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.
[Newest]Listen to his music, no one is even close

2Roy Buchanan
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.
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! ).
[Newest]This guy never got his due and that's a shame

3Jimi 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!
[Newest]You know you're good when people take you fro granted. His influence and sound is as ubiquitous in rock/blues as the pentatonic scale itself.

4Jay 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.
[Newest]All around fantastic player. Gives 100%,100% of the time

5Gary 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
[Newest]Love a lot of blues guitarists, but Gary Moore is my all time favorite.

6Eric 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.
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.
Best guitarist. Perfect solos, excellent technique. I do not think Jimi Hendrix is better than him. Best blues guitarist.
[Newest]Most versatile and influential.

7Joe Bonamassa
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.
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
Joe has taken blues to a new level in the 21st century. Great innovation and style that is a combination of both past and present. Keeps getting better and has not forgotten the roots of the blues or tries to compromise his artistry with commercialism.
[Newest]Just keeps improving and gets better with age no stagnating here, skies the limit

8Buddy 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!
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...
Simply the essence of blues. The greats of Britain as well as many guitarists from American(such as Hendrix) owe this guy big time.


[Newest]When your talking the blues your talking buddy guy!

9Rory 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.
No frills, just chills. If Hendrix showed us what the guitar could do, Rory showed us how to play it. Amazing live. He played for three or four hours sometimes and sweated the paint off his guitar. Rory died before his time and is greatly missed.
played the blues as it should be played, with feeling and energy. Awesome live performer.

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.
Albert is the best there is... White guys like clapton and all the rest are just copy cats. They can play, for sure but do they really have it... I don't think so. The guy who came the closest was SRV
He is the best I've ever heard... Hands down

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
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.
Ask any blues legend to come after him, they will admit that B. B is their influence and what blues guitar is all about. He is the king of blues.
[Newest]The greatest simply I'm horrified he's way down here can't believe it

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!
Listen to "The Stumble" live and realize the year it was recorded. He smoked almost everyone.
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.
[Newest]If the Green God had not destroyed himself with psychedelic drugs, he would be a household name. Beautiful tone played from the heart.

13Elmore James
Let's see here. What rock n roll player who also plays good blues on this list before this man... Did not idolize him, and play his tunes?. The Sky is crying... Albert K and Stevie Ray. Bleeding Heart Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix had called himself "Jimi James at one point." Come on... Folks put away yer rock hats and put on yer Madison Blue Shoes...
Greatest slide player of all time.

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.
Leland, Mississippi man with the blues in his hands. Cotton and Waters knew, why not you? Johnny Winter is the man.
Jonhnny winter could play most peoples style, but not many could play his style...

15Muddy Waters
The absolute king of blues!

16Freddie King
REALLY, no one is posting this man's accolades. Flat assed awesome.

17Albert Collins
One Of The Best Ever Blues Guitarists Of all Time! Without A Doubt!

18John 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.

19Duane 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.
I just loved his work. We lost a real blues man the day he died. not a day goes by that I don't listen to him... Thank you Duane for all the memories

20Robert 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


[Newest]Johnny dickey eric al say this Guy is the maN

21Jimmy 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.
This ass is no blues guitarist. Come on people get real... Jimmy page a blues man, I don't think so
Doesn't belong in this list not a blues man

22Robben Ford
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...
Listen to the entire family band, The Ford Brothers. Music to the core when its all you've known since you were a kid. Those guys are connected right down to the blues bone.
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
[Newest]He's simply the best modern guitarist hands down!

23Chris 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

24Jeff Beck
One of the greatest Guitar Players

25Robin Trower
So overlooked &under appreciated
Master of the perfect note and approach to the touch. Musically gifted like no other

26Pete 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!
[Newest]Nobody better than Pete.

27Otis Rush
Me thinks this is a rock n roll guys who like or rate blues deal. Do not get me wrong. Love Stevie Ray. I would not have ever been bitten by the blues bug if it were not for Jimi Hendrix... Whose playing sent me on a search for more blues after he died and 70's rock got goofy and glam... But Otis Rush... Searing and biting sounds... Come on folks!
Ain't enough (votes) coming in.

28Wolf Mail
A modern guitar wizard and future blues legend.

29T-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.
T-bone. Awesome. And the world thought Jimi H was the first guy to play guitar behind his back or bite the strings with his teeth... Nope It was T bone. Love his "Two bones and a pick>"

30Blind William Jefferson
Blind lemon Jefferson was a big influence in Texas blues

31Kenny Wayne Shepherd
I got to finally see Kenny live as part of the Experience Hendrix tour. Wow, quite impressive!
He gets a bad rap but he has become a super guitarist.

32Bonnie Raitt

33Gary 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

34Gordy 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.
[Newest]Great guitarist. He should really be out there with the rest of the players right now.

35Lightnin' 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.

36Jonny 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.

37Robert Cray
Love his songs and composition

38Walter 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?

39Sue Foley

40Deborah Coleman

41Wes Montgomery
Wes was the man. I don't care what people say if never saw him play you missed it big time
Mainly known for jazz... But could some wicked blues as well.
A man that owned his craft... So much guitar

42Jeff Healey
He was a complete guitar player with so much talent there is no guitarist on this planet who was as good as this blind white boy he was my guitar hero and so underrated, blows the rest of the guitar players out of the window! Complete genius, just watch the jeff healey band live in London it will blow your mind.
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

43Luther Allison

44Frank Marino
Clearly under rated... So under rated that I'm actually pleased to see that he's on the list at all... I've listened to most of the players on this list, and enjoy many of them, but with regards to covering all the territory, light clean picking to all out guitar screaming, overall musicality, Frank Marino has always stood alone, and still does... With the vocals and song writing to go with it...
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
Frank Marino is Incredible! I've been listening to him for over 35 years!

45Ryan 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

46Carlos Santana
He should be in a higher place damned... So stupid the people who didn't vote for him
Great and original latin rock and blues player, so much soulful sounds
This is where you lost me. $# Joke. Top 10 according to his peers. Like Dah!

47Derek Trucks
This list is crap unless Derek is in the top 10... Come one people. Ya kiddingme?

48Alvin Lee
WHY isn't he on the list
Saw him at long beach arena, ca. On the "cricklewood green" tour, blazing fast and technically perfect. for those into the blues listen to one of his last albums," the bluest blues". In a word... Aaamazing!

49Jack White
Blues in both guitar and lyrics

50Sonny Landreth
The first time I heard Sonny, was on a live Government Mule album. When Warren Haynes introduces Sonny to the crowd... " the greatest SLIDE guitar player in the world, Mr. Sonny Landreth. " Right on Warren!
If you have not enjoyed Sonny, get to it.

After you do, if you are not familiar with Warren Haynes, check out Warren and Joe Bonamassa "battle of the blues guitar".

3 of the greats that should be on every top ten list of guitar greats.

51Chris 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.

52David 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.

53Danny Kirwan

54Jeremy Spencer

This guy is from Indonesia. He can rain it down on you. Far East Blues Experience is a terrific collection of tunes. An unknown who should be known.

56Lonnie Mack

57Ronnie 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.

58Big Bill Broonzy

59Robert Lockwood Jr.

60Lead Belly

61Jellybean Johnson

62Taj Mahal

63Bob Margolin

64Matt Murphy

65Furry Lewis

66Jeremiah Johnson
Saw him at a blues festival...he left a mark..if john Mayer is on this list so should jerimia

67Jimmy Thackery
A real solid blues player, perhaps one of the best out there, very diverse as well.

68Paul Michael Stone

69Rusty 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".

70Steve Gaines
Heart and soul of Lynyrd Skynyrd until his death in 1978.

71Mike Bloomfield
How in the world is Michael Bloomfield down at #68? BB King, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan (for starters) would not agree. If you don't know who he was, listen to Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, Paul Butterfield Blues Band or Super Sessions (Side 1) for starters. Or his guitar instructional CD's. An exceptionally gifted Blues guitar player who mastered every possible style but was a bluesman to the core.

72Howlin' Wolf

73Mickey Baker
Just listen to Champion jack Dupree and Mickey guitar baker. Jack and Mickey in heavy blues

74Kim Simmonds
How could you forget one of the best from Savoy Brown?

75Jerry Garcia
Jerry could play anything, deserves better than 74
Played the Blues. His style was more Blue Grass banjo pickin, but still
A Blues man just the same.

76Hound Dog Taylor
He couldn't play a huge number of songs, but he would get the room jumping.

77Jimmie Vaughan

78Susan Tedeschi
This girl has so much talent its ridiculous. She has absolutely amazing vocals and mind boggling guitar playing. If you don't know who this lady is you NEED to check it, its all good A side, B side.

79Ana Popović

80Tab Benoit
If you get the chance to see Tab live, you won't regret it!

81Mark Knopfler

82Tony Spinner
This guy has a bunch of fantastic CD's out. Nobody's ever heard of him, but he can knock out the electric funk blues with anybody out there. Watch Knucklehead on YouTube. He is terrific.

83Johnny "Guitar" Watson

84John 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 6 years, 220 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 5 times.

Updated Thursday, April 16, 2015

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