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 Top Ten

1
Jimi 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.
More comments about Jimi Hendrix

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"
More comments about Jimmy Page

3Slash
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.
I'VE NEVER HEARD A SOLO LIKE THE ONE HE PLAYED IN NOVEMBER RAIN, AND DON'T FORGET ABOUT ALL THOSE INTROS LIKE SWEET CHILD O' MINE, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PARADISE CITY, CIVIL WAR, ESTRANGED, ETC.
More comments about Slash

4Eddie Van Halen
One of the most skilled and innovative guitarists ever. Fastest right hand in the business.
He doesn't play the guitar, it is part of that man's body, you can hear his emotions come through
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
More comments about Eddie Van Halen

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.
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)!
More comments about Eric Clapton

6Synyster 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 multitalented 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.
More comments about Synyster Gates

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.
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.
More comments about Kirk Hammett

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.
More comments about David Gilmour

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

More comments about Angus Young

10Stevie 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.
More comments about Stevie Ray Vaughan

The Contenders

11Brian 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.
More comments about Brian May

12Joe 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 te 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
More comments about Joe Satriani

13Richie Sambora
What? He should definitely be top ten! Top five even! He's absolutely amazing, plays with soul and passion. Richie for the best guitarist ever! Love him!
What the hell? Top 16? Are you an idiot? Damn! RICHIE PLAYS WITH EMOTION DUDE! That's WHAT BEING A GUITARIST MEAN!
He is even better than Slash. With all due respect with other guitarists he is even with that of the led zeppelin...
More comments about Richie Sambora

14Tomo Milicevic
He can win, he can lose. He's still the best guitarist in all the world!
I can't imagine 30 Seconds to Mars without him. He is our CRAZY MOFO AND ECHELON LOVES HIM!
Tomo always plays with passion. He's so great in what he does. And no matter what success 30 Seconds to Mars has got, he is so down to earth. A guy we can all look up to.
TOMO? NUMBER SIX? REALLY PEOPLE, REALLY? HE'S GREAT! Try to listen more MARS songs!
More comments about Tomo Milicevic

15Dimebag 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!
DIMEBAG DARELL SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN TOP 5
, 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)
More comments about Dimebag Darrell

16Randy 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.
There are very few albums where I rate every song 5of5 stars. Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman are two albums I rate that way. Randy was taken from us far too early. Find the song Laughing Gas (Live) when he was with Quiet Riot. During the solo you here strains of Goodbye to Romance. Randy was a perfect match for Ozzy's vocal style. Randy had a strength of technical ability matched only by Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai. What sets Randy apart was his composition. He knew exactly when and where to play down and dirty. He also knew when to play classical modes such as phrygian and mixolidium. He had an uncanny ability to play a smooth solo with a trill place at just the right point to accent the song. Over the Mountain is a perfect example. Listen to the solo. Diary of a Madman the song is a perfect blend of using a classical theme to build a song on. This is a very haunting song that fits the lyrics and Ozzy's voice perfectly. Dee is a beautifully composed piece that is a great lead-in to Mr. Crowly. The guitar work on Crazy Train, I Don't Know, No Bone Movies and You Looking' at Me Looking' at You is fun to listen to. This is rock and roll with an edge and a bite. These trills I talk about are the bite that Rhoads put into his music. Hendrix was the most influential. Clapton and BB King are the greatest blues players. I'll take Randy Rhoads as the best guitar play ever.
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.
More comments about Randy Rhoads

17Carlos 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
More comments about Carlos Santana

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.
More comments about Steve Vai

19John Petrucci
Amazingly versatile guitarist. Can shred just about as well as, if not better, than anybody. Can compose a brilliantly beautiful solo, a melodic passage, an epic riff. Great songwriter and lyricist too. His technical ability, feeling for the instrument, and versatility make him the best.

As for the other people on this list - Brad Delson? Seriously? Linkin Park is one of my favourite bands of all time. I love them. And Brad does alright for what Linkin Park needs - good, chunky riffs and a few melodies here and there. But among the greatest guitarists of all time? Come on. People who voted for him are probably 12 year olds who haven't discovered classic rock yet and still think that nu-metal is the coolest thing on Earth. And they will probably label me as 'not a true LP fan'. No, I am a huge LP fan and own all their stuff, plenty of posters, a jacket and have been to see them live. They were awesome. I'm just not so blind to think that Brad Delson is one of the best guitarists of all time. He's a good guitarist. But that's it.

Same for Billie Joe Armstrong at 28. Seriously? Once again, I'm a Green Day fan and I like his work with them. But he's just a good punk-rock guitarist, not among the best of all time by any means. And that has nothing to do with him not playing any 'shredding solos', it's just that he doesn't have the technical or compositional ability of the others on this list.

I also think that Kurt Cobain is a way overrated guitarist. Nirvana are a decent band and he did a very good job as their songwriter, but people seem to apply that ability to automatically mean he is a guitar genius. He's talented, but not one of the best of all time.

I'm also a HUGE Slash fan. I've seen him live four times now and I love him. But he is not the best of all time. Yes, he has a LOT of memorable riffs and solos and has done well to become an icon of the electric guitar. But he doesn't come close to the technical or compositional ability of some of the other guys here.

I'm glad to see Prince on this list. While I probably wouldn't put him in the top 20 PERSONALLY, I think he is an amazingly talented guitarist. He gets overlooked for this because of his musical style, image, etc. A lot of people aren't even aware that he plays guitar. And as one commenter suggested, they didn't know he played guitar but assumed that if he did he must be s*** at it. Not at all. He is very talented.

The obvious classics are on this list and deserve to be - Hendrix, Page, Santana, Gilmour, Satriana (who is far too low)... But where is Steve Vai? Andy Timmons?

Marty Friedman is also FAR too low. I was actually going to vote for him originally due to his unique talent for the guitar. He plays in a very distinct way and has an immediately recognizable sound. He is entirely self-taught and does not stick to the regular Pentatonic scales or anything. So everything he plays sounds weirdly unique, and very interesting. He also has great feeling for the guitar and is very versatile, and his solos are brilliantly constructed. I gave Petrucci the nod though just because his solos seem to capture a grander scale in terms of both emotion and composition.

I'm glad that Mark Tremonti is on this list too. A lot of people disregard him because they associate him the Creed and their bad reputation. They also don't realize how good he is at lead, simply because he barely ever soloed with Creed. But he is an extremely talented shredder who is also able to play and compose very melodic passages. And he's a very good songwriter and lyricist too, and one of the reasons why Alter Bridge are so damn good.

Lastly, Myles Kennedy should also be on here. I won't claim that he should be in the top 20 or 30 or anything, but he does deserve to be on this list. People don't realize how talented a guitarist he is as they only recognize his brilliant vocal ability. And if they do recognize his guitar talent, it's probably only from his limited number of solos with Alter Bridge (which, while well composed and emotionally powerful, aren't technically amazing or anything). People should listen to his early work with bands such as Cosmic Dust and Citizen Swing. He is an amazingly talented blues/jazz guitarist who can shred very, very well, and also has a fantastic feel for his instrument.
There is no way Synyster Gates is better than Petrucci!
Arguments like "He plays well while singing backing vocals" and such? You guys should really listen to Dream Theater! Wonderful music composed by 5 of the most technically and creative personalities in modern music. I realize that people who listens to Dream Theater have heard the most and at last found the best DT forever!
There's not even competition... Best guitarist ever, apart from that a sublime songwriter, DT forever.
More comments about John Petrucci

20Dave Mustaine
A really Great Guitarist.

Badger

More technically skilled than Hammett, but Hammett has better composition. However with all the effort put into Megadeths guitar work, Mustaine deserves to be top 10.
He rules but metallica songs are also good... Tornado of souls, Peace Sell all crazy songs
More comments about Dave Mustaine

21Tom Kaulitz
For me he will always be more than just a amazing guitarist, when he plays, the music is from his heart and soul. On concerts he doesn't have to be someone that he isn't, he can be who he wants to be and that's beautiful.
Forever in my heart...
I like a volume of his determination, calm approach. For all this he still knows how to come off.
He is the best guitarist ever! I really love this guy! If you agree with me vote Tom Kaulitz!
More comments about Tom Kaulitz

22Jeff 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.
Greatest multi-dimensional guitar player ever! Jeff's career spans decades of innovation, from the Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group, Beck, Bogert, & Appice to numerous incarnations making innovative instrumental music, to his recent work with Imelda May.

Listen to Beck's recording of the Stevie Wonder song "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" to get an idea of what he's all about. Beck's voice comes through his six-string in an unmatched way.
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

More comments about Jeff Beck

23Tony 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
More comments about Tony Iommi

24Ritchie Blackmore
Best guitarist ever! How is he not in the top 10?
The guitar solos in songs such as Highway Star are amazing!
I love and admire so guitar players for different reasons, to many to list. But the guy who has it all for me is ritchie blackmore. He is a true virtuoso of rock guitar, between 1969 and 83 (very long time) he was at the top of the tree. I love Gilmore and knofler on record excellent as well as in concert, but, when playing live they can't really change things around in the blackmore could (all of purple in fact) Gilmore pretty much plays the same thing every night for every solo just like knofler, they don't take chances like blackmore. Page was never clean like blackmore, all the shredders can play fast but most can't keep up the melodic quality to make a great solo, they just play million notes and end at the top of the neck with the inevitable screaming bend up. Even with a bit of tape echo blackmore always sounded like he was plugged straight into the amp. That's one of the reasons I put him ahead of Jeff beck. Beck along with Hendrix and les paul are probably the most innovative guitarists of all all time because of there pioneering work in shaping sounds from an electric guitar. Blackmore is a straight player, it's all pure emotion with him. Beck can do more with a strat than anybody he has explored it like a technician, he knows more tricks than anyone. But blackmore in his prime, played for musicality like Beethoven and Bach, even when he was getting wild. He burnt out from rock ( I think ) when the blues and funkiness went out of his playing (he was funky as hell - in a rocking way) and he pioneered the neo classical stuff which is has still never been bettered, everyone is just copying him and just trying desperately to add something new. But he lost what he was best at in doing so. Up until 1968 blackmore was very good but a bit al over place guitarist, by 69 he was on another planet. I won't list a load of stuff for anyone to check but, there is so much, but, the jon lord deep purple concerto album from 1969 I think has the finest straight (Through an A C 30. Amp) guitar playing you will ever hear. Not beck, Hendrix, page, green, vai or even the very similar in attack Rory G could play as amazing as this. How he got to this level in one year is just beyond reason.
Genius. Listen to Catch the Rainbow live in Munich. Feeling feeding technique. Number one guitarist. Surpass Hendrix and Page easily. Just listen to all of his work. There'll never be anyone like him, as there are no more Bach, Mozart or Beethoven. Before him guitar was just blues and country rock. After him guitar is music for itself.
More comments about Ritchie Blackmore

25B. B. King
Just one of many great blues guitarists not likely to make this list.
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

IF THE KING OF BLUES IS 93 SO WHERE WOULD YOU PUT THE OTHERS BLUES BROTHERS
More comments about B. B. King

26John Frusciante
The best guitarist, and does not get enough recognition. He can play any style, any speed, and even can sing a little if needed. His guitar playing was the part of the artistry of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for some of their best years, and I wish him the best now even after leaving RHCP.
John Frusciante needs to be #1. He contributes incredible feel for music. His playing is not shredding like many others.. People think fast playing and shredding.. His playing is incredibly melodic and beautiful to the ear. He is one of the rare guitarists which improvises solos playing live.. And that improvisation is almost better than any other guitar solos. He knows to put such emotions in his guitar playing and really is the best guitar player now.. And maybe EVER!
John Frusciante set the guitar standard for a generation by combining both a funk and rock style. He revolutionized the way alternative music should sound and set the bar for anyone unlucky enough to come after him.

Paragor34

More comments about John Frusciante

27Chuck 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
More comments about Chuck Berry

28Zakk Wylde
His sound is just amazing and not a lot of people sound like that and those pinch harmonics all his techniques his songs are much harder to play than Hendrix songs I should know I play guitar he's faster then Hendrix to and has feeling like Santana and slash he's simply the best eruptions pretty easy compared to bark at the moon and know one knows the solo he does live it's to damn hard to figure out
Zakk wylde the power complimenting ozzy and his own band black label society, his fast blues influenced metal solo's are the perfect compliment to his chugging riffs... A master of guitar
I agree with other comments and think that dimebag and wylde should be higher on the list than they are. I respect wylde more then any other guitarist because he also sing's well and can play the crap out of a acoustic. Wylde deserves a lot of credit playing the super fast riffs he does with using little or no hammer-ons.
"The Guitar God"
More comments about Zakk Wylde

29Buckethead
The only guitarist who can play heavy metal about slaughterhouses and then play a soothing lullaby.
He has has more emotion than half the guitarists on this page and he wears an expressionless mask...
I am ashamed to see how low he is on the list, really. Very, very sad. Have any of you people even listened to his music? I've heard Slash, and while he is good, he is far from phenomenal. He doesn't really stand out besides proficiency. Buckethead, on the other hand? His songs stand out. Heck, his many fans' claims that he is the Guitar Jesus isn't that much of an exaggeration.

Also, it's quite stupid how people instantly assume he's emotionless due to his wearing a mask... Gentlemen and Ladies, please do get rid of the abundant piles of earwax in your ears... How can you not hear the emotion and beauty that overflows from his songs?
He is amazing. I have never seen such emotion from someone like him.
More comments about Buckethead

30Yngwie J. Malmsteen
He is the strong root of neo-classical if anybody follow his theory and practical as well he can be a legend so he he legend of legends (only the shredders can judge him) normal musician and public can't understand his glory
Just epic
He is one of the greatest guitarist on earth. No way someone of this earth could do what he does
With that passion. Sure he isn't a Kirk Hammet or a slash but he is his own unique guitarist like a snow flake
Influenced a whole generation of axe players to research neo-classical playing techniques. Mr appegio.
More comments about Yngwie J. Malmsteen

31Mark Knopfler
Man, how many times did I get goozebumbs when listening to Dire Straits? The man does it everytime. Such distinctive rifs, unmistakable Mark Knopfler. My personal favorite: Private Investigations, which is one of the greatest songs of all time!

redmess

Mark Knopfler is the Best! Lets see Jimi Hendrix do a unplugged version or work the guitar with a simple pick. That is true guitar skill for you. Mark can make make the guitar sing literally, his Sultans of Swing solo is by far the best guitar solo rendition I have ever heard.
Not only one of the greatest guitarists ever but also one of the greatest songwriters ever too. His solos are musically flawless and he doesn't rely on overdrive for his guitar work to stand out.

Just find any live versions of Sultans of Swing on youtube etc. And try and prove me wrong... You won't! :-D
More comments about Mark Knopfler

32Duane Allman
If the late Duane Allman had done nothing but session work, he would still be on this list. His contributions on lead and slide guitar to dozens of records as fine and as varied as Wilson Pickett's down-home '69 cover of "Hey Jude" and Eric Clapton's 1970 masterpiece with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, constitute an astounding body of work. But Allman also transformed the poetry of jamming with the Allman Brothers Band, the group he founded in 1969 with his younger brother, singer-organist Gregg. Duane applied the same black soul and rebel fire he displayed as a sideman to the Allmans' extended investigations of Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell covers and to his psychedelic-jazz interplay with second guitarist Dickey Betts in live showpieces such as "Whipping Post. " Although Duane and Gregg had played in bands together since 1960, Duane did not learn to play slide until shortly before the start of the Allmans. In his only Rolling Stone interview, in early' 71, Duane said that the first song he tried to conquer was McTell's "Statesboro Blues. " Allman's blastoff licks in the recording that opens his band's third album, At Fillmore East, show how far and fast he had come ” and leave you wondering how much further he could have gone. In October 1971, eight months after the Fillmore East gigs, Allman died in a motorcycle accident in the band's home base of Macon, Georgia.

Zezerex

I don't know which is more of a joke - Duane at no. 52 or BB King at no. 76!

Rolling Stone put Duane at no. 2 in its list of '100 Best Guitarists Ever' (followed by BB King, Duane's great admirer Clapton, and Robert Johnson (any of you kids heard of him? ).

Basically, all these five taught their guitar a new language.

I love Prince, and he certainly made his guitar talk a new language.. but it was basically a 'theatrical' language. In purely musical terms, in expressive control and range, he's a baby crying to Duane's astonishing fluency. Even Hendrix seems coarse in comparison.. but then Jimi trips over into another dimension from all other guitarists in history, and you'd have to be more insane than he was, not to put him at the top.
I'm sorry, but I can't place any validity in a list that does not have Duane Allman in the top 5 guitarists of all time. He, Hendrix, and Clapton are the only ones on that level. It's a shame he's not a household name like those 2 though. I think that's because: 1) he died at 24, only after 2 1/2 studio albums with The Allman Brothers Band. 2) The Allman Brothers Band never received commercial/mainstream success until songs like "Ramblin' Man" off the Brothers and Sisters Album that was made after Duane was dead. Their music before that simply did not appeal to the masses.

R.I.P. Skydog
More comments about Duane Allman

33Tom Morello
The DJ GUITARIST of all time!
A true form of guitar god quality, he made rap/rock a good quality sound through his variety of music influences and made him reach his distinct and over the edge guitar performances!
Tom Morello is the greatest guitarist ever because of one simple reason: His guitar playing is many times more creative and innovative than a lot of guitarists on this list. Sure, they may be able to play really fast solos that sound really impressive, but Tom's guitar playing (not just his solos) doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before. This is obviously a good thing.

InPillForm

For years I went back and forth between my favorites: Tom Morello, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Frusciante. I love almost all genres of music, but Tom takes the cake for guitarists. THE REASON: his guitar can match literally anyone else. On top of that fact, his guitar does innovative things that no other has done since. There was a reason RATM included "NO SAMPLES USED IN THE MAKING OF OUR ALBUM" on all their CDs. Everything was done with the instruments they had. Listen to Metallica, then listen to Guns N Roses, and finally Van Halen. The speed? Tom matches it. The scales? Tom can do them plus odd ones that he studied while graduating with honors from Harvard. Clapton? Brian Setzer? Hendrix? The melodies that are so famous? Morello has them too. Just listen to the solo on Freedom or some of his earlier Audioslave solos (especially off Out Of Exile). Don't even challenge on riffs; only Kurt Cobain or Adam Jones beats him there. Then there are his other solos. Bulls On Parade, Mic Check, Original Fire, Sleep Now In The Fire, Testify and MORE all solos that use techniques, sounds, and sonic pulses that no other guitarist has since matched. It would take the merging of Kirk Hammett, Slash, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Setzer, Jack White, and Adam Jones plus a whole heaping helping of sheer MAGIC to create a guitarist similar to Morello.
More comments about Tom Morello

34Keith Richards
We are talking about rock and roll, right? How anyone can be listed higher than Keef is mind blowing. It all starts with a riff and the king of riffs is Keith Richards!
Keith is the Range Rover of guitarists. Not too flashy in his playing, but dependable and value to last the ages. Sophistication in a drugged out way.
You want to rock, listen to keith!
More comments about Keith Richards

35hide
Hide can solo slash into the mud! He beats out every guitarist on this list in soul and technical ability! If the western part of the world wasn't so damn ignorant hide would be at number 1 easily. Just because he's not white doesn't mean he's not good... I am a huge Hendrix and Jimmy Page fan, but hide is flat-out better. Slash has some talent... But hide is talent. Listen to "Hi-Ho" from his solo career (or the entire "Psyence" album) listen to "X", "Kurenai" and "Endless Rain" from X Japan... And that's just for starters... Then we maybe we can talk about guitar.
Hide is an inspiration to me. He is an amazingly talented musician! Not only was he the lead guitarist of X Japan (the greatest band ever), but his solo work was creative, versatile, and simply incredible!
Even though he is unfortunately no longer with us (;____, he has left behind an amazing legacy.
Hide of X Japan.
Check out any of his solos.
No stomp box needed.
More comments about hide

36George Harrison
The most, the best, the amazing... That can I say.. The beatles had one great guitarist of all time... Vote for george
He's really talented but always quiet, he has never wanted to be a superstar with scandals, he just wanted to play the guitar and sing. I think it's why he's underestimated.
He's hella tight! He was one the first to ever play the sitar in pop culture music. He made history!
More comments about George Harrison

37Rory Gallagher
Rory never sold out, never released a single and would not worry about being placed at no.62 in this list. His concert's sold out, his fans never forgot him, and I've noticed a steady interest in his music because of Youtube and other online free music. In time when most of those above are found out and loose their popularity it will be Rory that will be talked about and admired by the new Guitarists in the generations to come.
Listen to the live rendition of "Walk On Hot Coals" from Rory's "Irish Tour" and you know why the Irish prodigy is considered one of the greatest guitarists to ever grace the face of the earth.

A people's guitarist, modest, truthful, down-to-earth, never compromising his vision, never selling out. Probably too shy for his own good, definitively too good for this world.
Rory, was the real god, for blues and rock guitar, the first irish Rock Star, U2 and others following the Gallagher example, but even, Rory was the ultimate stage performer, he had the blues soul and a very bluesy tone, his guitar bending, the finger vibrato, the sound full of flageolett tone, the feedback between the Vox AC 30 and the 61 Stratocaster, it blows everybody away,
Rory, was the real rock guitar player, the best white blues player, simply the best,
Unfortunately, Rory, never, the recognition, appreciation and respect, in his live,
Hey played with blues, from emotion, not for the money,
Rory, on stage, was more than 1000% pure blues and rock energy,
In the all time guitars hero list, the top 100, you do not find him,
It is really to be ashamed, that Rory lost the, attention and respect,
Rory is my all time favorite guitars hero, Rory forever
More comments about Rory Gallagher

38Marty Friedman
FOR GOD SAKE, anyone who has heard the frigging amazing solos of this man on rust in peace know he has to be in the top 5 of this list easily, I haven't heard better solo's yet.
Marty freidman has got to be number one for sure. Rust in peace album is the best example for this. The speed and the difficulty of his playing is awesome. I can't believe that prince is at number 2. I didn't even think that he played guitar and I'm sure if he did then he would really suck at it. Jimi hendrix is a good guitarist but just because he is talked about so much doesn't make him the best guitarist ever. Fredmans solos are ridiculously good and very hard to play. I play guitar myself and I find megadeth, pantera, and Metallica songs (especially the mustaine written ones) much harder and advanced then hendrix songs and led zepplin songs. I don't see whats so great about eric clapton either. He is famous for playing tears in heaven but my friend played it for an assessment in music and got a good mark. People say if you are to be a good guitarist then you have to write great stuff. Megadeth, in my opinion are the best band ever, write the greatest songs ever. I don't know why these type of lists insist on putting all the way overrated guitarists such as jimmy paige and hendrix at the top and forget about the heavy metal guitarist who are way better. I think its because they are too scared.

pooisgood

I am not angry or something but I seriously think that slash and kirk Hammett are really overrated guitarists. When I started playing guitar, I thought Slash was the best. I have been playing guitar for 3 years now and I recently listened to Marty's work - Cacophony, Dragon's Kiss (His solo album) and his work in Megadeth. Every solo and riff he plays blows my mind. Kirk is light years away from the skill and musical knowledge Marty possesses but still Kirk is in the top ten and Marty isn't. People who don't understand metal or hard rock guitar music well, think that Slash or Kirk is the best and unfortunately there are millions of such voters in this list and that's why Marty is here on #35. Just look at Marty's lesson about Melodic Control on Youtube (It is about an hour long). He tells you how he creates solos and riffs and I bet you a 1000$ that learn a lot from that video.
More comments about Marty Friedman

39Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, Joe Perry, Frank Zappa, BB King, Jeff Beck, and Peter Frampton, are all listed lower than the rhythm guitarist for stupid, whiny, emo, lame Avenged Sevenfold, people these days just don't know good music. This list is meaningless.

Stangbass16

Pete Townshend is undoubtely the best rhythm guitarist that rock music has produced to date. He is one of the one of the founding fathers of modern rock and is the one who introduced the gritty sound of the guitar were so used to today. He used power chords extensively, thus laying the foundations for punk rock and came up with some of the catchiest riffs in the history of music. And Townshend COULD solo. Maybe he wasn't as good as Hendrixnor Clapton in that respect, but he certainly wasn't far behind. It'sonly because Moon's and Entwistle' playing were very busy that he mainly played rhythm (John especially used his bass as if it were a lead guitar). To end my rand, I will just point you to some songs that I consider quintessential, such as The Seeker, My Generation, I Can't Explain, Young Man Blues and Summertime Blues.
How do you choose between all these great guitarists? For me it comes down to how do they sound "LIVE"? Out of the studios and raw and I think it comes down to two! Pete and Jimi and as tough a decision it is for me Townshend gets my vote for his "Live At Leeds" performance and when I saw him in Detroit's old Cobo Hall on the Who's Next tour back in the 70's. Just spectacular guitar in the raw. But Hendrix and his Woodstocks "Star Spangled Banner" rendition comes very close for me to getting my vote but only one vote so I'll go with Pete!
More comments about Pete Townshend

40Eric Johnson
What makes Eric Johnson amazing is not simply his mechanical mastery of guitar techniques, but also his amazing sense of control over his instrument. He's obviously trained such that an array of amazing guitar skills are at his fingertips, but what sets him aside from other guitarists it that he knows how and when to use them. He doesn't just throw in a bunch of rad riffs and cool tricks--he uses his techniques and control in an amazingly precise and mindful manner to create experiences rather than songs.
Eric Johnson, the greatest, don't just let "cliffs of Dover" describe his unbelievable skill, listen to "Desert rose (live from Austin tx, 1988)" that is probably one of the greatest solos I've ever heard. Not only is he one of the most respected guitarists of all time, but what you need to realize is, he plays his guitar, while he sings the songs that he wrote, produces his creations in his own studio and then those amazing multidimensional tones are given to us to enjoy. What makes EJs' music complete was Ken Brock and Tommy taylor. Ken is outstanding bass guitarist that beautifully complimented EJs' guitar. And if you listen to literally any song in any EJ album, Tommy Taylor is one of the greatest drummers in rock history, he never misses a beat. Being a heavy and thrash metal fan, I've always wondered what would it sound like if EJ and Tommy did some heavy Metallica like metal, it would probably be better than any metal band out there period, EJ just wouldn't be allowed to sing haha, his singing goes perfect with his own music, which is another thing that makes EJ worthy of a top 10 at the very least, his voice isn't everyone's cup of tea, but nothing else would work on his music.
Cliffs of Dover is one of the most amazing guitar moments in history. It's an amazing technical and groove experience. A 10. He deserves to be on this list for sure, maybe higher.
More comments about Eric Johnson

41Tariqh Akoni
Plays for Josh Groban, Christina Aguilera and others and he is a joy to watch. He puts his all into it and the guitar is just speaking to you when he plays. I especially love his beautiful acoustic but then I've always been partial to that. But he is hot no matter what guitar he has picked up.

anetnut

I love Tariqh's passion he pours into his playing. You can just see he LOVES what he does, which is make that thing TALK! I am partial to acoustic, because it is so romantic, but he plays a mean electric too! Even Lola would agree...

anetnut

Tariqh is a wonderful person as well as being a fantastic guitarist. Anyone who is taught by him will gain real skills and be blessed by this lovely, bright, caring, smiley man!
Tariqh - you Rawk!

Jerusha

More comments about Tariqh Akoni

42Prince
Prince is well known for being able to play many instruments and there is no doubt within the music industry that he is one the worlds leading guitarists. Prince taught himself to play by the age of 13 and by 16 was able to play Santana note for note. When he hit the mainstream with his first album at the age of 20 he was already being compared to the likes of Hendrix. And he still had a long way to go.

One thing that become apparent very early on with Prince was that he wasn't tied down to one style of music and excelled with a versatility not seen in anyone else before or since. Because of this versatility not all his released music is guitar focused and therefore he hasn't always been judged for his skills as a guitarist.

Arranging and Producing his own music from the beginning Prince has also become an extremely adept guitar engineer in the studio and live on stage with an ability to manage a wide range of effects simultaneously, whilst also arranging the other band members' sections.

His ability to play guitar at the top of his game in all styles of music shows how skillful he is, and there has not been one stage he has performed on where he hasn't torn the house down.

From loud, dirty, distorted and burning fast to slow acoustic and emotionally charged playing, Prince's range on guitar is even larger than that of his vocal range. There are technical guitarists and there are talented guitarists and then there is simply Prince.
Prince is the greatest guitarist of all time because he is the greatest musician of the 20th century. What makes Prince No1 is this that he understands the guitar better than any one else in the list, because he plays drums, bass & keyboards at a high level, this has allowed him to find the prefect place for a guitar within a song. His funk grooves are without equal. He can swing, push the beat, lay behind it his dynamics are incredible. Listen to when doves cry for guitar dynamics, a burst of emotions notes followed by a keyboard hook with no bass, and it's just a perfect record. Any other guitar player in the world wouldn't have been able to stop putting guitar all over that record. But Prince know when to be flashy and when to be stripped down and minimal for the best effect. That why a good as Joe Satriani & Yngwie Malmsteen are they will never have top 10 albums because they over play. Guitar playing is not an Olympic event. The guitar is an instrument. An if it's electric you must fit in with the other instruments to create some thing more synchronized and bigger than the guitar on it own. Prince is the true master of this. And you want to talk about performing live? Just watch any footage of him rocking out he would out perform the whole top ten by a mile. Slash, Kirk Hammett, Eric Clapton are all great player but have one style. Prince can play any style, any time with more funk that James Brown's band complete output. Most of this list is guitar players for other impressing other guitar players. Ask a the top drummers, keyboard players & bass players, oh and any member of the public who seen the purple one play. They would tell you who the greatest guitar player truly is... His name is Prince. Long may he reign.
I strongly agree that Prince is #1 on the list. He's by far greater than all of them. He's way ahead of his time like Jimi Hendrix was. He's very underrated as a guitarist. Because of his variety in music, he sings, dances and plays many instruments many critics over-look the genius in this man. As a guitarist of 30 years myself, he has been my biggest influence along with Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Page, Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton just to name a few. If you listen 2 early Prince cuts like "Bambi", "Why you Wanna Treat Me So Bad", "For You", these cuts will show you how bad this man is and he was only a teenager playing licks like that. His more up 2 date stuff just don't do justice 4 his guitar playing. Well, some does... But it's more about his lyrical skills and all the other instruments he plays. A living legend. Check out the video of his 2004 induction of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame on stage with the greats such as Tom Petty. Prince does a solo that kicked all of their ass's. Yet, so humble. Check out his first 2 or 3 albums starting with his first "For You", 2nd entitled "Prince" and 3rd "Dirty Mind"... The boy is bad! From Don Q the best guitarist in Fort Worth, Texas!
More comments about Prince

43Alexi Wildchild Laiho
Alexi is such a great guitarist, when he plays, we are afraid when his guitar is gonna burst in flames. And remember, he plays insanely hard solos and sings at the same time...
Alexi Laiho is a guitar genius and he's very young too. If you think otherwise, go to see Children Of Bodom live. It's incredible!
he is the guitar god! he is one of the best sweep pickers in this world... he uses melody with techniques! he is the best guitariist in the metal world!
More comments about Alexi Wildchild Laiho

44Neal Schon
Neal Schon will eventually be considered the most under-rated guitarist of all time. In 1971, at the age of 16, on his very first recording (Santana-3), he SOLIDIFIED his own unique style, which included frenetic time signatures, alternating with masterfully sustained notes that maintain an incredibly clean, crisp and delicate tone, which set the standard for many future shredders to come. As great as Joe Satriani is, why is he credited with inventing "melodic shredding" in 1985, when Schon was at it 14 YEARS EARLIER? The guitar interplay on Santana-3, between Carlos and Neal is mind boggling, like a volcano that is ready to explode! And this is in 1971-when guitarists had to rely on their fingers-instead of effects. A world class master!
One of the greatest ever-his work with santana is a phenomenon but lo and behold the first three journey albums before steve perry joined are the quintessential progressive/fusion albums of the 70's. Now lets get to his inhuman two works with jan hammer, his six solo albums and of course the band he had with sammy hagar for a while. Also, bad english and hardline. How quickly people forget
Neal combines beautiful melodic lines that compliment Journey's songs, but can add blistering fast connections to his memorable solo hooks. Amazingly full sound and clean precise attacks... Great musician/writer.
More comments about Neal Schon

45Paul Gilbert
The almighty guitar GOD! no one can compare to his capabilities such as, "synyster gates" or slash.
PG has such a distinguishable sound and image. PAUL GILBERT ALL THE WAY!
How is it paul gilbert is 60th, yet he's twice as good as buckethead and taught him everything he knows? No one can play that fast without sacrificing the quality
Holy cow Slash is number 1? Perhaps they mean a different " guitar" when they say guitarist! Paul Gilberto all the way!
More comments about Paul Gilbert

46Jack White
Till number 58 I kept scrolling thinking, "ok next is gonna be Jack White". This makes me very sad. The guy is an unbridled genius. One of the few artists today that you know really gets consumed by what they do. Go watch him play the solo of 'blue veins' live, and I guarantee that he wont stick to his scales and he wont be crisp with his notes, but what he will do every time is leave his heart on that fretboard.
He should at least be in the top 20. I mean, come on you can do better than that. Haven't you heard icky thump, seven nation army, his cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton, him singing with Loretta Lynn on the song Portland Oregon, Blue Orchid, and all that other good stuff! In the Rolling stones magazine, he was number 17. He deserves better than this!
Jack White is such a gifted musician and songwriter. If you don't think he should be in the top ten, you're the reason why rock is dying. Definitely the greatest musician of the 21st century.
More comments about Jack White

47Frank Zappa
Frank's the BEST guitarist. His playing was typically brilliant -- improvising the most intelligent, unique, inspired, moving, and energetic solos I've ever heard. While not the most accomplished "technician," he was the most creative and gifted of them all. Frank released so much material over the years that it's not possible to do justice to his talent by citing a few albums or song titles. Best to just listen, listen, listen to Zappa's material released between, say, 1967 and 1987, when his guitar playing was at it's best and most practiced. But perhaps most notable are Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Just Another Band From L.A., Apostrophe, Chunga's Revenge, One Size Fits All, Zoot Allures, Joe's Garage, Shut Up 'N Play Your Guitar, and Jazz From Hell, which all contain examples of his incredible talent, energy, and improvisational playing skills. Enjoy..!!
I am actually sick to my stomach to see Frank so low on this list. There is not a soul that lived on this planet that had the ability to not only compose music, but to surround himself with some of the best musicians on the planet and was always cutting edge with technology and sound production. In my opinion a lot of votes here that are not familiar with his work, cannot grasp the concept of what Frank did or frankly do not have a clue of how to play a guitar ( no offense to anybody ).
I still wonder how much time was served for destroying one atomic pansexual orbital pluker...
He was the best guitar player you have never heard of...
If I may also say that Joes Garage and Floyds ( The Wall ) are the two best albums ever created. And Joe's still was better. I see a LOT of names listed above Frank here, that are a joke in comparison..

Rest in peace Frank, you are sorely missed.
I agree on raising frank to much higher level. One of the best instrumental songs is off of ABSOLUTELY FREE called Invocation And Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin. With brilliance when the beatles were doing three baby chords. It came out on 6/26/1967.

BabyBear264

More comments about Frank Zappa

48Zacky Vengeance
Zacky is cleary one of the best, self-taught left handed guitarists out there.
It doesn't take a comment to say how perfect this guy is!
Zacky is like, the best lefty guitarist out in the modern metal scene right now. Rock on baby rock on!
More comments about Zacky Vengeance

49Alex Lifeson
Come on people. Alex Lifeson is amazing! He plays for Rush so he plays very hard music and very long music. He is in his late 50s and he is still playing amazing. Slash could never play half as good as Alex Lifeson. I bet Slash couldn't even play a Rush song. Go Rush! 1974-2112
Alex Lifeson deserves more credit for his influence as not only a band member of Rush but also a very underrated and powerful musician. He not only used big swirling arpeggios to from his sound but knows how to shred. Just listen to every song on "Exit Stage Left". I read about people saying that Steve Howe was the most awesome prog rock guitarist in the 70's and today. I was hugely influenced by Howe but Lifeson brought something more to the table than any other prog guitar player. He knows how to rock, he knows how to bring diversity to the songwriting with Geddy and Rush never compromised their sound to commercially sell out. The bottom line is in the past and present if you were or are a young aspiring musician you listened to Rush and then you learned how to play their songs.
It is amazing to me how the truly talented guitarists like John Petrucci, Tom Morello & Joe Satriani are down at the last half of the list while the showoffs like Eddie Van Halen are at the top. People obviously have no clue what a great guitarist is. And come on, Nancy Wilson better than Alex Lifeson? Give me a break!

moparchris

More comments about Alex Lifeson

50Robert Johnson
Time has its' way of warping things. Robert Johnson not being in the top 100 is insane, but over time things will change. In 50 years, 98% of the top 150 guitarists on this list will not even be known, but Robert Johnson will. Think about it.
His guitar work is second to none, I'm an experienced guitarist and I've never heard any music as unique and stuctured. Many times critics will not take in to account that he plays an obscure genre
This guy inspired jimmy page,eric clapton and many others like them i mean if i was so good that my song was remade by cream and is now one of their most well known songs i'd die happy
More comments about Robert Johnson

51Dave Murray
What Price, Synster Gates Are You Kidding Me, This Dave Murray Damn It He Influenced Most Hard Rock Guitarists Of Are Time, And His Guitar Solos Hallowed be thy name, run to the hills number of the beast legendary songs, I Just Don�'t Get It Why Dave Is Underrated, Way Better Than Slash. I Don�'t Get It, Why

copkiller

Dave an Adrian smith are just fantastic and anyone who's not clueless about playing in a band would admire that, they play like a team the even pass solos to each other and along with Gers they just team up a 3 man guitarist witch every band would just beg to have.
I don't understand and wouldn't even want to argue about this ranking because there is no way you can just put these guys up and down, they've worked all their life, been through absolutely everything and now they're there to respect.
I don't want you to become a Maiden fan over a night but listen to his solos and you'll Respect him and his band members more that ever.
I don't understand why all guitarists of Iron Maiden are so low on this list!Thez are all much better than the most of this list and songs of Iron Maiden have always rocked...but surveys and lists like this will never be objective because they are all based on subjective opinions of the readers...probably the only truth is that the best guitarist ever is Jimi Hendrix...
More comments about Dave Murray

52James Hetfield
There are people that only know slash and tell he is the best guitarist of the world, he isn't, he is good but metal guitarist are better, slash have good bents and everything but James hetfield y am guitarist and I really know who are the best band in the world and is not in this world : Kurt cobain, the rev, jimmy Hendrix, mich Thompson and Freddy mercury
Never seen such a heck of a combination in a singer/guitar player. He's great especially in rhythm parts while he sings. RESPECT this guy!
The way he has carried the band, he is what metallica is, plays the guitar and sings, his solos are more soulful than kirk can ever think of, and he has shown he can do a kirk too in suicide and redemption solo.
More comments about James Hetfield

53Gary Moore
Gary moore is a great guitar player, he is the one who made me play guitar thanks to him I play guitar, I have seen all his work and his interview and if you see it all trust me you'll be amazed how good he actully is the nummber one in my book is "the messiah will come again by gary moore" "the prophet" and "the loner" instrumental song's but in same time powerful please try it very few can play his stuff you think slash can? slash don't do real solo's it all sounds same fast and a lot at same time. PS: slash has not impressed me since I was young, till.. I saw gary moore
Seriously folks, Gary Moore should be in the top three list. He was an amazing technician of every style of music from heavy metal to blues. Guitarists like Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammitt, and others were influenced by Gary Moore. Find a copy of his album Dirty Fingers--he could play faster and with more precision than Eddie Van Halen. His tone is unmistakable and all his own. He even worked with George Harrison, B.B. king, Cozy Powell, and many others. His guitar work with Collosseum II rivaled anything by Jeff Beck, (who I would rate as number two behind Gary Moore). What a shame that the guy still doesn't receive the respect and recognition he deserves even after death. What a pity.
Ridiculous list... Gary Moore not in the top ten?! The guy could play a guitar better with one arm tied behind his back than 99% of the guitarists higher on your list. Slash... Give me a break! Gary Moore should be required listening for any serious guitarist. Do the names Philip Lynott, Greg Lake, Jack Bruce, Glenn Hughes, George Harrison, BB King, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Albert Collins, Neil Carter, Bob Daisley, Cozy Powell, Brian Downey, Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Singer, etc. , sound familiar? Gary has worked with all of them and more. The true master of tone, innovation, phrasing, and much more. Gary should be in the top three. RIP, Gary "Windfingers" Moore...
More comments about Gary Moore

54Matthias Jabs
I would Clearly Adore that Matthias should be at Least in the First 10!
In my Opinion the Greatest Guitarist all over the Ages should be Steve Vai and no Jimi Henrix, to whom we all Rock Fans we Owe Everything, I must say! However we choose the Best Guitarist, based on Skills and no on what he has Gifted such us Open-Minded Singles or Ideas to Music! No 2 Barely would be Joe Satriani for the same reason as Steve and No 3 Jimi Page of the Legendary Led! I Would place Henrix in the 5th Place, as in the 4th would be Carlos Santana... We owe to say that one Guitarist who is very Unfair-ed by People is Ulrich Roth! Uli SHOULD be place, I insist after or before Santana! As a Matter of Fact I See on the Top of the Least a Quite Skilled Guitar Player who would Spark his Guitar every time he plays! But for the reason he's done many Mistakes on the Beginning or till a Solo while on Stage with Guns though his egoism I would have thrown him after Matthias who is much better! Slash cannot EVEN touch the Clear and very special Style of Jabbs, no because I am a Scorpion Fan, but in distance because I must judge based on my experience ( even if I have a little points of it )! Of Course we should ever not forget to Mention the one and ONLY Ritchie... Seventh Place for him... as the Couple of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray ( Iron Maiden )! I should say that the list has still MONSTERS of Guitars Remaining but I'll have Finish Writing until NEVER.. So! Vote for Mati ;) and NOBODY CAN REACH STEVE!
Jabs is very melodic and clear guitaris. He knows how to rock n roll, how to mix blues-rock and heavy metal together.
The Sound of Matthias Jabs' lead guitar is one of the main reasons The Scorpions became one of the biggest hard rock bands of the 80's. His melodic solos are one of the most memorable and signature sounds of the band. Jabs is impressively precise live, rarely every missing a note. His solos are complex yet perfectly melodic to the song and the rest of the music. One thing about Jabs is I have not seen a lot of improvisation by him... Which maybe why he is not ranked higher - but this Matthias Jabs is one of the best lead guitarists in the world... And has proven it for several successful decades. He should be ranked higher - except for the fact that he is not a "name" known by many, and the declining popularity of The Scorpions in the U.S. Jabs should be recognized and ranked much higher, and the band he plays for should be among the elite hard rock bands of all time.
More comments about Matthias Jabs

55Adrian Smith
all iron maiden fans ll be disappointed to see this guy below top 50

hanger

Every song by iron maiden has a solo and if you haven't heard a song by iron maiden, try it.

aaron1234

I don't know why he is in number 62 but you have to know the real guitarist. This is to much disappointing. You have to vote for the right guy who doesn't deserves this place. Adrian is the best guitarist of one of the most legendary heavy metal band iron maiden. Yeah I agree Slash and Eddie Van Halen are legends. But they got what they deserves but Adrian still doesn't. So people vote for the right guy and take his name to his place.
More comments about Adrian Smith

56Uruha
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!
More comments about Uruha

57Ace Frehley
I don't know why Ace is so far down on this GD list. Paul Frehley was and IS one of the most influential rock and roll guitarists of all time. While he may have not been as technical as some other guitarists out there, Ace definitely provided some stepping stones for some modern guitar sounds. He is loud and in your face with those solo's. He produces a sound that's loud, raw and genuine. While sometimes sloppy and quick on the frets Ace always manages to put the icing on his work, his songs Fractured Mirror, Fractured Too, Fracture III, and Fractured Quantum are easily some of the best instrumental guitar pieces I have ever heard. The song "Cold Gin" has been covered by countless bands and remains a great rock favorite even to this day, his signature 2 string octave bends on the blistering "Love Gun" solo still give me goosebumps when I hear it. He is and will always be one of the most badass Guitarists of all time. Should definitely be in the top 10.

Daelis86

If someone is judging based on methodology and technique, then, Ace Frehley deserves to be here. However, if you're basing this on heart, soul, influential qualities, and most importantly, inspiration, then, Ace is down here WAY TOO FAR. Ace gave birth to a series of guitarist, and he inspired so many individuals to pick up a guitar that it is impossible to place him here without a major argument. Ace has his own style, and that style fit KISS so perfectly that their current guitarist must mimic him to be accepted. That's a compliment. Bruck Kulick is a better technical guitarist, but Ace Frehley is a better guitarist to hear in any format. It's just that simple.
Ace Frehley was the reason KISS made it.He turned ordinary songs into rock anthems with his scorching lead solos and gave KISS some musical talent credibility when other members of the band were still learning how to play.There has been numerous famous guitarists who have credited KISS and Ace Frehley as an influence and the reason why they started playing guitar.It was the live version of "Rock and Roll all Nite" that caught on first(with Ace's lead solo),and then there are classic rock songs like "Strutter","Calling Dr.Love","Shock Me",and "Making Love".Further,Ace Frehley also had a successful solo career,scoring on such hits as,"New York Groove","Rock Soldiers",and "Trouble Walking".Ace Frehley certainly had a very successfull career and deserves to be remembered among the top guitarists in rock and roll history.
More comments about Ace Frehley

58Kurt Cobain
What he lacked in talent, he made up for in heart.

dahe24

He surely deserves top 5... Seriously... I think only slash and jimi Hendrix are better than him in this list... Just listen to smells like teen spirit, rape me, you know you're right... And you'll realize this...!
What he played when played by its self if without a doubt simple but to understand how great he was you honestly have to be a musician... His ability to sing and play at the same time is unbelievable... He didn't do the conventional style where the vocals come in on the down beats along with the guitar instead his vocal patterns and guitar riffs were timed differently... He would start singing on an upbeat with the rhythm of the melody and start playing on a down beat with a completly different rhythm... This is what makes him a LEGEND of a MUSICIAN... But as he always said nirvana always aimed to play simple music, so his true abilities purley as a guitarist we will never know
More comments about Kurt Cobain

59Mark Tremonti
Mark, when combined with Myles, is the definition of Rock and Roll. No one who has heard Blackbird can deny that.

My favourite quote from youtube:
"The music industry gets owned whenever Myles opens his mouth. "
Same goes for both Mark's and Myles' guitar playing.
He's a living legend. It's just that he's underrated and he deserves a lot more. For me he's the best guitarist the world.
Mark has unique music up his sleeve. He fuses dark and heavy riffs with blurry solos, and yet has also played subtle classical and soft stuff. Plus his guitar tunings are off the charts!
More comments about Mark Tremonti

60Peter Frampton
Frampton was a child prodigy. He has been influenced by such jazz greats as Django Rheinhardt and the early rock and roll influences of Buddy Holly. He is right up there with his more recognized contemporaries such as Eric Clapton. Unfortunately, his boy pop star image got in the way of being noticed as a great guitar player. He won a Grammy for his album Fingerprints and it was well deserved.
Peter Frampton is a legend. Don't how he ever got to no 86. This man truly knows how to make a guitar work. Listen to his music and hear for yourself. I have listened to many guitar legends such as Hendrix, Clapton, The Egde, Mark Knopfler, Santana, Jimmy Page, Slash, David Gilmour, George Harrison, Keith Richards, Gary Moore, Jeff Beck and all the others. The song called Lines on my face raises the hairs on my arms, when he plays it. He should be No 2 right behind Hendrix.
'Do you feel like I do'. I rest my case. Find the Midnight Special version on youtube and it will blow your pants off...
More comments about Peter Frampton

61Jason Becker
Not only are his skills godlike, his music is great too! Unlike EVERY OTHER Shredder out there (Except Marty Friedman, who is another one of my favorites)! If he didn't have ALS, he would rule the world... Listen to his solo album 'Perpetual Burn' if you don't believe me, or if you're too lazy, search "Jason Becker serrana" on YouTube...
Billie Joe, Kurt Cobain are you nuts or something. Jason Becker is easily one of the greatest metal guitarist of all time. Listen to altitude. That songs had so much emotions that even 1000000 slashs can't match. Great changes but they just added to the beauty of the song. Really his body wasn't much supportive otherwise he could have easily been next to Hendrix. He has done so much at such an early age and then stopped, and that's quite unfortunate, that we imagine that Beethoven or Vivaldi is playing the instrument.
Awesome! All I can say is search this guy on YouTube. Listen to him with your eyes closed then experience watching him. It is crazy, he is truly amazing his technique is one very few can mimic. So Jason should be in the top ten. Listen to Perpetual Burn. Higher or just Google him and listen to his music. You will not be disappointed
More comments about Jason Becker

62Kitamura 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...
OAA, his guitar is incridible amazing! his melody is so awesome! GO KEN!
Ken is The Best Guitarrist In The World, and composer, is a lovely person

LadyHHyde

More comments about Kitamura Ken

63Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian is the best guitarist of the 21st century and he is on 50? Do you even hear his songs and his amazing solos both live and in studio?

This is a hilarious website. I bet 100$ that whoever is voting for the other guitarists actually have no idea who Daron Malakian is and what kind of songs does he play.

He deserves a spot AT LEAST in the top 20. But apparently, the community here is too ignorant to rate those who perform with pure skill, and actually vote for those who perform with the aid of autotuners etc. Etc. Etc.
He's not only one of the best guitarists of this new millennium. But also a first class composer...
Him @ 30-38 and matthew bellamy @ 18? Yes this is a dream I should probably forget about it... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Matthew bellamy doesn't know how to play guitars he just uses the "effect" thing LISTEN TO DARON AMIGOS
More comments about Daron Malakian

64Jerry Cantrell
As of January 8, 2013, the Riff Lord, Jerry Cantrell is at #61 with Synyster Gates sky-rocketing to #4 of the list. To be blunt, Jerry isn't even in the Top 50 while Syn is in the Top 5. To make matters even worse, a clown such as Billie Joe Armstrong is at #40... What!?!

WHAT has happened to people these days? Are the teenagers that don't know jack-squat of music the deciders of this list (the same teenagers that call heavy-screaming, unclear (if any at all) vocals and fast-paced guitars that don't even have any rhythm to them "Metal")? Seriously, what sort of stupidity is this non-sense list?

Jimi Hendrix #1? Not that I'm hating on him or anything, but didn't his as* get handed by Cantrell (suggesting why Cantrell came out with the title of "Rift Lord")? Further proof that shows this list to be a product of modern-day "Metal/Rock" listeners (once again, those pathetic teenagers)...

This, by far, is the most depressing thing that I have ever come across the web. And to give these so called "modern-music" (which is an abomination of the term "music" in general) listeners some advice, I would suggest you to look back at the people and artists that made this particular genre of music such a success (only to be brought down by the punks these days that are ruining its name) instead of following the masses in these days corrupt main stream music.

Possessing the ability to play a guitar fast has nothing to do with being a good guitarist...
This list reflects the thoughts of most of the people and teenagers out there... And this is sad. Is that possible? Syn Gates better than the god of grunge guitar? The absolute riff maker? Cantrell has changed the 90's, Syn just sweeped some harmonic minor...
No artist has been through pain like Jerry. If layne could have stayed clean, Alice in chains would have been the greatest band of the 90's. They have such a wide style from all out metal to make you cry country tunes.
More comments about Jerry Cantrell

65Michael Angelo
If he's not on position one everyone of you knows nothing!
He's the fastest guitarist that I currently know of (and I know plenty of fast guitarists), as well as being fluent in multiple picking techniques and being an amazing teacher. Watch a live recording and say that he's not within the top ten.
Michael Angelo not in the top 10 what!. God must forsake this world after all. Because of this generation choosing the best guitarist base on charisma
More comments about Michael Angelo

66John Mayer
I got to sit down and watch his special and I have always been around music due to both of my parents singing and play an instrument and me, myself having a couple of different bands and being a lover of the sweet sound of a guitar just screaming or cry out to you, I have been a Stevie Ray fan for as long as I can remember and I can say after seeing the John Mayer special I second guessing heavily that it could be argued that he is the best guitarist. If your a guitarist freak then you should watch this guy in action. Soulful and talented beyond my wildest dreams.
If you don't consider John as a top 10, then you probably also think his only song is Wonderland. He is probably a top 3 or 4 right now and will finish his career better than that. Not taking anything away from Hendrix, certainly not, he's a man amongst boys, but he simply didn't have a full life to finish what he started unfortunately for this world... Mayer and others are picking up what he left us and who knows where it will go. In conclusion... Mayer is sick.
Absolutely the greatest guitarist of his generation. Period. I can count the dozens of friends who have trashed John Mayer and then I play them a live DVD and they are floored- becoming fans on the spot. I agree to all the haters... Give him a chance. He should not be branded with "Room For Squares" debut album that was most popular. Check out John Mayer Trio.
More comments about John Mayer

67Glenn Tipton
SWEET MERCYFUL CRAP! WHY THE HELL IS GLENN DOWN HEAR!? There are a lot of people who claim the best guitarists are the ones that can
-play fast as hell
-play soulfully
-have a signature style
Glenn Tipton does not only tick all these boxes... He is the DEFINITION of those three boxes.
Fast as hell- All Guns Blazing
Soulful-Beyond the realms of death death
Signature style-Hell yes!
He has also written a number of EXTREMELY influential songs such as, but not limited too,
Exciter
Dissident aggressor
Dreamer deceiver
Tyrant
Painkiller
And more. Trust me I've heard most of these guitarists on this list, neither is as unique or diverse or talented as Glenn Tipton (except most of the vintage guitarists on here ie Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Hendrix etc, they are equal to Glenn.
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)

macrox16

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
More comments about Glenn Tipton

68Paco de Lucia
The best in spanish and flamenco music

just look for it in youtube

its the best one we ever had in Spain
Perfect technique, full of passion; many others can play as fast as he does but the pack is not full but Paco's is.
Nothing more to say.
He is the only guitarist on this list that is in Henderx's leage. I'm sorry but, thoes 2 are above all others.
More comments about Paco de Lucia

69Guthrie Govan
The best.
I feel that more people should listen to this God play.
Being that I have listened to most of the guitarist on this list, I can safely say that he is the best I have seen thus far. His Chord progressions are angelic, his solos, impeccable, and his phrasing, fluid. He is the archetype of the perfect guitarist. As stated by people like Joe Satriani Steve Vai, Tosin Abasi, he is the best guitarist in the world, today.
Not really many words for this dude because words in this case are inadequate. I am a mediocre guitar player and in my life time when I heard really great guitar players it would make me want to put the guitar down but, Guthrie is one great guitar player that makes me want to pick the guitar up. He says everything that I've always wanted to say and more, yet somehow makes me feel that there is more in me to express. Two Thumbs and Two Big Toes Up!
Ernest Ballard.
This is one of the best guitarists of modern times. With a great idea of musicality and phrasing, I can't believe that he's not down the top 5, or at least top 20. A fantastic guitarist indeed, check him out as soon as possible!
More comments about Guthrie Govan

70Chuck Norris (Session Blues Guitarist)
How come chuck norris isn't first?
Jesus can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim on dry land.
His Pinched Harmonics make dormant volcano's come alive.

71Jeff Hanneman
Jeff should be un the top 50 just listen to chemical warfare
Jeff Hanneman's corpse has more talent than Synyster Gates. RIP Jeff.
Greatest metal guitarist ever!

72Johnny Winter
Best blues guitarist I've ever heard. Combines the classical blues sounds of greats like bb king and robert johnson and adds the technique, speed and skill that modern rockers still strive for. And he was playing his ass into the ground back in the late 60's before and during when hendrix, duane, clapton and others were in their heyday
Johnny Winter... All I can say is just watch this man play! I think no one has this guy beat on speed and style! Should be in top 25 any day of the week and I would put him in the top 10!
You people are crazy. Johnny should be in the Top 15.Anybody Else play 25 min. solos except SRV.Think People
More comments about Johnny Winter

73Nuno Bettencourt
Technical virtouso and creative approach to guitar riffs. From delicate to raw and he can shred with the best of them. Totally underrated. His gifts are his timing and musicianship. Ih you love great guitar playing listen to He man woman hater- I guarantee you'll be blown away
It's a shame Nuno hasn't achieved more mainstream recognition, but those in the know would have him in the top ten. How many guitarists on here have their own designed brand of guitar?
Sometimes I think his solos are practically as great as Brian May's :) and besides his acoustic guitar playing is also adorable.
I've seen some videos with Nuno on drums, keyboards, bass guitar, singing lead vocals... started wondering what he can not play ;)
More comments about Nuno Bettencourt

74Steve Hackett
A true jack-of-all-trades.Could go from tapping runs(1971,who else did this is 71!)to Segovia style classical to frantic squeals and squonks(pun intended)in the space of eight minutes.Highly underrated because band he was in didn,t get big in America until after he left.And when Hackett left, Genesis was never the same band.

salmacis81

Highly underrated. This guy was the pinacle progressive rock guitarist. Recommend people listen carefully to early genesis records
He played a Hokada guitar/synthesizer...unbelievable ghostly sounds...especially hits hard in concert !!
More comments about Steve Hackett

75Tommy Emmanuel
Tommy Emmanuel should be #1. Billy Joe Armstrong, really? Even Slash, at number one, cannot even dream of things this man can do on the guitar. Just because he doesn't play the electric, or sing about getting drunk and screwing girls, today's society wont appreciate it. Really saddens me.
Tommy does this with a guitar other players dream of doing. Tommy has all the skilss, heart and emotion. Seriously Chet Atkins called him the best ever what more do you need to here? While the rock and rollers get all the praise(only because they are mainstream)its guys like Tommy who keep it real. Line the list up on stage and true guitar lovers would pick Tommy every time, he is second to none.
People point out this guy as being amazing because of his fingerstyle compositions, but his real strength lies in his ridiculously good groove and incredible feeling in his solos.

To be honest, he does the coolest playing, in terms of the two most important things, since the great Django Reinhardt was on this earth.
(The two important things, by the way. They're melody and groove. )
More comments about Tommy Emmanuel

76Steve Morse
I agree with you. You´re absolutely right. Most of these voters haven’t touched a guitar in their live.
They don´t know what they are
talking about.
Morse is super. You people out there should listen to his soloalbum "Southern Steel". The album won Best guitar album in Guitar player some years ago.
Or listen to some Dixie Dregs material.
He has also won the categorie "Best overall guitarist" in Guitar Player for 5 years in a row.

Steve Vai, Steve Howe, early Clapton, Steve Ray V, Hendrix, Alan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass,
Duane Allman. To name a few also also belong to this list.
If there is any better guitarist, I would have to see see it. Steve Morse set the bar for guitar playing 30 years ago, and a lot of guys are catching up, but his classical playing and complex, appealing and amazing compositions put him at the top of the heap. He has proven himself to be the best. Do a little research people. Slash com'mon - good, great, not the best.
Steve is brilliant and has a wonderful tone. Love his wicked chromatic runs, harmonics, and vibrato. Always smiling and a great replacement for Blackmore (who I also find awesome), he has been in Purple longer now than the Man in Black was and has proven he can fit in right with the hard rock legends!

I'd also vote for Al DiMeola, who I don't see on this list, Jeff Beck, John 5, Robert Fripp, and a whole bunch of others.
More comments about Steve Morse

77Steve Howe
Are you young people nuts? Did you even know this guy won guitar players best overall guitarist five years in a row? And is in their hall of fame? I want to hear slash do classical, jazz, bluegrass, flamenco, even country picking like this guy. I want to hear slash play acoustic guitar solos with a nylon, six, and twelve string guitars the way Mr. Howe does. I want to hear slash play a mandolin ^^ pedal steel like Steve. Slash is only an electric guitar player with one style only. Steve Howe is THE guitar man. He deserves to be #1
Steve was really the 1st player I ever heard who was able to combine the genres in a totally individual way. His playing has become neither of the original forms it was inspired by - It's Steve Howe music. Most other players are very generic, nothing wrong with that, but if you're going to vote on greatness. It has to be Steve Howe. Not technically perfect, but original. Try and play it, there are some things that you will have to abandon all you've learned in order to play. Even Jimi (RIP), was basically a blues player. Looking forward to seeing Steve play in a couple of months
He who does not acknowledge that Steve Howe is the most skillful and technically accomplished among rock guitarists knows little about guitar playing. It's not just the noise, speed or dexterity.Of course, Steve has all these too. But more than these qualities, there are others like: complexity, direction, tonality, integration of the instrument, choice of intervention... I could go on.
Anyway, Steve Howe is definetely the best. And yes, YES is the greatest rock band ever.
More comments about Steve Howe

78Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy is my favorit of all of them. The man is just AWSOME. I myself play guitar I concider myself as a blues guitarist. I wish I could play as good as him. But I'm working on it. Buddy plays his fenders real well I own 2 fenders a tel and a strat my dream is to have my strat signed by him.
First off Buddy Guy has inspired many of the greats such as SRV, he is also better than joe perry who is on the first list and bb king. bb king is more of a singer. I would have him at around number 5
such a tragedy, the man is 70 and he is playing his best. saw him live earlier this year and will see him again hopefully in a few weeks. its not just his guitar as well, the man can sing.
More comments about Buddy Guy

79Brad Delson
Brad's an amazing guitarist but most of the people haven't noticed his guitar skills because no one can hear anything over chester's screams.

The Best Band in this f.. King world with every man best at their own skills.
Brad is the best. Period.
Linkin Park is the best band ever. Period.
How can Brad be so far below I. E Tom Kaulitz? I mean, It's Brad VS Tom, Brad is definitely the best out of them two.

Brad deserves a better placing, because he is a great guitarist. And as the die hard Linkin Park fan I am, I think it's well unfair that he's so low on the list.

Instead of giving him a solo in every song, the band plays together, which results in a truly awesome music experience. And when he does get a solo it's just... Unbelievable. He is one of the greatest artists of our time, and he deserves to be at the top!

Sincerely, one hella big Linkin Park fan
Sweet intro for A Place For My Head! Delson Rocks the house!
More comments about Brad Delson

80Albert King
I concur with the previous comments, and If you really appreciate rock/blues guitar look into it's history. Maybe it's only other guitarists who really appreciate him. Long live this King
It's sinful and blasphemous that Albert King did not make the top 100. But like Robert Johnson's ranking, time will adjust all things. In 50 years, 98% of the people in the top 150 won't be known.
He's so influential, soulful, and skilled. Listen to his session with stevie ray.
Plus he played left handed with the strings upside down.
More comments about Albert King

81Tosin Abasi
Tosin Abasi is possibly one of the greatest guitarists alive right now. Definitely brings all of Animals As Leaders together. Although all of his songs are instrumentals the notes speak for itself. He may be Meshuggah inspired (don't get me wrong, Meshuggah is great) but he definitely has his own flavor.
Tosin Abasi is most probably the most all round guitarist of all time. For anyone who has watched his Prog-Gnosis videos will know that he holds an immense knowledge of music theory as well as being able to master complicated time signatures that are not even parallel with the backing drums. The fact that this man has such adversity with his musical knowledge as well as being able to play faster than I can respire means that he deserves recognition as the most accomplished technical guitarist of all time.
Seriously, all the talk of innovation, technique, etc in defense of old musicians who laid the foundation but can not touch what Tosin does. He plays 8 stings for goodness sakes! Everyone else on this list would have a hard time mastering 7 with the exception of Vai.
More comments about Tosin Abasi

82Steve 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
More comments about Steve Lukather

83Michael Paget
Such an underrated guitarist, and all his limelight gets stolen by Matt Tuck and Jason James. If you actually listen to some of the stuff that Bullet have released, you will hear Padge's brilliance, especially the solo from Tear's Don't Fall, that was amazing. Padge has so many talents, he can play fast, and then he can play ballads as well (start of All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)).
Hands down, one of the most complete guitarists of all time. While players such as Hendrix and Clapton and legends and always will be, they will never be able to do some of the stuff that Padge can do. Pure speed and class make Padge the best in the world. Listen to the solo in Tears Don't Fall, Tears Don't Fall Part 2 and Breaking Point and you will understand what I mean.
Michael Paget has very very nice skill. He can play guitar rapidly. He also can play guitar harmonic melody.
You can listen his skill on solo from the song "waking The Demon".
More comments about Michael Paget

84Miyavi
I'm certain the only reason he isn't in at least the top five, if not number one on this list is because he isn't as exposed to Americans as Slash or Jimmy Hindrix, cause Miyavi rivals both of them. Hands down my favorite guitarist ever, and he has the charisma and personality to match his musician skills as well! An all around freaking brilliant performer!
Miyavi is the best guitarist ever, I haven't seen anyone who can play guitar like him, Miyavi is totally crazy when he is playing guitar he can also playing his magic box I don't know how to call it laugh out loud, Miyavi rocks!
Miyavi can rock like no other. He is the reason I'm playing guitar right now, love playing his riffs. Rock on Man!
More comments about Miyavi

85Frank Iero
Great Talent Playing with my Chem is his great feat off of the guitar he is named is he who must get attention and that is Robin Hood
Frank Iero! He is an amazing and talented guitarist! He deserves to be the Number 1! He totally plays with his whole heart!
He plays some of the most amazing songs ever. He has always deserved to be with My Chemical Romance. Imagine this band without him
he plays some of the most amazing solos
More comments about Frank Iero

86D.J. Ashba
He is very attentive and humble. A real magician. Besides he cares about teaching to his fans how to play the guitar. Best guitarist ever!
DJ is a rare Jewel! I don't know of anyone more caring for his fans, a Humble very appreciative Person for all the people who have gotten him where he is today. He is true to himself and won't sacrifice that for anything or anyone!
Versatility! Anyone who can make AXL ROSE soar like SLASH is better than SLASH. I don't know whom could've done it besides DJASHBA! I know Jeff Watson personally ^^ he can play behind his head... Since Jeff Watson Band! I'm an avid Concert goer ^^ NANCY WISON hits my top list too. I've always 'd SLASH! BUT DJASHBA walked in his shoes ^^ that is incredible talent to play as well as SLASH. IN MY EYES THAT MAKES DJASHBA the BETTER GUITARIST... ^^ person!
More comments about D.J. Ashba

87Ray Toro
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.
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!
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!
More comments about Ray Toro

88Aoi
AOI is THE BEST GUITARIST ALL OVER THE WORLD from THE BEST BAND ALL OVER THE WORLD. He's better than anyone. He can't be beaten. He's AOI.
He is a guitarist from The GazettE, second best only to Uruha
Aoi from the GazettE, you are amazing guitarist! He composed beautiful music in uncertain sense and shiroki yuutsu. He also nice and cheerful person.
Go for AOI SUPERSTAR!
More comments about Aoi

89Joe Walsh
anybody that knows music would tell you what an awsome guitarist this guy is.he should be in the top twenty if not higher.
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.
Joe just keeps getting better.
More comments about Joe Walsh

90Joe Bonamassa
Joe is the best that I have ever seen or heard. I started listening to all types of music in the mid-50's, especially blues -based guitar starting with Robert Johnson until now. Joe embodies all that is past and present with a unique sound that is unmatched. Each note has a purpose within the songs he plays, some slow, some fast, and each remembered. Albert King, Hendrix, Clapton, and Santana come close, but at this point in time, Joe is the best. Check out the song "The Great Flood" if you don't believe me. It will bring tears to your eyes.
I follow his career since maybe 8 years - and he becomes a better and better songwriter (for ex. "The Ballad Of John Henry" or "Slow Train Coming"). Great is his ability to cover songs and create something new (for ex. "A New Day Yesterday" or "Feelin' Good").
But whatever he does - he is my personal most fascinating and because of this in my opinion the best guitar player alive. Just listen "Woke Up Dreaming", when he plays this song on an acoustic guitar...
WoW I can't believe Bonamassa is this low in the list. To be honest with you the only person I think that can give him any kind of competition is Hendrix... and even then I think Joe is superior. Speed, complexity... sound that just pulls you in. Amazing.

zerom13

More comments about Joe Bonamassa

91Chet 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 has to be the greatest, or at the lest one of the greatest, as Chet actually plays the guitar. He doesn’t make it howl, and he doesn’t make it scream. He actually PLAYS it, and it makes a tune. Imagine that, he can make it play a song with melody. Yep, I’m old, and as such appreciate a real guitarist
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
More comments about Chet Atkins

92Greg Howe
one of the best rock-fusion guitarrist in the world...he made the last album with victor wooten (bassist), and dennis chambers (drummer)...
The best rock fusion guitarist ever! Great technique and musicality. He also played neo classical and rock music in the 80's. His ideas are awesome.

93Pauli Rantasalmi
WE LOVE PAULI as we love THE RASMUS! He is so artistic, I definitely adore his style and when I met him in the concert that The Rasmus has given here in Greece, I anderstood the he was different from the other "stars/divas", he was so simple, so down on earth! Before the begining of the concert he was sitting with us and playing songs for us! I would really like to listen to him live again! He is a real artist!
He is an excellent artist! I love him, and I know that he can play every song! Obviously Pauli must be in the number one, no 44 place! But I hope all his fans vote for him! Also when he plays in live the guitar is like magic!
At Pauli I have the feeling that he plays his guitar as he likes with his wife also played a better;-) He is one of the best Gitarissten out there. I can not wait for him in a few weeks ago to watch :-D in Hamburg/Germany
More comments about Pauli Rantasalmi

94Dan Donegan
Listen to any of his solos! He can shred with the best of them as seen in "the night, " and "Stricken. " But he can also be smoother and more elegant with his riffs like in "Another way to die. " He may not get the popularity because he is in a heavy metal band but he's riffs are clear and powerful!

You cannot mistake them! The fact the 4 note billy joe Armstrong is ahead of him is... Disturbing
Donegan creates the sickest riffs in rock. This guy is a machine. He has a whole unique style nobody has seen before him. He never misses a chord. Dan's performance's on 'live' tracks sound exactly like the studio versions. Check out the cover videos for 'Bound' on 'YouTube' that people try to play. NOT ONE person has played this riff without missing a chord or playing it wrong. The whole reason Disturbed made it big is this guys talent and style, and Draimans voice. Check out Dan tracks Deceiver on YouTube. He deserves to be at least #20 or above.
I'm not going to tell you my opinion, since I obviously think this guy has talent, I mean why would I vote him otherwise? So instead, I'm going to tell you your opinion! This guy is the beast guitarist ever! Don't even try to deny, it's your opinion, remember? NOW VOTE FOR HIM! Or else Dimebag Derrall will raise from his grave. If you see a pile of dirt moving down the road with a Dean guitar on top of it, you will have cheap seats to a Black Sabbath concert. You know, behind that support beam, next to some fat lady who keeps throwing up on you.

Geddyrush

More comments about Dan Donegan

95Mick Mars
Amazingly underrated as a guitarist. Just because he's in Motley Crue does not mean he can't run the stings like the Guitar God he is. Think about this: almost all those guitar notes on the albums are from him. He covers double duty as both rhythm and lead. This is from a man who is being slowly mangled by a severe form of arthritis to the point he's had hip replacement surgery, then got onstage and went to work on a massive tour. Show me another modern rock/metal guitarist with that kind of dedication.
Mick is a true rock God. He is underrated because he makes it look so effortless. In spite of a crippling disease he can get up on that stage and play like the best of them. I saw him with Motley Crue this past summer and it was the best concert experience of my life. Watching and listening to MIck play just blew me away. He is beyond amazing.
Out of all the guitar players of the 80's metal scene he gets the least credit yet He is the Best Player from this Era and beyond. He covers more styles of playing than any of the other players... Punk, metal, rocknroll, blues & slide... He is a very melodic player that plays from the heart & soul with so much feel... He definitely influenced me more than any other player... He's one of the best guitarist ever in my opinion...
More comments about Mick Mars

96Les Paul
How is Les Paul so low on the list, he's LES PAUL creator of one of the best guitars on earth
If influential was a category this genius would be No. 1. Has had an impact on at least 99% of anyone playing an electric guitar if they know it or not...check out this guy's story.
Where all those before mentioned artists are truly great... Les Paul has to be No1. Not only did he invent all the techniques and sounds he and his wife Mary set the presidence of all future lead guitarist's to the present day!
More comments about Les Paul

97The Edge
What?
The Edge is the greatest guitarist ever! Did you listen "One" live in Chicago? His solo was much better than slash!
Come on, rate The Edge!
Its not the speed at which you play the guitar that wins the crowd but its the quality of sound that wins the crowd! Listen to the riffs played by him and you will agree with me.
Even his mother calls him "THE EDGE"!
Just listen to the guitar riffs on "Until the End of the World" by U2 and you will believe too!
More comments about The Edge

98Mikael 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

99Tommy Joe Ratliff
Tommy Ratliff specializes in the bluesy funk guitar sound, but he's able to play a variety of music types. As Adam Lambert said about his bassist/guitarist Tommy Ratliff "he plays so tastefully and as an ensemble. " Tommy's fun to watch and spectators can tell that he loves what he does!
Anyone with as much talent as this man should be much higher on the list. He's self taught and absolutely amazing to watch and listen to!
Great, talented, mesmerizing guitarist. Unforgettable if you heard him even once. Such a strong charisma
More comments about Tommy Joe Ratliff

100Joe 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.

Undertaker15-0

More comments about Joe Pass

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 7 years, 324 days ago and has been voted on over 173,000 times. This top ten list contains 853 items, has been remixed 338 times and has been blogged about 62 times.

Updated Sunday, April 20, 2014


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.