Best Guitarists Ever

The Contenders: Page 3XW

41Rory GallagherWilliam Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.

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.

Any "Best or Top Guitarist" list that doesn't have Rory Gallagher in the Top 5 is obviously a joke! Rory Gallagher is probably the best guitarist you have never heard, especially if you are under 40 years old. Check out his stuff on YouTube---it is amazing! He could play any type of music and any kind of guitar, as well as harmonica and even sax sometimes in the earlier days. Rory still has many adoring fans all over the world. With some new releases of lots of his older material, hopefully more people will get to hear Rory play----and love him forever like we all do! RORY ON!

Hail to the King!

V176 Comments
42Adrian SmithAdrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.

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.

Wow kirk gets 5th and Adrian Smith is # 55...

V29 Comments
43Zacky VengeanceZachary James Baker, better known by his stage name Zacky Vengeance, is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

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!

He is just good.

V31 Comments
44Robert 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.

Without Robert Johnson and his invention of twelve bar blues, so many genres that came after blues would not exist. Imagine a world without rock and roll, imagine a world without Chuck Berry's guitar riffs, imagine a world without Page, Iommi and so many other guitarists heaviness. Without Johnson, there would be no Hendrix, there would be no Claton there would be no rock or any genres that originated from it. Such a shame that nobody knows or pays enough respect to the most influential musician of the 20th century

It's not just his technical skills that are still unmatched today. What's absolutely thrilling about Robert Johnson is the emotional power of his songs. Robert Johnson HAD to play and sing the songs he sang just for his sake. Unfortunately, he most likely didn't find the peace of mind he was looking for. And you can hear it. I am so deeply touched by every single note he ever played.

Dude went down to the cross-roads and made a deal with the devil - sold his soul in exchange for becoming the most gifted guitar player ever to have lived. What you gonna deny the Devil?

V16 Comments
45Dave MurrayDavid Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

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...

All the Maiden guitarists are seriously underrated. I think it's partly down to keeping a lot profile and letting their music speak for them. They don't try to show off or get a lot of media attention and rarely if ever get heard on the radio.

With a few exceptions this list seems to be more about popular celebrities than actual guitar and musical skill.

Listen to the solo in Powerslave and u will see, why Dave is one of the best if not the best guitarist to have ever lived. Also Herman Li above this (and Adrian as well). come on guys have some taste...

V18 Comments
46Steve HoweStephen James "Steve" Howe is an English musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist in the progressive rock group Yes.

Steve Howe should be #1 followed by Jimmy Page, period! These two guitarist were the most technically great and complex writers ever. They were both the most versatile and had more range than any of the others mentioned. They both played with such passion. They both incorporated elements of Jazz, Blue Grass, Classical, rockabilly and country all into rock. Hendrix, slash eddy and all others mentioned never evolved or changed it up like Howe and Page. Both can play anything. The rest were limited. Howe was the most technically complex, intricate player followed by Page. Listen to the album "Close To The Edge". It is a guitar masterpiece. Hendrix could never play what Howe or Page played. Hendrix was not as complex or skilled.

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 definitely the best. And yes, YES is the greatest rock band ever.

Steve Howe has more versatility played more perfectly then anyone on this list.

V61 Comments
47Paul Gilbert

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!

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!

He should be in top 10 at least

V57 Comments
48Peter 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.

Totally agree with these comments, no.2 definitely behind the master Jimi

'Do you feel like I do'. I rest my case. Find the Midnight Special version on YouTube and it will blow your pants off...

His live concerts are filled with guitar virtuosity! He'll often play the hits and wait for the hangers on to leave before he brings out the blues at a technical and furious rate.

V27 Comments
49PrincePrince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958, and died on April 21st, 2016. he was a music legend from the 80s up until his death, best known for songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry".

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 ...more

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 ...more

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 ...more

Prince was knocked back this low after admin made his first post? - DapperPickle

V163 Comments
50Jeff HannemanJeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Jeff Hanneman's corpse has more talent than Synyster Gates. RIP Jeff.

Jeff should be un the top 50 just listen to chemical warfare

Jeff should be in the top 10. Slash are you kidding me. Number 1 would be Dimebag Daryl 2. Jeff Hanneman 3. Gary Holt 4. Kerry King 5. Kirk Hammet 6.Andres Kisser 7. Alex Skolnick 8. Eddie Van Halen 9.Dave Mustaine 10.James Hetfield

Come on. He is one of the fastest guitarists of all time. Solos like Angel of Death and riffs like Raining Blood should be enough proof that he should be in the top ten.

V5 Comments
51Alexi 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!

Alexi is a great guitarist, and fast as hell. He is a genius when it comes to making songs and solos, and he can sing at the same time! That is something you got to appreciate. Of course, there are more grat guitarists, but Alexi is my favourite.

V45 Comments
52Herman LiHerman Li is a Hong Kong-born, British Chinese musician, record producer, and lead guitarist for the British Power-Metal band Dragonforce.

The fastest guitarist I've seen in my life!

He actually uses a Hot Hand to rev up the speed, but he's a badass guitarist anyways. - MKBeast

Herman Li is the best guitarist in the world his hands is so fast in the song heroes of our time yeah

Are you serious? 53? Herman li rocks guys, Jimi Hendrix is great slash is good but the level on which li plays is greater than any other guitarist I've ever seen in my life. When I heard slash I thought he was the best and then after listening to Hendrix I thought he is better but once you are introduced to dragonforce and their songs you will understand the meaning of the word 'impossible' and by the way Jimi Hendrix might be the father of music but herman li is the grand grand grand father of music and guitar

Hey guys music is not a sport, he is just fast

V128 Comments
53Tommy 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.

Really the greatest guitarist ever lived. It's as if all the guitar's secret treasures that's been hiding is unlocked by this one true genius for the whole world to listen to. Really the best ever! I listened to steve vai, slash, Hendrix, and not even john mayer can surpass, or much less is equal to tommy. His technique mastery is awesome that few can duplicate, and his sense of rhythm and melody choice is awesome. Rocks the acoustic AND even the electric (see YouTube), shreds jazz and blues well, but also outstandingly accompanies singers/guitarists really well with fresh choices of melodic chords, good calm grooves, and outstanding rhythm. Seriously, really talented, and not even corrupted by the entertainer's dark side. God bless him.

Just see him in concert and you'll understand why he is the best. He makes the instrument talk, walk and sing. He's also an entertainer who not only plays to the audience but with them as well. YouTube him and you will see why what he does is a God given gift that he has chosen to work hard at giving back as he still practices daily. If he is ever in your area take the time, spend the money and go--you won't regret it.

When Eric clapton and Steve vai say they've never seen such a guitarist, You've gotta believe em...!

V84 Comments
54Frank ZappaFrank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.

It's a shame that Frank is so low on this list. His work has always been known to musicians and weirdos (and weirdo musicians), but most people find it too off the wall to access. I was trying to introduce an acquaintance to Apostrophe the other day, and the guy asked me, "What genre is this? " I said, "Frank Zappa. What the hell does it matter? Do you have to categorize music to understand it? " He jumped on his phone and found Zappa listed as "rock and roll". Ok. Fine. Whatever.

It's amazing how hard it is for people to get him... even the retarded humor! I mean... Is it really that hard to find the funny in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"? Frank's world of Sears ponchos, zircon encrusted tweezers, etc. just doesn't seem to cross that psychic barrier for all but the few. Same goes for the guitar. As I'm typing this, the opening wank from "I'm the Slime" is playing. He was doing that stuff before metal guitarists had even imagined ...more

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 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

Read em n weep

V67 Comments
55Ace FrehleyPaul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as the former lead guitarist and founding member of the rock band Kiss.

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

I don't see how Ace Frehley is so far down the list. He has done so much in the many years he has been on the Earth. He kick started KISS, inspired generation after generation of kids to pick up a guitar, (& in my opinion, anyone who inspires a kid to turn off Katy Perry or Taylor Swift deserves some kind of award. ) brought himself back from his drug addiction, (which, by the way, made him a better guitarist) STAYED OFF THE DRUGS, (an amazing feature by the way) & is revolutionizing the guitar everyday. Has anyone ever heard "Fractured Quantum"? How about "Trouble Walkin'" "New York Groove", or "Fox on the Run"? & what about "Genghis Khan" He puts his heart & soul into his music, & now-a-days, that's too hard to come by. Everybody in front of him, Jeff Beck, Dimebag Darrell, Stevie Ray Vaughn, & even Jimi Hendrix, should bow to the might that is Ace Frehley!

In most top 10, 100, 200 I am yet to see Ace Frehley's name, and yes on this site here He is, WOW!. I think that Ace should get more credit for His Guitar work from the Music World whoever it may be. Ace followed Jimmy Hendrix's footsteps in playing and learning Guitar. Some of Ace's solo's are mind blowing when You must look at it that more than a couple of stings are being used. Most solo guitarist only use a string or two as the Amp does most of the output that rings out long great tones. Ace uses this same style however He adds so much more with a lot more stings. Come On I hope You know what I mean, if not then watch the Space Man play and then You will get my drift. Give the Man credit where as credit is due

Ace is the best

V76 Comments
56Chuck SchuldinerCharles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck as the "Godfather ...read more.

I'm tired of all the popularity lists, these lists are for people who actually know they're crap about guitar. How the hell is Chuck under jack white and kurt cobain? Jack and Kurt can only play a few power chords and slow, easy, and short solos. And syn at 6th? Don't get me started, I'm glad that a7x is famous, they bring hope to new music but seriously syn is not that great! People who think he's the best guitarist of all time are emos who have never picked up a guitar in their life, a7x songs are some of the easiest metal songs I've ever tried on guitar

The Godfather Chuck Schuldiner from Death is the best guitarist in the world perfectly balanced technically melodic sound solo in every song fast paced, shred, bend whatever his a full book and number 1. Vocals at the same time as well nor needs to even look at his guitar to play a technical solo.
The band can't go on without him irreplaceable pure talented melodically 100% individual.

Horrible list here guys...131 should be 1 Chuck IS and always WILL BE the BEST guitar player the world has ever seen!

I made a spelling error in my previous comment. I meant to say Synyster

V23 Comments
57Albert KingAlbert King Nelson, known professionally as Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer, and a major influence in the world of blues guitar playing.

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.

Make a guitar cry when the blues hits you. This man learned all the guitarist who can do it these days. A true legend.

Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray, all rated Albert King Much higher than you do...Get the hint?

V4 Comments
58Tariqh Akoni

Great guitarist! Very versatile playing varying types of music. Always a professional and is a great guy. Perfect compliment to Josh on stage - KatieEM

He's a fantastic guitarist! Saw him many times during the Straight to you tour in Europe! He is such a nice and funny person and he talked with us fans after the shows! And on stage he always shows how much fun he has!

Tariqh is a great guitarist, he can play anything. You can see he's enjoying himself on very much when he's playing. He also inspires the rest of the band when he plays, he's the best!

He's a very good guitarist, you can see the emotions changing on his face while playing, he totally gets into the song. I love it when musicians can share what they feel through music.

V5 Comments
59The Edge

Its not the speed at which you play the guitar that wins the crowd but it's the quality of sound that wins the crowd! Listen to the riffs played by him and you will agree with me.

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!

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!

His solo in bullet the blue sky is so awesome he should be in the top 20 at least

V82 Comments
60Joe Pass

If he isn't on the top of this list I wonder how many enjoy great guitarists.

Agreed, but he wasn't a rocker, so it's not surprising that he is not recognized as he ought to be.

The people in the band Oasis, if you heard their guitar solos then you know what I mean. - Undertaker15-0

Probably one of the most skilled musicians of all time

V2 Comments
PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Best Metal Guitarists Best Japanese Guitarists Ever 10 Most Influential Guitarists Best Rhythm Guitarists Greatest Electric Guitarists

List StatsUpdated 9 Dec 2016

195,000 votes
1,074 listings
10 years, 193 days old

Top Remixes (552)

1. Duane Allman
2. Jimi Hendrix
3. Eric Clapton
lordofthejimmy
1. Jimmy Page
2. Kirk Hammett
3. Dimebag Darrell
Coatsy
1. Albert King
2. Buddy Guy
3. Prince
leongregory

WRemix
View All 552

Posts

Why Prince is the Greatest Guitarist Ever
admin
New considerations for the best guitarist.
windycityboy
John Frusciante
fruman
greatest guitarists
sloank68
Top 5 guitarists
southhockey8
Stevie vs. Jimi
bruski1986
On greatest guitarists.
Apollyon477
The great guitar battle.
booklover1
how a top ten list isnt a top 10 list without the best
tythoon
top 100 guitarists
russian
Slash Should Return to Guns N Roses
Alpha101
Dead Guitarists and Their Legacy
visitor
Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.
P