hat. Not only was he able to do all of the above, but his composition, and chord voicings within those compositions are some of those on par with many of the classical masters. That�s why they call him THE virtuoso.
If he isn't on the top of this list I wonder how many enjoy great guitarists.
The people in the band Oasis, if you heard their guitar solos then you know what I mean.


Uruha'a skill was great the best visual kei guitarist I think. Now it's just time for him to be the best guitarist ever!
When he plays, you can't see his fingers anymore, they're too fast. He' a genius!
Uruha was great, he play melody with emotion, touch listener emotion with his melody.. Great!
[Newest]He is the best. Great guitarist!
More comments about Uruha

86Mikael Akerfeldt
This guy is a masterpiece.. he is the greatest heavy metal musician ever.. without him there would be no OPETH which is the greatest band ever.. he should be on top 5 with DIMEBAG, ALEXI, PETER LENDGREN and DAVE MUSTAINE
Mikael should be #15 at least lets get him there


Masterpieces are always underrated

87Billie Joe Armstrong
What the hell? He may not be fast or play anything exciting or long... But heck, he has passion, his solo's sound nice (if not fast) and his voice, tre's drums, and mike's bass goes very well with it.
Not just his guitar playing abilities but also his vocals are amazing and BEST.
Listen good riddance to know more
Billie joe deserves at least top 10 for sure
When playing guitar there are two elements that can influence a brilliant performance: The guitarist's musical performance and the energy and atmosphere he/she creates. Though he isn't known for his 'Insane' solos, he's an excellent rhythm and lead guitar player and no musician on Earth puts as much energy and charisma into their performances that Billie Joe, and indeed the rest of Green Day put into theirs. If you ever get the chance, watch 'Bullet in a Bible', it is the best live show I have ever seen and it truly show cases Armstrong's talents.
[Newest]I think he's really talented and does great guitar playing.
More comments about Billie Joe Armstrong

88Ray Toro
Dude have any of you heard him play? He is a guitar god! And did you see the new SING IT FOR Japan video? He has a huge heart also!
Ray Toro. He's the best guitarist on this planet. No one can beat him and that's the truth. Everyone of you know it. So keep voting.
He's simply the best, puts so much heart and soul and he is an amazing person to, an guitarist everyone should look up to!
[Newest]I'm surprised that Ray isn't higher up. Listen to any song he played guitar in and it will be quite clear. He has so much talent with his guitar which is clearly displayed in his songs. Let's not forget about his time with My Chemical Romance. His guitar playing skills really showed in almost every My Chemical Romance song, especially in the first 2 albums. I personally think he deserves a higher place on this list.
More comments about Ray Toro

89Chet Atkins
He's the greatest, period. I'm a huge fan of these other rock/metal guitarists... I mean a really big fan! But the fact is; you can find a hundred videos on YouTube of people playing their licks note for note. Nobody can play Chet's stuff! Maybe they'll know 1 or 2 songs, and most times they're not playing it like Chet did... Leaving out notes here and there. It's impossible to beat him. Take my 30 second Chet Atkins challenge and see for yourself! Learn just 30 seconds of a Chet song (note for note, no mistakes) and then learn 30 seconds of ANY other song by ANY other guitarist on this list. See for yourself which one takes you longer to learn. Also, you can't find many tabs for Chet's stuff... Because nobody can play it. He's Mr. Guitar for a reason! Listening to it, you'll think you can play it like him... But you'll fail. Chet forgot more about playing guitar than most great guitarist will ever know in they're entire careers. SS
Chet appealed to diverse groups of music lovers. He was at home and admired it the country/western world. I saw him at the Kennedy Center and the place was packed with people from all walks of life. There was no "gimmickry" just great music from all the categories. He was well received and appreciated no matter what crowd he was entertaining. JR
For pure unadulterated guitar SKILL no one touches him. If you sat him next to any guitarist on this list and told them to duel by playing MUSIC and actual tunes without special effects there is no question who'd win.
[Newest]He could play lead, rhythm and bass at the same time.

90Django Reinhardt
This is absolute crap! Just because he didn't live in the era of rock guitarists who thought they were good playing their little electric guitars doing the simplest of chords and thinking they were good because they could shred at half the speed Django could. Django had two useable fingers, had an acoustic guitar that had an action about 2 cm high with hard steel strings and people like Hendrix, slash and clapton could not have possibly come close to the virtuosity and musicality that was Django Reinhardt! How could anyone vote him down so low as 199?! He should be at least top 3!
I could've chosen any one of a couple of dozen jazz, folk, flamenco or country players who could run rings around the numpties in this list. I choose Django because he is the daddy of high speed single not soloing. Any proper player will know this. Rock isn't the be all and end all of guitar playing.


The combination of technical skill, the ability to create beautiful melodies while improvising, endless ideas, the build up of solo's and songs, he is unchallenged.
He was the first and maybe only jazz musician from Europe who influenced his American counterparts. Playing solo's with only 2 fingers, using arpeggio's, modes nobody else uses (only when they copy him). Unbelievable that he is rated so low. Should be number 1.
[Newest]Before Django the guitarist was sat next to the drummer, then he decided he wanted to be up front, LEGEND

91Kitamura Ken
His guitar really amazing...

He can make a really beautiful melody...

I love all of his song... He is the best composer & Guitarist ever...
His ability to compose a song is in my opinion greater than his two band mates and his great strength as a guitarist is his ability to be able to be subtle and allow other sounds and styles influence his music giving him a range capable of fully expressing not only various genres but emotions even in the same song.
Ken is The Best Guitarrist In The World, and composer, is a lovely person


[Newest]He deserves to be nominated for the top five

92Brendon Small
He is the absolute best of all time.
This guy created both a very successful T.V. show about a metal band, and the dethalbum 1, which was THE highest selling deth metal record of ALL TIME. That is a FACT. He has also clearly displayed that he can play absolutely any genre of music you can possibly play with guitar. People place guys like jimmy page and van Galen on such high pedistols, when in reality, all the played was one genre of music. Brendan small plays all of them, and is the best at all of them.

93Michael Schenker
I feel the same way about Michael Schenker's playing now as I did as a teen back in 1979. Nobody I've heard since can get near the guy in terms of style, technicality and above all feeling and emotion. He put drop-dead moments into songs rather than isolated flash.
Obviously not many out there have even heard of Michael or they would have placed him in the top three with Satriani where they both belong.
Way better than his ranking here. UFO and the Scorpions were never that big in the USA which partly explains his lack of recognition.
[Newest]Favorite classic rock band. It's all a matter of opinion really. Its not like schenker is "technically" great. Its nostalgia.

94Kerry King
Kerry, Dimebag and Wylde should all be in the top 3. But ill be nice and say top 10. You can't have a list of greatest guitarists without them... People don't know what it takes to play the intricate stuff like what these guys play.
Dude this guy should be #1, along side with Jeff Hanneman
No one can match his solos along with Jeff Hanneman
[Newest]Kerry King should at least be in the top ten, as he is the best guitarist in the world.

95Glenn Tipton
WHAT I can't believe that Glenn number 50 he is so under rated the way he plays solos is amazing my favorite guitarist ( 2nd place is Jimi Page)


The Glen (and KK too) are a few of the most underrated guitarists in history as they both have mastered the fretboard and blaze up and down it like Metal Gods, thus solidifying that oh-so sinister authentic sound that is Judas Priest
This is a disgrace. Every music list leaves out Judas Priest. Tipton (and Downing) are just some of the the best guitarists ever. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with and the first of the two is number 66. Just terrible
[Newest]Why did I waste time typing this when kurt santana is ranked higher than glenn tipton? One word. Ignorance. One compound word. Painkiller. Magnum opus.

96Steve Lukather
Why is this guy constantly overlooked?! So many of these 'Best Guitarist' lists are based on musicians who had a few great songs or a couple of great albums, or the choices are largely based on popularity - I find this disgusting! Steve Lukather is technically brilliant, has creative flair and instantly recognisable individual style; not only has he learned the academics of music but he plays with his heart and soul too. All TRUE musicians respect him for his abilities and he's worked with so many of the greatest artists of all time. Let's not forget he also writes, sings, plays piano and is a thoroughly decent guy who has been inspiring music lovers for nearly 40 years - So WHY doesn't he get the respect he deserves?! What more does this man have to do? Maybe if he'd died young, fickle joe public would have sat up and noticed him. Well I totally appreciate him - as well as contributing from the shadowy wings to scores of bestselling songs by other artists, whether solo or with Toto I recognize him as one of the most truly outstanding guitarists ever and he deserves a place up there with the real Greatest.
Steve, Every year he comes up with something new on the guitar that just makes your mouth drop! I would love to see him jam with his best bro' Eddie
Van Halen, like ALL the best guitarist's Steve has his own sound, It's a shame a lot more people don't know how good he is, Mostly it's because of his band Toto, their record company (just like poor Cheap Trick! ) would keep the band in a strangle hold making sure ONLY Ballad's were released as singles, Also the music press have a lot to answer for, They gave Toto and Lukather no respect at all! Long live TOTO & LUKATHER!
He's the best!
That's all...
I'll never heard what a great sense of melody
So, he wrote beautiful songs with toto
[Newest]One of the best guitar players of the world
More comments about Steve Lukather

97Joe Perry
He and the music of his guitar mixes into a heaven's melody. When I see him in concert, it was one of the best time in my whole life. Other moment like that was listening live Steven Tyler.
Every One Bow To The God!
This Guy Is Much Better Than Chuck Norris That's For Sure
Listen To Train Kept A Rolling That Will Convince All Of You People
AeroSmith Rocks!


Quiet, Reserved, yet amazing. Need proof? Listen to his 2 minute solo in Love in an elevator.
[Newest]Wow. I went through this whole list and not once did I see the one and only adam jones from tool. wow. have you heard any song by tool? ? ? Like it or suck the D <=8

98Lindsey Buckingham
How on earth is the god that is Lindsey Buckingham 160, I would love to see most of the top rated guitarists on the list play his style, and while I love Metallica why is Kirk so high up, he's fast and that's about it. As well as Kurt Cobain he was a good writer not a guitarist, and Bill Joe.. Really?
What is going on here? Lindsey is exceptionally talented and deserves higher ranking. This underrated and understated musician and artist never promoted himself as some virtuoso or flashy idol. He is a purist, and, as with virtue, his music is its own reward.
Lindsey was the driving force behind Fleetwood Mac's sound during the period he was with them. Definitely one of the most under-rated guitarists out there. Listen to his acoustic version of "Big Love" from the Dance and argue the guy is not a guitar virtuoso.

99Steve Morse
I find it unbelievable. 91? What is wrong with the world. I'm am a high level guitarist who plays Iced Earth, Megadeth, and Steve Morse is god to me. I would like to thank him, his music has made me very happy over the years, it means a lot to me, and always makes me feel better. Thank you Steve Morse, for beautiful compositions. Your music has got me through some very hard times.
Steve Morse is simply the best guitarist in the world that no one has heard of. He is the guitarist that other guitarists want to be. In Guitar Magazine (a mag for guitarists) he won best guitarist so many times they created a hall of fame category just for him so other guitarists could get an opportunity. That speaks volumes.
I'm a steve morse fan and it's frustrating to see Steve Morse rank 50th among other guitarist which I believe not even deserving to make the top 200. I would like to thank Steve Morse, for his Instructional video. What I've become right now, is a product of Morse video and other guitar influences.
[Newest]Steve Morse is THE Shred Baron! One of the best ever to pick up a guitar. A true master.
More comments about Steve Morse

100Alex Scolnick
Obviously, no one who voted here has a clue if he is not in the top ten... Has his own Jazz trio, plus is the lead guitarist of one of the most underrated metal bands ever, Testament... Have the people on this list could not play Testament's rhythm lines...
The solo he played in "return to serenity" is a gift to metal lovers and one of the most beautiful solo in the world. He is so talented.
Alex Skolnick should be in the Top 10, listen to the first 3 Albums by Testament, his solos are flawless! He is recognised by his peers not only in the Metal world, but other genres includng all the good Guitar playing magazines.

Comments About This List

Featured Lists
Popular Lists
New Lists

Top Remixes of This List

Posts About This List

List Info

This list was created 8 years, 363 days ago and has been voted on over 179,000 times. This top ten list contains 954 items, has been remixed 465 times and has been blogged about 62 times.

Updated Friday, May 29, 2015

List Error Reporting

See an item on this list that's misspelled, duplicated, or doesn't belong? Let us know. Click here to report the error.