Best Rhythm Guitarists
The Top Ten Best Rhythm Guitarists
No need for an explanation why he tops other players, just listen master of puppets and justice for all, incredibly powerful and melodical riffs at the same time, this man's music had reached out of metal music era, and make others follow his example, simply put, no other names mentioned here has more influence on rock music generally than him, and on other rock metal bands. Metallica is no non stop speeding bullet, or feelingless same satanic deppessive riffs, metallica is pure music, full of this mans artictic approach, his feelings, his troubles, his demons, his rage against corruption in every aspect, no matter what others blame them for, just listen to their music, it sums it all, they are not the people what others accuse them to be just out of them jealousy, megadeth is good slayer rocks, but to be honest even those bros not even close harmonicaly, melodicaly, neither of them could express them rage on guitar and lyrics like hetfield did, thats my opinion I have been listening ...more
Does this really need explaining? Papa Het is one of the most consistent and powerful rhythm guitarists in popular metal music. The guy's right wrist is made of wrought iron, seriously.
This amazing person can play rhythm guitar like no other- a forerunner to the best bands happening now. Not only is his guitar unmistakable but his voice is and instrument unto its own. AND he can pull a lead solo with the best of the best. Guess I am just a major fan, but when you watch him perform, there is a transport between man and instrument that happens only with the cream of the crop. King James.
Hetfield has written some of the most famous metal riffs of all time as well as barking out his incredible vocals. He is one of the most artistic singers/songwriters we have today, a true poet. He out performs anyone I've ever watched play. Long live papa het!
It is not even close. Malcolm stayed in the pocket better than any other player I have heard...and I have heard a lot. Everyone else on this list dreamed of being that good, inventive, kept perfect, I mean perfect, time. Sorely missed..
He is responsible for creating some of the greatest riffs in the history of rock music. Even though Angus is mistaken for writing a lot of the bands material, it is Malcolm who is the real brain behind their sound.
He is the best. people hardly know him because he is so modest and only dedicated to music. the mastermind behind huge success of AC/DC.
Malcolm doesn’t just play rhythm guitar... he is the embodiment of the rhythm guitar!
Dave is definitely mor of a lead guitarist then he is a rythm guitarist, but his rythms are just wicked. not only is he a fantastic lead guitarist, he's also written some of the best metal songs in history. its rythm stuff like the wickedly hard to mimick spider chords, and snarly riffs that helped curve a new meaning to the word speed metal. not only that, but dave plays some ridiculously complicated rythms and sings at the same time! and doesn't miss a note either. songs like hangar 18, holy wars, and peace sells are absolute master pices. probobly one of the greatest guitar players of all time, extremely humble, and very underrated.
if you want to truly see what I'm talking about, check out my last words on youtube. daves rythms are wicked, and check out the guitar solo. thats definitely one of my favourite guitar solos of all time.
Dave Mustaine is an amazing guitar player, and his ability to evoke emotions while keeping things heavy is not to be underestimated. For example, "A Tout Le Monde".
Though his leads may not be where he shines, his rhythms are damn heavy and tight.
Dave mustaine taught james how to play guitar... Dave was lead when he was in Metallica and he's a lead rhythm switch in megadeth who also sings dave is definitely a top 3 rhythm guitarist with izzy stradlin to go with
Not a whole lot to say here that hasn't already been said. A strong, reliable rhythm player who can do a few leads of his own into the mix. Sure, his go-to style might not be your cup of tea, but don't ignore the skills he's got just because of that!
He is great, the perfect couple, not only he plays the chords, also he play the harmony with synyster gates, I like them. Also when they are playing solos or intros together, like AFTERLIFE!
Just a great Rhythm Zacky,.. specially with Synister,..
playing with your left hand,..
LOVE IT Or Die! - tirtasullivan
Combines with Gates... They are just an epic couple. - macromark
He's just got an amazing feel and groove. His style's very simplistic but that just adds to the emotional quality of his art and just goes to a whole level of elation. His songwriting is top notch, very great.. definitely underrated, though obviously he prefers the low profile, which is very respectable.. great musician, brilliant guitar player, great person.. it all comes through in the sound
Listen to any song he made with Guns N' Roses and then listen to them without him. You can definitely hear the difference. He brought much more to the band than he gets credit for. He was essential part of the band.
Also listen to his solo music. He still makes great music. It's definitely not Guns, if that's what you're looking for then don't be surprised. It's more laid back and mellow. Slash even said that if Ronnie ever quit the Stones, Izzy's the only guy cool enough to replace him.
Together with Slash, they are just a perfect match no matter how different their styles are. This guy has so much groove, he deserves to be above Zacky Vengeance. Rhythm guitar is about creativity and groove. Not just chugging and strumming power chords. Izzy can create amazing licks in between the chords and change the song so much with his tone that without him, the band will sound extremely different
Being a rhythm guitarist, Izzy has been my biggest influence to this date. He's got that old school rock vibe going on in his songs even to this day. Never have I seen another guy to play rhythm patterns like he does. I wasn't even aware of how much he has contributed until I started playing rhythm. Then I realized, he was the one making the songs sound so good and complete. He just knew when to play and when not to. That's Izzy. The coolest style of playing, just listen to Ghost Ft. Ian Astbury, that's what I'm talking about. Izzy's the rhythm guitarist I always want to be.
Hetfield and Mustaine over Keef? , no guitarist can hold a song like Richards did, he's a genius of the guitar, he invented every Stone riff existing, he can tune his guitar to every song to get the correct tone, he's one of the rare riffers that can only challenge Hendrix or Page at riffing, and so other things
If you want to learn the essence of rhythm guitar, you need to eat, live, breathe, and listen to everything Keith plays. Do this for a few years, and you'll definitely have the feel for a good rhythm riff. Long live Keith.
Great rhythm guitar in one of the greatest rock and roll bands of the 60s, ie: Honkey tonk women, Jumpin Jack flash, Brown sugar epitomize his style.
He's the man of rhythm n bLues king in this pLanet, Listen 'can't you hear me knocking', 'brown sugar', hand of fate, beast of burden, hot stuff, etc, so sexy
John Lennon made the guitar speak. Listen to Come Together, Cold Turkey, Revolution, I Want You or Yer Blues for prime examples. His solos on Get Back and The Ballad of John and Yoko are brilliantly simple and to the point. A true original and classic guitarist!
A master of time, tone and taste. Complimented George Harrison lead work. Able to play with any lead guitarist and maintain the rhythm. John and George were the first of the two guitar attack in rock music followed by Keith Richards and Brian Jones.
Just a superb solid player -unique hard playing style -one of the best ever - honed in all night German stints -drove on the best band ever and he knew it!
Where would rock and roll be without The Beatles? The impact Lennon's music has had on the world is incredible, and only serves to demonstrate his talent.
Oh My God! The incredible amount of riffs he wrote, the fact he could sing perfectly, write an amazing amount of awesome songs...
Oh! And when it comes to playing guitar, he's a genius. Maybe he isn't the most talented (though he's damn close) but he's got something: passion! Just listen to the way he plays at Live at Leeds (and he was depressed that day! ) and Live at the Isle of Wight and let him kick your ass.
Pete Townshend is one of the greatest guitarists ever, let alone a rhythm player. He doesn't play many solos, but he could still kick the asses of lots of other people who do crazy solos.
Whoever didn't vote for Pete Townshend should listen to Magic Bus on the Live at Leeds album.
Listen to Pinball Wizard, unplugged versions of him playing Bargain and The Seeker. He's clearly in top 5 of all time.
Not just insanely fast, but the machine-like consistently of his playing, the stellar clarity and intricate little accents on his palm mutes... The speed us mere mortals perceive as super fast is only moderately paced for The Schaffer, who chooses to play far below his actual maximum speeds to retain that insane level of consistency, tightness and control.
His triplets and galloping style writing make him among the best in heavy metal... True old school at its finest.
Jon Schaffer and Jeff Waters should be in the top 10. He's got power, speed and stamina comparable to James Hetfield's. Jon Schaffer is the King of gallops. - Metal_Treasure
The only reason he's not number one is that not enough people know who he is, which is a real shame. I've never heard a guitarist who can gallop faster than Jon Schaffer. If you haven't listened to any Iced Earth songs listen to When The Night Falls, Life and Death, Travel in Stygian, Stormrider, or Dante's Inferno.
Another strong rhythm player. And who's surprised? This is the top ten rhythm guitar players, after all, and Scott Ian is a member of the Big Four of Thrash .Rhythm guitarists in that illustrious crew have to be tight, and Mr. Ian is no exception.
The mastermind of Anthrax's monstrous, infectious riff. He's THE MAN and the walking dude. His presence on stage is just awesome. Thank you for your music.
No one has written so many awesomme, unmistacable and original riffs as scott ian. You can tell right away which song Anthrax or S.O. D song you're listening too. Also a man who has mastered both the relentless down picking style of thrash and also how to play groove riffs. And you have to mention his unique guitar sound, that rly crunchy guitar sound that so many metal bands use these days!
Although a great rhythm guitarist, Charlie Benante is actually the main riff writer. Scott is the lyricist of the band. Still one of the best.
Probably the most underrated guitarist. Period. Better at 61 than at 30. Amazing especially with acoustical..
Overlooked like all females in any category
Yeah, she's been awesome for decades...
It's not easy, keeping up with Ace Frehley. Much less laying the rhythmic backdrop for the Space Ace's melodic leads to soar over!
He is the person responsible for the great anthems like rock n roll all nite, Detroit rock city, I was made for loving you etc. In 1973 he made KISS and laid down the foundation of one of the greatest band of all time.
I don't know why kiss is so underrated in every lost they are most talented band and he should be second after hetfield as hetfield is god but he is also lord
Second only to the great Malcolm Young in my opinion.
Not precisely 100% rhythm guitar, Dimebag is still among the absolute pinnacle of guitar players in rock / metal history. His leads were astronomical, his rhythms were crunchy and groovy, and his personality was pure gold. Rest in peace to a true legend.
Dime is not only a rhythm guitarist, he plays lead also. This genius was a one man army that played the greatest leads and riffs of all time.
best of the best
beast of the beasts
guitarist of the guitarists
This is a complete joke. Clearly whoever did this does not play guitar or have a knowledge of talent. Dimebag would crush Hetfield on rhythm guitar. Go play some Metallica riffs and then go play some Pantera riffs case closed. Anyone can cover Metallica and make it sound good. Nobody can cover Pantera like Dimebag. Just go and YouTube and type in Metallica cover by Pantera and you will see Dimebag plays it better than Hetfield and Hammet combined. If Metallica were to cover Pantera it would be an utter mess.
Ah, Tony Iommi. Without Black Sabbath, would we have Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot, etc? I think not. Mr. Iommi falls into the same group as Lennon, for me. A legend, one who brought a whole new dimension to rock and roll guitar.
he's the undisputed king of the music world. Nobody comes close 5 spaces down. Then comes Zakk W. Notice I put a period behind Zakks last name initial.
He does some great solos but it's his riffs that are more memorable
Isn't he lead guitar though?
Kerry King had the unenviable task of playing rhythm guitar lines and dual leads that kept pace with Dave Lombardo, and later Paul Bostaph's thundering drums. He deserves to be on the list if for nothing else than the sheer speed at which he can maintain consistency!
I thought he was a lead guitarist. And Jeff as rhythm player. - Userguy44
Yes, but they often shared the duties. Jeff played the most difficult parts of some solos... - Metal_Treasure
This man is incredible love his playing
Very overrated. Jeff H. was better at both - lead and rhythm. - Metal_Treasure
Ritchie is amazing. However, as Jon Lord stated, Ritchie doesn't like playing rhythm and it's obvious when you hear him play. When he's not soloing, he doesn't play much of anything. That's my only criticism of him. If he's not in the spotlight, he'd rather not play. - RalphSaad
He was only guitarist. So he's both lead and rhythm guitarist - zxm
Why so low - his riffs are legendary. - Metal_Treasure
The most perfectionist without flaws. But he played played LEAD.
Then again, Frank Zappa was the Master of 60's 70's Rock. Saw Frank on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, on his very 1st performance in the early 60's in Black and White T.V..
Look it up on youtube, it's there, playing drumsticks on a bicycle...hehe
I've seen most of 'em in over 50 years, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were the Best.
Look up Frank Zappa and Steve Allen on youtube and laugh and enjoy.
Don't Vote! It only encourages Them.
He served as both lead and rhythm guitarist. He didn't play only solos. Who the hell wrote and played the legendary riffs? Him! - Metal_Treasure
Jeff Waters is the Annihilator lead guitarist, extremely talented
Like the shredding guitar
He's one of those very talented guys who is equally good as rhythm and lead guitarist (he switches). His riffs are awesome - not only beautiful but also very fast and sophisticated. - Metal_Treasure
Also does amazing leads, great tone and chops. RIP King.
Rudolf deserves the top place! He created Scorpions and beats every single rhythm guitar players!
His awesome guitar-playing and rhythms are one thing, but the way he plays and all the energy he uses on the scene, makes him the best rhythm guitarist by miles.
just listen to those riffs! It will blow your head off!
He touches my soul and makes it weep. No one else does that.
Hey, buddy? Yeah... Brian May might not exactly be a rhythm guitarist... He might be a lead guitarist... Yeah...
Sometimes I think his composition skills are so good they distract from the credit he should get for how well he plays that guitar!
HE's so good he's songs are so emotional try to watch his Bohemian Rhapsody solo it's cool
Umm, yes he is a very good guitarist. And sure he played both lead and rhythm guitar for Queen. But still he focused more on l lead guitar than rhythm guitar. - zxm
Unlike most rhythm guitarists you can actually, you know, HEAR whiteford on aerosmith tracks. He can keep a beat better than a lot of bassists out there. It was his rhythm guitar part in helter skelter that made it ALMOST better than the beatles' original.
omg, Brad is #1! there's not any guitarrist more underrated than Aerosmith's!
One of the few Rhythm guitarists that you can actually hear in the songs.
Brad is excellent!
How did no one put him on the list? Dream Theater's got a lot of great guitar riffs, each song is loaded with genius and complex riffs, solos, and backing rhythm guitar. When you hear the guitar, there's one person playing it. Not a rhythm guitarist and two lead guitarists, John Petrucci is the ONLY Dream Theater guitarist, and what he contributes to their music never ceases to amaze me. John Petrucci is arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, but he is, no doubt, the greatest rhythm guitarist of all time. - Songsta41
He's more of a lead guitarist though...
I feel like his lead playing overshadows his rhythm playing. Songs like The Dark Eternal Night, Sacrificed Sons, Outcry, The Glass Prison, Change of Seasons just to name a few have some of the best riffs I’ve ever heard.
He will be my first choice. He is the rhythm guitarist kind. Most of his songs are rhythm guitar bases. Well its not like that he can't play lead guitar. But he is best at rhythm guitar. And he is very fast at it. - zxm
He was a genius and his technique saved rock n' roll. Also The Ramones were way ahead of their time.
Long live the pioneer of punk's thrashing and awesome guitar style!
Without him you wouldn’t have have these other guys, also down picking
Dave Murray was manly a lead guitarist. But still he can play rhythm guitar (Every lead guitarist can play rhythm guitar actually). - zxm
Yes, both of them, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith did lead guitar. But it seems like that Adrian did most of the rhythm parts - zxm
He 'sold his soul for rock and roll'. This guy should be top 3, with Hetfield and Stradlin.
he must be in the top 5
There's just not words to describe how much he means to The Quo. Not only does he has an exream feeling for rhythm but he has also written some of their best biggies and has an awesome Rock voice. In my opinion he's by far the best rhythm guitarists, in difference to others on this list who are more of "second guitars". If you haven't heard Rick play Caroline, you got no idea what a rhythm guitarist should be doing ;). He is the part of Status Quo that (musically speaking) is irreplaceable. Without him there would be no FF. Rossi being irreplaceable for other reasons, but a lot of musicians can do what Rossi does, not many can do what Rick does.
Rick Parfitt is truly the best. He is one of few real rhythm players. His solid style and sense of timing is of the highest order. People like John Lennon are only Backing Guitars. Anybody on this site should youtube "Caroline" or "Don't Waste My Time" or even "Over The Edge" and they will immediately see, hear, and even feel the guitar God that is Rick Parfitt. No-one else on the planet can play a guitar the way he does. He is Truly a Sensation.
Rick plays everything with down strokes... As much as I appreciate all the other players... They've had over 75 hit singles and you trying playing them all down strokes for 2-3hrs! Totally underrated until you try playing it... Also remember they wrote pretty much all of these hits as well... Amazing powerhouse player
His style is impeccable. None of this 3 chord malarky, no one can do what he does! Just watch him play the opening of Caroline live, or play his part in Down Down. How his right hand can cope, I'll never know! One of rock's greatest rhythm guitarists and criminally underrated.
Unbelievably good. Sometimes it sounds like there's two guitarists - a rhythm and a lead - even live!
WHY SO LOW? JIMMY PAGE IS LITERALLY THE BEST RHYTHM GUITARIST OF ALL TIME.Ever heard of immigrant song? or black dog? or whole lotta love? or heartbreaker? Pageys power was in writing legendary riffs and the ones I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg
he is all: solos riffs shreds...
A great musician in general, whether it's vocals, drums or guitar.
Dave is just a beast at everything he does. Drums, Singing, songwriting. Oh yeah, and a damn good Rhythm Guitarist!
respect to dave but his singing is not the best...
THE GODFATHER who started it all!
father of all the rhythm guitarists
Is this a joke? The Edge is one guitarist whose rhythms cannot even be imitated. His rhythms are what give all U2 songs their power. - ameentheguitarist23
I wanna scream at these idiotic ratings. He didn't;t know technically how to play, so he invented a unique style, unlike the rest. This Welsh/ Irishman is one bad ass.
He might be the coolest person on the list, but quality and polish puts him above most clearly if you listen to his playing.
Hell yes. Light years over muted power chords
One of the greatest American composers alive.
The Clash wouldn't be what they were without Joe laying down a steady beat.
Just listen to London Calling, Brand New Cadillac and Train in Vain
The dude took the name "Strummer"! Once he did that he had to be great. His abilities really shine in the Mescaleros.
3 chords won't make anyone a legend
He always play his own music or cover with full feel
Original legend...i love you kurt cobain
He was a lead guitarist.
Looking at this list I was like where is Jim. Slipknot solos are great
Amazingly talented and the best of the best
I like his guitar
Cool solos in Stone Sour
like Absolute Zero - ShahryRKnoT
Please show some respect I think that evil chuck is better than zacky or paul stanley and the number one should be dave mustaine end of story
Richie just doesn't get enough credit. Even the heaviest of heavy metal heads will get caught listening to good ol' Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora's licks.
Richie always be the best their is, the best there was, and the best their will be...
He is really awesome much better than Ray Toro but in life you can't get what you want always so listen to the Art of Life by X Japan
You have to be brain dead if you think that Frank's better than Ray. Yes, Frank's more social and popular compared to Ray. But Ray does all the guitar solos, and that's more impressive than Frank's riffs. - Catacorn
Awesome guitarist, never seen someone with so much energy on stage
He is so much awesome with his own style playing sick rhythm.
Are you kidding me? Easily number "1" Why is he listed so low here?
Awesome guitar player. He knows that instrument possibly better than any other rhythm player. He can play a particular note a handful of different ways all over the neck. China Cat Sunflower is a great showcase of his talent. In the main riff, he's the guy playing notes on the high end. During Jerry's solos, his classic rhythms drive the song beautifully. Great improviser. He jams notes in between Jerry's that are just so tasty - especially his harmonics.
Seriously, THE best rhythm guitarist of all time. His rhythm is inspired by not other rhythm guitarist, but instead jazz piano. Different genre, as well as a different instrument. He plays with so many different fills, and they are all over the place. Amazing.
Rhythm guitar is about ensuring the songs move forward and filling gaps. Weir does both creatively and instinctively. Frequently, he would play counterpoint to Garcia's leads, giving the music a richer sound and broader context.
Jazz style comper with more knowledge of the instrument than any of the other dumbasses on this list, especially Hetfield! what? How is he number 1?
His rythms in Sepultura are mindblowing, and he's a great thrash metal singer, that's why arise is the best album ever.