Greatest Rock Guitarists of All Time
The Top Ten
Jimmy Page is the best guitarrist ever, and despite I don't have to, I will tell you why:
A great guitarrist is defined in both composing and playing ability. Clapton and Hendrix could be great playing, but they just can't beat Jimmy as a composer, and sometimes as a player, too. A normal person could not even walk in a straight way while he or she is on drugs. Guess what? Jimmy just can't play a guitar! He can IMPROVISE, not being sober, and make one of the most stunning and orgasmic solos ever. While on drugs. Who does that? Nobody! If you don't believe me go to youtube and look for Since I've been loving you at song remains the same, dazed and confused at supershow in 1969 or the heartbreaker solo. Also the live performance of stairway to heaven at madison square garden. Led Zeppelin is the only group whose live performance songs are better than the studio versions, and that is just because Jimmy improvisations with a guitar, making a 6 minute song into a 15 minute song. And yet ...more
Who else has played so many styles over the course of the albums they've played on? Alternative tunings, finger picking, blues, rock, country, electric or acoustic. Jimmy Page is unparalleled. His approach to the guitar is innovative, unique. Not only is he a fantastic player, but an amazing arranger and producer as well.
It sounds odd to call a rock god of Jimmy Page's magnitude, who is universally revered in rock music circles, underrated. But he is generally underrated. As much as I enjoyed Jimi Hendrix, his death at a young age led to the inevitable deification & overrating of his great talent. Page was the superior overall musical talent. Though young JP was blisteringly fast, as many other players have proven, a gymnastic exercise of a zillion notes a second means very little. Page's real gift and power was always evidenced by the emotional impact that his playing never fails to convey. It was called "sloppy perfection" by those that understood that the power never lay in note for note inerrancy but in overall impact on the listener. Page will forever remain the Paganini of rock guitar, the greatest rock guitarist that ever lived. (P.S. He was also the most innovative and gifted studio record producer in rock history. )
It really annoys me when contemporary guitarists call Page's guitar work sloppy. They should have such sloppiness. The break on Whole Lotta' Love is as sharp as a tack. Since I've been loving you is surely one of the greatest minor blues tracks ever and if Jimmy occasionally misses a note it's because he's playing / improvising so fast. His composing talent is second to none.
Well it's all a matter of taste 'cause all "best rock guitarists" lists differ. But I think we can all say that after Hendrix' and Page's era, Edward Lodewijck Van Halen was the best and most important new kind on the block. Eruption changed the whole rock/metal guitarist landscape totally. No one had heard a guitarist play like EVH before, his speed, sound, style and skills changed everything.
Not many guitarists, hence musicians, can make that claim.
Eddie should be in the top 3 easily. No one has been more influential since Hendrix.
What Eddie did was unbelievable. No one could have done what he had done and change the guitar as a whole so much. Thank you Eddie
Eddie should be in the top five.. If not the top three! One of the few guitarists that created his own style and done his own thing.
Eddie Van Halen wasted his talent playing with hacks like David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar and just pumping out the same radio fare crap forever. After the first album, the waste of talent is tragic. I can't possibly have him in my top 10 because there's no reward for wasting a good given gift on average hard rock radio fare. - TechnicolorMan
Many people have different opinions on what makes a guitarist great. Some point to technical ability. Some to legendary bodies of work. Some to influence they have had on musicians after them. JimI had all of that and more. He defined his own generation and many after it. He cultivated a bluesy guitar sound into hard rock with jazz elements and created a sound never heard before. If you listen to his straight up blues tracks, you will quickly come to realize Stevie Ray Vaughan owes him every dime he ever made. He was heavy before heavy was even established and still elegant in a way that few after have managed to capture. He was a pioneer and a legend. And he did this all in 27 years on Earth. Every rock guitarist since him is to some degree indebted to him. Long live the king.
Greatest guitarist ever hands down...Jimmy Page is strong 2nd but he's not touching Hendrix
Hell no. Jimi Hendrix and no one else. He was literally what inspired all of these other guitarists on this list.
Except his contemporaries Page, Clapton, Harrison were inspired by bluesmen like Muddy waters, Howling wolf and the rockabilly ones Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore in Elvis music - AliBab
At this point, do I even have a choice but to vote for Hendrix? The guy’s a legend for a reason.
Slash is like the best guitarist you can get. His style of playing is so melodic, compared to all the other rock guitarists. It can even impress people who have always denounced rock music! that's something even a legend like Jimi Hendrix couldn't do as well as this awesome guy
What?! Syn on 2nd!
Slash should be the 2nd greatest guitarist behind Hendrix. Page should be on 3rd only because of "stairway to heaven". Synyster has technical skill but no feeling. If we consider speed, Syn can never be greater than Eddie Van Halen. However, feeling is what actually matters. So, Slash would be actually on 1st because Hendrix died soon and could not play many solos as Slash did.
Here's my top 4:- 1. Slash
2. Jimi Hendrix (may also be 1st)
3. Jimmy Page
4. Eddie Van Halen
I get you like him best. He is awesome However it's a big exaggeration only die hard fans will put him above the rock guitar greats way more talented than him like Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Angus young, Blackmore, etc. - AliBab
He is a magician on that thing! He even made it sound like it growled on Welcome To The Jungle, when I saw them live!
Has got to be higher up, heck gates, page and Van Halen are amazing guitarists but they aren't rock, their metal and slash shouldn't be on the metal list he's rock still Van Halen page and gates rock
Metal is only rock played faster with more distortion dumbass - AliBab
He is the second best guitarist behind Jimi, but my favourite!
He is very diverse... He can move from the hard rocking songs of Layla and sunshine of your love, to his technically brilliant slow paced work like wonderful tonight and next time you see her.
Eric doesn't just play the guitar... He is the guitar, and let's it sing!
his work with cream, the beatles, john mayall, the yardbirds, blind faith, derek and the dominoes, the list goes on and on. this guy is amazing. number two's hard to pick believe me
What else can you say about Cream's solo specialty guitarist. This guy made solos sound easy when they really weren't. His solo on White Room by Cream influenced billions of solos latter on.
Should be first
Brian is amazing. His solos with Queen at Wembley take your breath away. A decent, lovely man!
He just is the best! Last horizon (2005), was it all worth it, Brighton rock, I want it all, his solos with the triple delay effect, and the last horizon solo from France (2013) the list goes on and on!
Brian should be a close second to Jimi Page. No way is Slash better. I wonder if the maker of the list was even born when music was music and there were rockers. Not these singing show winners that no one is going to remember in 10 years. Just listen to Brian shred it on Fat Bottom Girls and then tell me that he doesn't at the least deserve second place.
OMG I love this list so much Brian's first! Brian's the only instrument in Queen that wasn't keeping a rhythm or beat (not at all in the least that the bass and drums aren't amazing) and they still had the most amazing sound on Earth, Mars, and Venus
Angus my favorite guitarist he the others are amazing but angus truly the hype.
None other than Angus can keep up his pace, and touch the panther in all of us.
Angus Young definitely first. I'd like to see any other player play with that much soul and blues and emotion and be doing spasms and duck walks. he is the best and there is no such thing as a bad or less than amazing AC/DC song. Angus should be #1.
In my opinion Angus young tops slash by far, slash is a good guitarist no question, but listening his guitar solos, there are still a few flaws or lacks of creativity while angus young really plays flawless solos.
One way to understand the personality of Kirk Hammett is to just listen to two tracks that I suppose depict him perfectly. They are 1). ONE 2). Welcome Home (Sanitarium). I have also seen many people criticizing Kirk just because he is a metal guitarist. Just become mature and stop being cynical. He is a satriani student along with Vai. Rolling stones didn't give him a place in top 100. Though he is just not what he was but lets not forget what he did from 1984-1992! The whole world said WOW! He was much much better than Page in is initial years. Kirk played at seatle at 27. Listen to that solo there. Then listen to Page solo (Again at 27) at Royal Albert hall. That had such a rough sound. So respect Mr. Hammett!
Kirk hammet is the greatest guitarist of all time from the greatest band of all time, replacing the most overrated guitarist of all time ( not bad but overrated.I.E. dave mustaine). I like megadeth but they're worse than negative compared to Metallica.
While Kirk Hammett was influential in the metal community and his solos are awesome, he can't compare to the pure melodic and creative genius of Gilmour, Clapton, Hendrix and Eddie. Anyways, metal guitarists like Dimebag and Iommi were/are more influential. If we were going off of pure technical abilities, then Kirk would be close to the top.
He changed rock and metal completely, with epic solos like Fade To Black, Master Of Puppets, and countless more. Come on people, he deserves to be higher than seventh!
Need to relax, play Comfortably Numb LOUD. Works at the dentist, for surgery, getting a tattoo. Gilmour is the best guitarist... He can reach your inner soul, you feel it. The hairs on your arm stand up every time. Comfortably Numb actually brings tears to my eyes every time I listen... And I'm old!
This dude played a song for 26 minutes? Nonstop? David Gilmour made Pink Floyd what it is today by establishing his unique guitar skill into a psychedelic level that was never again reached.
This guy is the greatest solo writer ever. While his stuff isn't particularly hard to play (note-wise) replicating his tone is impossible along with coming up with anything as melodic, psychedelic and genius as Comfortably Numb or Time. To me, Gilmour is #2 behind Hendrix, but that's just personal preference.
Although I must pay my respect/tribute to "Stairway to Heaven" by Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, since it was THE SONG that, as a preteen, brought me to Rock-n-Roll, and for which I consider to be my favorite song of all time, and additionally is nearly impossible to choose given Page's other brilliantly composed music, my sincere love of David Gilmour's musical brilliance takes the lead if I have to choose who is the best. I know "Comfortably Numb", "Marooned", "High Hopes", "Pigs (Three Different Ones), and "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" are just a few of Gilmour's numerous songs that would have brought me to rock-n-roll, had I heard them before Stairway to Heaven. Thankfully wisdom taught me music is a compilation, not a competition (hehe, so I'll just enjoy them both, and Tony Iommi, and...).
Oh please. I get it. Synyster Gates can shred like a demon, and all of the little goth kids love his loud, fast, artificial-sounding solos, but there is no way in hell that he is the #2 guitarist of all time. I can already hear A7x fans decrying the "musical curmudgeon" argument and saying that older isn't always better. This isn't about the fact that Synyster Gates doesn't have the resume to be considered #2 (which he doesn't by the way). This is more about creativity and songwriting skills. While his solos and riffs are good for working out and stuff, there's really nothing special about them other than their speed and precision. Speed and precision aren't the be-all and end-all of determining the quality of a guitarist. If this were the case, guitarists like Gilmour and Hendrix, who didn't revel in their technical abilities when writing solos and riffs, wouldn't be on this list. To me, it just shows a lack of musical taste, ability, and maturity to put this slash rehash at #2. ...more
Synyster Gates is hands down an amazing guitarist. Of course he is mostly known for being able to shred faster than most guitarists (a fact even his haters have to admit), but Syn was classically trained and can do so much more. He can write/play upbeat riffs like in "Scream" and "Nightmare," go all out like in "Hail to the King" where he plays an incredibly difficult beat throughout the entire song and pairs it with an even more difficult solo, but he can also slow it down and play songs like "Seize the Day," "So Far Away," and "Dear God." He is still so young and has loads of time left to make an even bigger impact. The fact that a guitarist from Avenges Sevenfold is on a list with guys from all these legendary bands is proof enough for me!
This guy's fans seem to assimilate the concept of a guitar the same way the assimilate the concept of a car : The faster it is, the better. I'm sorry but despite him being a good guitarist, he shouldn't even be on this list since he isn't rock. He comes from the metal generation so put him there if you'd like, though I don't think he should touch the top 5 there either. Luckily, he was at #2 and now at number #5 so he's slowly going back to his rightful position. It's always the same with this kind of lists. The fan boys get here first and since he has so many, he got in top 5 (hopefully not for long).
I Think that Richard Sampora from Bonjovi should be on this list because just look at the videos that were done with Bonjovi. I love them so much! I miss the he is not in the band any more, but people who knows what the future may be coming too. Also playing music on his guitar with his mouth also being a guitar itself is also great to watch!
In my opinion this guy is one of the best rock guitarists alive today. Why you ask? Objectively, most modern electric guitar players have a large pedal board in front of them plus other FX gear to blow an audience's mind with a killer sound. This dude doesn't and uses only an overdrive pedal, choosing to get his sound the old fashioned way, from his guitar. He has been compared to guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa etc. for years. He's gets a ton of press, constant terrestrial & internet radio play, is a published song writer and can play at the speed of light with the best of them. His one-off guitars are made by his sponsor, Gary Kramer Guitars and he fronts 3 piece rock/metal band Men Without Armies. Just Google him or MWA if you want to see what I mean. He's not backed by a label or an agent so what you hear, see & read about Dylan is all unbiased, grassroots information and opinions. He doesn't have a PR Agent blasting the company line about him all over the ...more
Although I am happy to see my friend Brennan on this top 100 list, I believe he should be in the top 25, at least for modern rock guitarist. His sound is fresh and vibrant.
This dude is a prodigy. I saw him on stage when one of his strings broke and he kept playing. And the amazing thing is that it sounded awesome. He sure is underrated.
Brennan is one of the best rock guitarists out there now. Everyone should check him out!
I find it very sad that Randy isn't even in the top 10. He was very creative in the way he wrote his music and played. He combined classical guitar with rock guitar and was extremely creative in his solos, riffs, and his technique, especially in crazy train, goodbye to romance, and dee, (songs off of Blizzard of Ozz) along with most of the stuff on diary of a madman. Randy is definitely my all time favorie.
Any day or night, Randy could play circles around Eddie Van Halen. He was an absolute original. Where other axe-men borrowed from Page, Clapton, Berry, Waters, etc., Rhoads borrowed from Classical and pure Spanish riffs and forged them into metal. Was a year behind him in high school, and would sit in his next-door neighbor's room (my younger brother's best friend) and listen to him and his brother hammer away in their garage, or to Randy giving lessons to folks of any age. He didn't need a reason to shred, it was pure nature to him. Clapton, SRV, Page, maybe Gilmour ahead of him, nobody else.
Obviously, people who vote aren't guitarists. If they were guitarists, Randy would be on top! He was pure genius when it came to music. It's unfortunate that most people don't know what he could do. Most people don't realize that he actually laid down a track, and then do it all over with an overdub, so his sound was much fuller. I've heard that he even did up to 4 guitar dubs on some songs.
Simply the best guitarist.. Greatest solos I've ever hear and a very inspiring man..
Famous because he's a great guitarist. Kirk Hammett should not be anywhere near here because he uses a wah pedal, and Is only famous because of the band he's in.
Tom gets my vote because, despite not being the most traditionally "talented" on the list, he brings so many new things to the table. What he does is all new and hasn't been done by anyone else; he's completely original.
This guy is just amazing! His skills are different and plays amazingly in audioslave
Tom Morello is one of the best, it's cool how what he does has never been done before
But the question is, can he play anything outside of DJ scratching and using pedals? No, he cannot. Tom's guitar is cool but he sucks as a guitarist and shouldn't be here
Seen and heard most of these guys over the last 40 years. Almost all the supposed top guitarists on this list could not have held a candle to the Townshends' et al. i f they'd been in the same time frame. Townshend invented the first and best power chords that knocked out the massive audiences of the time. Don't get me wrong as their are some fine 21st century guitarists. As a still active concerteer, I've seen well over 100 of the top rock bands in the UK, USA and Europe over the last four+ decades and the fact Peter Townshend, Richards, Lee, May, e tc. e tc are either far down or not even on the list, is embarrassing to lifelong rock fans me and an insult to their memory. Most of the modern guitar heroes posted do not deserve the ranking they have for three simple reasons: 1) Townshend (and the other oldsters) had no 'giant shoulders' to stand on and learn from, 2) they did not have the tremendous resource of rock guitar books, videos, manuals e tc. t hat were and are available to ...more
I can't believe Pete isn't even on the list. He is a top ten guitarist, anyone with a decent music taste knows that. The Who is legendary, and Pete made them so.
Helped revolutionize feedback before Hendrix and he's incredibly skilled and influential.
Name any other guitar player who has written 2 Rock Operas...?
I think we are looking at the best damn Hard Rock Guitarist to play modern hard rock music. Blackmore turned Deep Purple into a wicked Hard Rock band with countless solos that you can't miss out such as: Highway Star, Child in Time, Burn, Black Night, Fireball etc
Top 3 for sure. One of the best ever...you try playing Beethoven on a guitar!
Purple's sound morphed several times over the years, and Richie knew how to add all the right touches to make it work, not to mention his work with Rainbow and Blackmore's Night. From the quiet smoothness of 'When a Blind Man Cries' to the lightning speed of his 'Highway Star' solo, Blackmore's axe was instantly recognizable.
Come on he influenced lots of guitarists! Definitely top 10 worthy!
Dime by any measure was one of the GREATEST GUITAR PLAYERS who ever walked the planet. The Dude was astonishing... Just one killer player. He just unleashed fury. He was a fearless player who attacked the fretboard. This may offend some but in my opinion he was a better player than Eric Clapton could ever hope to be. Eric is just too measured a player... Watching him is like watching caution perform. Sure Eric's solos are great but he strikes me as a guy who leaves nothing to chance & therefore improvises nothing. DIMEBAG is the MAN!
Has anyone here ever listened to Pantera? He sends Slash home and he clearly deserves to be number 1 on this list becuase Dimebag is god. Just listen to any Pantera song. Slash is nothing compared to Dimebag.
He's gotta be higher!
18 is disgraceful!
This guy is my role model
Ace at this number? Again I wonder what the heck are you listening to? He was Dimebag Darrell's idol. Have you ever listened to Ace on many KISS classics like Cold Gin, Do You Love Me, Dr. Love, Shock Me and so many others? Listen to Ace's work on his new single Gimme A Feelin. Open your ears.
Ace might not be the best but his solos are always very catchy and when he dose them live there the same as on the album and always suits the song part perfectly. But for me page1st, Blackmore 2nd and ace and Angus young in the top ten some where.
He's not a horrible or average guitarist but he doesn't deserve to be the top ten. He's not even remotely close to #10
Very good guitar player, a little underrated but he should be around 15 or so.
People tend to think that because George was in the Beatles he is overrated. Well because this I have to say he is incredibly underrated. No one had a feel for a guitar like George did. He wasn't flashy or necessarily fast, but he played in way that made you want to sing along to his guitar. Everything he played he played in a way that was just perfect for the song. Just think about hi playing in Something, You Can't Do That, I Saw Her Standing There, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cheer Down, and the list goes on and on. Maybe He's not the greatest but he deserves to be in the top ten at least.
John and Paul may have provided the lyrics, but George, along with Ringo, made the songs special. If only his ego could have competed with the two primary songwriters, he might be much more appreciated for the incredible talent he was.
For the type of great music that George produced his skills as a guitarist were very well suited indeed.
What is wrong with you? George Harrison is clearly the greatest guitarist ever
Telegraph Road and Sultan of swing solos are the best, hands down.
The Dire Straits guitarist who pretty much invented his own style of guitar playing which turned him into a success by the early 80s, however he isn't recognized by many as a great guitarist but I know his skills have never been similar to other guitarists.
Surely the greatest of the greats; just beyond compare and can play a wide range of styles.
He gets sounds out of his guitar that no one else can. In my opinion, clearly a top 5.
Come on you millennials out there! Hit up YouTube and listen to this genius at work!
Definitely top 5!
Longevity has a lot to do with guitarists. This guy should be in the top ten. No way Dylan should even be on the list. Ace Fraley, Tom Morello,Synyster Gates, or Kirk Hammette. And talk about Jimmy, Randy SRV And some would say Duane Allman and when you have Hetfield on the same stage that doesn't hurt. Dylan great writer that's not a guitar Morello,Gates,or Fraley, nope not even close.
Be serious. I have been listening to this guy for 45 years, & it's hard to imagine him standing behind all of these other guys. He's just too good.
Carlos is rated way to low. He should be in the top ten
guitarist for black sabbath. missing two fingers but still shreds it.
How is someone who basically invents a genre like heavy metal not in the top 10?
He changed the music genre, he created a new genre, he's the god of metal
THE UNDISPUTED RIFF MASTER... INVENTOR OF DOOM METAL. HE SHOULD BE TOP 5, IF IT WAS NOT FOR HIM, HALF THESE GUYS WOULD BE WORKING AT WALMART!
If it weren't for being in a Canadian "cult band", he would've ranked in the top five. Top Ten FOR SURE!
Id put him in the top 5. Looks so easy and fun for him to play all those mind boghling solos!...but were are Steve Hackett and Steve Howe?
What Alex Lifeson in the top 10? Yes I'm not being an idiot, I'm being honest by putting this talented underrated guitarist where he belongs. Rush had highly success not just because of Peart and Lee. If you listen to La Villa Strangiato by Rush, it shows you what Lifeson is capable of playing.
Definitely belongs in the Top 10, if not Top 5. No guitarist has the creativity that Lifeson has. Awesome that every solo is different and unique in its own way. So many classics
Number 30! What a joke. Lindsey Buckingham is a guitar god who could hold hold his own against anyone who ever picked up a guitar, past or present.
Always overlooked in this category.