Most Talented Blues Guitarists

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The Top Ten

Steve Ray Vaughn
No one improvised liked Stevie, he could play 50 licks off of the top of his head or rather from his heart... buttery smooth every song all night long. No one played as clean, no one had the tone...
There will never be another Stevie Ray Vaughan... the current boys ain't got the chops or the soul... not even close... the people are still waiting for the next SRV ~ They're gonna be waiting for a while...
Hendrix was the innovator, SRV the ultimate technician.
Stevie seperated himself from every other blues guitarist. He made the guitar talk like it had it's own voice.
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2Roy Buchanan
Roy was incredible live - Roy's Bluz, I'm Evil, The Messiah Will Come Again - had as much fireworks as a Hendrix or SRV. Definitely his older stuff was better and I especially liked that he was straight Telecaster and amp. His record "Second Album" is one of the best ever - Side 1 is a must listen - for me "5 String Blues" is electric blues guitar perfection (and he played most of it with only 5 strings! ).
Anybody who is a real blues fan will know who Roy Buchanan is. he is the worlds greatest unknown blues guitarist as said by Rolling Stone. Just listen to some tracks like When a guitat plays the blues, his cover of Hey Joe and so many others. His guitar playing will put you in a trance.
Even Jeff Beck loved Roy and did a song for him. Areal shame how he died
. I don't think a lot of people know who he is and they call themselvs blues fans
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3Eric Clapton
Face it. Vaughan and Hendrix are dead. As in gone. Bye bye. And while they were with us they played only one style of guitar. Ever. Clapton has been with us half a century, is still with us, is still evolving and has mastered every style he encountered including reggae, acid rock, delta blues, gospel, bluegrass, southern rock... the list keeps getting longer. Nobody has EVER done that before. I doubt anyone ever will again.
I've read the bios and am very dissapointed in the person, but as an artist I pray for a reincarnation because without Eric there is only poor immitations of Blues Guitar playing. This because Jimi and Stevie are gone. Long live the King.
Tough list but Clapton first... And I don't see Muddy Waters, David Gilmour, Joe Bonamassa, Dwayne Allman... Come on. Jimmy Page? Gimme a break... Most overrated guitarist ever.
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4Gary Moore
Arguing who is the best guitarist is nothing but subjective and dumb. However if I had to pick one, that would be Gary Moore. He could literally play on stage with every guitarist from blues to shred metal and wipe his ass with every single one.
The best hands down!
Should be in top 5 at least one of the best
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5Jimi Hendrix
As far as pure talent on/off stage goes in any genre of music he is super human no doubt. He created his own music by converting traditional blues into rock which was then enjoyed by generations of rock and hard rock fans all over the world.
Ok Jimi Hendrix was more acid rock/heavy metal but if you even listen to half a Hendrix album you'll see that Jimi is the best blues guitarist ever!
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6Rory Gallagher
My vote goes to the late great Corby Yates (1981-2012). I've seen all the greats. Corby was self taught from age 6. No one in history Ever played blues/rock guitar with the continuous ferocity than he. His shirt was drenched withheld sweat after the first song. He was as mild mannered and humble as they come, but Corby coulda mopped the floor with SRV. If you don't believe me, buy the "Into Oblovion" cd. Admittedly, it is a dark album, as it turns out that Corby was a paranoid schizophrenic, which led to his early passing. But if you listen to the heart and intensity he pours into his insane solos (he was also the singer), I think you'll become an instant admirer and fan.
played the blues as it should be played, with feeling and energy. Awesome live performer.
Amazing with electric and acoustic style. Great with covers and originals.
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7Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa. This guy is the epitome of blues. He has the quality to play all sorts of styles from John Henry to Woke Up Dreaming
Listen and watch all on this list... Joe Bonamassa is the most talented blues guitarist the genre has ever seen. The throne has a new king of the blues for years to come. Long live the king.
This guy's the new giant in blues guitar! I've tried to learn his songs, but their too difficult Joe Bonamassa all the way
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8Jay Jesse Johnson
Merging the rock genre with the blues, Johnson has his own unique style and tone. It's blues based but he goes for it. Where others play it safe with same old riffs, Johnson digs in deep and creates a modern yet classic statement. Some say he's In the style of Trower, Travers and Marino and there is some truth to that but I think this guy stands up to some of the great guitarist of the world.
Been a fan of Jay's since the '80's when rock was his world; fast forward and Jay has matured into his own style of rock 'n blues. You can hear many of the great guitarist's influences in some of his music, but it is classic Jay Jesse Johnson's tone and inflection that comes through on every song. Hoping he will record his rendition of Over the Rainbow one of these days, as it is killer!
I have had the pleasure of listening to Jay perform his craft since the early 70's. His talent shines in everything he does. Very few can make you feel their music the way Jay does. Mirrored of Trower and Hendrix Jay's talent amazes. There are a lot of guitar players, but very few with talent at this level.
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9Buddy Guy
Buddy invented the electric blues! BB King and Muddy Waters were his idols and predecessors, but no one else played with the volcanic intensity he did right through the 60's, 70's and 80's through to today! To mention the others on this list without Buddy leading this list is laughable! Now, at 78, Buddy plays and sings as intensely as he ever did. Long live Buddy Guy!
Simply the essence of blues. The greats of Britain as well as many guitarists from American(such as Hendrix) owe this guy big time.


Isn't it odd that Buddy Guy is the only black blues artist on the list? In fact all the others should be called "contemporary" blues artist. Guy is the only true blues guitarist on the list. You missed a bunch of great ones...
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10Albert King
Extraordinary guitarist and a master of a single string solos. His bends and vibratos had a huge impact on generations after him. For example SRV to just name a few.
Extraordinary voice as well. Also my personal favourite.

The Contenders

11BB King
At the time I right this 'comment' I can tell you B. B king is 47th. That will NOT do. If you were to ask competent gifted and phenomenal guitarists such as Buddy guy, eric clapton, stevie ray vaughn(RIP) or even modern artists such as joe bonamasa. Ask anyone who there key influence was I can tell you they will say BB king. His elegance and unique tone was unbeatable, still is. To paraphrase jimmy vaughn 'everyone is trying to work out what BB king did and we are ALL trying to sound like him' BB king, is THE KING OF BLUES. It is an embarrassment that The king is so low. Blues artists would be ashamed, buddy guy, clapton or vaughns would all be let down or annoyed. The king is a legend
jime hendrix and eric clapton are mostly rock guitarists. and stevie does not have the unique style of bb king. so lets face it! he's the true king of blues guitar.
Made just as huge impact on blues as Albert King. A true legend that can't be replaced. Hard to say which one of them is better guitarist they are both legends.
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12Peter Green
I can listen to this man play guitar over and over! Oh well part one and two blow me away every time. But the one true record that gets me is "i need your love so bad" his voice coupled with just simple expressice guitar playing is just breathtaking. I urge all walks of life to listen to this!
A player of great feeling and sensitivity. The notes he didn't play were almost as expressive as the ones he did.
BB was right.
Listen to "The Stumble" live and realize the year it was recorded. He smoked almost everyone.
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13Albert Collins
One Of The Best Ever Blues Guitarists Of all Time! Without A Doubt!

14Johnny Winter
Great List. Rarely see Roy, Rory and Johnny in same top ten. Hard to argue with Clapton's longevity but Beano was his biggest moment.
Jonhnny winter could play most peoples style, but not many could play his style...
Way to low at 20, JW should be top 5

15Robben Ford
He s got much feeling for blues and jazz and for Music in general. This really Makels ihm a Great musician and Artist. And, consequently, he s a great teacher, too. He seemsto be very engaged in teaching, which I appreciate very much. Very many Other guitar fans as well. I am sure.
I hope he Stars active that Way for many more years to come.

One more Thing: Robben is a very talented guitarist and really dedicated to teaching for all of us, so there s no denial of the fact - he s the greatest of them all.

Reg., Enzyklop├Ądie it bros.
Joe, Germany
Very tasty, incorporates elements of jazz in the blues. Has a much better understanding of music than many blues guitarists. As Miles said: Why do you need another guitar player after Robben Ford...
Got turned on to this guy late in life... Depressing: I missed out on some great musicianship... Probably one of the most knowledgeable about music, and probably one of the most versatile, also... One of my favorite tunes? "lateral climb"... Check it out; it oze w/blues

16Chris Duarte
Chris Duarte covers the full range of Texas Blues, and mixes in elements of jazz and progressive rock. He has a full range of phrasing and voicing that he weaves in and out of his compositions. More amazing LIVE than in the studio...
He is the best blues guitarist of all time!
Chris Duarte is the best Texas blues with psychodelia rythmic guitarist. He should be in top 5

17Duane Allman
Duane Allman was just 24 years old when he died. What he left behind in just a few short years was nothing short of amazing. Of course we all know about his great guitar work with the Allman Brothers but people often forget about all of his session work with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and so on. That's without his contribution to Derek & The Dominoes "Layla & other assorted love songs". Raw, powerful, bluesy/rock bordering sometimes on jazz... How good he could have been we will never know!
I was a teenager when he died, just eight years or so younger than him. For the ensuing 42 years, I have listened to his work countless numbers of times and have lamented his untimely death. He was not a casualty of the excesses of the late sixties and early seventies, which makes his passing even more poignant. Damn, he was good, so good.
After Hendrix, he is the best
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18Jeff Beck

19Robin Trower
So overlooked &under appreciated
Master of the perfect note and approach to the touch. Musically gifted like no other
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20Jimmy Page
Most definitely, the best blues guitar god!
He can do any song of any guitarist.
Clapton doesn't come close.
Not that clapton isn't awesome. You know what I'm saying.

21Pete Haycock
Phenomenal and totally underrated guitarist extraordinaire! I had the pleasure of seeing him with CBB numerous times up and down the east coast in the 70's (with my favorite probably @ the Spectrum in Philly) and was NEVER disappointed... Couldn't agree more about his slide playing either... Should be top 10 in both! Anyone whose ever played in a decent bar band would be hard pressed to disagree as well!
No question, Pete is a guitarist's guitarist, and his tasteful compositions and brilliant artistry should definitely cement his name amongst the Top 10! And among slide guitarists, he's definitely among the tops as well!
Pete is an amazing guitarist who hasn't had the recognition he deserves! He is a smooth and talented natural! I wish I could see more of his work these days!
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22Elmore James
Greatest slide player of all time.

23Bonnie Raitt

24Blind William Jefferson

25Kenny Wayne Shepherd

26Muddy Waters
The absolute king of blues!

27Gary Clark, Jr.
Has no one heard of him? He's been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie ray Vaughan. He is the next king of the guitar. Anyone compared to those two legends are automatically amazing. Not to mention his vocals are great compared to today's music. Please look him up and get him higher on this list.
Gary clark jr can do it all, from his cover of third stone from the sun to his blues/hip hop song the life. How he can set up for don't owe you and thing with guitar, loop petal, bass drum on one foot and high hat on the other is amazing
Gary is amazing, the future of the blues right there

28John Lee Hooker
The Godfather of the Blues!
I can not believe that nobody ever wrote a comment about this legend guitarist of blues. The Groundhog, was one of mine and millions others favorites, very traditional, interpretative blues. honest and from the heart of a soul that beat in time with life. He will forever be a master in his field and cherished, loved, respected and constantly reminding people of how true the blues can be.

29Gordy Pettipas
Pretty much an unknown but I saw him a few times and he is an amazing guitarist. His primary genre is blues but he does it all and he does it tastefully and with heart.
All I can say about Gordy is AWESOME. I saw him 4 times twice in Massachusetts once in Florida and once in Kansas. Great player and very humble down to earth guy.
For players that are currently out this guy is one of the best but there is very little footage of him and even less audio. Someone needs to pick this guy up.
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30Lightnin' Hopkins
The relaxed rhythmic Texas style of Samuel Lightning Hopkins precedes electric blues and speaks to what Billy Gibons of ZZ Top and other later Texas stylists accomplished after him.

31Freddie King

32Jonny Lang
This kid grew up in Fargo and; about as far from Blues music as a person could be. He was playing blues licks at a younger age and at a higher level than just about anyone. It's as if a Blues guitar was genetically interwoven with his DNA.

33Walter Trout
Walter is one of the greats. Please keep him in your prayers.
Top 3 with no question!
For me the best, can't believe I'v had to add him to this list?

34T-Bone Walker
How is T-bone Walker not near the top of this list? He influenced nearly EVERY guitarist before him, either directly or indirectly. Hendrix learned how to play behind his neck by emulating him. Eric Clapton got his phrasing by emulating him. Stevie Ray and Albert King where also heavily influenced by him. And lets not forget to mention he was one of the first ones to pick up an electric guitar, which literally directly inspired BB King to start playing electric too.

35Robert Johnson
An innovator at a time when there was less information and it was much more difficult to excel in the manner Johnson did. This is why he is considered "ahead of his time".
He 'invented' the blues. His guitar playing was so revolutionary for that time that generations of guitarists strived to immitate him with varing success.
Without him there would be no blues or rock n roll
Has to be number 1


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36Sue Foley

37Deborah Coleman

38Jeff Healey
Just awesome. Saw him at crossroads (1990) with Clapton.
Tremendously talented BLUES guitarist. RIP Mr. Healey, you are missed. Jeff Healey belongs on this list!
Way too low. top 20 easily

39Ryan McGarvey
One of the finest young blues guitarists to come onto the scene in recent memory. This 27 year old from Albuquerque, New Mexico is a legend in the making. None other than blues rock titan Joe Bonamassa has said of McGarvey, "I think he's one of the great young guitar players in the world today" ~ Joe Bonamassa on Ryan McGarvey, Dallas, TX October 30, 2012

40Otis Rush
Ain't enough (votes) coming in.

41Jack White

42Robert Cray
Love his songs and composition

43Wes Montgomery
Mainly known for jazz... But could some wicked blues as well.

44Sonny Landreth

45Luther Allison

46Chris Poland
Yeah, he was in heavy metal bands, but he IS an amazing blues guitarist, I love his playing
He's a fusion guy. Hope this helps.

47Frank Marino
Frank is one of the most underrated guitarists around. Whether he's playing traditiot blues or his lightning fast licks. Jimi was a strong influence on Frank, and I believe he took it to the next level. Frank has also influenced guitarist like Zakk Wylde with Blazing penatonic riffs. When Frank plays a live show it's for 3 or more hours! Check him out live or give him a listen. Check out his web site. Mahogany Rush com

48David Gilmour
Yeah, sure, he's in a progressive rock band, but if you isolate the guitar it's straight up blues. The Comfortably Numb solo is the greatest solo of all time. Time is the second best. Gilmour makes SRV look like a punk bitch.

49Ronnie Baker Brooks

Ronnie learned his chops from Buddy Guy and Buddy's friend Lonnie Brooks... Ronnies father. RBB grew with all the Chicago blues greats during the past 35 years or so. Check him out some time, you won't be disappointed.

50Big Bill Broonzy

51Robert Lockwood Jr.

52Lead Belly

53Jellybean Johnson

54Taj Mahal

55Bob Margolin

56Matt Murphy

57Furry Lewis

58Jeremiah Johnson
Saw him at a blues festival...he left a mark..if john Mayer is on this list so should jerimia

59Danny Kirwan

60Jeremy Spencer

61Jimmy Thackery
A real solid blues player, perhaps one of the best out there, very diverse as well.

62Paul Michael Stone

63Rusty Burns
Look him up on YouTube. Lefty AND upside down player founded Point Blank. Also watch him in his current band "Rusty Burns and Big Wampum".

64Carlos Santana

65Steve Gaines
Heart and soul of Lynyrd Skynyrd until his death in 1978.

66Mike Bloomfield

67Howlin' Wolf

68Derek Trucks

69John Mayer
The new generation. He doesn't have any associated sound, because he is capable of every style that all revolves around the blues influence. He is the most versatile and academic musician alive today. Anyone who doubts his indubitable capabilities, please just watch the 'Where The Light Is' DVD.
Give the John Mayer Trio a listen. He obviously pulled some inspiration from SVR, B.B. king, but he is, none the less, an improvisional great.
Mayer is the greatest guitarist snd singer in the world.

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This list was created 5 years, 227 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 3 times.

Updated Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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