Keaggy is simply astounding to watch. He was always on top of the latest techniques, and his execution was clean and flawless. Speed isn't everything, but if it was, Phil would certainly be at the top in that department, too. His blues playing is soulful and melodic, his improvising is always colorful, sprinkled with jazz, rock, blues, and baroque, often in the same piece. He is a master of the instrument, fascinating and inspiring to watch.
Saw Phil play live a couple times, he is amazing. He is definitely Christian but plays all styles. His looping is amazing, here in Minnesota we have a guy named Michael Monroe who does it just as well. Keaggy is a special guitarist, one of his biggest boosters was none other than Jimi Hendrix! Supposedly Hendrix was asked by an interviewer how it felt to be the greatest guitar player in the world and Hendrix replied, "I wouldn't know, you'd have to ask Phil Keaggy."
I only saw one concert of his live, but I own several of his albums over the years. I have just been amazed by the wide range of talent that he has shown in taking a stringed instrument, and turning it into a rock guitar, a classical guitar, violins, harps, bagpipes, drums, etc. Truly amazing, and at then seeing him do it with the guitar held behind his head. If he is not the best, he is definitely one of very best.
These list are subjective! I've listened to most of the artist on this list. I could argue for any of them. I think Phil is possibly the most humble and overlooked guitarist. He would never want to be thought of as a God but, he is arguably one of the best guitarist ever. All you need to do is see him in concert and you'll be mesmerized. Need I say more. Although these list are fun, they are meaningless!
I'm amazed that he is not higher on this list. True guitar purists know Phil and his amazing work and talent. I've seen him three times and one was in a very small venue. Simply blew everyone out of their seats. By the end of one song he had laid down 10 tracks, looping them all and it sounded incredible. Certainly number one on my list.
Jimi Hendrix was once asked "What does it feel like to be the best guitarist in the world," he replied "I don't know, go ask Phil Keaggy." Phil's technique, music, tone, and jaw dropping chops have been inspiring and amazing musicians and fans for decades! Unbelievable talent and other-worldly technique!
When Van Halen, Jimmy Hendrix, and Paul McCartney called Phil Keaggy the best... Well they were absolutely right. I've seen him twice and its just an awesome experience to behold. Should definitely be in the top 5 for sure on ANY list.
Phil can turn a guitar into a River of Sound and give you a rhythmical ride like you've never had, In his Glass Harp years he was at his best and his disability became an weapon used on the strings. Not only a guitarist he was also an innovator, building his own and pushing the limits of the strings he plucked feverishly! He and Duane A. Are my picks (1^^2 or 2^^1)
Phil Keaggy is 9 pages back and is #173 on the list?!?!? That is ridiculous to anyone who has ever heard or seen him play. He should be #1, no question. He's a man who was rumored to have taught Jimi Hendrix some of his tricks. And, while that's not likely true, it takes a man with quite a lot of skill to earn a (rumored) reputation as good as that. - BKAllmighty
I am sad to see that someone with such amazing talent is so far down this list. Phil has incredible talent and incredible creativity. Listening to him play, as a guitarist myself, is like heaven to my ears. He encourages other musicians to explore the possibilities of the guitar. Fabulous! - OfficerNegativeIII
Phil's guitar performance is mesmerizing. He deserves a higher ranking on this list, but a lot of people aren't familiar with him, so better-known artists are higher up. But few can match Keaggy's creativity, versatility and skill. He really knows his instrument intimately and it shows.
Phil Keaggy easily belongs in the top 10 on this list. One of the few guys who came out of the 60s realizing he played a lot less sloppy when he wasn't high. He's lightyears ahead of Hendrix and Slash. Brilliant at a variety of guitar styles too, he didn't have to resort to playing with his teeth to make up for a lack of actual skill.
While the stories about some other famous guitarist saying "you have to ask Phil Keaggy" regarding being the best guitarist isn't true, he really is phenomenal. Deserves to be much higher on this list. YouTube him and see, especially his older stuff with Glass Harp.
No one rivals Phil Keaggy both on electric and acoustic guitar at the same time, so, Phil is easily the best ever. Put it another way: no one else on this list dares to claim that "yes! I'm better than Phil Keaggy". Whoever jumps out would make himself a joke.
Phil keaggy and tommy Emmanuel are by far the two best true guitarists on this list. I've seen both live, and Phil can do things on an acoustic guitar that 7/10 of those top 10 wouldn't be able to do on an electric. Pure talent and all while missing a finger.
Phil should be WAY closer to the top! He is a fantastic player that is completely underrated in my book. Definitely the man I want to learn from!
The first player to twist a knob and without a doubt, the player everybody wants to be like. Just listen to his stuff from the Glass Harp early years and you will be convinced. See him live and you will leave with your jaw in a bag!
Phil Keaggy is totally unbelievable, just saw him live at Alive Festival 2014, and even in his sixties he is completely beyond compare. He should be in the top five greatest, there is no reason why he should be so low on this list.
Amazing, and minus a finger too! Just because he's a Christian he gets the thumbs down. Shows how totally out of touch a lot of, so called, aficionados really are. Totally impressive just doesn't cut the mustard.
Long before most guys on the list even held an instrument, rumors were flying around about this guy. Although many were just talk, there is something in the way Keaggy plays (eg: Master and the musician) that makes one scratch the head, and wonder why reasonable musicians pushed these tales for 40 years.
Someone once asked eddie Van Halen how it felt to be the greatest guitarist in the world. his response..."i don't know you have to ask phil keaggy" (true story)
No one can match Phil Keaggy, you can watch him just warm up and you are amazed, He has played on almost everybody's album's, because he's just that good, and he is missing his middle finger on hi pick hand.
The best guitarist most people never heard of. He is a virtuoso. If you have never heard of him, do yourself a favor and YouTube him. He has been playing longer than most of these guys have been ALIVE!
Obviously Phil suffers from a lack of exposure. With the breadth of his ability, he makes the many incarnations of the guitar look like child's play. Check out "Salvation Army Band" online.
I saw him preform live to a small group of people at a music festival and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. If you haven't heard him play you are missing out. - lighthouse1