Best Guitarists Ever

The Top TenXW

1Jimi Hendrix

I'm sure that Slash would admit that he and basically every guitarist since the early seventies owes Jimi Hendrix big time.

Jimi started it all. There's no denying it without Jimi some of the mind blowing solos we hear today may not have come into existence

Slash is great, he is possibly the best soloist ever, but he'll never be Hendrix. He is a legend R.I.P.

If this was a most talented guitarist list, he would be around 150. But if this was the most innovate guitarist list, he would be tied with Eddie Van Halen and Page.

V885 Comments
2Jimmy Page

The man is a god of the guitar! Pure genius don't have to say any more, his playing speaks for itself,

It's subjective as to who is the best at any art form, although there are some analysis than can help. How enduring and widely popular, how much quality content, how complex, varied and original are all factors. Page's brilliance has been obscured by the fact Zep as a band was so great. It gave him more exposure but also camouflaged him. This is true with others, of course: e, g,. Joe Walsh, Neil Young, Keith Richards. There are other reasons great guitarists don't get their due. I love guitar and for me its Page then Duane Allman. The fact Allman is so far down this list is ridiculous. Also many on this list don't really belong because so many voters are too young to know the dif.

If you take a look at the comments for Synester gates, you can see all the people worry about is speed. And he isn't even that fast, Van Halen, and pretty much any good heavy metal band guitarist can play faster, longer, and cleaner than him. Now Jimmy Paige's greatness isn't fueled by speed, its fueled by emotion and innovation. Listen to the main riff in Black dog, Slash called it, "the sexiest riff off all time"

Sloppy sloppy sloppy. The most overrated guitarist ever.

V624 Comments
3Eddie Van Halen

One of the most skilled and innovative guitarists ever. Fastest right hand in the business.

Must listen some of dream theater songs my friend.. John Petrucci will clear your doubts

He doesn't play the guitar, it is part of that man's body, you can hear his emotions come through

Lol the guitarist with the least emotions in the history of time

Eddie innovated 2 hand tapping. He Influenced great players like Slash, Zakk Wylde and Kerry king to play. If you can make a minute and 42 minute long solo of pure shredding that is recognized everywhere there is something special about you. People that know nothing about guitar think clapton is best but people who know all about guitar can truly agree ed is the god

Just plays fast, that's it. All his songs sound like the same. Extremely overrated.

V393 Comments

Slash is an awesome guitarist. He's got it all! He's dedicated and I think he's proven that he doesn't give up. All the music he plays is great, you don't get a song to witch Slash plays the guitar that sucks, he just dose what he loves.

Slash has earned his place in the top 5 and one day may even make it to number two. Let's face it Slash is a great guitarist.

I mean you don't just wake up and are good at something you have to earn it and Slash has. For this he is one of My greatest Idols.

Slash is the 2nd greatest guitarist EVER, only behind Hendrix. He is without a doubt the greatest soloist of all time. His solos aren't a couple of licks put together or not just playing a scale as fast as he can, his solo's are thought out masterpieces that are incredibly amazing technically and emotionally. Listen to all his recorded songs and you'll see what I mean.

Okay, slash is a great guitarist, no doubt. Bust he isn't better then eddie Van Halen or jimi page in technique, and if you wanna talk in emotions, David surpass him.

Slash gets my vote, because, since I first started hearing their songs, around 1992, when I was 13, Guns were by far my favourite band and that was largely because of Slash's amazing guitar work. It just "hit the spot" like no one else really had in the past, or has, consistently, since.

It would (and still can) give me goose bumps, on songs like Sweet Child (especially when he really winds up in the middle guitar solo) and November Rain (near the end, when it reaches a crescendo) and You Could Be Mine, but could also just go straight to the heart and soul, on other songs, like during the beautiful guitar solos earlier on November Rain and in Estranged.

One of the reasons he is so good is that he reportedly would just play what came to him in the moment, when in the studio. So someone would hand him a song and he would just let go and play what came to him in the moment (pure inspiration) and that would basically be what would end up on the album. He wouldn't generally spend weeks trying to piece something together and that would be why they flowed so well and really hit the spot.

Others might have been technically better, or faster, or whatever, but for heart and soul, especially, Slash gets my vote.

Slash is the best guitarist to date.

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5Eric Clapton

The great B.B. King once said you will never find a guitar genius that can hold down, note to note, to Eric Clapton. He is the "one". He doesn't care if he's in any top list of anything. He has nothing to prove. Kids love to hear a guitarist banging on his guitar, Clapton never does that, He actually knows how to play an instrument. Some oldies but goodies think he is the rebirth of Robert Johnson. You will seldom find anyone who knows who Robert Johnson is, so how can you expect teenagers and 20 something guys who want to be guitar heroes themselves, understand the history of true rock and roll? Step up and listen to the ballads and then listen to the riffs Clapton manages with out breaking a sweat and the magic that happens when he does. There is soul to this mans music. He is simply, The Best.

I agree with you. Hew should be above Slash, in my opinion. Also, I know who Robert Johnson is. He's a blues guitarist of the 1920s who famously "sold his soul to the Devil for rock and roll". I know this, and I'm only 14. Also, Eric Clapton is very prolific ( Cream, Blind Faith, etc) - MusicalPony

There are thousands and thousands who can force a guitar to sputter. There are hundreds who can make a guitar talk. But at any given time, there is only a very select few who can truly let a guitar sing. Clapton is one of those few (along with Hendrix, Santana, and a couple others). Clapton writes his music straight from the heart, finding inspiration is his real life. From his relationship with Pattie Boyd, with whom he was madly in love (Wonderful Tonight), and later his deteriorating marriage with her (Running on Faith), to the death of his son (Tears in heaven), Clapton puts more raw emotion into his music than any other guitarist I've ever heard, including Hendrix.

Compared to him, more recent music can come across flat and empty in both lyrics and guitar work. No one could say he hasn't stood the test of time (1970-today), but he is being slowly forgotten in an age where playing fast and looking cool is more important than musical brilliance.

Slash and some other more recent guitarists are great, but they rely on portrayed starpower and electric instruments to give them that "cool" sound, but take that away (the acoustic test) and you will often find bland, emotionally-lacking guitar work pieced together in a way that works but doesn't resonate with the absolute excellence that is simply expected in all of Clapton's work.

I never liked Clapton when I was younger, I thought his music was a bit longwinded and slow until (at a time when I was first absolutely smitten with a girl) I heard Wonderful Tonight, and couldn't believe how much a song I didn't care for a couple weeks ago suddenly made perfect sense. So that was the only Clapton song I liked. Then (during breakup with same girl) I heard Running on Faith, and after that I was hooked.

I put Clapton second only to Hendrix. You gotta give Jimi his due, he's Mozart with a guitar. He had a bonfire going when everyone else was still rubbing 2 sticks together.

What? He is only 20? Eric is one of the best guitar gods ever! He is a great riffs creator ("Sunshine of your love", "Layla", "Cocaine") and a huge soloist too: what about his wha-wha powerful solo on "White Room", his soft duet with Allman in "Layla", his epic section of "Tales of brave Ulysse", the memorable ending of "Let it Rain" or the emotive solo on "Why got love to be so sad? "?

He is the king of blues rock. He should be in the top 3 with Jimi and Dave (Gilmour)!

He is simply amazing

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6Stevie Ray Vaughan

This forum is terrible. SRV, Jimmy and Clapton should all be top 5. Slash.. give me a break. Go YouTube "Texas flood" long version or "little wing cover" by Stevie Ray Vaughn and educate yourselves.

S.R.V. re-invented electric blues. He played every song from his heart and nailed every note! You will never hear the same version of a song twice from Stevie Ray. He is absolutely amazing!

There are hundreds of great guitar players but Stevie Ray Vauhan and Jimi Hendrix were the absolute best. It is a privilege just to listen to them play. Please people, listen to SRV on YouTube. Just search srv and pick any song. You'll thank me, really.

I remember watching him getting elected into the hall of fame and his improv videos are amazing

V254 Comments
7Kirk Hammett

Kirk is definitely top 5 guitarist. You can't get better than the interlude in master of puppets or the solo in one. He is a very technical guitarist. You can't get to much faster than 220 bpm in master of puppets or 210 in fight fire with fire.

You kids need to understand that guitar is a "musical" instrument. You kids need to understand speed is not everything. It's about making the guitar cry. Talking with your guitar. I'm not saying Kirk doesn't do that. Kirk is the second best guitarist to grace metal, but he isn't top 5 material, but meh, in a list where slash is 2, j guess it's alright.

3rd... Seriously... The guy who made the one solo and the fade to black solo... Part of the biggest metal band on the earth... Yeah... He deserves at least 2nd

He's not the best, but man is he good. He's definitely heavy metal, and can go insane with a guitar. If you've heard him play any of his better songs, you'll know what I mean.

Kirk Hammett is the better guitarist ever in my opinion, he is really better than the 7th rank seriously!.. His solos are really fast and search... Try to find another guitarist who can think about a solo like that and play it really!

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8David Gilmour

A true genius that can touch the heart of the darkest of souls & bring them back to life. His solos & melody's can't be beat for precision & perfect musical sound structure... A true master of his art.

His creativity knows no bounds! The only guitarist I feel that can place his heart on the guitar strings and strum away his soul. Listen to his end solo of Comfortably Numb on the Pulse tour and the tingles will run up your spine!

Any song He touched is pure genius. Echoes, Time and all of The Wall are great. He was the Heart of Pink Floyd.

One of the most inspirational sound ever of this era.

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9Angus Young

Angus feels what he is playing! He has a style of good old rock n roll like other guitarists-john lennon, george harisson, Hendrix, eddie Van Halen but angus is the best of all the best. Angus should be on 1 place

Unbelievably underrated. Listen to his solo on "Shake a Leg" to convince you. Plus, he could do all that while lying on the floor having spasms.

Angus Young isn't A guitar GOD.
He is THE guitar GOD. - jdog0591

Angus discovered the guitar dance (or whatever you call it) and his guitar skills are amazing... Listen to songs such as thunderstruck, back in black, highway to hell etc.

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10Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates has such blistering speed and yet you can hear every note played, he is a pro at dive bombs and sweep picking and definitely a amazing guitarist, and because of his young age by the time he is slash's age he will be the next slash

He is a very multi-talented guitar player, almost all the techniques he mastered.

He can play well even while backing vocals.

He is very feasible juxtaposed with other guitar legends chest of Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani.

He is the most complete!

Slash is great, but not #1. Syn has amazing speed but still plays clean and has unforgettable solos and riffs.

He should be in top 5

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The Newcomers

?Ed King

Sweet Home Alabama Working For MCA. NO questions asked

?Yavuz Çetin

A Turkish legend... Lived a little but did a lot

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The Contenders

11Joe Satriani

This is what happens when people who don't listen to anything but commercialized music vote for best guitarist. There are key components that should be considered when voting for this:

1. How well does the guitarist play? A truly great master of the guitar is not just about solos or speed, because everyone and their monkey can play fast and spit out solos (as can be seen simply by looking into genres that support such). A really great guitarist needs to be versatile, to be able to play any type of music or style.

2. Composition! Guitarists who have one or two "hit songs" and compose junk otherwise aren't true masters. An artist needs to be original, especially with the guitar. If a guitarist plays in a band, his sound should be distinctive and be neither drowned out nor overbearing (though this depends on genre sometimes). I look for guitarists who push the boundaries, that look for new and different ways to play.

3. Solos... When it is the guitarist's turn to shine, how does it sound? Is it a flurry of notes that ends quickly, or is it fast because it flows well and is challenging to play? If it's slow, is it because the guitarist cannot play faster or has put thought into the composition? Where does the solo start and leave you? Of course, there is a lot of personal taste that is involved in judging solos, but you can easily see where the line is drawn between those who solo because they're expected too and have little talent, and those who solo because they have talent. And, if the guitarist rarely or never solos, like Emmpu from Nightwish, you might want to consider why. It's very simple to make noise on a guitar and to play a few chords. If the artist doesn't solo, what does he show instead? What is his contribution to the song?

4. Finally, how does the guitarist stand up over time? A great guitarist will have not one but many masterpieces, and will play well until the day they hang up their guitar. A great guitarist will improve with time, because they will constantly be pushing their limits.

Well I hope this helps. My personal vote is that the best guitarists are ranked: 1. Joe Satriani, 2. Buckethead, 3. Eric Johnson, 4. Steve Vai/Paul Gilbert, 5. John Petrucci, 6. Herman Li/Sam Totman, 7. Dave Mustaine, 8. Synyster Gates, 9. Mark Tremonti, and 10. Origa. Of course, I don't have any of the older guitarists there, so there is that. Shout out to Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ritchie Blackmore, Randy Rhoads, Carlos Santana, and Eddie Van Halen!

As a final thought, Slash is extremely overrated in this... And whoever put Thirty Seconds to Mars up there has fallen victim to mistaking this as a "favorite band" list. There is hardly any guitar work on their new album...

Most technically skilled guitarist ever, without a doubt.

Very very fine skills with musical heart to connect every living soul

Way bigger and better than slash

V230 Comments
12Brian May

Brain May flies a little under the radar. Everyone has heard Queen, but how many people actually pay attention to the guy that can make his guitar sound like a symphony. Next time Bohemian Rhapsody or Killer Queen pops up on the radio, actually listen to the harmonies that Brian alone can produce.

GREATEST GUITAR PLAYER OF ALL TIME. Next to Hendrix of course. Beautiful Guitar riffs and soloing place him at the top. He never ceases to amaze me... I listen to queen and keep finding song after song that is just unbelievable. Friends will be friends, bohemian rhapsody, hammer to fall, the invisible man, breakthru, and radio ga ga are just a few of the amazing songs queen has put together. Along with the breathtaking vocals of Freddie mercury (may he rest in peace), the bombarding drumming of Roger Taylor, and the Steady, rhythmic bass playing of John Deacon, Brian May and Queen is the #1 band in the world.

He's as good as Slash, Jimmy Page, Tommi Iommi, and Jimi Hendrix.

I mean he built his guitar how awesome is that!

V275 Comments
13Dimebag Darrell

Why the F is DIMEBAG DARRELL IN 21! He is the best guitarist I've ever seen and heard. He's guitar skills are very good better than SYNYSTER GATES! He needs to be in the top 3!

, Just listen to cowboys from hell / walk /revolution is my name, it will blow your mind. If he would have been in present, could have hear more mindblowing solos.

Dime was and will always be number one for me as a guitarist, not even Jimmy could compare to the amount of inspiration and skill that Dime brought to the table. He was the innovater for future metal guitarists, he was absolutely brillant! His memory will live on through his family, friends and fans. And if you think that he doesn't deserve this spot, and you've never heard him shred, I strongly suggest you watch/listen to 5 minutes alone, This Love, Walk, Cemetary Gates, and all the greatest songs by Pantera. I'm sure you'll change your mind! R.I.P. dimebag Darrell
"In this river all shall fade to black" -Zakk Wylde (In this River, a tribute to Dime)

Dime was the most emotional player there ever was. mind blowing lead AND rhythm player. He has it all.

No one can beat Dime, he's the best!

V211 Comments
14Carlos Santana

From Slash to Vaughn, from Hendrix to Page, from Clapton to Van Halen, from Prince to Hammet and on, no one but no one can as masterfully sing, string, stir, and sling his guitar out to an audience without vocal ability! Carlos executes his gift by the side of angels he sings THROUGH, not ON the electric guitar, devoid of ego. Who else could immacutely adapt to concert with the finest of musicians world-wide, such as Ottomar Leibert, and innumerable musical artists to bring incandescent soul to each with impeccable perfection? Carlos unegotistically offers God-given talent as if it were for sale on the street for one who is musically promising while abandons the forced march of solitary recognition in the music world. Carlos appears to effortlessly, unfaltering, and exponentially lift the spirit of fellow musicians of promising notorious varieties. Carlos has another gift: most transparently to bring other artists to their pinnacle without over-shadowing their style. Thus, this man appears above narcississtic motive, but proves exemplary recognition as the finest, most passionate guitarist in the world.

Without a question, nobody plays as "smooth" as Santana!

This man is by far the most talented guitarist who ever lived. It is insulting to him and his millions of fans to not have him be number one. This list is not a measure of talent and skill, but just a popularity contest

He does make the guitar cry.

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15Randy Rhoads

Just listen to and try to play some of the stuff he's done people, I mean come on! Knowing that he wasnt in the music business for that long but left as big as impression he did, just imagine how it would be now if he was still alive! No one can write or play as good as Randy.

Randy was a true great. He was so far ahead of most people playing guitar and always practiced and you would never see him without a guitar in his hands, like Hendrix. He was great in Quiet Riot, he had a great opportunity to join Ozzy because Randy's writing and playing dramatically improved. He was that type of person who was in it for the music. Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman are great examples of what rock/metal virtuosity is. Listen to songs like "Mr. Crowley", "Revelation (Mother Earth)", "Diary of a Madman", "Crazy Train", his spotlight solo that he did in Quiet Riot, "Laughing Gas", "I Don't Know", "Over the Mountain", and "Flying High Again" and you'll surely be amazed. He was always in control of what he did. Blizzard of Ozz is a very powerful title because of its power and energy that you get from it. Diary of a Madman shows him going deeper into jazz and classical music. The best example of that is the album's title track which doesn't have the typical power chords and rock licks, it has crazy time signatures from 4/4, 9/8, 8/8, 6/8, 7/4, 3/4 and uses diminished, 13th, and suspended chords and it truly shows the testament of Randy's writing, a beautiful piece of work. His work left a huge impact on people. His death was one of the worst deaths in music history, that cocaine induced pilot shouldn't have coaxed him to go up in the plane while the pilot was high, very few can match him to this day. He had that piece of God in him and intertwined into his DNA. RIP Randall William Rhoads: December 6, 1956 - March 19, 1982 rock on Randy! - blake_meinhardt

Well I have been playing too many years to count and there is no doubt Randy was the best. Playing guitar was just too easy for this guy.

#15! This must be a typo? 15! Randy Rhoads was one of the best, if not the best, guitarists of all time.

V170 Comments
16Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck listed at #74 on this list shows just how little most music fans know about the history of electric guitar. As one reviewer stated earlier, Page, Clapton, Brian May, David Gilmore, and Slash have all stated that Jeff Beck is the best guitarist on the planet. You can add Joe Perry and Steve Lukather to that list. He plays with a fire that nobody else can match and his technique is stunning, the equal of anybody on this list. Many of this generations greatest jazz musicians have recorded with Jeff, including Stanley Clarke, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, and Lenny White. He's toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, BB King, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, and Kenny Wayne Shepard. In 1966, when Chas Chandler was trying to convince Jimi Hendrix to move to England, Hendrix agreed but only if Chandler promised to introduce him to Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. If you don't know who Jeff Beck is, pick up a copy of Blow by Blow or Wired and give it a listen.

In a society where people worship speed, brilliant guitarists like Jeff Beck are usually forgotten. Most "modern" people have probably never heard of the name Jeff Beck, but most guitarists will tell you he's one of the best. Having experimented in most genres of music, Beck has laid down the foundations of modern music, along with other greats like Hendrix, Page, and Clapton, all of whom praise him for his genius. - AznWarlord

Agreed, all of the names you have here are "of the calibre" for the title of "Greatest" guitar player of ALL time. But Jeff Beck should certainly be #2 if not #1, only because he once stated that (at the time) "Jimmy Page and I may be considered the best (guitar players) in the world, but neither of us could hold a candle to Hendrix. " And that is the truth! Jimi Hendrix WAS. IS and shall for ever be, the greatest ROCK guitar player in the History of the Electric Guitar! Furthermore, Mitch Mitchell, Jimi's favorite. Drummer, was/and is one of the greatest drummers of all time!

Hendrix is overrated. Seriously. Just because he was the first at a lot of things doesn't mean he was the best. Innovative, yes. Original, sort of. The best ever, no. Not even close.

My top four after Hendrix would be Clapton, Beck, Vaughan, and Page. Put them in any order you want, but that's my top five.

V73 Comments
17Tony Iommi

Almost every metal-riff that you hear today has been invented by this guy. He is the best. Guitarists like Mustaine, Friedman, Frehley, Gallagher deserve to be a lot higher on this list. And what about genius Brian Robertson (best guitarist Thin Lizzy ever had! ) and John Sykes, I don't even see them here and they should have been!

He really should be # 3... I mean come on, don't be so ignorant because of the style of music he plays.. Just listen to "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" and you will agree with me. Keep on rocking!

Iommi has inspired every single rockNroll guitarists, and deserves the first place no doubt

This guy has created some of the greatest riffs of all time. He's the main reason Black Sabbath is one of the most influential bands of all time.

V55 Comments
18Steve Vai

You have to look on another planet for more expression, feeling an fun on an electical guitar!

Steve Vai, I think is one of the best guitarists in the world.
He is very unique and has his own mind for playing, he gives guitar playing whole different meaning when he plays.

Satriani's protege, almost as good as Satch Boogie himself.

Greatest in my mine. I love Jimi but Steve Vai was amazing. He was very different than others. The guitar is second nature to him.

V122 Comments
19B.B. King

BB King, the man who started it all when the other greats were just babies are perhaps not even conceived yet. Quite literally he didn't create this amazing instrument but besides T-Bone Walker he brought electric guitar to the fore-front along with Albert King, Freddy King, Buddy Guy and a vast majority of the older and late great bluesmen. His "hummingbird" vibrato effect and nuance and style has made him a house hold name for some 50 or 60 years or so and today with all the different types of music he is still a house hold name though in this day and age Blues is no longer the mainstream music it was way back when. - leongregory

Just one of many great blues guitarists not likely to make this list.

B b King is the greatest player that ever pick up a guitar in my opinon

He's already on the list.

V23 Comments
20Chuck Berry

Are you people retarted? Without Chuck Berry, no one on this list would be famous

Guitar playing rock legend

Chuck Berry is a legend an one othe most influent guitars all over the world

Pretty much the founder of rock and roll as we know it YOU GO CHUCK :3

V28 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 5 Oct 2015

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