Greatest Deceased Guitarists


The Top Ten

1 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 more.

Always voted top by all his peers. Innovative. Inspired generations of guitarists since. Number 1 by a country mile.

He was so good but he died so young :( - sharm7064

He is the greatest of them all. Yes, it is ridiculous that he isn't first.

HE is the greatest of all time. It is ridiculous that he isn't first.

2 Dimebag Darrell Abott (Pantera)

A True savant on guitar, style and speed. Nicest person you could ever meet.

Made greatest riffs in metal history. I miss him a lot

I miss him, and miss pantera, I don't play guitar, but I have bought his model from Dean to honor him, such a good musician

he was the god of metallic guitar...
we miss him badly.

3 Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne) Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne) 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.

Please, Please, Please... I'm telling you to give a listen to only 3 Solo's:
Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley & Goodbye to Romance...

Youtube them NOW! - Nirmal1991USA

He changed rock at his time. Revolutionized his sound and helped ozzy a lot. Its a shame he died so young. Had so much potential. Definitely could've had his name more so recognized had he stayed around. Much greater of a player than zakk wylde. Truly underrated due to misfortune of early death. His crazy train was derailed before it left station

Randy deserves to be number 1 - TermonatorT888

Hendrix has my vote for most innovative and influential to musicians, but the loss of Randy Rhoads' brilliance, and others like Malcolm Young of AC/DC, Gaines/Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd, for some reason have cut much deeper into my heart and hurt more. May they all RIP, they're not forgotten and sorely effing missed.

4 Stevie Ray Vaughan Stevie Ray Vaughan Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In spite of a short-lived mainstream career spanning seven years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music, and more.

This list is the "top ten most popular" among the contemporary idiots that think they know talent, not the top ten best. George Harrison and Prince belong in the top five, most definitely. John Lennon? You gotta be kidding. Stevie Ray and Jimi should share number one, because they just didn't typically play the same genre. Where's BB King?

The greatest guitarist in opinion. I haven't viewed any of his videos that have left me feeling blah. His energy just pulls me in.

The most genuine blues player ever

What a shame. He was cut down in his prime. Think of all the innovations he could have made.

5 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.

Chuck is so underrated. You are a legend, mate.

Why is chuck so underrated

6 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.
7 John Lennon John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40.

He's the real mvp

Master of his arts.

One of the best rythym players ever

8 George Harrison George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

A very classy gentleman, played amazing guitar and wrote some incredible songs. Most certainly he will be sadly missed and never forgotten.

RIP George

Influenced more people to take up the guitar than any other human. Vastly underrated because of the bands he was in.

My favorite person in the whole wide world... George will be missed by Millions

Always played "classy & tastey". I think he was totally under rated

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9 Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band) Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band) Howard Duane Allman was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death in a motorcycle crash in 1971, when he was 24 years old.

I believe Duane, had he lived, had the ability to surpass Clapton. When he died in '71, he already established his ability and "a" sound, but according to little brother Gregg, "he was nowhere near his peak and practiced constantly to reach it. Sure he wanted to start a band and making money made life easier, but it didn't stop there. Duane had a real passion and you could hear it in his music.

Simply the best of all time in my humble opinion. Made history in putting southern rock on the map, besides his legendary playing alongside Dickey Betts, Eric Clapton... Best slide player of all time, period! R.I.P. Huge fan from Brazil.

Real blues slide right here. No one can match his talent and carefree style of playing. Long live the Allmem brothers band. - Biotendo

Simply the best of all time. The slide supremo. Huge brazilian fan! Long live the Allman Brothers Band!

1 Comment
10 Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Larkin Allen Collins Jr. was one of the founding members and guitarists of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, and co-wrote many of the band's songs with late frontman Ronnie Van Zant. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida.

Allen will always be known for his Freebies solo, but he was an amazing rythym player. His soloing skills were excellent and he knew his way a round the fretboard

That boy could shred a fretboard & is one of the greatest soloist's EVER!
All 6"5 of that boy rocked a stage presence & wrecking a ThunderBird, Explorer or Strat!
This generation doesn't have a clue what true musicians are!

T for tecas...knebworth...blew richards and wood off the stage

The Contenders

11 Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his more.

What he was never a good guitar player - emilk

He was so awesome I looked up to him a lot and he was my inspiration for playing guitar and singing at the same time some say that's hard to do but Kurt mastered it

Truly an amazing guitarist, and to sing at the same time; truly a legend who left too soon.

He was an inspiration to me and I will never forget his music. He was truly amazing.

12 Rory Gallagher Rory Gallagher William Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.

Rory Gallagher was the People's Guitarist. Unassuming but tenacious, the Irish blues man devoted his life to touring and playing his beloved Fender Strat...

if ever blues and rock had to be combined to create "that" sound, of all people Rory Gallagher did it better than enyone else

Simply the best live guitarist of all time

Jimi hit the nail on the head. They are in my top five. Rory and Jimi are in my top five. Johnney Winter is there, too. The other two don't qualify yet-They're still alive.

13 Prince Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .

All these guys are incredible, but if we are talking pure technical skill Prince blows most of them out of the water. Top 5 without a doubt, along with Vaughan, Hendrix, Gallagher, and Rhoads.

Listen to his solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" it's the BEST EVER

He should be #1

Tragic loss

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

Right behind SRV and Hendrix, with a small fraction of the credit.

Definitely one of the greatest of all time, I would say number 3 between Clapton and Jeff Beck!

He should be on the 1st place
I've saw him live...
was the best concert I've ever been
the best sound
but was a audience of 4.000 people
only smart people can understand that kind of music
R I P Sir Gary Moore

Give a listen to "Still Got the Blues" and the live version of "Cold-Hearted". Gary Moore belongs in the top three, easy.

15 Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was an American musician best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture era in the 1960s.

Jerry Garcia is one of the best guitarists and as much as I like Kurt Cobain how is Kurt ahead of him.

Played with his heart, more than his fingers.

My dad played with him

What a talent hughley underrated a good place to start is Europe 72 stelar tracks include China cat sunflower /i know yoi rider, trucking, morning dew this poll is total garbage how on earth a limited player is rated higher than jerry garcia is beyond me still that rock and roll

16 Frank Zappa Frank Zappa Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.

Hands down the best modern day musical genius of all time!

Making over 80 albums and everyone sounding unique. He was a genius in his writing and he heard music in everything. Belongs higher on the list. Kurt cobain was the best at being the worst guitar player. Anyone that has ever studied the guitar can contest to the fact that many of these lists are so far off

Shut up and play your guitar.

The best musician of all time.. Well for me at least.

17 Steve Clark (Def Leppard) Steve Clark (Def Leppard) Stephen Maynard Clark was an English musician. He was the lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the British hard rock band, Def Leppard, until 1991, when he died from alcohol poisoning.

He's the reason why I picked up a guitar and he'll live in my heart till the day that I die

One of the best and most influential rock guitarists that has ever lived. Should be #1 in my opinion. Who doesn't love Def Leppard? Everybody knows Pour Some Sugar On Me and Photograph. Come on guys, start voting.

One of the best guitarist around another 1 died b4 his time rip :(

He should be at number 15 at least

18 Shawn Lane Shawn Lane Shawn Lane was an American musician who released two studio albums and collaborated with a variety of musicians including Ringo Starr, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Reggie Young, Joe Walsh, Jonas Hellborg and many others.

This guy should have been there then you guys would know what he was...listen 2 his music then you'll know what I mean

19 Terry Kath (Chicago) Terry Kath (Chicago) Terry Alan Kath was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the original guitarist, one of the lead singers and founding members of the rock band Chicago.

A true blues guitarist

I'm A Man, 25 or 6 to 4, Song of the Evergreens, the list goes on. Put TK in a regular rock band and this argument goes another direction. Was one of Hendrix' favorite guitarists.

20 Roy Buchanan Roy Buchanan

Saw Roy play in Tucson at a bar called Dooley's in the early 80's. Was 10 feet from him. He played pure music...Didn't need all the pedals and gizmos some of the other top guitarists use. My opinion top 5. Listen to Down By The River on the Sweet Dreams Anthology and tell me what you think!

Totally underrated

Worthy of the top ten list in my opinion!

The best guitarist you never heard of

21 B. B. King

He inspired Everyone!

BB king was one of the greatest Blues guitar players of all time. his personal best songs are "blues boys tune" and "sweet sixten" his lives are amazing. back in the days BB king belonged to the three Kings of blues. Albert king, Freddie King, BB king.
BB king played with the greatest guitar folk,blues and rock players. He even recorded a full album with Eric Clapton not too long ago.
He had his own club in chicago where he was playing with his band
BB king was without a doubt one of the greatest blues Guitar Musicians of all time

22 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.

Easily top ten candidate!

Bolin had many styles and tones in his repertoire. It is criminal how low he is ranked here

A fleeting glimpse of brilliance at it's understated best

He could write, sing and play. Check out his tone on Alphonse Mouzon's Golden Rainbows, Speed and innovation on Cobham's Quadrant 4, funk on Deep Purples Getting Tighter, writing, singing, playing on James Gang's Alexis and Rock/Jazz work out while 6 months away from his heroin fueled death on Post Toastee. But hey, he was no Cobain lol.

23 Hillel Slovak (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Hillel Slovak (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Hillel Slovak (April 13, 1962 – June 25, 1988) was an Israeli American musician best known as the original guitarist and founding member of the Los Angeles rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Prior to his death of a heroin overdose in 1988, Slovak recorded two albums with the band, Freaky Styley (1985) more.

Slim is the best

Amazing guitarist, it's such a shame he had to get rapped up in herion.

24 Michael Hedges

Not so much rock, but a virtuso of style and broad range of musical genre.

Seemed like he was playing multiple instruments at one time. Very courageous player.

Not sure how you pick the best of this list, but Hedges is easily top 5 if it comes to technical virtuosity.

Made the most beautiful and complex songs I've ever heard.

25 Alvin Lee Alvin Lee Alvin Lee was an English singer and guitarist, best known as the lead vocalist and lead guitarist of the blues rock band Ten Years After.

The fastest yet emotive playing can't be copied by anyone

26 Glen Buxton (Alice Cooper)
27 Syd Barrett Syd Barrett Roger Keith Barrett was an English musician, composer, singer, songwriter, and painter. Best known as a founder member of the band Pink Floyd, Barrett was the lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter in its early years and is credited with naming the band.

Syd was very creative.

28 Criss Oliva (Savatage) Criss Oliva (Savatage) Christopher "Criss" Michael Oliva was an American musician who was the lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Savatage.

The most underrated guitarist ever in my humble opinion.

29 Jeff Healy (The Jeff Healy Band)

Jeff Healey deserves to be on the top 10 list. I play the guitar backwards and upside down I've never seen anything like it in my life. he was definitely wild on the guitar!

30 Danny Gatton

Taught many of the others.

Always said he played guitar to support his hot rod hobby, Danny played Western-Swing, C&W, Rockabilly, Blues, Soul, Rock & Jazz. From Maryland, he was an unassuming individual until he picked up a guitar then watch out. He was without a doubt THE master of the Telecaster even nicknamed "The Telemaster". His old instructional video has so many licks, tricks and runs that it keeps most guitarists woodshedding for years. Danny also invented the "open bottle of beer" slide where he would pop open a bottle of beer in concert, take a short sip then use it as a slide for his guitar without spilling a drop. He also played guitar for people like Joni Mitchel,

Another nickname for Gatton was "The Humbler" because he humbled many other guitarists in cutting heads (i.e. guitar duels). Roy Clark met him when he was a youngster and was said to tell Danny's mother there was nothing he could teach Danny. His admirers include Buckethead, Steve Vai, Ritchie Sambora, Joe Bonamassa, Vince Gill, ...more

31 hide

His looking out for me

32 Ronnie Montrose

A technical perfectionist with one of the fastest left hands in rock

Just listen to their first album and as goid as sammy hagar was ronnie montrose who played lead

33 Johnny Winter Johnny Winter John Dawson Winter III, known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

The greatest of all time. I can't believe he's so low on this list.

He never received the respect he should have. RIP Johnny

Heard some extremely expressive playing many years ago, thought it was Sammy Hagar, but found out later it was Johnny Winter...left an indelible impression. Thanks for the memories Johnny.

As far as a guitarist who sang and played, I put him right there with Hendrix. When Clapton goes I'd say those three in any particular order. I don't see any of these other guys being in the same class, particularly for Rock N' Roll. If there's a Rock N' Roll Valhalla Johnny and Jimi are cuttin' heads right now to see who gets to sit on the throne!

34 Lowell George (Little Feat)

Great live guitar man...

35 Les Paul Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor.

Just listen to his songs or variety and compare it to anyone from his era or even into the mid 60s.

36 Chris Cornell Chris Cornell Christopher John "Chris" Cornell was an American rock musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as former lead vocalist and songwriter for the supergroup Audioslave. His vocal range was C2 to A5, while more.

Black hole sun

37 Mick Ronson

Without Ronno No Bowie he was that good.

The best thing to come of 'youll by a country mile, nary a week goes past without hearing some of Ronno's work on the radio, much underrated much loved amd very much missed :-(

38 Wes Montgomery Wes Montgomery John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others.

He only used his thumb to play, imagine how hard that could be for other guitarists

He played without a pick

39 J.J. Cale

Rock isn t only a kind of music but also a way of life. It is shown in his songs and unique musical phrases which reveal a cool, sensitive bohemian troubadour creating that famous J.J. cALE atmosphere which made him famous and musically immortal.

40 Paul Kossoff Paul Kossoff Paul Francis Kossoff was an English blues rock guitarist. He was most notably a member of the band Free.

Simply the greatest of all time & always underrated

Very impressive, but all too brief a career that was meant for greatness.

41 Glenn Frey Glenn Frey Glenn Lewis Frey was an American singer, songwriter and actor, best known as a founding member of the rock band Eagles.

If it wasn't for Glenn, many of us wouldn't be where we are, today. Thank you so very much, Glenn!

42 Robbin Crosby

I have seen him in t.v shows he should be at least in the top 5

Great player for Ratt. R.I.P

43 Tom Fogerty
44 Clarence White
45 Andres Segovia Andres Segovia Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña, known as Andrés Segovia, was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Spain.
46 Lou Reed Lou Reed Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, and his solo career spanned five decades. more.

Lou Reed was a lot of things but a great guitarist he was not...

47 Paco de Lucia Paco de Lucia Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomez, known as Paco de Lucía, was a Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer and producer.
48 Lonnie Mack Lonnie Mack Lonnie McIntosh, better known by his stage name Lonnie Mack, was an American Texas-blues guitarist who had influenced the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan. He died on April 21, 2016.
49 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.

Number 1 dudes. all the punks you list above copied the man. He ageless and timeless

50 Dick Wagner

Recorded him live at the Penalty Box in Fenton Michigan as he sat in with the band there. Sounded great. It was probably the last time he was recorded. March 8th, 2014 by Gary Domke

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List StatsUpdated 13 Jul 2018

1,000 votes
56 listings
11 years, 170 days old

Top Remixes

1. Dimebag Darrell Abott (Pantera)
2. Chuck Schuldiner
3. Jeff Hanneman


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