Best Guitarists Ever

The Contenders: Page 5XW

81Nuno Bettencourt

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?

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

The guy can do it all. Fast technical speed. Heart and soul. He can even write orchestra music (listen to the last 3 tracks on III Sides to Every Story). He helped form Satellite Party with Perry Farrell (great album). He has helped produce numerous albums for artists such as Dweezil Zappa. He was also the touring guitarist for Rihanna. Severely underrated due to being in a band that was labeled during the 80's as a cheesy hair band...

Under rated genius, anyone who has heard Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee would agree

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82Steve Hackett

I would include Hackett not only for his technical abilities, but his inventiveness. Many of the techniques of Brian May and Eddie Van Halen (and other countless heavy metal guitarists) were derived from the finger sweeping/tapping techniques created by Hackett (listen to the Musical Box and The Return of the Giant Hogweed from the 1971 Genesis album Nursery Cryme). Most people would never think of the band Genesis as contributing to the sound of heavy metal guitar solos, but it is evident on these recordings. Hackett was not a flashy stage presence (he himself was influenced by Robert Fripp); he was more interested in creating an atmosphere and mood than being the star of the show, and he had left Genesis before they became more commercial, so his contributions to the techniques of guitar are often not known by the general public.

Touring now playing "Gabriel" era Genesis. Going to see him for a second time. Outstanding guitarist. Loved him and Genesis in the 70's. Seeing and hearing him now he is even better than I thought he was then.

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

This guy is a guitar encyclopedia. Watch any video on YouTube where he talks about his style and you'll see how creative and innovative he is. What a shame that he is so underrated. He used speed to serve the melody, not just to shred and show off like Eddie Van Halen did. - RalphSaad

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83George Benson

George played like he and his guitar were one; the zen of guitarists.

Ridiculous rating. Completely undermines the credibility of this list.

There is simply no match to George Benson!

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84John McLaughlin

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

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

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

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

Really People...

He could grind most of guitarists listed here into the dust, then out the other side, he is that good. What makes John McLaughlin truly exceptional is his ability to come back each years stronger, with more melody and phrases under his belt. His ability to lead a band is second to none. His compositions are inventive and challenging to play.

I have been listening to top quality music especially jazz and jazz rock fusion for thirty years and there is no doubt john McLaughlin is the greatest of all time

U have to add in Larry coryell and paco de lucia and stanley clarke and many other jazz guys who are heads and tails above most rock musicians

John McLaughlin could easily play circles around any one. his fingers are fly.

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85Johnny 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

The worlds most recognizable guitar player, within seconds you know it's Johnny Winter. Lightning fast and able to turn on a dime. Such a guitar players guitar player! Played with the best from Lennon to Zappa. Lennon even wrote a song for Johnny, to give you an idea of talent level

He was lightning-fast, yet never played a note that didn't make complete sense. I can't say that about any other guitarist. Jimi and Johnny were the best... even Jimi would say so! RIP both of you... and keep ripping those guitar strings!

The best blues/boogie guitarist ever, tells the story

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86Allan Holdsworth

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

I really can't understand how he's not higher than this. Phenomenal improviser both single note and chordal, amazing composer. Technically superior to everyone who is on this list (maybe Guthrie could challenge him on that one). His whole idea of music and the ways he thinks about are unique, I'm actually disappointed in everyone who who thinks jimi, slash and jimmy are better than this man. This absolute genius, legend. This man is a god if you've never heard of him you need to, and stop listening to the rubbish that gets poured into your ears everyday by radio and T.V. , who have to play this easy ...more

I'm not a guitarist but I recognize genius when I hear it. Allan is the absolute OVERLORD of the guitar - no one on this list is even in the same universe as he is. When I first heard him play I literally couldn't believe it was real. One Of A Kind is my favorite instrumental album ever, but any album with him is jaw dropping.

I have been blessed to see a true MASTER of his instrument. You will never see any tribute band or have any one cover his songs (good luck). I would put him against anyone, his dedication to the instrument is second to none! This is coming from a drummer, no less...

Simply the best player who has ever touched the instrument. Also a true original - outclasses and outdoes everyone above him on this list and it's not even close. Master of all aspects of the guitar period.

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87Daron MalakianDaron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.

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

This guy should definitely beat Brad Delson

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88Joe WalshJoseph Fidler "Joe" Walsh is an American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.

Anybody that knows music would tell you what an awesome guitarist this guy is. He should be in the top twenty if not higher.

He is way to far down on this list and should be in the top 20 at least. My favourite part is the intro to life in the fast lane was just a warm up exercise. His sound is incredible to listen to and his feel for the instrument is mind boggling. It's like the guitar becomes an extension of him.

Joe Walsh as #89? You've got to be kidding. This guy is amazing and should be in the top 10, at least. The Eagles did right bringing him on. I looked on another list of "top 100", and he wasn't even included. What's up with that? Joe, you get my vote.

Starting out with the James Gang he put his own signature out there that nobody has ever touched or rightly criticized. He was magnificent alongside Don Felder.

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89Alex SkolnickAlexander Nathan Skolnick, is an American metal and jazz guitarist who is the lead guitarist of the Bay Area thrash metal band Testament, and heads the jazz band Alex Skolnick Trio.

Obviously, no one who voted here has a clue if he is not in the top ten... Has his own Jazz trio, plus is the lead guitarist of one of the most underrated metal bands ever, Testament... Have the people on this list could not play Testament's rhythm lines...

The solo he played in "return to serenity" is a gift to metal lovers and one of the most beautiful solo in the world. He is so talented.

Alex Skolnick is amazing, his solos are extremely technical and you can hear classical and jazz influences in his playing. Alex Skolnick is the best guitar player ever.

Best thrash metal guitarist of all time. Imagine a band with Gary Holt on rhythm and Alex on lead... he is the most technical guitarist in the thrash metal scene easily.

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90Kurt CobainKurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1988, he started the grunge band Nirvana. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his Seattle home in 1994.

What he lacked in talent, he made up for in heart. - dahe24

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

In my opinion he was a master of his craft! His music was so much his own. His lyrics were his own. Wacky and you could hear his emotion. His guitar playing was so distinctive and powerful. Simplicity works. And the way he could sing and play in different rhythm was just incredible. All time favorite of mine.

This guy should be at number 5

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91Frank IeroFrank Anthony Iero, Jr. is a musician who was the rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist of the alternative rock band My Chemical Romance as well as the vocalist of the post-hardcore band Leathermouth and electronic-hardcore act Death Spells.

Frank Iero! He is an amazing and talented guitarist! He deserves to be the Number 1! He totally plays with his whole heart!

Number 1? He should be in the 60-150 section, the top three will always be Page, Clapton an Hendrix. - Plonderss

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

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

Very good rhythm guitarist. He has great skill and ear. Listen to Three Cheers for sweet revenge and tell me how he is not in the top twenty

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92Mikael AkerfeldtLars Mikael Ă…kerfeldt is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath.

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

Very Good player I recommend the Morning rise album.

Mikael should be #15 at least lets get him there - TheHabsFan

Why is Mikael 90? is a musical genius!

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93Bob DylanBob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer . he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016 .

Maybe he wasn't great guitarist in technique, but his simplicity of songs is so soulful

Bob Dylan is a great songwriter but he should be nowhere near best guitarist. - Rambles

How are all these other people ahead of bob dylan

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94Peter Green

He replaced Eric Clapton in the John Mayall Band. Clapton is on record saying he thought Peter was a much better guitarist than himself. He was the founder of Fleetwood Mac, and they recorded several acclaimed blues albums. Listen to his beautiful and stunning guitar playing on these hit songs he wrote and recorded, Albatross, Man Of the World, The Green Manalishi, Oh Well, Need Your Love So Bad, and Black Magic Woman.
It all came to an end while on tour in America, when a roadie stupidly spiked him a massive LSD hit, that literally and permanently blew his mind. He spent most of the rest of his life in a lost wilderness, but now finally back on stage with the Splinter Group. Such a pity that the current voters here have mostly never heard of him.

Time will tell... he's leagues beyond the more virtuosic ones

The one down the list that is a genuine discovery if you try him out

I can't believe he is only 95. He should be at least in the top ten. - Rambles

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95Ray ToroRaymond "Ray" Toro is an American musician who served as lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band My Chemical Romance until their split in 2013.

Dude have any of you heard him play? He is a guitar god! And did you see the new SING IT FOR Japan video? He has a huge heart also!

Ray Toro. He's the best guitarist on this planet. No one can beat him and that's the truth. Everyone of you know it. So keep voting.

He's simply the best, puts so much heart and soul and he is an amazing person to, an guitarist everyone should look up to!

No one appreciates him cause no one knows who he is. Ray toro is an amazing soloist, who can play better than some of the top ten guys (Hendrix). He understands what guitar is, and can make people cry from his solos, and also make them dance. He has a way of bringing out emotions. I think that ray toro is top five material

He's good and all, but he can never top Page, Hendrix, Clapton and Van Halen, they're the origins of guitar and rock music. - Plonderss

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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!

The best guitarist

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97Chet Atkins

He's the greatest, period. I'm a huge fan of these other rock/metal guitarists... I mean a really big fan! But the fact is; you can find a hundred videos on YouTube of people playing their licks note for note. Nobody can play Chet's stuff! Maybe they'll know 1 or 2 songs, and most times they're not playing it like Chet did... Leaving out notes here and there. It's impossible to beat him. Take my 30 second Chet Atkins challenge and see for yourself! Learn just 30 seconds of a Chet song (note for note, no mistakes) and then learn 30 seconds of ANY other song by ANY other guitarist on this list. See for yourself which one takes you longer to learn. Also, you can't find many tabs for Chet's stuff... Because nobody can play it. He's Mr. Guitar for a reason! Listening to it, you'll think you can play it like him... But you'll fail. Chet forgot more about playing guitar than most great guitarist will ever know in they're entire careers. SS

Chet appealed to diverse groups of music lovers. He was at home and admired it the country/western world. I saw him at the Kennedy Center and the place was packed with people from all walks of life. There was no "gimmickry" just great music from all the categories. He was well received and appreciated no matter what crowd he was entertaining. JR

For pure unadulterated guitar SKILL no one touches him. If you sat him next to any guitarist on this list and told them to duel by playing MUSIC and actual tunes without special effects there is no question who'd win.

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Chet is among the most flattered BY OTHER GUITARS. If they sound great it's because they stand on the shoulder of the greats, like Chet Atkins.

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98Billie Joe ArmstrongBillie Joe Armstrong is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt.

What the hell? He may not be fast or play anything exciting or long... But heck, he has passion, his solo's sound nice (if not fast) and his voice, tre's drums, and mike's bass goes very well with it.

Not just his guitar playing abilities but also his vocals are amazing and BEST.
Listen good riddance to know more
Billie joe deserves at least top 10 for sure

When playing guitar there are two elements that can influence a brilliant performance: The guitarist's musical performance and the energy and atmosphere he/she creates. Though he isn't known for his 'Insane' solos, he's an excellent rhythm and lead guitar player and no musician on Earth puts as much energy and charisma into their performances that Billie Joe, and indeed the rest of Green Day put into theirs. If you ever get the chance, watch 'Bullet in a Bible', it is the best live show I have ever seen and it truly show cases Armstrong's talents.

Billie joe Armstrong is one of the best guitarists to grace punk. The problem is, punk is a collection of bad guitarists. Billie joe is definitely top 20 material, but let's face it. As good as he is, American idiot is not the same skill as master of puppets

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99Kitamura Ken

His guitar really amazing...

He can make a really beautiful melody...

I love all of his song... He is the best composer & Guitarist ever...

His ability to compose a song is in my opinion greater than his two band mates and his great strength as a guitarist is his ability to be able to be subtle and allow other sounds and styles influence his music giving him a range capable of fully expressing not only various genres but emotions even in the same song.

When I listen his melody, I feel like I lost in a maze. I am hypnotized by Ken's spell Moreover, I don't care how much people adore him because I am indeed his fan. Awesome guitarist in my mind as ever!

He deserves to be nominated for the top five

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100Matt Heafy

Matt deserves to be much higher (not top 10, but not 166) this whole list is completely biased! I'm sorry but the lead singer of Green Day plays chords and simple solos that's it and Kurt Cobain?! I give him props and all but this is best guitarists, everything he plays is very simple, within a week you could learn to play smells like teen spirit whether you have played guitar for long or just started.

Matt not only plays super tight rhythm guitar but takes leads as well. And on top of that he screams AND sings! Not to mention he kills it live. Definitely needs to be higher.

It's amazing that a player of this caliber is so low on the list when Kurt Cobain and others are so high. And Slash #1? Be serious people. He's not nearly the best guitarist in the world.

Billie Joe Armstrong above Matt Heafy is beyond stupid

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