10 Most Influential Guitaristsphunkjunkie 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
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
Hendrix was probably more influential but I'm happy to see Ritchie at #1, as I feel he rarely gets the credit he deserves. #50 best of al time? Seriously Rolling Stones?
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.
Jimi is the most influential guitarist of all time, but I'm happy with Blackmore at number one, as he is too often overlooked as a great guitarist, especially as a shredder.
Jimi was the greatest guitarist ever. He influenced the other great guitarists. Enough said.
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.V 49 Comments
Jimmy is the whole reason I started playing guitar with passion. When I listened to "Ramble On" (the first Zep song I listened to) I didn't really care. But as I got older I really listened, listened to the magic his guitar makes. - galaxyfox
What do you mean "well, but not outstanding"? Jimmy Page is known as one of the biggest rock influences and a riff king. "Stairway To Heaven" is has been put as the best rock song of all time on some websites. The "Stairway To Heaven" guitar solo has been marked as the greatest guitar solo on some sites too! But I agree with the part that he's overrated. Yes, he's a musical genius.
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.
#1. At least when I was growing up. I wanted to learn all his riffs, solos, and acoustic songs, too. And I think he wrote and produced more good ones than anyone on this list. Legendary and the most influential.V 27 Comments
He squeezed all the possible sounds an electrig guitar can generate without the help of some fancy guitar effects.my hero
He mastered the tapping technique. - Userguy44
My vote for eddie just because he must be higher in top
actualy he and jimi both changed guitar playing a lot
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!V 37 Comments
I wish I was as good as him! - Userguy44
Gilmour can say more with a couple bends than most guitarists can with 100 notes. Many try to emulate his tone and feel but never duplicated
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!
Most influentialV 17 Comments
If Iommi didn't exist, every member of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer (keep naming them) would be delivering pizzas!
Genres Tony inspired:
that's a hell of a resume if you ask me.
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.V 13 Comments
Eric Clapton is one of the best guitarists I have ever listened too. He is a incredible artists who inspired the blues into his music and there has never been another one to have Clapton sound. Love it. He listened and played with Jimi Hendrix, Gregg Allman, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, his best friend George Harrison just to name a few. Clapton is the greatest!
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 terrificV 8 Comments
Slash is the most influential guitarist of all time. He is the inspiration of most guitar enthusiast and his style of playing is superb compared to any guitarist. That is why he is so famous.
He's the only reason why I've ever even listened to Guns n' Roses. He looks badass and he can fill the shoes his attire creates with his playing. - Nyoom
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.V 23 Comments
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.
Greatest Musician who ever lived. Hide changed the world's music industryV 10 Comments
Did Hendrix songs better than Jimi sorry but it's true listen to little wing and tell me what you think.
Lenny, Texas Flood, Crossroads... SRV has probly pioniered Blues Guitar, He was the new hendrix
Very under rated player. in my humble opinion played voodoo child just as well if not slightly better than Hendrix. Awesome player.
Best blues guitarist of all timeV 6 Comments
He influenced possibly the best metal guitarist-Dave Mustaine
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!V 8 Comments
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.
One of the very best guitarist of all time. Played with Ozzie and was sadly killed way too young in a plane crash.V 5 Comments
He is just amazing
He's too underrated his guitar solo's are so cool and he's an astro physysist - Legend1221
He had the most unique coolest tone ever. A legend behind some pf the greatest songs ever. Also an astronomer or astrophysicist I don't know
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?V 8 Comments
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
His energy, technique and Longevity is hard to beat. A great performer.V 5 Comments
He influenced John Petrucci, Matt Heafy and many many more great Guitarists.
Downpicking is what comes in my mind first. - Userguy44
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.V 9 Comments
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!
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.V 1 Comment
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.
Best guitarist ever for sureV 4 Comments
I would put Alex Lifeson #! He has been voted #1 just a few years ago by Guitar Player Magazine as the best Rock Guitarist. He is so overshadowed by the best DRUMMER and Perhaps the best BASSIST in ROCK. I think he is the best at his instrument then the other two! Hendrix gets his POPULAR vote by being BLACK and DEAD! (he's good don't get me wrong). Most these guys are rated on popularity, not talent! Eric Clapton SUCKS compared to most these guys. BORING BLUES ERIC.
Alex should be at least 11 on this list. His guitar playing is deceiving. He happens to play with two of the best in the world and his leads are crisp, fast, well thought out. He is a master and a hell of a nice guy to boot. He has influenced many a guitar player and will continue to do so for years to come. His latest music shows he's lost nothing off his fastball.
Compositional genius - we are looking at many hundreds of songs - with as close to zero repetition bar to bar - continuous time and rhythm changes and melodic accuracy throughout. Of course having Neil and Geddy on board helps - 40 years of continuously new music. RUSH rocks the world.
Alex is one of the most impressive and non-standard player. He should be at the top of list, he's really master. No words to speak how Alex's guitar singing. RUSH forever.V 5 Comments
The Father of Rock-n-Roll.
What is this list?!?! None of these guys would exist if it wasn't for the grand architect of rock music, Chuck Berry. He laid the foundation for basic rock music riffs and rhythm and practically introduced the art of guitar soloing to the mainstream. Plus he also in way popularized the electric guitar as an instrument. Without Chuck Berry, rock music may be very different today or may not even exist. At the end of the day, almost every single guitar player to this day has been directly or indirectly influenced by Chuck Berry. "Johnny B. Goode" is the national anthem of rock 'n roll.
Influential doesn't mean best, influential means how much he influenced the instrument. Ritchie Blackmore certainly didn't influence guitar playing as much as Chuck Berry, - EGBrett
The real king of rock and rollV 15 Comments
Should be higher easily
Ace should be higher not only is he great but just how many famous guitarist did he influence? Thousands!
Ace's Les Paul/Marshall sound on the early Kiss records was just so cool. Dimebag had Ace TATTOOED on himself. You want influence? There it is.
Ace Frehley influenced various musicians to learn to play guitar. - Wendy56V 10 Comments
Steve Vai is one of the best guitarists I've ever heard. His skill is as if he had sold his soul to the devil, he is that good.
Maybe the most technically brilliant player ever. Still though, like Jeff Beck, a great player who doesn't write great songs. The guy is an absolute monster on the fret board though and plays things few others could. Check him out as the Devil's guitarist in the movie Crossroads... Brilliant!
Above him, there is no other.
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.
Rescued Deep Purple after Blackmore left, before legendary Steve Morse stepped inV 1 Comment
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.
Simply amazing! He has mastered so many styles!V 5 Comments
Pete Townshend invented and mastered the way we play the guitar in the following way:
1. The windmill. No one can match him with this signature move - it's classic and unique to Pete Townshend. Anyone who attempts to copy this move should pay a royalty to Pete or simply thanks him.
2. The artistic acrobatics of jamming while in mid-flight and timing his jumps at precise moments in a tune for dramatic impact is another signature Pete Townshend playing style. Anyone who cannot contain themselves while playing live by ways of jumping, sliding, flying, throwing guitar in the air, etc. should thank Mr. Townshend for popularizing this style of playing a guitar during a live performance. No one does this better than Pete or has been captured in film doing this better than Pete.
3. The power chord in a musical composition. No one used chord composition and progression as a lead force during a song with an electric guitar such as Pete - listen to The Seeker, Won't Get Fooled Again, Go ...more
Whatever the dude with the 8 points said about Pete is what I think. Way underrated and used the instrument in ways people never did before. Guitar as art.
This man has influenced generations, without him some that are up higher on this list may not have been there.
Who? Pete Townshend HisAwesome SG and Rickenbackers have been smashed every concert, along with his hard to do Windmill...V 2 Comments
he's fast, he has a great sound and
he's a great improviser - richie4life
Definitely. He’s the reason why I am a guitarist. Richie is amazingly talented. Just check out Dry County. It’s so amazing all these emotions he can produce. - DaringXx
Makes a grown man cry from the beautiful sounds he squeezed from those vibrating strings. Like no other. Not never ever.
What clowns are voting for this list? This God is #1
#1 all the way baby!
Most influential! PERIODV 2 Comments
This guy did more for guitar and lyrics than most are willing to admit. His range of sounds and styles is far reaching. Just listen to Telegraph Road.
Gotta love Mark! (the dude from Dire Straits)
One of, if not the, best finger-picking guitarists ever.
A fantastic guitarist, composer, song writer and a great ambassador for rock music. Now moving into ther fields of music. Constantly creating and finding new ways to tell stories through his beautiful words and incredibe ability with a guitar. A true master.V 2 Comments
He's the lead guitarist of judas priest! m/ - ShahryRKnoT
He is simply the best
All modern guitarists since the rock revolution of the 60's?
Keith is EASILY the most influential modern (post 1950's) guitarist - on many levels.
And also most influential to most of the others on this list in fact.
Keith was the first rock player to use the then-unpopular '59 Les Paul - he made it popular and was followed by Clapton and the rest. And where would the telecaster be without Keith Richards? Or the ES335?
Keith pretty much invented the whole Rock God lead guitarist look - the scarves, the low slung guitar, cigarette, shades, shabby hair...
Rock is riffs, so let's include his extensive contribution of some of the greatest, most enduring smash hit rock riffs in history...
Keith invented the archetype of the rock guitarist.
He remains THE rock guitarist.
Can't believe hi too low, he is cool and give a lot of power in his rhythm guitar. He is one of the most influential guitarist in the rock history... Go on dave!
Dave is my favorite guitarist. anyway I think he should be on the top. His guitar skills are amazing!
Why not on top?
Crazy forums...Just one ahead of Neil young...A southern man don't need Neil Young round anymore...The Bucket is about 40 short of his real spot on top. I guess all the Back Street Boys fans are voting...The dudes got 3 first names for goodness sake, that ought to count for something. MAD SKILLS with this unit. A guitar SAVANT! (google it ya moron)
Just watch bucketheads backyard solo on you tube thats all you need to know but him
Best guitarist. As soon as I listened to him, I thought that he was the best - Battlegun
Most innovate sound of the 90s on a guitar...
Best american guitarist of all time!
Helped bring slide-guitar and southern rock to the masses.
Incredibly versatile and innovative.
Just listen to Fillmore EastV 1 Comment
He created his own style, and should not be put into a Latin Music box. He can rock, and he is amazing in his variety on the guitar. He can play everything as shown in his latest album. Should be amongst the top 15.
No other guitarist has had hit in every decade that he has been alive. Carlos Santana has adapted each generation and has not gone away since he started.
Any top ten list that does not include Santana is missing a key ingredient.
Santana deserves to be up there with Blackmore, chuck Berry #1, Hendrix #2 blackmore#3 then SantanaV 3 Comments
Influential, well, pretty much everyone learning guitar starts with a couple beatles songs. He might not be the best, but you don't have to be in order to leave a lasting impact. the man has steered the course of rock history at the right place and time to do so
When the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan the first time, the sales of the Gretch guitar that George was using doubled in a week. THAT is influential.
This list is about influential guitarists, right? Because if that's the case, then Harrison is second only to Hendrix in terms of influence.
He's actually great slide guitarist and as for "influence" well, he's the firstV 1 Comment
Maybe not too well known, but he is the grandfather of the guitar solo as we know it in rock songs.
God of Blues - waldo
Still - waldo
Buddy guy, Joe bonnamassa, eric clapton, srv and even greats such as eddie van halen or slash have all been influenced by the speed, cleaness and perfection and soul of luciell, the guitar who squeels and sings when played by king. Hendrix himself was in awe
One of the best and most influential Japanese rock guitarists, so many cover artists and bands tribute to ken and L'Arc~en~Ciel. see it and you will believe it. - ronluna
Dude actually has to hold back, playing somewhat restrained and occasionally just letting it rip. Has the potential to leave a major legacy. Unbelievably prolific output.
Listen to his Royal Albert Hall live show, the most kickass live Bluesrock guitarist ever!
That's right! I added this. I look forward to the day I can play every Dream Theater song. - IronSabbathPriest
Jp is great guitarist of all times... the idol
Why ain't he nr one - SweetChaos
This is unbelievable how he is rated this low he inspired Keith Richards Eric Clapton Jimmy page and countless others unbelievable
There is no single person on this list who actually knew anything about music that wasn't influenced by Robert Johnson. - Edgelord
The blues would not exist without him. - Edgelord
Should be #1 most INFLUENTUIAL guitarist... Everyone who plays any kind of rock or blues was spawned from him.V 2 Comments
idol of dir en grey from the band D'ERLANGER - ronluna
Deserves much higher, revolutionised British pop music.
He has a style of his own. You can sound like Jimmy Page, you can sound like Hendrix but I do not think that there is anybody in the world who can play like Johnny Marr plays. He inspired many guitarists from Noel Gallagher to John Squire. He is unique!
Johnny Marr has influenced a lot of great guitarists, and has an unique style!
He's ben really influential, especially to british guitarists.V 2 Comments
The Tone master. Have you been living under a rock? Who is better than Eric?
I think he influenced a lot of guitarists with his unique progressive metal style. And his music is so cool. Did you ever listen "Metal Dog"? Please, do. - Mouseclick
I think PG shreds the guitar cleaner and more accurately than the rest of the artists do.. the licks are just very catchy.. coolest player! viva PAUL GILBERT!
PG shreds the guitar cleaner and more accurately than the rest of the artists do.. The licks are just sweet
He's an awesome guitarist and I think he deserves more credit
The blues mixed up with Irish folk, with plenty of ideas : this guy isn't as known as he deserves, but his music really transmit feelings, and if you don't trust me, then listen to it.
The biggest crime in music is how often this guy's overlooked. Slash, the Edge, Joe Bonamassa, etc all cite this guy as a key influence and yet he's usually forgotten in the "Who's the most popular guitarrist" listings
The best live guitarist of all timeV 5 Comments
Be it jazz fusion, which he helped create, blues inspired rock, doo-wop or just straight forward rock guitar, Zappa is one of the most innovative yet unknown guitarists of all time
#2 all time behind Jimi in both influence and innovation. "Watermelon in Easter Hay" - say no more. The fact that he's 40 on this list undermines its credibility.
One of the early renaissance rock rockers with crazy skill and a voracious appetite for the eclectic.
Phenomenal Guitarist Period. He StIll Is Unknown To The Masses.V 2 Comments
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Top Remixes (24)
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Tony Iommi
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Chuck Berry
2. Jimi Hendrix
3. Mark Knopfler
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