10 Most Influential Guitarists

Please note that these are the guitarists that had the most influence on music and not just the best guitarists. Comments that do not reference a particular guitarist's influence will not be approved.

The Top Ten

1 Ritchie Blackmore Ritchie Blackmore Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ...read more.

Love Ritchie because he made rock that was exciting, Lazy from In Concert 1980 became the reason why I became a Deep Purple addict. I couldn't quite understand why at the time, but it was like all the ingredients of a super talented musician on full display. No studio trickery just pure magic, the only other guitar player with that live spontaneity to my opinion is Rory Gallagher who I believe should be in the top five. He just got better when Burn came out, it was a more American sounding Purple with all the mystique of the keyboards/guitar/drums triumvirate. Always supported with the awesomest bass players in the world and lead singers, were the Roundabout of rock with interchanging lineups every few years. At the end of the day he made rock really interesting, although breaking everyone's hearts by leaving DP in 75. He was strangely indifferent to his own music, he couldn't care less and that's cool because of his influence it spawned the Purple family of off shoot rock bands. ...more

When you speaks about Heavy metal, the greatest names are Black Sabbath for tony iommi, BUT, when you speaks about more influence, we're spoken about Deep Purple, Blackmore is the greatest guitarist of his era, Better than Page and Iommi in live performances, this guy is an institution, the Highway star solo is the first solo of their class, maybe this man is undervalued, and its an injustice, because he bring us Neoclassical style into Metal (Rainbow), style followed by Randy rhoads or Malmsteen, well this is my opinion and if you never hear nothing about this master, please listen Made In Japan! "

Technically and musically superior to any of his contemporaries, he was shredding neo-classical style 45 years ago -while all the others were playing pentatonic blues scales- creating the base for a new guitar playing style. He was clinical and madly skilled. But he would always play for the song -his songwriting second to none. His stage presence was huge.

His exquisite taste and unique touch made his style instantly recognizable, being the only rock player to pick almost every note staccato style instead of the usual pull-offs and hammer-ons that the others were doing at the time.

His playing inspired millions of players worldwide.

There would be no metal without Ritchie he shook the whole thing up with his classic riffs

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2 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated ...read more.

Jimi is on a whole other level of playing. His live performances were largely improvisational and even the greatest guitarist ever, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page put their guitars down and admitted they weren't even close to him when he jammed with them. Also he was a good singer, awesome songwriter and even did some great experimental stuff like 1983 (A Mermaid I Should Turn to Be... ). When you watch him play you just can't do anything but be in awe and listen. - EnglandSeller

Jimi might not have been the greatest technical guitarist of all time, but he was up there. No one popularized the wah wah pedal and numerous other effects like he did. There are almost no other players that can improvise like Jimi did, he came up with songs in minutes and could play what ever he felt at any time. Jimi will always be the most influential and greatest guitarist.

Jimi was a prodigy. He didn't play guitar. He was the guitar. When he was young he couldn't contain himself without walking around with a broom to emulate a guitar. When he first got a ukulele, it only had one string yet he still learned how to play whole songs. He could also play whole solos with his teeth and play behind his back.

Come on. He is not number one, really?

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3 Jimmy Page Jimmy Page James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy Page - the innovator of hard rock as we know it today. Page musically was a genius, his producing and creativity in life was flawless but most of all his approach to the music he made was his own, he was his own person and certainly still is. A fine guitar player forever paving the way for future talent. Page is an iconic stature in life that will always be remembered as one of the best guitar player's that ever walked the face of this earth. To me the best. Songs such as Since I've Been Loving You, Ramble on, Kashmir, The Rain Song are songs that make people really sit down and question their abilities musically because this is really as good as it gets.

He had the up mot empathy for his band members and fans. The primal seed that was Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page.

Do you remember the Yardbirds? Of course. There were three well-known guitar-players in this band: the outstanding technical virtuoso Jeff Beck, the very very good blues-guitarist Eric Clapton and the visionary arranger Jimmy Page. But what's about his guitar playing? Page plays the guitar well, but not outstanding. Of course he knows how to use traditional blues-riffs for a great sound, but his solos are practiced (Stairway to heaven/Taurus for example) or failed when he he tried to improvise live. Listen! Page is a great producer, but an overrated guitar player. And don't forget the importance of Robert Plant and John Bonham for Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy page can shred riffs like nobody else. listen to Achilles last stand, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to heaven, and Kashmir a couple times and cme back and tell me he's not the best guitarist ever. Or at least up there with Eddie van halen and Hendrix securing a place at the number two slot or maybe number one. he's played with clapton, The Edge, and other famous guitarists and has shown em whats what. Oh. An he can use a bow... On a guitar

I love Jimi Hendrix for the way he used his guitar as an extension of his body, but Jimmy Page like the other members of Led Zeppelin were not simply talented, but gifted. There are many great guitar players and to place one above the rest is a very personal and albeit, tough choice and it has to be Jimmy Page.

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4 Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

Eddie changed everything that came after him: songs, techniques, the guitars themselves! He also got more people started in playing guitar than anyone else in history - even Hendrix! Not to take anything away from Jimi, b/c he's the man, but Eddie got more of us started, showed more of us how to do it, and influenced ALL of our gear. Yup - definitely most influential!

His Nice Tone His Custom Made Guitar "Frankenstien", He also Invented metal Eruption Put him on the Best Guitarist with his finger tapping Technique, Ice cream man, Hot for a teacher, my fave Panama, Jump, you really got me...

Eddie Van Halen is most definitely the most influential player of all time. He changed the way everyone plays a guitar. I mean everyone. Hard Rock, and Heavy metal owes Eddie Van Halen along with the whole Van Halen band for there contributions to this style of music.

I love that Blackmore is #1 but Eddie Van Halen is the man who started the guitar race to play the fastest and the best.

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5 David Gilmour David Gilmour David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.

David Gilmour is the most soulful, beautiful player EVER! His tone and melody are 2nd to none, and no guitarist ever has given me chills or brought tears to my eyes with their playing like he does. Nothing fancy, which makes him even more incredible. Nothing fancy, just pure musical genius!

Not only was his playing ability incredible, he has influenced more guitarist with his tone and quality of sound he was able to get out of his guitar so much so a book has been written to chronicle the black strat's life.

What! He didn't get the top ten that is not right he is the best guitarist mankind will ever know he influenced the globe with his guitar and I'm eleven years old he is my hero I hope you like my comment

David Gilmour is the man who influenced me to learn guitar. I'm still not good enough to play his works but I know that one day I will master the solo from Time and on that day, I will weep.

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6 Eric Clapton Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

The Blues, He is old, but he was in and toured with the most awesome bands... Cream, Derek and The Dominoes, Stevie Ray Vaughn... with his "woman tone" on his SG named the fool that makes him pretty damn cool, he also used a strat...

One of the most influential guitarists and musicians, he, Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Tommy Iommi should be in this top, People just don't like good music anymore.

From those who are outlined here, He is the one who have played diverse genres of music during his musical career. What is more he has ability of composing remarkable songs, and his gigs are terrific

I find it humorous how this is literally a list of MOST INFLUENTIAL GUITARISTS and not best guitarists and two people who Clapton influenced are above him and he's only number 6. Eddie Van Halen has stated repeadetly that the only guitarist to ever influence him was Clapton and Blackmore has spoken about Clapton's influence on him as well. Why are people so unable to be subjective these days. Who tf did Blackmore influence? - guyritchi

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7 Tony Iommi Tony Iommi Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle ...read more.

Inventive, innovative and heavier than all who came before combined. Without Iommi there is no metal.

I love Toni, his rhythms were even more catchy than his lead work. His distortion tone was his biggest influence.

All Metal guitarists were influenced by this guy. I just saw him live... I'm forever in the Iommi-sphere!

Ask James, ask Rob, ask Brian May they'll all say it's Tony! - SoldierOfFortune

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8 Slash Slash Saul Hudson, known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Slash made me a gn'r fan. when I was growing up it was slash n axl but as I matured all my feeling are for you slash. you have given me so many scripts for my air guitar. LEGEND

Probably a bit understand, Slash is one of the more proficient guitar icons. Clearly enunciated playing at supersonic speed - not very common.

What's not to like about the guy? He has the look, name, style and skills. Love his guitar playing.

Guns N' Roses - ColbyS

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9 Hideto 'hide' Matsumoto Hideto 'hide' Matsumoto

Hide believed in freedom through his music. People were saved by his music giving them a reason to live for. And when Hide died he cost the top news of Japan. 50,000 people came to see him. A good man indeed, all the good guys and artist just has to go first.

Hide is the best guitarist in the world, he his a very good player, and X Japan is the biggest band of the world in my opinion, I love X Japan et go hide, you are the best!

Probably the most influential guitarist in Japan... And secretly in the whole world.

Hide Matsumoto is in my opinion the best guitarist that has ever lived, he truly represents the Visuel Kei movement and his solos are incredible

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10 Michael Schenker Michael Schenker

Just ask most of the new breed. Maybe not the most famous with commercial success but influenced thousands of guitar players with his amazing tone, flat picking, feel and individual sound.

Nobody better. Should be number one in my opinion. The Mad Ax Man. All day long!

Not only is he simply the greatest guitarist of all time, he's also one of the most influential. He's the reason Dave Muscatine, Kirk Hammett, Randy Rhoads, and many others play Vs. Seriously, go listen to him before you scroll down trying to find the guitarist you are sure is the best. I was gonna vote Buddy Guy, but then I saw the Blond Bomber, and realized he was more influential. Go listen to him!

Top five...

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The Contenders

11 Stevie Ray Vaughn

Did Hendrix songs better than Jimi sorry but it's true listen to little wing and tell me what you think.

Very under rated player. in my humble opinion played voodoo child just as well if not slightly better than Hendrix. Awesome player.

Lenny, Texas Flood, Crossroads... SRV has probly pioniered Blues Guitar, He was the new hendrix

Sorry but srv was more influential than eddie van halen he thrashes chords and sweeps well sure but stevie played with love and always had another trick up his sleeve that would leave you in awe sorry but number 11 is bs

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12 Jeff Beck Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Jeff Beck is astonishing in Cause we've ended as lovers and many more like Freeway Jam.

He has continuously evolved. Others seem happy to rest on their laurels but not Jeff.

Should be much higher on this list. His ability in all styles of music is unequaled.

Beck should be number 2. Wish he played with a plectrum more often as I find what he does now a little formulaic, but,he just brings it...

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13 James Hetfield James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

When he was 3 years old his father left him and in his teens his mom died and he used the music get through all of it and not only can he play electric guitar and sing but he can also play the drums and the bass... one of the most inspirational of all time.

Ok Kirk isn't influential but he is great. But if james can kirk can have a spot here.

I think Kirk is better than him. Maybe he isn't influential, but nor James is!

He should be in the top 5. So many Metal Bands were born after Metallica hit the Stages

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14 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.

A real talent if one he had lived longer who knows what he could created, way ahead of van Galen, Gary more and slash up there with Hendrix, blackmore and Page just listen to the two great albums he played on!

Randy was great but died to soon to be considered an all time great. His influence was starting to take hold when he was taken but what hurts him he would start his solos live with Eddie Van Halen's Irruption Which at the time was blasphemy.

the only person the top ten was missing. in my opinion the most influencial guitarist to me

I remember being blown a way when I heard Randy Rhoads for the first time. His solos were so well composed and he was so much in control. Later on I discovered that his song had a lot of complexity within. Unfortunately he couldn't quite reach of all he could have been as he was taken away at such a early age.

Mr. Crowley... greatest solos ever.

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15 Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

I saw Yngwie in concert once. The first 2-3 songs were jaw dropping, fastest guitarist I had ever seen. However he never changed the pace, playing a million notes every single solo. He bored the crap out of me after that. Good at what he does, but he only does one thing great and that's shredding. To many notes!

Maybe not the best songwriter but best guitarist for sure.

A true innovator brought the neoclassical style into the forefront for today's shredders to copy, much like Eddie Van Halen introduced the finger tapping style. Technically, Malmsteen is the best rock guitarist to walk planet earth ever! However, he cannot write rock songs like Blackmoore, Hendrix or Gilmoore so will never be at the top of the tree.

Simply the best!

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16 Angus Young Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while ...read more.

The infamous Duck Walk, His awesome SG standard, The devil horns on his head and guitar and the sig. School boy have a demonic possesion on stage he alsso has the stellar tone everyone loves, his 3-4 chord progression along with his guitar solos and licks makes him the king "The Devil in your fingers and The Blues in Your Soul, hell you got rock and roll"

His energy alone in live performances should inspire anyone, I mean he played a 16 minute solo on the Black Ice Tour! - Dickey96

Another average guitarist really


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17 Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Joseph Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie ...read more.

I'm sticking my neck right out now! Joe is the best guitarist ever full stop,. A genius. And a one off never to return. He's one of the most influential to most people that actually know anything about guitar. A true gentleman from another world if you ask me! I'm listening to one of his melodies as I write this. UNBELIEVABLE! If I'm reincarnated, please bring me back as Joe... I want to play like him but he's just to good!

The best guitarist since Eddie Van Halen and king of the instrumental song. Great melody's and a guy who knows when to shred and when to quiet down. A true genius with unmatched technical ability, he really makes it look easy! It's not!

Best of all time... He is the great teacher of greatest guitarist.

From an old man the 'Satchman" is the best! I have heard them all and all are great but I find Joe to be the best of the best "Original Instrumental" - troy64

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18 Brian May Brian May Brian Harold May is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.

He is not a single guitarist. He is the conductor of his own orchestra made of Brian's. That's beyond the reach of any other guitarist. The harmonies he plays are out of Earth. And he is playing much more strings instruments: ukulele, banjo, harp, organ, piano and more. Who can repeat him?

One of the best soloists of his day, and still a bright light in the guitar icon pantheon. Amazing sound (built from scratch), solos that twist and turn and peak like a brilliant plot-line, there's simply no one like him.

I think you'll find Wishbone Ash were using feedback years before Brian, but that doesn't detract from how great a guitarist he is.

He's not only influential for being a guitar god, he's also an astromoner!

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19 Gary Moore Gary Moore Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.

Along with M. Schenker, the greatest, most soulful metal guitarist EVER! Before he played the blues later in his career, he was a true hard rocker. I saw him open for Rush, never heard of the guy. His first song was "Victims of the future" and I bought every album he ever played on after seeing him! Also does some of the most beautiful instrumental songs ever. Check out "The LONER" from Wild frontier album or "The messiah will come again" from After the war album. Nobody did it better, RIP Gary!

Melodic and melting. Awesome tone and style. A true great who deserves to be too 3 with Ritchie and Jeff Beck

One of the best blues guitarist of our generation

Criminally underrated player! His work with Thin Lizzy, Coliseum II, and solo is incredible!

20 Tommy Bolin Tommy Bolin Thomas Richard "Tommy" Bolin was an American-born guitarist who played with Zephyr, The James Gang, and Deep Purple; in addition to maintaining a notable solo career.

Criminally underrated. Ask Jeff Beck. He stills plays "Stratus" live to this day. If that's not an endorsement I don't know what is.

Underrated are you kidding me! You guys must call 12-year-olds holy ! That's why you don't believe everything you read on the Internet because you're liars

A forgotten gem of a guitarist. And an amazing voice. When you consider what he did in a lifetime of only 24 years it's astounding

Way ahead of his time. Jazz, rock, whatever, he was poised for a brilliant career.

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Top Remixes (22)

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Tony Iommi
1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Jimmy Page
1. Jimmy Page
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Chuck Berry

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