Best Guitarists Ever

The Contenders: Page 5XW

81Steve 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

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.

83? The god of tapping (not Eddie, to all of of you Van Halen-obsessed shred fanatics) deserves at LEAST a top ten spot.

When Steve leaved Genesis so Genesis lost itself.

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82George Benson

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

There is simply no match to George Benson!

I'm surprised that so few people have voted for GB. Surely more people out there believe GB is one of the great jazz guitarists of all time. This is a bit of a rock-dominated list.

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83John 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

His acoustic work alone makes him a great.

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84Johnny 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

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!

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!

The best blues/boogie guitarist ever, tells the story

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85Allan 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 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...

If you play guitar, you know who this guy is. If you don't know who this guy is, well, then I guess you don't play the guitar. Chords, scales ^^ compositions all equally impressive, inspiring ^^ creative. He has expressed himself as an exceptional guitarist; acoustically, electric ^^ synthesized.

He influenced people like Joe satriani and Van Halen and I would say he's a good player he's kind of unique.

V12 Comments
86Alex Skolnick

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 should be in the Top 10, listen to the first 3 Albums by Testament, his solos are flawless! He is recognised by his peers not only in the Metal world, but other genres includng all the good Guitar playing magazines.

He is the one of Fastest guitarist in the world!

V7 Comments
87Joe Walsh

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

I think Joe should be in top ten I play guitar and I always try to match his sound it's awesome I wished I could play wit him and learn just a piece of what he knows and I don't his style is just great

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.

Easily top 15, no idea what people are thinking.

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88Billie Joe Armstrong

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

He is so amazing I love listening to his beautiful voice and majestic guitar playing BJA forever!

Way better than 88

V85 Comments

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!

He is the best. Great guitarist!

V58 Comments
90Mikael 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

Very Good player I recommend the Morning rise album.

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

Masterpieces are always underrated

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91Ray Toro

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!

I'm not okay solo, that is all

V35 Comments
92Chuck Norris (Session Blues Guitarist)

How come chuck norris isn't first?

Last concert he came on stage on a flying donkey. Amazing. To say the least

Jesus can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim on dry land.

Chuck norris is always the best.

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93Kitamura 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.

Ken is The Best Guitarrist In The World, and composer, is a lovely person - LadyHHyde

He deserves to be nominated for the top five

V41 Comments
94Chet 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.

Some people only listen to Rock and tend top forget that other genres have some greats. Lots of list that rank guitarist among all genres and instrument types have Chet Atkins ahead of Hendrix.

V24 Comments
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.

He should be much, MUCH, higher on the list. He gets on stage no matter how much pain his disease causes him, For 33 years (Almost 34) He's always been the only guitarist for Motley. Not only does he perform in front of 50,000 people pretty much everyday, but he makes it look easy. Mick Mars is an inspiration to me, Yes Eddie Van Halen, Slash, And Kirk Hammet are good guitarists, But Mick Mars is the greatest in the world to me.

Not 100, he should be in the top 20

V16 Comments
96Django 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.

One of Jerry Garcia's favorites...

V13 Comments
97Derek Trucks

You people are morons.. Some of these people are basic guitarists at best. Derek has true talent. When Eric Clapton asks you to play on his album you know your one of the best in the world..296? Get real..

It's an insult for Derek to be ranked here. Played with the Allman Bros Band when he was about 14. He is very good and so is his wife Susan Tedechki. (I murdered the spelling of her last name.. But check her out. )

Derek is one of the best slide guitarists I've ever heard. He deserves to be much much higher on this list.

Derek Trucks should be higher, but not ahead of Chet Atkins. Move them both up!

V9 Comments
98Brendon Small

He is the absolute best of all time.

This guy created both a very successful T.V. show about a metal band, and the dethalbum 1, which was THE highest selling deth metal record of ALL TIME. That is a FACT. He has also clearly displayed that he can play absolutely any genre of music you can possibly play with guitar. People place guys like jimmy page and van Galen on such high pedistols, when in reality, all the played was one genre of music. Brendan small plays all of them, and is the best at all of them.

99Michael Schenker

I feel the same way about Michael Schenker's playing now as I did as a teen back in 1979. Nobody I've heard since can get near the guy in terms of style, technicality and above all feeling and emotion. He put drop-dead moments into songs rather than isolated flash.

Obviously not many out there have even heard of Michael or they would have placed him in the top three with Satriani where they both belong.

Way better than his ranking here. UFO and the Scorpions were never that big in the USA which partly explains his lack of recognition.

Favorite classic rock band. It's all a matter of opinion really. Its not like schenker is "technically" great. Its nostalgia.

V12 Comments
100Glenn Tipton

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

This is a disgrace. Every music list leaves out Judas Priest. Tipton (and Downing) are just some of the the best guitarists ever. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with and the first of the two is number 66. Just terrible

Why did I waste time typing this when kurt santana is ranked higher than glenn tipton? One word. Ignorance. One compound word. Painkiller. Magnum opus.

V16 Comments
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