Top 10 Best Guitarists of All Time

Shredders, riff masters, acoustic geniuses, virtuosos, and straight up rockers - they're all here. Check out the top ten best guitar players ranked based on over 200K votes.

The Top Ten

Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated ...read more.

I'm sure that Slash would admit that he and basically every guitarist since the early seventies owes Jimi Hendrix big time.

Jimi started it all. There's no denying it without Jimi some of the mind blowing solos we hear today may not have come into existence

Slash is great, he is possibly the best soloist ever, but he'll never be Hendrix. He is a legend R.I.P.

Jimi Hendrix inspired me to play guitar.

Every one of his songs is amazing, yet has great guitar in them as well.

Those of you who are like slash is better, jimmy page is better, or Eddie Van Halen is better listen here. Who can play guitar upside down learning for the first time only picking up chords by what he hears cause he isn't able to play the same way as right handers, who can play there own songs a million different ways without ever playing any other way. He is a legend. Even though he is such a big inspiration, he can play what other people would never be able to do. And without him you wouldn't be seeing these awesome guitarist today play amazing rifts. Sure they would come sooner or later but you just gotta think what he has done and even though he is dead and has been dead for a while he has and is still making an impact on the world. And Jimi Hendrix was the god of the whammy bar, he knew how to use that thing better than any guitarist I've heard. Jimi ...more

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.

The man is a god of the guitar! Pure genius don't have to say any more, his playing speaks for itself,

Jimmy was great in the studio and that alone would earn him a place in the top ten but he was a sloppy performer and never could play as well live as he did in the studio. The list of greatest guitarists should consist of people who are great live and in the studio and unfortunately, he was not great at the former.

It's subjective as to who is the best at any art form, although there are some analysis than can help. How enduring and widely popular, how much quality content, how complex, varied and original are all factors. Page's brilliance has been obscured by the fact Zep as a band was so great. It gave him more exposure but also camouflaged him. This is true with others, of course: e, g,. Joe Walsh, Neil Young, Keith Richards. There are other reasons great guitarists don't get their due. I love guitar and for me its Page then Duane Allman. The fact Allman is so far down this list is ridiculous. Also many on this list don't really belong because so many voters are too young to know the dif.

If you take a look at the comments for Synester gates, you can see all the people worry about is speed. And he isn't even that fast, Van Halen, and pretty much any good heavy metal band guitarist can play faster, longer, and cleaner than him. Now Jimmy Paige's greatness isn't fueled by speed, its fueled by emotion and innovation. Listen to the main riff in Black dog, Slash called it, "the sexiest riff off all time"

Didn't the bassist write the riff from black dog? If that is the case, then even if it was "the sexiest riff of all time," that would say nothing about page as a guitarist. If anything, it would be proof that page is lesser as a guitarist, since the bassist wrote the "sexiest" riff. I'm not attacking Jimmy Page. In fact, I think he's one of the best guitarists of all time, but I think you could've used a better example. Personally, I would have used the solo from stairway to heaven as his magnum opus, but that's just me.

Jimmy Page was far better than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is overrated because he was the first to exemplify the electric guitar, that said, it doesn't mean he's the best. Jimmy Page was a much more versatile and had a much wider spectrum of styles and was a better technical player as well as being a much more intricate player and writer. He could intertwine a beautiful melody and go right into a brutal riff for example the song "Babe I'm Going To Leave You". All respect for Jimi Hendrix but he never came close to what Jimmy Page did. Hendrix never played the brutal riff or the beautiful melody Page did. Page constantly evolved Hendrix did not. Page was not influenced by Hendrix because they were both playing at the same time worlds apart and Page was the top session guitarist at the time. Also note, Hendrix auditioned in Nashville because Nashville wanted him to play tracks for country musicians but he didn't make it because he could not play blue grass guitar or classical picking. Page ...more

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.

One of the most skilled and innovative guitarists ever. Fastest right hand in the business.

Must listen some of dream theater songs my friend.. John Petrucci will clear your doubts

He doesn't play the guitar, it is part of that man's body, you can hear his emotions come through

Lol the guitarist with the least emotions in the history of time

Eddie innovated 2 hand tapping. He Influenced great players like Slash, Zakk Wylde and Kerry king to play. If you can make a minute and 42 minute long solo of pure shredding that is recognized everywhere there is something special about you. People that know nothing about guitar think clapton is best but people who know all about guitar can truly agree ed is the god

Steve Hackett was tapping and using harmonics in 1971, long before Eddie was even famous. Not saying that Eddie wasn't good or ennovative of course, but he gets too much credit for things he didn't create. - RalphSaad

WE all need to take a breath, think long and hard, and to open our minds to what really is true genius vs talent?. Their are a lot of very talented guitarists out there!. Some of these great guitarists may have never realized their true gifts, died way too young, or even other circumstances that resulted in self destruction!. We are all partial to what music styles, and forms open our ears, and take over our souls!. No one guitarist may speak to all?.. Nonetheless, using talent, innovation, revolutionary impact, popularity over time, and technical virtuosity!. Eddie Van Halen is simply better than anyone!. I realize Jimi Hendrix is the Grandfather of rock guitar, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page was in a hugely impactful band, and Eric Clapton has an unrivaled tone!. But Eddie can pick, and move up the scale better than anyone, had two great front man in Van Halen, and still made it work, and revolutionized tapping better than anyone!. Jimi Sang, and Page was overshadowed by John Bonham!. ...more

Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

The great B.B. King once said you will never find a guitar genius that can hold down, note to note, to Eric Clapton. He is the "one". He doesn't care if he's in any top list of anything. He has nothing to prove. Kids love to hear a guitarist banging on his guitar, Clapton never does that, He actually knows how to play an instrument. Some oldies but goodies think he is the rebirth of Robert Johnson. You will seldom find anyone who knows who Robert Johnson is, so how can you expect teenagers and 20 something guys who want to be guitar heroes themselves, understand the history of true rock and roll? Step up and listen to the ballads and then listen to the riffs Clapton manages with out breaking a sweat and the magic that happens when he does. There is soul to this mans music. He is simply, The Best.

I agree with you. Hew should be above Slash, in my opinion. Also, I know who Robert Johnson is. He's a blues guitarist of the 1920s who famously "sold his soul to the Devil for rock and roll". I know this, and I'm only 14. Also, Eric Clapton is very prolific ( Cream, Blind Faith, etc) - MusicalPony

There are thousands and thousands who can force a guitar to sputter. There are hundreds who can make a guitar talk. But at any given time, there is only a very select few who can truly let a guitar sing. Clapton is one of those few (along with Hendrix, Santana, and a couple others). Clapton writes his music straight from the heart, finding inspiration is his real life. From his relationship with Pattie Boyd, with whom he was madly in love (Wonderful Tonight), and later his deteriorating marriage with her (Running on Faith), to the death of his son (Tears in heaven), Clapton puts more raw emotion into his music than any other guitarist I've ever heard, including Hendrix.

Compared to him, more recent music can come across flat and empty in both lyrics and guitar work. No one could say he hasn't stood the test of time (1970-today), but he is being slowly forgotten in an age where playing fast and looking cool is more important than musical brilliance.

Slash and some other ...more

What? He is only 20? Eric is one of the best guitar gods ever! He is a great riffs creator ("Sunshine of your love", "Layla", "Cocaine") and a huge soloist too: what about his wha-wha powerful solo on "White Room", his soft duet with Allman in "Layla", his epic section of "Tales of brave Ulysse", the memorable ending of "Let it Rain" or the emotive solo on "Why got love to be so sad? "?

He is the king of blues rock. He should be in the top 3 with Jimi and Dave (Gilmour)!

I think he should go back to 20th (probably lower then that). I can't stand some of his songs. Slash should definitely be ahead of him. - MrSnuffleupagus

I honestly can't believe he isn't number one on this list. Clapton's music is so personal to me and to so many millions of people who've been inspired to pick up a guitar because of him. I remember never particularly liking the guitar as an instrument, whether it was to play with or to listen to, but his performances from his "Unplugged" album and "Live In Madison Square Garden 1999" and really anything he's done till present changed everything for me. From "Layla" to "Wonderful Tonight", "Tears In Heaven" to "River Of Tears" and countless other great songs, even though he wrote them such a long time ago and still performs them till date, you can hear the emotion and sadness going through every word and every note he plays on his guitar. You can understand the lyrics of his songs and connect with them on a whole new level without even knowing what he sang them for. That's what music is. You don't need a context, you should be ...more

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.

Slash is an awesome guitarist. He's got it all! He's dedicated and I think he's proven that he doesn't give up. All the music he plays is great, you don't get a song to witch Slash plays the guitar that sucks, he just dose what he loves.

Slash has earned his place in the top 5 and one day may even make it to number two. Let's face it Slash is a great guitarist.

I mean you don't just wake up and are good at something you have to earn it and Slash has. For this he is one of My greatest Idols.

Slash is the 2nd greatest guitarist EVER, only behind Hendrix. He is without a doubt the greatest soloist of all time. His solos aren't a couple of licks put together or not just playing a scale as fast as he can, his solo's are thought out masterpieces that are incredibly amazing technically and emotionally. Listen to all his recorded songs and you'll see what I mean.

Okay, slash is a great guitarist, no doubt. Bust he isn't better then eddie Van Halen or jimi page in technique, and if you wanna talk in emotions, David surpass him.

I'VE NEVER HEARD A SOLO LIKE THE ONE HE PLAYED IN NOVEMBER RAIN, AND DON'T FORGET ABOUT ALL THOSE INTROS LIKE SWEET CHILD O' MINE, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PARADISE CITY, CIVIL WAR, ESTRANGED, ETC.

I've actually seen Slash live, and, despite how often I've seen him online, my jaw still dropped every time he flawlessly played a great guitar solo. And don't even get me started on his riffs!

When Slash left Guns n' Roses in 1993, the whole band practically died, because The Spagetti Incident and Chinese Democracy were disappointing albums. Luckily, he has rejoined the band now, but I think my point is proven when I say that Slash is one of the most important guitarists of all time.

David Gilmour David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.

A true genius that can touch the heart of the darkest of souls & bring them back to life. His solos & melody's can't be beat for precision & perfect musical sound structure... A true master of his art.

His creativity knows no bounds! The only guitarist I feel that can place his heart on the guitar strings and strum away his soul. Listen to his end solo of Comfortably Numb on the Pulse tour and the tingles will run up your spine!

Any song He touched is pure genius. Echoes, Time and all of The Wall are great. He was the Heart of Pink Floyd.

No one writes better solos than David Gilmour. Comfortably Numb, Marooned, High Hopes, Echoes, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Sorrows, Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), Time, On The Turning Away, Hey You, In The Flesh? , Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2, Run Like Hell, Money and many other great guitar solos I'm probably forgetting. I agree with Jimi Hendrix being at number one and Page being at number two. But Slash at number three?! David Gilmour is way better. Comfortably Numb live PULSE is the greatest solo ever performed. Brian May is okay, but very overrated. I can't think of an extraordinary solo by him. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the greatest songs ever written, but it's solo is overrated. I used to listen to Queen more often when I was about 16-years-old. I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody all the time. The solo never got me going. It never felt special to me, even though I loved the song. Same with We Will Rock You. I loved that and never found the solo special. I would even fast ...more

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 ...read more.

This forum is terrible. SRV, Jimmy and Clapton should all be top 5. Slash.. give me a break. Go YouTube "Texas flood" long version or "little wing cover" by Stevie Ray Vaughn and educate yourselves.

S.R.V. re-invented electric blues. He played every song from his heart and nailed every note! You will never hear the same version of a song twice from Stevie Ray. He is absolutely amazing!

There are hundreds of great guitar players but Stevie Ray Vauhan and Jimi Hendrix were the absolute best. It is a privilege just to listen to them play. Please people, listen to SRV on YouTube. Just search srv and pick any song. You'll thank me, really.

To me, the fight for the #1 spot comes down to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and if I had to choose one, I'd give it to Vaughn. Hendrix was phenomenal; he absolutely ripped on guitar. But to me he was more of a creative force - a guy who sounded different than anyone else, past and present.

I was in the midst of writing a lengthy argument when I realized that probably no one would read it, so I will just sum it up with my closing paragraph:

If the two took the stage together, the level of awesomeness would surely cause the world to explode. Barring that, I can't help but speculate that while Hendrix would likely outperform Vaughn, Vaughn would be very capable of outplaying Hendrix. Innovative, influential, and revolutionary Hendrix was - the best ever he was not; I think that distinction should go to Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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.

Kirk is definitely top 5 guitarist. You can't get better than the interlude in master of puppets or the solo in one. He is a very technical guitarist. You can't get to much faster than 220 bpm in master of puppets or 210 in fight fire with fire.

You kids need to understand that guitar is a "musical" instrument. You kids need to understand speed is not everything. It's about making the guitar cry. Talking with your guitar. I'm not saying Kirk doesn't do that. Kirk is the second best guitarist to grace metal, but he isn't top 5 material, but meh, in a list where slash is 2, j guess it's alright.

He's not the best, but man is he good. He's definitely heavy metal, and can go insane with a guitar. If you've heard him play any of his better songs, you'll know what I mean.

3rd... Seriously... The guy who made the one solo and the fade to black solo... Part of the biggest metal band on the earth... Yeah... He deserves at least 2nd

He's a great guitarist, but almost certainly not 2nd best, Jimi Hendrix is pretty amazing as well as Zakk Wylde, so that's already 2 that I think have more guitar skill. - Feirceraven

gotta love the fast strumming and definitely lets the music talk

Tony Iommi Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle ...read more.

Almost every metal-riff that you hear today has been invented by this guy. He is the best. Guitarists like Mustaine, Friedman, Frehley, Gallagher deserve to be a lot higher on this list. And what about genius Brian Robertson (best guitarist Thin Lizzy ever had! ) and John Sykes, I don't even see them here and they should have been!

I've seen him live with Black Sabbath and the concert was great. And no wonder, because Tony Iommi practically created heavy metal as it is now. The fact that he still continued to play after his finger injury just shows that this guy isn't afraid of experiments and will keep on going no matter what.

He really should be # 3... I mean come on, don't be so ignorant because of the style of music he plays.. Just listen to "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" and you will agree with me. Keep on rocking!

Wrote some amazing riffs and a good soloer too. His tone is monstrous and easily recognizable. Plus he plays with a handicap and he is still awesome

Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while ...read more.

Angus feels what he is playing! He has a style of good old rock n roll like other guitarists-john lennon, george harisson, Hendrix, eddie Van Halen but angus is the best of all the best. Angus should be on 1 place

Unbelievably underrated. Listen to his solo on "Shake a Leg" to convince you. Plus, he could do all that while lying on the floor having spasms.

Angus Young isn't A guitar GOD.
He is THE guitar GOD.

His riffs - simple, yet effective. Back In Black and Thunderstruck are definitely among his finest works, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The Newcomers

? Scott Henderson

The Contenders

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

Brain May flies a little under the radar. Everyone has heard Queen, but how many people actually pay attention to the guy that can make his guitar sound like a symphony. Next time Bohemian Rhapsody or Killer Queen pops up on the radio, actually listen to the harmonies that Brian alone can produce.

GREATEST GUITAR PLAYER OF ALL TIME. Next to Hendrix of course. Beautiful Guitar riffs and soloing place him at the top. He never ceases to amaze me... I listen to queen and keep finding song after song that is just unbelievable. Friends will be friends, bohemian rhapsody, hammer to fall, the invisible man, breakthru, and radio ga ga are just a few of the amazing songs queen has put together. Along with the breathtaking vocals of Freddie mercury (may he rest in peace), the bombarding drumming of Roger Taylor, and the Steady, rhythmic bass playing of John Deacon, Brian May and Queen is the #1 band in the world.

He's as good as Slash, Jimmy Page, Tommi Iommi, and Jimi Hendrix.

He may have been good, but no one can be better than Hendrix and a few others. - Kyledren

Lets go queen although its surprising how Keith Richards who is guitarist for Rolling Stones is in between 20 and 30th. But brain mays gut air solos are THE BEST.

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.

Why the F is DIMEBAG DARRELL IN 21! He is the best guitarist I've ever seen and heard. He's guitar skills are very good better than SYNYSTER GATES! He needs to be in the top 3!

Dime was and will always be number one for me as a guitarist, not even Jimmy could compare to the amount of inspiration and skill that Dime brought to the table. He was the innovater for future metal guitarists, he was absolutely brillant! His memory will live on through his family, friends and fans. And if you think that he doesn't deserve this spot, and you've never heard him shred, I strongly suggest you watch/listen to 5 minutes alone, This Love, Walk, Cemetary Gates, and all the greatest songs by Pantera. I'm sure you'll change your mind! R.I.P. dimebag Darrell
"In this river all shall fade to black" -Zakk Wylde (In this River, a tribute to Dime)

Dime was the most emotional player there ever was. Mind blowing lead AND rhythm player. He has it all.

DIMEBAG DARELL SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN TOP 5
, Just listen to cowboys from hell / walk /revolution is my name, it will blow your mind. If he would have been in present, could have hear more mindblowing solos.

Could play so fast his hard and fingers would phase into a blur

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.

Just listen to and try to play some of the stuff he's done people, I mean come on! Knowing that he wasnt in the music business for that long but left as big as impression he did, just imagine how it would be now if he was still alive! No one can write or play as good as Randy.

Randy was a true great. He was so far ahead of most people playing guitar and always practiced and you would never see him without a guitar in his hands, like Hendrix. He was great in Quiet Riot, he had a great opportunity to join Ozzy because Randy's writing and playing dramatically improved. He was that type of person who was in it for the music. Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman are great examples of what rock/metal virtuosity is. Listen to songs like "Mr. Crowley", "Revelation (Mother Earth)", "Diary of a Madman", "Crazy Train", his spotlight solo that he did in Quiet Riot, "Laughing Gas", "I Don't Know", "Over the Mountain", and "Flying High Again" and you'll surely be amazed. He was always in control of what he did. Blizzard of Ozz is a very powerful title because of its power and energy that you get from it. Diary of a Madman shows him going deeper into jazz and classical music. The best example ...more

There are very few albums where I rate every song 5of5 stars. Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman are two albums I rate that way. Randy was taken from us far too early. Find the song Laughing Gas (Live) when he was with Quiet Riot. During the solo you here strains of Goodbye to Romance. Randy was a perfect match for Ozzy's vocal style. Randy had a strength of technical ability matched only by Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai. What sets Randy apart was his composition. He knew exactly when and where to play down and dirty. He also knew when to play classical modes such as phrygian and mixolidium. He had an uncanny ability to play a smooth solo with a trill place at just the right point to accent the song. Over the Mountain is a perfect example. Listen to the solo. Diary of a Madman the song is a perfect blend of using a classical theme to build a song on. This is a very haunting song that fits the lyrics and Ozzy's voice perfectly. Dee is a beautifully composed piece that is a great ...more

Well I have been playing too many years to count and there is no doubt Randy was the best. Playing guitar was just too easy for this guy.

Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Jeff Beck listed at #74 on this list shows just how little most music fans know about the history of electric guitar. As one reviewer stated earlier, Page, Clapton, Brian May, David Gilmore, and Slash have all stated that Jeff Beck is the best guitarist on the planet. You can add Joe Perry and Steve Lukather to that list. He plays with a fire that nobody else can match and his technique is stunning, the equal of anybody on this list. Many of this generations greatest jazz musicians have recorded with Jeff, including Stanley Clarke, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, and Lenny White. He's toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, BB King, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, and Kenny Wayne Shepard. In 1966, when Chas Chandler was trying to convince Jimi Hendrix to move to England, Hendrix agreed but only if Chandler promised to introduce him to Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. If you don't know who Jeff Beck is, pick up a copy of Blow by Blow or Wired and give it a listen.

In a society where people worship speed, brilliant guitarists like Jeff Beck are usually forgotten. Most "modern" people have probably never heard of the name Jeff Beck, but most guitarists will tell you he's one of the best. Having experimented in most genres of music, Beck has laid down the foundations of modern music, along with other greats like Hendrix, Page, and Clapton, all of whom praise him for his genius.

Totally unique approach and sound. A guitarist's guitarist. One of the best.

When Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck replaced him, and nobody missed Clapton. Later, when Jeff Beck left the Yardbirds, he was replaced by Jimmy Page, and everybody wished Jeff Beck would come back to the group.

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.

Are you people retarted? Without Chuck Berry, no one on this list would be famous

I love how you can't even spell the word retarded, yet are calling people retarded. You're right about Chuck though. - MetalPope

Guitar playing rock legend

One of the biggest innovators on guitar along with Iommi, Robert Johnson, and Hendrix.

Chuck Berry is a legend an one othe most influent guitars all over the world

B.B. King Riley B. "B.B." King was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer.

BB King, the man who started it all when the other greats were just babies are perhaps not even conceived yet. Quite literally he didn't create this amazing instrument but besides T-Bone Walker he brought electric guitar to the fore-front along with Albert King, Freddy King, Buddy Guy and a vast majority of the older and late great bluesmen. His "hummingbird" vibrato effect and nuance and style has made him a house hold name for some 50 or 60 years or so and today with all the different types of music he is still a house hold name though in this day and age Blues is no longer the mainstream music it was way back when.

B.B King was the first guitarist I ever saw make his guitar cry...

Just one of many great blues guitarists not likely to make this list.

In the Beginning there was B.B. if you ever heard him play I mean really listen to him play you really don't need to go any further.

Carlos Santana Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American musician who first became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American jazz.

From Slash to Vaughn, from Hendrix to Page, from Clapton to Van Halen, from Prince to Hammet and on, no one but no one can as masterfully sing, string, stir, and sling his guitar out to an audience without vocal ability! Carlos executes his gift by the side of angels; he sings THROUGH, not ON the electric guitar, devoid of ego. Who else could immacutely adapt to concert with the finest of musicians world-wide, such as Ottomar Leibert, and innumerable musical artists to bring incandescent soul to each with impeccable perfection? Carlos unegotistically offers God-given talent as if it were for sale on the street for one who is musically promising while abandons the forced march of solitary recognition in the music world. Carlos appears to effortlessly, unfaltering, and exponentially lift the spirit of fellow musicians of promising notorious varieties. Carlos has another gift: most transparently to bring other artists to their pinnacle without over-shadowing their style. Thus, this man ...more

Without a question, nobody plays as "smooth" as Santana!

This man is by far the most talented guitarist who ever lived. It is insulting to him and his millions of fans to not have him be number one. This list is not a measure of talent and skill, but just a popularity contest

This guy can play anything. He can play great expressive slow blues leads (you want emotional leads, he's up there with David Gilmour and John Frusciante), he can play virtuoso solos with the best of them, and he's a genius acoustic guitarist to boot. And with any of these, he's instantly identifiable, in the way that he uses vertical vibrato or straight tones on held notes instead of standard vibrato, his impeccable sense of complex rhythm and phrasing, and his awesome trill technique. I like shred, but sometimes feel and tone are more important, and there's none better than Carlos Santana for that.

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 ...read more.

A really Great Guitarist.

More technically skilled than Hammett, but Hammett has better composition. However with all the effort put into Megadeths guitar work, Mustaine deserves to be top 10.

What the hell is Dave doing on 19, listen to No Prisoners or Looking Down the Cross to see what this guy can do while SINGING, he is both a better guitarist and a better songwriter than Kirk Hammett, Dave has written lots of killer riffs while Kirk only wrote the solos and a few riffs (he wrote the main riff and the chorus for Master Of Puppets and the legendary breakdown of Creeping Death) for Metallica. Most riffs in Metallica have been written by James which is a beast when it comes to rhythm guitar but Dave could get best of both worlds, maybe not a better rhythm guitarist than James but he is for sure a better lead guitarist than Kirk. His singing, you either love it or hate, I really like it, but I can't decide between his voice and James' voice from the 80s.

He rules but Metallica songs are also good... Tornado of souls, Peace Sell all crazy songs

Keith Richards Keith Richards is an English musician—primarily a guitarist—singer, songwriter, best-selling memoirist, and founding member of the rock band The Rolling Stones.

I can't understand why Keith Richards is always rated so high, other than his innovative tuning method. He is not even the best Rolling Stones guitarist, let alone best Rock guitarist. His playing style is very choppy. Ronnie Wood plays with greater finesse and versatility: Observe the live recordings of the late seventies and early eighties when Ronnie was featured playing more leads. Whereas Keith plays in abrupt short staccato bursts with the finesse of a claw hammer. Brian Jones was the gifted and creative musician behind the early Rolling Stones sound (even though Mick and Keith stole the credit). However, Mick Taylor steals the show as the best Rolling Stones guitarist ever. The Mick Taylor era (1969-1975) was considered by many to be best and most creative of the Stones tenure as a band (Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Let It Bleed, It's Only Rock and Roll, and Goat Head's Soup). Check out Mick Taylor's guest appearance at a Stones concert in Coventry, England in 2018. He ...more

We are talking about rock and roll, right? How anyone can be listed higher than Keef is mind blowing. It all starts with a riff and the king of riffs is Keith Richards!

He should be top ten. I mean, come on who doesn’t like Rolling Stones?

KEITH RICHARDS is the best guitarist of all time that's what I feel you can attack me all you want but those who say there is anyone bigger than KEITH RICHARDS I say they're brain damaged well Jimi Hendrix may had much talent but he's not the greatest well he has much heart for playing the guitar but just the years 1966 to 1970 isn't enough to make one the best guitarist ever KEITH RICHARDS have performed as a member of The Rolling Stones for over 5 decades now and still continued I bet Jimi Hendrix wouldn't have energy to play guitar till he's done that for 40 years at least that he would quite after 20 years and JIMMY PAGE might be an amazing guitarist I listened to Stairway To Heaven many times but he wasnt performing for 4 decades so he isn't better than KEITH RICHARDS so suck it up sinners and Brian May is an amazing guitarist too I listen to some of QUEENs albums like MIRACLE, INNUENDO and MADE IN HEAVEN I loved the guitar playing on the albums the sound was nice and when QUEEN ...more

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

You have to look on another planet for more expression, feeling an fun on an electical guitar!

Steve Vai, I think is one of the best guitarists in the world.
He is very unique and has his own mind for playing, he gives guitar playing whole different meaning when he plays.

A technician's technician, while also artistic AND original.

Satriani's protege, almost as good as Satch Boogie himself.

Duane Allman 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.

If the late Duane Allman had done nothing but session work, he would still be on this list. His contributions on lead and slide guitar to dozens of records as fine and as varied as Wilson Pickett's down-home '69 cover of "Hey Jude" and Eric Clapton's 1970 masterpiece with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, constitute an astounding body of work. But Allman also transformed the poetry of jamming with the Allman Brothers Band, the group he founded in 1969 with his younger brother, singer-organist Gregg. Duane applied the same black soul and rebel fire he displayed as a sideman to the Allmans' extended investigations of Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell covers and to his psychedelic-jazz interplay with second guitarist Dickey Betts in live showpieces such as "Whipping Post. " Although Duane and Gregg had played in bands together since 1960, Duane did not learn to play slide until shortly before the start of the Allmans. In his only Rolling Stone interview, in ...more

Duane could do it all, and do it THE best-- jazz, country, blues of your choice, acid rock...you just name it. Hendrix was phenomenally creative, but no better guitarist. DUANE had THE TOUCH. 100% SILK.

I'll only say I'm glad for that glass pill bottle he had when he recorded Hey Jude with Wilson Pickett in Muscle Shoals.

Listen to his work on Derek and the dominos, he plays alongside Clapton without being outstaged in the slightest.

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.

Come on people. Alex Lifeson is amazing! He plays for Rush so he plays very hard music and very long music. He is in his late 50s and he is still playing amazing. Slash could never play half as good as Alex Lifeson. I bet Slash couldn't even play a Rush song. Go Rush! 1974-2112

Alex Lifeson deserves more credit for his influence as not only a band member of Rush but also a very underrated and powerful musician. He not only used big swirling arpeggios to from his sound but knows how to shred. Just listen to every song on "Exit Stage Left". I read about people saying that Steve Howe was the most awesome prog rock guitarist in the 70's and today. I was hugely influenced by Howe but Lifeson brought something more to the table than any other prog guitar player. He knows how to rock, he knows how to bring diversity to the songwriting with Geddy and Rush never compromised their sound to commercially sell out. The bottom line is in the past and present if you were or are a young aspiring musician you listened to Rush and then you learned how to play their songs.

Probably my favourite guitarist here. Even though he's often overlooked, just listen to 2112, Freewill, The Spirit Of Radio, YYZ, La Villa Strangiato and other Rush songs and tell me that this man isn't amazing.

Him and his band were TRULY ONE, his style and note selections were so unique you can instantly tell its him

Tom Morello Thomas Morello is an American musician, singer-songwriter and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave.

The DJ GUITARIST of all time!
A true form of guitar god quality, he made rap/rock a good quality sound through his variety of music influences and made him reach his distinct and over the edge guitar performances!

Tom Morello is the greatest guitarist ever because of one simple reason: His guitar playing is many times more creative and innovative than a lot of guitarists on this list. Sure, they may be able to play really fast solos that sound really impressive, but Tom's guitar playing (not just his solos) doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before. This is obviously a good thing.

For years I went back and forth between my favorites: Tom Morello, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Frusciante. I love almost all genres of music, but Tom takes the cake for guitarists. THE REASON: his guitar can match literally anyone else. On top of that fact, his guitar does innovative things that no other has done since. There was a reason RATM included "NO SAMPLES USED IN THE MAKING OF OUR ALBUM" on all their CDs. Everything was done with the instruments they had. Listen to Metallica, then listen to Guns N Roses, and finally Van Halen. The speed? Tom matches it. The scales? Tom can do them plus odd ones that he studied while graduating with honors from Harvard. Clapton? Brian Setzer? Hendrix? The melodies that are so famous? Morello has them too. Just listen to the solo on Freedom or some of his earlier Audioslave solos (especially off Out Of Exile). Don't even challenge on riffs; only Kurt Cobain or Adam Jones beats him there. Then there are his other solos. Bulls On Parade, Mic ...more

Morello was ultra creative with what a guitar could do and really made Rage against the Machine and Audioslave sound so cool and edgy.

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.

The most, the best, the amazing... That can I say.. The Beatles had one great guitarist of all time... Vote for george

He's really talented but always quiet, he has never wanted to be a superstar with scandals, he just wanted to play the guitar and sing. I think it's why he's underestimated.

He's hella tight! He was one the first to ever play the sitar in pop culture music. He made history!

Harrison would have been THE NUMBER ONE SUPERSTAR guitarist from jump, except for being overshadowed by his mates George and John. He loved 'em both, and never thought once about jumping ship! He played everything they could think of, and blew their minds with extensions from there! He was the bleeding greatest guitarist - just about ever, including every style you want to consider, including heavy metal which the Beatles basically invented (Revolution, Helter Skelter). All without attitude, all with love! Still the greatest!

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.

There is no way Synyster Gates is better than Petrucci!
Arguments like "He plays well while singing backing vocals" and such? You guys should really listen to Dream Theater! Wonderful music composed by 5 of the most technically and creative personalities in modern music. I realize that people who listens to Dream Theater have heard the most and at last found the best DT forever!

There's not even competition... Best guitarist ever, apart from that a sublime songwriter, DT forever.

Not many people have heard of him. But he can gun with the best of them.

He's definitely one of the most skilled guitarists alive. Many of Dream Theater's songs are very complex and melodic and Petrucci plays a huge role in all of them.

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