Best Lead Guitarists of All Time

Maggot777

The Top Ten

1 Kirk Hammett - Metallica Kirk Hammett - Metallica Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.

Kirk is the best guitarist. His speed is awesome. If you don't believe it see him playing master of puppets it was great

This should be richie sambora... Kirk maybe still great but no one can beat how sambora melodized the guitar

Why isn't Eddie Van Halen on this list?

Joe Satriani definitely deserves a spot on this list.

2 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.

This is not fair at all. Kirk Hammett's solos do not have the emotion that Slash's solos have. BOO!

This guy is the king of all guitarists. He has such passion towards music. His fingers move like lightning all over the guitar.

Its pretty much hard to play slash parts of solo. I played every solo and conclude slash solos are a bit difficult than kirk

Slash can put so much emotion into his solos. Definitely one of the coolest guitarists.

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3 Angus Young - AC/DC Angus Young - AC/DC 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 guy that can play guitar while lying on the floor with spasms

Angus is the best... Love that duck walk!

Eddie van halen

He is the best guitarrist

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4 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.

Surprisingly he wasn't on the list - zxm

After 5 years, 215 days, and 57 names, he wasn't on this list? Shame. - Metal_Treasure

5 Dave Mustaine - Megadeth Dave Mustaine - Megadeth David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own ...read more.

I'm going Dave mustaine on this one to be the lead guitarist in the 2 biggest metal bands in the world u gotta be number one just for that and he plays rhythm and sings no one comes close to big pappa Dave

Way better than any body here!

Uh, he’s rhythm - GreenDayFan21

6 Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience 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.

What the hell? Is this a list or comedy. If Jimi Hendrix could be on top of best guitarist list then why he is low in this list. So, what was he? Wasn't he a lead guitarist? Lead guitar has rhythm parts in it. So, all lead guitarists are rhythm guitarists. - zxm

Mick Thompson better than Jimi Hendrix, that is comedy. LMAO I know this is someone's idea of a joke, and it's funny. Jimmy Page couldn't crack the top ten... it's getting funnier. I mean Page is no Kirk Hammet... we all no that, rofl!

Jimi is the greatest guitarist that has ever lived, is still living or ever will live.

Jimi is the greatest of all time!

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7 Synyster Gates - Avenged Sevenfold Synyster Gates - Avenged Sevenfold Brian Elwin Haner, Jr., better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn, is an American musician, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold.

Syn's skill is amazing! Sweep picking, dive bombs, hammer ons and pull offs, sliding. He's a master of it all. Most of his solos are superfast and clean at the same time. The solo from afterlife is what you should listen to. Jimi hendrix set his guitar on fire. Syn can do the same. ALL HE HAS TO DO IS PLAY IT! HE PLAYS SO FAST HE MAKES SLASH SEEM LIKE A ROOKIE!
FoREVer

You must be kidding me! He's the best lead guitarist ever born. Slash is nowhere even close to him.

Him and zacky and so many others inspired me to become a guitarist!

Syn great guitarist ever

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8 Jeff Waters Jeff Waters Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator . He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos . Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band . Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, ...read more.

Annihilator - Alison Hell. He wrote the song and played the riffs and solo. - Metal_Treasure

9 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.

The best!

10 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.

Synyster gates? Better than jimmy page? I don't think so. Jimmy page was the second greatest guitarist that ever lived the first being jimi hendrix.

The Contenders

11 Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore and death metal band Arch Enemy.

He's a technical beast. - Metal_Treasure

12 Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.
13 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.

There has never been one like him!

Black Star is a masterpiece. - Metal_Treasure

YJM deserves to be no. 1. You people heard of FBTS and BS - GreenDayFan21

14 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.

Why would anybody in their right mind put Synyster Gates over Eddie Van Halen?! This is coming from an Avenged sevenfold fan too!

The MASTER!

15 Marty Friedman Marty Friedman Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s, as well as Cacophony alongside Jason Becker until 1989. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted ...read more.

The mastermind of thrash metal...melodic and technical at the same time...every single solo he writes is just amazing...he should be at 1

The only one who deserves to be in the top 10 in this whole list.

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

Surely the most technically able guitarist of all time

17 John Petrucci - Dream Theater John Petrucci - Dream Theater John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater.

Should be higher - zxm

Go

NOWWTF IS THIS BULLCRAP, SYNYSTER GATES OVER A GOD?

18 Dimebag Darrel - Pantera

dude, maybe Slipknot is you favorite band; but you're going to receive many bad comments in this list because you put Mick Thompson in first place... mainly because it is so wrong that he is before Jimi and Dimebag, and you forgot many great guitarists like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, Alexi Liaho, Zakk Wylde, John Petrucci, Rhandy Rhoads, Michael Angelo Batio, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Eric Clapton, Glenn Tipton... - rock2metal

Don't get me wrong... Hammet is one fine gutarist, but he doesn't belong in the number one slot or even the top five (and Metallica is one of my favorite bands) I'm sorry to say that, but it's true! And Dimebag should be in the top three, he blows.. Or should I say.. Could have blown Hammet out of the water.

19 Mick Thomson - Slipknot Mick Thomson - Slipknot Mickael Gordon "Mick" Thomson is an American heavy metal musician. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he is best known as one of two guitarists in Slipknot, in which he is designated #7.

OF course he is. He created his own tuning. Kirk is good but just any regular guitarist

Of course Mick Thompson's #1. His guitar powers are controlled by the power of his mask. My inspiration.

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20 Steve Vai Steve Vai Steven Siro "Steve" Vai is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer, born and raised on Long Island, New York.
21 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.

Tony in #23 and Kirk on top? Kirk wrote wonderful solos and he's a great player, but I think he's overrated. Tony is so underrated as a lead guitarist. People say that there are guitarists that can solo better than Tony, but actually there are people that can solo better than Kirk and Tony is one of them. Kirk has made great choices of notes and phrasing and he's done some good bending, but there are guitarists including Tony that not only can do that, but they use more control whenever they use vibrato and they don't overuse wah pedals while soloing. Just listen to "War Pigs", "Black Sabbath", "NIB", "Planet Caravan", "Children Of The Grave", "Symptoms Of The Universe", "Neon Knights" "Heaven and Hell", "Lonely Is The Word", etc.

22 David Gilmour - Pink Floyd David Gilmour - Pink Floyd 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 probably the most soulful guitarist alive today. Kirk Hammett is very good, but no one can beat the soulful, inerrant style of David Gilmour.

Laughing at the list. He's on top 7 of "Best Guitarists Ever" list. And he's on 22 of best lead guitarist list. - zxm

Best ever. Some crazy crap above him. Perhaps he is too subtle for people with no feel.

Ha ha, Kirk Hammett is not even close to this guy - zxm

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23 Jeff Hanneman - Slayer Jeff Hanneman - Slayer Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.
24 Kerry King - Slayer Kerry King - Slayer Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.
25 Joe Perry - Aerosmith Joe Perry - Aerosmith Anthony Joseph "Joe" Perry is the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the American rock band Aerosmith.

Best ever, for a lot of reasons.

26 Alex Lifeson - Rush Alex Lifeson - Rush Aleksandar Živojinović, better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush.

One of the most inspiring musicians out there. Deep variety, sound, quality, versatility. All of his work is unique.

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27 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.

It genuinely scares me that anybody would put Mick Thompson over Eric Clapton.

The graffiti in 1960's London alleyways said it all: "Clapton is God".

28 Alexi Laiho - Children of Bodom Alexi Laiho - Children of Bodom
29 Michael Padge Paget - Bullet For My Valentine

Man he is so underrated :(
He should be on top 5 :(

Tears don't fall, shows what he is

30 George Harrison - The Beatles George Harrison - The Beatles George Harrison was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

I can't believe he is number #40

31 Daron Malakian - System of a Down Daron Malakian - System of a Down Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.

Just for the madness he has got, I would rank him in top ten. My personal favorite though.

32 Dan Donegan - Disturbed Dan Donegan - Disturbed Dan Donegan is an American musician and guitarist for heavy metal band Disturbed. Donegan began playing guitar as a teenager and eventually formed a band called Vandal, which was an 1980s-style hair band.

Haha, Disturbed's my favorite band and I love Danny to death. However, he should not be in the the top 20, let alone the top 10. That's not to say he's bad guitarist. He's an excellent guitarist; the man learned how to play just by watching someone on T.V. and he down-picks exclusively. Considering this list is bad enough as is, I'll support the home-team and give the guy my vote

33 Brad Delson Brad Delson Bradford Phillip Delsonis an American musician, best known as the lead guitarist and one of the founding members of the Grammy Award winning rock band Linkin Park. V 1 Comment
34 Matt Bellamy Matt Bellamy Matthew James "Matt" Bellamy is an English musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and compose most famous for being the main vocalist in alternative rock band Muse.
35 Tom Delonge Tom Delonge Thomas Matthew "Tom" DeLonge, Jr., is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and film producer. He was born in Poway, California on December 13, 1975 . When he was in high school at age 15, he got expelled for drinking at a basketball game . He also used to play the ...read more.
36 Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert
37 Frank Marino

This guy was doing taps before Eddie Van Halen was even around he was also the first to use the wireless on the guitar as well as the first to do the backward guitar sound he was way ahead of his time and was the first after Hendrix died to do that style of music as well as some Hendrix songs on the guitar! No one sounds as close as Hendrix than this guy can if he wants! He also builds his own amps and effects pedals to meet his personal sounds and needs!

38 Uli Roth
39 Johnny Ramone - Ramones Johnny Ramone - Ramones John William Cummings, better known by his stage name Johnny Ramone, was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being the guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones.

Like I said in the remix, he is not really a lead guitarist. A band that has only one guitarist doesn't really mean he has to be lead guitarist. Lead guitar is more complex than rhythm guitar. Rhythm guitar usually means some notes played repeatedly. That means rhythm guitarists mostly play riffs. While lead guitarists play more than just riffs. They play solos, use more techniques - pull off and hammer on, bending, difficult licks etc. Johnny Ramone could play lead guitar. But he did rhythm part more than lead part. So he shouldn't be so high on this list. And its not just for him. Also for a lot of punk guitarists. They use more rhythm guitar part than lead part. - zxm

40 Mick Taylor Mick Taylor Michael Kevin Taylor is an English musician, best known as a former member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Rolling Stones.
41 Ray Toro Ray Toro Raymond "Ray" Toro is an American musician who served as lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band My Chemical Romance until their split in 2013. V 1 Comment
42 Shawn Lane
43 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.
44 Michael Schenker Michael Schenker
45 Robin Trower
46 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.
47 John Frusciante John Frusciante John Anthony Frusciante is an American guitarist, singer, producer and composer.He is best known for his time with the Funk Rock California based band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
48 Jona Weinhofen - Bring Me the Horizon
49 Richie Sambora Richie Sambora Richard Stephen "Richie" Sambora is an American rock guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter who was the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi for 30 years.
50 Steve Rothery - Marillion Steve Rothery - Marillion
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List Stats

400 votes
63 listings
7 years, 32 days old

Top Remixes (5)

1. David Gilmour - Pink Floyd
2. John Petrucci - Dream Theater
3. Alex Lifeson - Rush
zxm
1. Ritchie Blackmore
2. Jeff Waters
3. Jeff Loomis
Metal_Treasure
1. Kirk Hammett - Metallica
2. Dave Mustaine - Megadeth
3. Slash
Dibbo92

WRemix
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