Best Guitarists Ever

The Contenders: Page 5XW

81Andres Segovia

HANDS DOWN! No argument, Segovia is the greatest ever. Any true guitarist or anybody older than 5 who knows how to play the guitar would agree. Ask any professional guitarist or musician and they will say the same. SEGOVIA hands down! - drV

He is, without a doubt, the best guitarist ever. Classical musicians are far more talented than rock musicians could ever be. I hate classical music, but give him his credit.

It's a shame that all of the rock musicians get all the spotlight in this list. Segovia is a true virtuoso, in my opinion, deserving of the very first spot.

For sure. It's a shame that he's all the way down here. Classical guitar is far more difficult than rock, and he's a true maestro at it.

V5 Comments
82Nuno 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

V26 Comments
83Django Reinhardt

This is absolute crap! Just because he didn't live in the era of rock guitarists who thought they were good playing their little electric guitars doing the simplest of chords and thinking they were good because they could shred at half the speed Django could. Django had two useable fingers, had an acoustic guitar that had an action about 2 cm high with hard steel strings and people like Hendrix, slash and clapton could not have possibly come close to the virtuosity and musicality that was Django Reinhardt! How could anyone vote him down so low as 199?! He should be at least top 3!

I could've chosen any one of a couple of dozen jazz, folk, flamenco or country players who could run rings around the numpties in this list. I choose Django because he is the daddy of high speed single not soloing. Any proper player will know this. Rock isn't the be all and end all of guitar playing. - Sago_Bladderwort

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

He didn't need no amps, no strange clothing, no stage acts with monsters, just the master with a bass player, rhythm guitarist and sometimes a violin. They created magic without the need of tabs. Magic created with two fingers, undisputable the number one guitarist of all time.

V16 Comments
84George 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!

V3 Comments
85Steve 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

V7 Comments
86John 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.

V9 Comments
87Johnny 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

V9 Comments
88Allan 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.

V11 Comments
89Daron 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

Darin not a better guitarist than syn gates?

V59 Comments
90Joe 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.

V29 Comments
91Alex 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.

Oh come on, rank 89? he should be at least in top 20, right behind dimebag...

V6 Comments
92Frank 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

V58 Comments
93Mikael 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!

V2 Comments
94Kerry KingKerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Kerry, Dimebag and Wylde should all be in the top 3. But ill be nice and say top 10. You can't have a list of greatest guitarists without them... People don't know what it takes to play the intricate stuff like what these guys play.

Dude this guy should be #1, along side with Jeff Hanneman

No one can match his solos along with Jeff Hanneman

Kerry King should at least be in the top ten, as he is the best guitarist in the world.

V1 Comment
95Peter 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

V18 Comments
96Ray 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

V38 Comments
97Bob Dylan

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

V3 Comments
98Uruha

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

V55 Comments
99Chet 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.

V24 Comments
100Kitamura 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

V38 Comments
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