Best Metal Guitarists

The Top Ten

1 Dave Mustaine Dave Mustaine 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 more.

Dave was one of the pioneers of metal. His invention of the spider rhythm technique and his blistering solos inspired a generation. His solos are inventive, melodic and suit the songs perfectly. Dave has got to be the king!

Dave Mustaine is truly talented and truly the best. Most people forget that not only is he playing masterpieces, but he is also singing. He is WAY BETTER than Kirk Hammett. Kirk is better at playing other people's songs than his own. But Dave is better on his own AND other people's songs. Dave should be number one. No doubt about it. I bet if Metallica didn't kick out Dave, they wouldn't have any challenge. They would be a mono

Mustaine puts so much energy into his riffs, you can't deny he's one of the best. His solos blow your mind with his technical playing style.

If only he played guitar and didn't sing... - CaptainMowzker

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2 Dimebag Darrell Dimebag Darrell Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

Dimebag saved Heavy Metal.. Literally! More than once, with PanterA!
Even Dave Mustaine wanted him in Megadeth..
Kirk is just good.. Without the wah wah pedal, he would be nothing! James Hetfield is better than Kirk!

dimebag should be number 1 no other guitarist can do or could do what he did he's the best end of story

You just can't say anything bad about him, he had every thing, he could play fast techniques like no one could, and seriously I never heard someone play with so much feel.
Rip dimebag the best guitarist ever was we all love and miss you

Guitarist who taught the guitar to speak

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3 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 more.

Acts such as Cream, King Crimson, and Blue Cheer helped reshape rock music. However, it was not until Black Sabbath's arrival onto the budding heavy rock scene that the face of music would be changed forever. Tony Iommi took the blueprint set before by other musicians and added heavier distortion, lightning-fast solos, and killer riffs. Mixed with the gloomy and depressive lyrics of Geezer Butler (Geezer also gets credit for being one of the most creative bass players in heavy metal history), the wailing vocals of Ozzy Osbourne, and the pummeling drumming of Bill Ward the result was that of an unorthodox rock machine that favored dark topics of obscure over the optimism of the hippy-era. And the driving force behind the band's songs were Iommi's riffs.

Songs featuring notable riffs of Iommi: Black Sabbath, N. I. B. , War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Sweet Leaf, Children of the Grave, Lord of this World, Into the Void, Wheels of Confusion, Supernaut, Snowblind, ...more

The fact that Tony Iommi and his sledgehammer riffs aren't at the top of this list is practically spitting in the face of heavy metal. Iommi and his guitar practically created heavy metal. Any guitarist on this list would more than likely say Iommi influenced them in one way or another. - ybothermatt

Dave Mustaine is awesome, but overrated. Tony Iommi is actually the greatest metal guitarist. He may not be one of the greatest guitar technicians, but he innovated and perfected heavy metal with his signature dark guitar tone and scary riffs like "Black Sabbath," "Iron Man," "Children of the Grave," "Into the Void," "Hand of Doom," "Electric Funeral," "Symptoms of the Universe," and "Under The Sun."

Let's not forget that his solos are not too shabby. Check out "Black Sabbath," "Warning," "Junior's Eye," "Planet Caravan," "War Pigs," "Fluff," "Children of the Grave," "Supernaut," "Snowblind," "Symptoms of the Universe," "Heaven and Hell," "Neon Knights," "Children of the Sea," "I Go Insane," "Devil and Daughter," "Wheels of Confusion," ...more

Let’s be honest, it’s ok that he’s not #1 on the list, because we all know he’s the honorary Greatest of All Time, Godfather of the Heavy Metal Riff, the King of Kings. He’s Tony Iommi. This is his genre. Everybody else is just borrowing it. You wanna make it big in Hollywood, you sell your soul to the devil. If you wanna make it big in Heavy Metal, you sell your soul to Iommi.

Let Dave and Dime have his one.

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4 Kirk Hammett Kirk Hammett 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.

He rocks when plays guitar. He plays leading over and above our expectations that makes us proud that we are his fans. When he plays fade to black, nothing else matters, I like his style of playing guitar lead whether he taps or treks. Fade to black lead is one f my favorite leads he have played. His Esp guitar is very rocking. I also like his hair style. I think nobody can stand in front of him, when he performs.

Maybe not the fastest or the most technical guitar player arround. But Kirk is a great composer and he plays with lots of feeling, passion and dedication. He really mean what he's playing!

He also has a strong personality and he plays the music he want, the way he want, respecting his own style, no matter what other people say.
Thats the true spirit of metal!

Kirk Hammett joined Metallica in 1983 when Dave Mustaine was kicked out of the band because of his aggressive behaviour and drug abuse... Known for his confidence and passion while playing, Kirk always uses wah-wah pedal in his solos leaving everyone amazed and jealous of him... Although playing with less technique than Dave Mustaine but with more certainty and dedication, Kirk is considered to be much better than Dave... LOVE YOU MY MASTER

Kirk is god - Metalhead83927

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5 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.

He's the best. Those two at the top are metal Gods but more so with a complete band this is about best guitarist. You're confusing the two.

This just demonstrates the folly of democracy. Either those who have voted for other guitarists have not listened to Randy Rhoads, or have rooted themselves in denial that any guitarist outside their obscure (probably destructive) taste could be any good. Randy Rhoads is the best metal guitarist because he doesn't play metal for the sake of metal. He plays music for the sake of music, and luckily for metalheads, he just happens to play metal. Maybe other guitarists are better at playing pretentiously technical arrangements on guitar in a metal format, but none are better at playing music in a metal format... Than the legendary Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads could have use Kirk, Mustaine and Gates as his guitar pick

They are good. But, Randy is GOD...

How the hell is Kirk Hammett ahead of Randy Rhoads, Marty Friedman, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Ritchie Blackmore

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6 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 more.

If we would play a mindgame and say Friedman would have been in Metallica and Hammett would have been the lead guitarist in Megadeth than Marty would be on top with a rate of maybe 40% maybe less maybe more neverless doesn't matter, but he would be for sure on top. And if Kirk Hammett would be at Megadeth. It could have been the way that nearly no one even had voted for him. What I want to say is that Kirk just benefits in his votes by being a part of Metallica while Friedman isn't appreciated so much, even though his lead play is unique and way more harder to copy. I play the electric guitar for 19 years now and I am playing a lot of Solos of both bands, but when I play Martys solos I have to practice parts of them so often because they contain a way of playing you can't just learn like a typical solo, ok hard to explain here for a non solo guitarist, but I can tell you I am very very good in guitar playing and it is still so hard for me to learn martys solos, because your fingers ...more

Marty Friedman can kick all of their ass. 'Cause he has really a awesome technique. He can play fast and meaningful solos with no mistake

Mustaine the best metal guitarist? Far from it. He isn't even the best in his own band.

And I love Metallica (still my favorite of the "big 4" but Marty Friedman is a better guitarist than Kirk Hammet. - Chris-1

Marty Friedman is one of those guitarists who have their own distinctive playing, no matter how obscure. His knowledge of music theory is absolutely masterful, and his solos never fail to blow me away. His material is really difficult to emulate as well. He’s a musical genius in his own right and he still doesn’t get the amount of credit he deserves. His work with Megadeth displays just a portion of his skill and work, listen to Cacophony and his solo albums such as Dragon’s Kiss. To further prove how incredible he is, his solo in Tornado of Souls was one of the three improvised takes he did, and Dave decided that the one we hear is the best one.

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7 John Petrucci John Petrucci 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. Compared to his level of skill, John Petrucci is relatively unknown in the modern music industry.

Hands down the best Guitarist on this list easily! Kurt Hammett at #1? What a joke... He couldn't stand toe to toe with John Petrucci on Kurts best day and John sick with the flu in bed!

Funny. We know that Kirk is better than this progressive mess of a band. - lilrocketman

All in one... this man is an monster... No one here even close! he has study, feeling, experience and technics... all in one definitely

This guy play anything! He's probably the one who have the best technique.

The literal Jesus on Guitar

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8 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck more.

Synsyter Gates? Really? All those solos are like the same, only fast shredding, no creativity, no meaning of the solo, nothing. Chuck Schuldiner should be at least in the top five, his solos are legendary and memorable. Listen to solos in the symbolic album for instance (crystal mountain, misanthrope etc)

Chuck needs to be at least in the top 10 he may not be the best shredder like Randy Rhoads but his songwriting is unmatched. I'm sick of these posers who think sinister gates is a god at everything on a guitar and for the record avenged sevenfold isn't even a metal band.

Why is Chuck not at least number ten? He might not have sold as well as Metallica or Megadeth, but his legacy was HUGE! He may have single-handedly created the entire Death Metal genre, thus inspiring countless musicians, including myself.
His writing and playing skill was no joke either. - chrisseafoodfu

The technicality of Marty Friedman with the riff creativity of Dimebag, not to mention he himself is like half of the band. - MetalPope

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9 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.

this is totally unfair, james wrote all metallica's guitar parts and kirk just stood on stage and only played guitar solos

I like James the best because he comes up with legendary riffs and he can still play amazing solos even though he isn't the lead guitarist. He plays the ballad solo in to live is to die, the bluesy solo in master of puppets, the last solo in one and harmonizes with kirk in a lot of other songs.

It's actually sad that people think Kirk is better than James. Have you seen Kirks solo's lately? They're pretty bad. There's a reason why James always plays the riffs first by himself and not Kirk like in Blackened, Battery and Creeping Death. He wrote almost all of their riffs from Kill em all to...And Justice for all and then some. Enter Sandman is an iconic metal riff written by Kirk Hammet, but Master of Puppets, Creeping Death, Battery, Harvester of Sorrow, One and Ride the Lightning all have riffs that are masterpieces. The stuff James plays and sings at the same time is incredible. Not much I need to say about that. And James has also had his share of solo's from Nothing Else Matters to Master of Puppets to The Outlaw Torn etc. He puts more emotion in his solo's. The only emotional solo from Kirk was the Unforgiven solo. But of course, Kirk is the better guitarist when it comes to solo's cause Creeping Death, One and Blackened all have amazing thrash solos. - DunnaNunnaBatman

Come on he deserves the number 1 spot and Kirk deserves the number 2

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10 Dave Murray Dave Murray David Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

This guy can play! That's the main thing you need to know... - kameel

It's not about being the fastest, or heaviest guitar player. Rhodes would probably get my pick for best player of his time, but if you're talking longevity, there are not many that can compete with Murray for his amazing technical skill and memorable riffs. Not only that, but to be that consistently great for over 3 decades of kick-ass metal, is outstanding and noteworthy in its own right.

Dave Murray should have been replaced with dave mustaine. It is sure that Iron Maiden is one of the best metal band of all time. Also known as NWOBHM. And the guitarists play the main role in metal songs. Dave Murray is a hero.

Who says you can't play metal on a strat? - MetalPope

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The Newcomers

? Cliff Burton Cliff Burton Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Copenhagen whilst promoting Metallica's more.

The Contenders

11 Synyster Gates Synyster Gates 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.

He's the most talented guitarist on the planet who has achieved this huge spot in a very young age. I bet in the upcoming few years he will be the number one in the greatest guitarists ever as he is number one in best metal/rock guitarist. His solos are full of feelings and creativity. This century has come for him.
Additionally, he is the most good looking guitarist ever... No offense!

If I'd make a list syn wouldn't be in top 10. He is not bad, he is just not "the best" glenn tipton or darrell deserves the title. Best guitarist ever is jimmy page or David gilmour.

He playing very good in no matter type of music such as acoustic, solo, metal, rock and etc... He can play it better...

... Dave and kirk plays greatly, yet this guy can play better... Try listening to any song by the avenged sevenfold.. All have great instrumentals..

Have anyone of you jeard the stage album, I mean they came a long way from metalcore to heavy/prog metal in this album is not a joke

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12 Adrian Smith Adrian Smith 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.

His melodic riffs make Maiden music the great metal materpieces that they are!

When Adrian Smith joined Iron Maiden, he formed a partnership with Dave Murray that became one of the most impressive yet underrated in metal history. The styles of the two guitarists formed the riffs and solos of some of the most influential and ground breaking songs in metal history - (Hallowed be Thy Name, The Trooper and Aces High) to name a few.

His solo in wasted years, alexander the great, caught somewhere in time, powerslave and countless others are more memorable than those played by Herman Li. Speed does not make you a great guitarist, it is the feel of the music that makes you great. P. S Kirk Hammett deserves top 5, Listen to Fade to Black. SMith and Murray should be in top 15 at least.

Wasted years. Adrian dominates the song and does an incredible solo

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13 Alexi Laiho Alexi Laiho Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.

Hey, whoever made this is kind of stupid I guess. Alexi and all the guitar player listed here are just like listed the lord and slaves. He alexi are far higher than all of them.

Just go and watch cob live in Stockholm guys...
And for those who vote for kirk, go and read his interviews about the best guitarist of world! He himself said alexi.. Forgive me for my english

This one should be voted number 1 because alexi was really fast. Just listen the song : Needle 24 7, every time I die. It has very fast guitar shred

Alexi plays like an God of guitar - amazing guy!

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14 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.

While ironically beat at his own invention by Glenn, this man is still the next best sweep picker. His shred arpeggio's are hard to beat, but he doesn't experiment much so I ranked him down a bit. After Randy and Ritchie invented Neo-classical metal, Yngwie invented the sweep pick and developed the genres true stylistic sound. - 17MaCarollo

Yngwie is the King! A big plus besides his musical geniality and technical skills is that he is mostly inspired by the greatest and most influential composer of all time Johann Sebastian Bach.

I love this guy! I have ADD and drinks pots of coffee so I need a guy that plays like this! Thanks Yngwie!

Vote for yngwie that’s all I have to tell you

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15 Jeff Hanneman Jeff Hanneman Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Jeff hanneman should be in the top 10 he wrote pretty much every song slayer has and he just really great I think Kerry is just a little overrated

85 you gotta be joking Hanneman is easily number two while Mustaine is number one

Jeff & King are in my top 10! Reign in blood is my all time favorite album!

Why so low? Jeff should be top 5, he wrote most of slayer's good hits and he is up there and even better than Kirk Hammett (no offense)

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16 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.

Even though he's NOT ACTUALLY A METAL GUITARIST he has an amazing sense of improvisation and melody, and sounds a hell of a lot better than the pick-thrashing that is played by metal artists nowadays

Slash is probably the best technician after Jimi Hendrix, and he is a important part of one of the best bands ever.. So, my vote goes to him.. My favorites are also Dimebag, Iommi and Hammet, though there are too many good guitar player, so in a probably in the next ten minutes I'll change my mind, and I'll say 'I forgot some excellent guitarist'.

The best guitarist is always and will always him. He Was AWESOME, no one can't beat him. He stunned us when he enter the fields.

She is weird

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17 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.

Best on the list, Van Halen live was awesome No others could hold a candle to this man.

The problem with this list is the fact that some people do not consider Eddie Van Halen or Jimmy Page metal players, so they get less votes. If this was a best guitar player list not best metal list these two would EASILY be top three, in my opinion they are better than Hendrix so top two. They are, along with Iommi THE biggest inspiration to metal guitar players, Zeppelin were the the heaviest at the time other than sabbath, and Eddie Van Halen basically invented the metal guitar solo, with pinch harmonics and whammy dives, but with a lot of feeling(although his rhythym playing is untouchable and I wish he got more recognition for it).

Eruption is an epic song. End of story.
Why is Eddie at 25th? I respect Kirk and Slash and all the others, but Eddie Van Halen is the real deal, the original.

But Van Halen isn't even metal though. - ass23

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18 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.

Steve vai is one of the greatest legend guitarist of all time!
He is obvious amazing guitar hero in new generation and forever.
Nobody is compare with steve vai skills except his master joe satriani.

Steve Vai is one of those who has influenced me deeply. He is a God's incarnation. Nobody's skills are meant to be compared to his. His solos are just to incredible.

.. Best tone comming out of his fingers... Passion, creativity, control, shredding skills, humor.. All on highest level!

He rules over Synyster Gates - 445956

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19 Kerry King Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Slayers lead guitarist. I don't even know how they get through an entire set list at the rate they play. - DieForMetal555

This freaks me out that Kerry King isn't listed as one of the best guitarist in the world. Who plays faster, tighter, and cleaner than him. Whether you listen to him live or recorded you cannot tell the difference. Slayer has 3 of the best musicians in metal/thrash. King, Hannemin and Lombardo.

1. The speed he plays at is nothing compared to countless other guitarists, he doesn't even sweep pick 2. His solos are atonal and pretty much display no talent at all whatsoever, it is just him mindlessly moving his fingers while abusing his whammy

While King isn't the best at leads nor at composing songs, it was King who taught Hanneman how to play guitar. In fact, King is the ONLY Slayer guitarist who can play Sex. Murder. Art. live, and has the correct picking technique, as Jeff Hanneman started picking with the elbow and not the wrist.

480bpm? this guy likes it fast - Morbid_Deth

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20 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.

I know that by best metal guitarist, we are talking about the most influential, skillful and unique players. And while I understand Dave Mustaine's influence on metal (I have all megadeth albums from before 2000) and agree that he is probably the most influential guitarist in metal, I would like to see him cover Miles of Machines.

Jeff Loomis takes inspiration from the likes of Marty Friedman, Jason Becker and in my opinion, is the one of the best metal players to emerge in the 21st century. I don't believe he is the best player in metal, but I don't think he should be as low as 34 - Nevermore

Probably one of the most under-appreciated guitarists ever. There is no excuse not to have him in the top 10. He can sweep better than almost anyone (Devil Theory, This Godless Endeavor), has written some of the best riffs I've ever heard and most of all isn't just a mindless shredder like so many.

Incredibly underrated and overlooked. Amazing arpeggios, especially diminished arps. He could run circles around every player in the top 10... even the robot known as Petrucci. - audiobyrne

Conquering dystopia is a masterpiece...Jeff is an inspiration...I've been playing guitar 28 years and his playing is just so clean it makes me want to try harder every day...

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21 Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society.

Few guitarists can take the pentatonic scale as far as zakk. Epics like no more tears and mama I'm coming home had just perfect solos. One thing he lacks with is grooving with a drummer. He seems to work more off a bass player, in other words the riffs aren't fun to listen to. Zakk has started slacking the last few years, but hell we all get old.. But his stage precense is unmatched by anyone. Rockstars typically are short so seeing a large muscular Viking is epic all by itself.

Zakk Wylde should be #1 on this list. Top 3 at the very least. For one thing, many guitarists mentioned don't play Metal! The poll clearly says Metal. If your talking greatest guitarists of all-time period, he's still top 10. In my opinion, in a guitar duel, Wylde can stand with anyone whose ever held a guitar.

zakk is the best guitarist of the world is fast & have the best sound - carlos

Zakk was ozzys upgrade enough said

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22 Glenn Tipton Glenn Tipton Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. He is most commonly known as the lead guitarist for English heavy metal band Judas Priest.

This is number one for me. Glenn Tipton is living proof that class and style beats technique any day of the week. Not that his work isn't technical or difficult (it is, though there's several on this list that take it quite a bit further on that aspect), but he's a sloppy player - especially live. That doesn't stop at least half of his solo's being beautiful, memorable tunes and mini-stories that fit perfectly within the song. That percentage is easily 5 times as high as any other guitarist in this list in my very humble opinion - many guitar solo's are either boring or just don't add much to what is already in the song; regardless of how difficult, unusual or well played it is.

Glenn Tipton should be first, he plays at a level that no one else can play at he's better than hammet and mustaine for sure his best solos are ram it down painkiller touch of evil and there are a lot more good solos to and his best riffs are touch of evil painkiller breaking the law and there also a lot more

Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are two of the best metal guitarists out there. How these two, and Richie Blackmore, aren't in the top ten just boggles my mind. How can you have Synyster Gates as #3, but not even include the people he was influenced by in the top 10? I mean, good god, Judas Priest were one of the bands that synthesized Black Sabbath and Deep Purple into its fiery and chaotic self. Especially on the album Painkiller. I find myself just continuing to skip back to the solo on the title track just to hear the whole thing another time. Very fast, very talented, and very underrated on this list.

A Metal God!

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23 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 is the reason that most kids have picked up a guitar in the first place. He is the god of the fretboard, without denial. I think that he should easily be at #1!

I changed my mind as an atheist when I first heard Jimmy Page's guitar playing. Since then I believe in the god of guitars.

Jimmy is the best!

Not metal - Disturbedpotato

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24 K.K. Downing

I think that he should be placed at top 10 he is one of the greater guitarists in the world

He was shredding in 70', while no one knew how to play metal! (I mean the solo of Victim of Changes) - ShahryRKnoT

For me..K.K. Downing is in top 10. I don't agree with Gibson's top 10 list.

Should be in Top Ten. Totally underrated.

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25 Alex Skolnick Alex Skolnick Alexander Nathan Skolnick is an American metal and jazz guitarist who is the lead guitarist of the Bay Area thrash metal band Testament, and heads the jazz band Alex Skolnick Trio.

Why is alex at 64? Definitely one of the most diverse guitarists out there, which shows from his soft metal, to death metal, to his jazz trio he is currently part of, not to mention being one of the lead guitarist for the philharmonic orchestra.. Testament!

As a fan of Kirk Hammett and Metallica, as much as I love Testament, they were physically and mentally incapable of inventing thrash, writing its greatest albums, and Hetfield and Hammett in their prime could easily duplicate anything Testament have done.

This man is EVERYTHING a metal guitarist should be. Heavy, melodic, fast, precise, technically sound, innovative and a great song writer. He's way more enjoyable to listen to than many on this list, in my opinion.

He Should be in the top tens easily. He's way better than Kirk. Think about it Who has better guitar solos. Alex does. Kirks Best solo is one. But Alex's solos are SO GOOD I can't even choose a favorite solo. Switch Alex with Kirk and a few other minor changes and this list is perfect.

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26 Ritchie Blackmore

The most versatile technical guitarist on this list. A long career writing so many classic riffs, songs and solos. Ritchie really is terribly under valued. He started modern metal with Deep Purple In Rock in 1970, and expanded on that with Made in Japan in 1973. Rainbow Rising is another high point of which there are so many. A true musicians musician and genius. The one and only Man in Black.

This guy needs to be at the very top. Seriously speed does not make you a great guitarist.

Even though speed is not everything, he was the fastest metal guitarist in the 70s! Add to this his superhuman creativity and intricate riffs and solos. All his metal counterparts of the 70s sound very naive and simplistic as compared to him. Definitely he was the best one back then. A true guitar god. - Metal_Treasure

The best guitarist by far! He came up with so many memorable riffs, like Smoke on the Water! Just listen to his solos, he's a guitar god!

All these kids voting for Slash and S.Gates I can't believe how Ritchie is 26th he played in two succesful rock bands in the 70s - Disturbedpotato

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27 Daron Malakian Daron Malakian Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.

Why System of a Down is just so awesome. Listen to the intro of B.Y.O.B. and the solo in Lonely Day and tell me that isn't good. Did I forget to mention he's kinda cute?

System of a Down is my favourite band, Like the other guy said, The solo for Lonely day is amazing. But don't just listen to those songs, I guarentee you there are very good songs from them that almost nobody knows. At least a majority of people, Listen to Marmalade, Spiders, Highway Song, Mr. Jack and Soldier Side, I would offer more but I don't think people will just look all of these up. He does make simple riffs and songs but that doesn't stop it from sounding amazing, listen to the part after the solo in Spiders and you will feel some heavy stuff. Same thing with The interlude in Highway Song.

Like the rest of the band his sounds and riffs are so original! Though I have no technical ear for guitar play what so ever, I can just sense that he is really good! And the whole bands ensemble is just great!

Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's one person playing guitar on his songs

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28 Jason Becker Jason Becker Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American neoclassical metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up more.

Jason did what Eddie Van Halen did for rock guitar for metal guitar. He took Malmsteen's and Rhoads' technique to the upmost level, and put undeniable passion in every note he played. It is a shame that he was stricken down with ALS. He is the greatest to live.

Jason's Skill was undeniable....anyone who has heard his music should know that it is one of the most amazing things ur ears have ever heard..jason is hands down...the greatest...

Jason Becker was a best guitarist I've ever seen, His guitar playing was unbelievable. He is very good man. If he able to play guitar now than he could be the number 1 guitarist of the world. We love him very much.

What to say...
When you hear "Air", you think,hmm Bach.
When you hear "Perpetual Burn" you think Paganini.
When you hear "Jewel" with Marty, you think... it's amazing duo.
"Altitudes" is masterpiece that is a class in itself.
Jason is the most amazing, touching, skilled guitarist of his time, the others can only learn from him. What he achieved at such young age is a Mozart of guitar and will be remembered forever!

V 7 Comments
29 Andy LaRocque

Yes, in both King Diamond and Death he was a virtuoso. Most inside the metal scene know of his flamboyance and skill, though not publicly well-known.

Absolutely the most original guitarist on this list and also the most underrated

Better than randy Rhodes or Eddie Van Halen combined

Underrated When metalheads finally discovers him, he's a favorite every time.

V 1 Comment
30 Buckethead Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

Very underrated, and Metallica is my favorite band, yet that doesn't mean Kirk is the best guitarist, he is a little overrated in my opinion... - doodad

Underrated is his nickname, I guess. I found this guitar legend, and I can say, he plays amazing. I'm a huge Metallica fan and I have listened thousands of bands but buckethead is very different. Everyone should listen and give him a chance. Nobody can say "buckethead sucks". He is great on his job.

Puts so much passion into every note, such an amazing player, should be a lot higher on the list

Way too much for the average non guitar player to process. I don't advise listening to this if you like"popular music" way too advanced. Stick to The Rolling Stones list of mainly overrated guitarists.

V 11 Comments
31 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, more.

Oh I'm shocked he is not in the list. Guys listen to him and you'll know why he is the best.
Mine top 3
1) Dave Mustaine
2) Jeff waters
3) John Petruci - deadlydawn

Personally, I think mustaine is the best, but I voted for waters because he is SO underrated, jut listen to W. T. Y. D. And pretty much all of the Alice in hell album, and you'll be convinced he should be in the top 10

The best guitarist on the earth. So much inspirational. Every song he plays is just brilliant. So many riffs, great solo's and the most he is annihilator just as dave is megadeth...

Sadly he plays in not well known band... after I listened to "Alice in Hell" album, I was completely shocked. Deserves to be in top 4 with Dave Mustaine, Dimebag Darrell and Tony Iommi

V 10 Comments
32 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 more.

I also am quite surprised not to find Joe Satriani in your top ten, but then he's never really played in any real popular bands. Always the lone wolf. However that may be, He is definitely up there with the best of them. He and John Petrucci of Dream Theatre and Liquid Tension Experiment are two of my most favorite guitar players in the world that I can listen to anytime day or night.

Yeah, not many kids know who he is, granted. I'm 14 and know who he is and how amazing of a guitarist he is. So not many kids know him, but remember this is a METAL guitarist list, and Joe isn't really metal. That said, as an overall guitarist, Joe should be number 1

mah. none of these kids even know who joe is. if they did, he'd be #1 for sure. he's not "the guitar god" for nothing

Peep surfing with the alien then change your vote to joe

V 11 Comments
33 Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert Paul Brandon Gilbert is an American hard rock/heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums.

Agreed most of the people who vote on this list aren't guitarists. Paul gilbert is probably the most under rated guitarist I've heard. Type in scarified on you tube and you'll see why


Paul Gilbert, who teaches music theory and can play any style you can think of. Seriously, if this is a list of 'talent'... Then many of you don't have an ear for Mr. Gilbert. If you're a guitar musician, you know who Paul Gilbert is - period.

Kirk hammett and dave should not be in top ten if u compare them with paul you would say get out of my yard

V 4 Comments
34 Mikael Akerfeldt Mikael Akerfeldt Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath for three albums up until 2012. more.

The range of this guy! From acoustic, to jazzy, to the heaviest death metal riffs & solo's, this guy has written & played it all! And while the above guitarists are technically equals (maybe), they cannot put the same amount of feeling into the music that Mikael can. From sadness to brutality, his guitar playing has it all. His solo's are among the best ever written.

This guy has dedicated his heart and soul into whatever he writes. He definitely deserves to be in top 10 and in my opinion number 1. I never used to listen to death metal until I listened to opeth. None of the guitarists in this list have the creativity that this guy has. Of course I like dave, kirk, hetfield and many others but akerfeldt is the best. This man is not getting the respect that he deserves.

He got me into metal in the first place.
He's influenced so many of my composition.
Every time I hear his growls, It raises raises goosebumps over my arms.
If I had to listen to one band forever more, It would be Opeth.

You cannot deny the fact, that technically diverse but strong progressive artists are not so popular.And that is the reason he is so down in this list.

V 6 Comments
35 Gary Holt Gary Holt Gary Wayne Holt is an American guitarist from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a guitarist, the bandleader, and the main songwriter for the American thrash metal band Exodus and is also a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Gary is a very talented guitarist being one of the early pioneers of thrash in exodus, he literally shreds, I believe he should be at least 15 or less. Good work Gary my hat off to you. M/

Gary Holt is a thrash giant, that's what he is.

Thrashes with the best, very underrated

Badass guitarist EXTREMELY underrated

V 5 Comments
36 Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

Guy is amazing, He should be a lot higher and probably will be over time. Not too well known as of yet, but listen to him if you get the chance. He's amazing.

Progressive metal at its finest. No sound compares to his experimental techniques which he created. One of the craziest and greatest guitarist I've ever seen.

I think he is one of the only modern guitarists that tries to be different.. His playing is just amazing and in a few years he will be well known...

King of the 8 string. - MetalPope

V 8 Comments
37 Michael Amott Michael Amott Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.

Mike Amott is such a passionate guitarist who expresses so much through his guitar playing. He deserves at least a spot in the twenties and above!

This guy is genius at writing riffs and emotional melody lines.
Always prioritizes musicality over technicality.
The legendary "Carcass - Heartwork" couldn't have been done without him.

Mick amott is the best guitarist of the year 2012! This solo are very expressive! Look the solo of shadow and dust!

I think he should be The best one

V 2 Comments
38 Jack E. Lee

Saw jake play in Pittsburgh this year, 2014, and hands down the best hard rock heavy metal guitarist easily. he has the best right hand left hand combination ever. plays with heart, balls, and imagination, of which the majority of these guys on this list know nothing about. I have seen a lot of the guys on this list play and I am sorry but there is just no comparison. kirk hammett at umber 2 shows this list has no validity whatsoever

Ozzy's best guitarist. Changed his style completely from the 80's heavy metal to blues rock when he started the band Badlands. Has some serious skill and his phrasing is just amazing.

Randy Rhoads would wreck jake e lee but he should probably be a little higher

It is jake not jack

V 4 Comments
39 David Davidson

Listen to the second solo of the song Witch Trials by Revocation. This guy's musical knowledge is better than most any one out there. Has been doing guitar his whole life and went to Berkley college of music for Jazz Guitar.

40 Steve Belong

He's not famous but is definitely worthy of being on the list. He's a seriously high octane guitarist, very fast and articulate. All of the technical skills are there : Scaling, Sweep Picking, Tapping, String Skipping, Harmonizing, Legato, etc, but he also possesses a fantastic sense of melody and emotion. -

41 Michael Romeo Michael Romeo Michael James Romeo is an American guitarist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Symphony X.

One of the most skilled guitarists I've ever listened to. He should work on putting feeling into his playing, but in terms of raw skill he gets a 10. He is definitely in my top 15.

An excellent, well polished guitarist. He's actually a musician I'd consider learning from. His power and skill are wonderful, but he should work on putting feeling into his technique.

One of the absolute best in my opinion. It's a damn shame that he and Gus aren't higher on this list. I look forward to hearing more of his work.

An incredibly good musician

V 3 Comments
42 Steve Harris Steve Harris Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

No one can compete Steve Harris' godlike shredding and epic composition. He makes the guitar literally sing. He is very creative at writing solos. My favorite ones are eruption, creeping death, holy wars... The punishment due, the trooper, painkiller. He is the most technical thrash metal guitarist ever. He plays so fast yet with harmonious notes. Even Nick Menza can't compete with Harris.

I'm sorry, but I don't think you read the bloody name of this list. Steve Harris is a bassist for gods sake. - Mumbizz01

What is Steve Harris doing in this list? He's bassist!

I know it's a prank, but the bass is a guitar, and the list states Best Metal Guitarists, so it has to be Cliff Burton.

He is a Bassist - christangrant

V 4 Comments
43 Chris Broderick Chris Broderick Christopher Alan Broderick is an American musician, best known as the former lead and rhythm guitarist of the American heavy metal band Megadeth.

No one can play so fast, so accurate, and so effortlessly. He looks like he's not even trying, not breaking a sweat. He almost looks bored while playing riffs only a handful of people in the world can even approach. Guys like Mustaine and Dime Bag innovated in ways that we all know, and they are deservedly rated highly, but Broderick is innovating stuff on such a high level, you have to be a pro guitar player yourself to even recognize it.

I highly rate Marty Friedman. But Chris is a better guitar player than Marty Friedman. Chris is the best modern Metal guitarist.

Even if is creation skill is not the best technically he is easily in the top 10 best technical guitarist spot than Hammett can't even be in top 200 we have Mustaine to create awesome riff and lyric and Broderick to play it perfectly

The individual who likes Marty Friedman is better than Kirk Hammett. Go read his verbose autobiography: it's called 'Looking For Hire'.

V 2 Comments
44 George Lynch George Lynch George Lynch is an American hard rock guitarist and songwriter. Lynch is best known for his work with heavy metal band Dokken and his band Lynch Mob.

Are you an idiot? Except this list, see the other ratings. That says Lynch is the 7th in top 10. Hammet is 10. Mustaine - out of list. got it?

Even Randy Rhoads thought Lynch was the best guitarist between himself, Eddie Van Halen and Lynch. The master of the guitar vibrato.

Are you guys kidding me? This guy can beat almost everyone of this list. Listen to almost any Dokken songs you'll se what I mean


V 2 Comments
45 Phil Demmel

Not only guitarist of Machine head, also guitarist of pioneering thrash band Vio-lence.

Amazing guitarist. Machine head is one of the most underrated metal bands out today. These guys shred. If you need proof look up Halo. Or their cover of hallowed be thy name by iron maiden. And Kirk Hammett at number 2? LOOOL k if we need some good ol simple pentatonic drenched in wah wah I'll call Kirk. Leave the real guitar work to Phil demmel and Dave mustaine B)

46 Jim Root Jim Root James Donald "Jim" Root, also known by his number #4, is an American musician known for being the rhythm/lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Slipknot, and the former lead guitarist for alternative metal band Stone Sour.

Excellent melody, rhythmic notes. The solos just flow through your ears. Should be at the top with Mick Thomson.

I think Dimebag definitely deserves number 1 place but Jim Root should be ranked way higher so I voted on him. He's one of the most influential new wave metal guitarists with technicality and great melodic stuff

What? HE SHOULD BE ON the TOP HIS SOLOS are not Just Fast but he puts his soul into it. His SOLOS beat overrated guitarists like SYNYSTER GATES. Please vote.

good - Morbid_Deth

V 14 Comments
47 Jerry Cantrell Jerry Cantrell Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains.

Deep, Heavy and unique. The 1990's Toni Iommi

Jerry is my fable, he is the best composer with best feelings.

I think he is the best composer

Go and listen to Them Bones, Man In The Box, Sludge Factory and decide if he is GREAT or not.

V 4 Comments
48 Alex Lifeson Alex Lifeson 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.

Working Man, 2112 Overture, The Trees, Freewill, Circumstances, Spirit of the Radio, Tom Sawyer, Limelight... Alex' integration of acoustic classical guitar and tight electric within a piece of music make for some of the best rock guitar ever.

One of the most under rated guitar players His guitar playing stands out I'm most of Rush's songs even though he is over shadowed by arguably the best drummer Neil Peart and Bassist Geddy Lee in rock

Most inspiring and complete guitarist of all time. He was already playing better than Jimmy Page on his first album, and continued to evolve his playing to a higher level. Amazing musician.

Yeah yeah Lifeson is pretty good but not metal.

V 3 Comments
49 Richard Z. Kruspe Richard Z. Kruspe

May not be the fastest, or makes the most difficult songs to play but Richard Zven Kruspe is a very creative guitar player and influential. The man has a unique loud sound he inspired me and I bet many more people to pick up the guitar and play. The man even designed a microphone robot so you won't have to go back and forth changing the positions of the mic, and he designed some badass guitars that are worth playing for any heavy metal player.

Really talented and brilliant guitarist! R.Z. K forever!

Richard, thanks for playing with rammstein.

Richard Z. Kruspe has a unique sound and style. This is a man who has honed his guitar playing to perfection, not the fastest or a show off. He provides rectified, pure industrial sound with awesome power and feeling. He makes memorable heavy riffs with impeccable military timing, you might mistake him for a machine. One thing is for sure he leaves the audience wanting more and will continue to inspire people to pick up a guitar and play. :D

V 2 Comments
50 Scott Ian Scott Ian Scott Ian is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing and additional lead vocalist, and the only remaining original founding member of the thrash metal band Anthrax. He also writes the lyrics on all their albums.

Scott Ian is one bad to the bone metal guitarist.

It is so disappointing to see Scott this low on the list. He deserves way way higher - DoroExploro13

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List Stats

27,000 votes
290 listings
11 years, 305 days old

Top Remixes (109)

1. Adrian Smith
2. K.K. Downing
3. John Petrucci
1. Dave Mustaine
2. Chuck Schuldiner
3. Marty Friedman
1. Dave Mustaine
2. Tony Iommi
3. Chuck Schuldiner

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