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 244K votes.
The Top Ten
1 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 more.

Some people can't agree why Hendrix on the top of the list. But in my opinion he should. I mean listen, guitar player before him have experimented the usage of overdrive effects. But he one of the first that introduced Octavia, Univibe, Wah- Pedal and etc, to the mainstream. Without him, I guess only few guitarist know how to use pedal effects. One thing please!. Don't look on his influence but look at the innovation and feel, He also the first guy to use a stereophonic phasing effects in recording. That's why most of his records that we hear sounded like a new stuff. And if you want talk about technique. Hendrix have influences many guitar players such as SRV, John Frusciante and etc. He innovates playing barre chord using thumb as a root note. So he can play a rhythm and melody at the same time. So I'm just gonna say that Jimi Hendrix not only pioneering the way of playing guitar but also in recording stuff. Without Hendrix, Most songs around the world sounds raw. Sorry to say but ...more

Who can say who is the best. Hendrix favorite guitar player was Terry Kath from Chicago. But Hendix is the reason why the Stratocastor is the world's top selling guitar and why people came back to Rock and blues. He woke up the blues guys and got them rockin. He played for three years and changed everything. The second guy to do that was Eric Clapton and he has been playing for 60 years. That tells you the Hendrix influence, technically Bonomassa is technical but puts me to sleep. Hendrix wakes the dead and makes you want to kiss the sky. I do not know another guitar player like that except me.There was Les Paul then Jimi Hendrix then Eric, Stevie Ray ,Then Eddie then Prince, now Carlos Santana / Brian May/ Jimmy Page. There was only one Hendrix. We will never again rest in Peace. He was the Man. Not the best player, but Jimi was the GREATEST Guitar Player

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

Ok, whats so good 'bout hendrix?! He's NOT the god people say he is, sure I would put him in top 5, but not number one, come on. I can name lots of more guitarists who could be number one instead of him (Kirk Hammett, Angus Young, Steve Vai, Eddy Van halen etc.)

2 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.

I know a lot of people come here to vote for Hendrix and he is without a doubt one of the greatest, but if we are searching for absolute mastery of the instrument, the no 1 spot can only go to Jimmy Page. Hendrix is only put at no. 1 because he died young, played with teeth and played at Woodstock. Page is the gunslinger. He can play anything. You need to play guitar to really understand his greatness : slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, vibratos, harmonics (do you kids even know what harmonics are ?), plays with the strings behind the guitar nut, etc. Heavy rock, folk, blues, acoustic ballads, you name it. He is a riff king (better than Hendrix) : Heartbreaker, Black Dog, The Ocean, Immigrant Song, Kashmir, Whole Lotta Love and a better solo writer (better than Hendrix) : Stairway to Heaven, Achilles Last Stand, Heartbreaker, You shook me, etc, so what's not to understand ? And Hendrix didn't "start" guitar rock, Page played in The Yardbirds from 1966-1968 (Clapton and Beck were ...more

I don't understand Hendrix being at no.1. Sure he's the one who came up with the electric guitars and he's probably the best on a technical level (playing with teeth, etc) but he's nowhere near Page's songwriting. Page is much better at writing memorable melodic solos (ex. Stairway to Heaven), much better at writing riffs (Black Dog, Heartbreaker, The Ocean, No Quarter and much more) and overall more musical than Hendrix. If I started a band with one of these 2 guitarists, it would be Page, because solos, riffs, songwriting and overall musicality is much more vital for a rock band than just a technically good player.

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.

Jimmy Page was and will always be my number 2. I understand that Jimi Hendrix is the most innovative, but he wasn't as melodic as Page. Also, as a songrwriter, he was one of the greatest in rock history (most of the plagiarism cases are just inspiration, Led Zeppelin have been unfairly persecuted. I'm sure all bands plagiarised maybe without even noticing). Anyway, my top five would be:
1. David Gilmour
2. Jimmy Page
3. Eric Clapton
4. Ritchie Blackmore (come on, he should be in a higher position)
5. Gary Moore (just listen to Still Got The Blues!)

3 Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) was a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor. He was best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

EVH should be #1. He revolutionized guitar playing, the guitar in general, stage presence, tone, influence, songwriting, riff writing, and a new age of rock and roll. He is the GOAT.

In my opinion Van Halen should be easily #1 when you add in everything. While his technical skill has probably been surpassed, nobody before or since has combined chops, feel, tone, influence, songwriting and stage presence in such a complete package. He advanced art of rock guitar like no other. Hendrix was great and gets the nostalgia vote since he died in his prime, but really he doesn't come close the Eddie Van Halen. That also goes for today's uber-shredders who can't write a good song to save their life and simply don't have Eddie's fabulous finger tone. I predict years from now when people look back, Eddie will be considered #1.

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

It amazes me that there are so many detractors and doubters in the comments. Quite simply, Edward Van Halen changed the way guitars are played and made. The band van Halen literally saved Rock and Roll. If you were born after 1965 you CANNOT understand these concepts. If you were there, actively listening to all sorts of music in 1977, then in early '78 when the first VH album hit the airwaves you just might understand. There was nothing like Van Halen between 1978 and 1984. During that time they went from being the Kings of Pasadena to the biggest Rock band on earth. Eddie is the most emulated guitarist, most influential, and the most talented Rock guitarist in history. Jimi was great, but he was no Eddie Van Halen. Page was not even in the same league. Page was an awesome guitarist, but limited in comparison to King Edward.

4 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.

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

8The great be. Be. 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.

Number 5? Really? Aw come on now. If not for Clapton would there have been the expansive identity of the Guitar Player? He has taken his place in each decade of music with an exploration of how the guitar is a voice with six strings. He has collaborated on so many styles of music with so many artists it has to number into the hundreds. He has done screen scores for big budget movies, T.V. shows, and independent documentaries. He has more awards than you can shake a stick at, and has used his music mastery to share some of the lowest lows and highest highs. He is a master of the six string, second to none. Some might rock louder, but none are as soulful, and his legacy keeps on inspiring new generations to explore and appreciate the blues.

5 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 isn't fast and doesn't shred like many other guitarists of the 80's, but he had style. He's able to put so much feeling and energy into his songs, with GNR and solo.

Slash gets my vote, because, since I first started hearing their songs, around 1992, when I was 13, Guns were by far my favourite band and that was largely because of Slash's amazing guitar work. It just "hit the spot" like no one else really had in the past, or has, consistently, since.

It would (and still can) give me goose bumps, on songs like Sweet Child (especially when he really winds up in the middle guitar solo) and November Rain (near the end, when it reaches a crescendo) and You Could Be Mine, but could also just go straight to the heart and soul, on other songs, like during the beautiful guitar solos earlier on November Rain and in Estranged.

One of the reasons he is so good is that he reportedly would just play what came to him in the moment, when in the studio. So someone would hand him a song and he would just let go and play what came to him in the moment (pure inspiration) and that would basically be what would end up on the album. He wouldn't generally ...more

Many people would say Slash could never be as great as some legends, such as Hendrix, Page, Van Halen, but I beg to differ. Look at the quality of his work with Guns and even thereafter. Many of the tunes he wrote with Guns still hold up today and are popular with the younger generation: Sweet Child, Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, & more. Then in the 2000's he brings rock back to mainstream for a period with his new band Velvet Revolver with hits: Fall to Pieces, Slither, The Last Fight, & more. Many of these others may have influenced and created many things he uses, but the facts show he has learned how to use them better. He may not necessarily make more complex music all the time, but it doesn't have to be.

I mean most people's argument that Hendrix is better is just because he invented things, that doesn't mean people can't learn to use them better. I've listened to a couple of Hendrix songs but none of them have just hit me like "Wow, that's so great ...more

6 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.

People who vote on this list don't play guitar. Gilmour is the master. Being a great guitarist isn't about playing as fast as possible. No one on this list can make a note sing like him. No one on this list come even close to his ability of writing solos. His solos are more melodic than any other individual on the list and they could go on for many minutes and never bore you. You'll be in a trance every instant of his solos, no matter how long it is. Listen to his solos on Comfortably Numb, Echoes, Money, Time, Dogs, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and I could name many more. He can play anything when he has the sacred instrument in his hands.
He is the God of all guitarists and no one can beat the God.

Gilmour is the greatest guitarist of all time. If you kids actually played guitar, you'd know why.
His solos are impossible to replicate. Also, just think about his creative mind : How on earth is he able to write a novel with his guitar ?
What are all these comments on Eric Clapton saying he's the best at making his guitar sing ? Clapton isn't even close to Gilmour in this category.
Key songs :
-Comfortably Numb
-Shine on you Crazy Diamond
-High Hopes
-Another Brick in the Wall
-Childhood's end

What makes a guitarist the best? For sure Gilmour is not the fastest player, but he can play all kinds of songs and is very good at it. The way he bends the strings on his guitar is very special. And last but not least: he does his job very calm: not jumping around the stage and waving his head. To me: he is the best.

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

7 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.

SRV is definitely in the top 2, and in my opinion, ahead of Hendrix. Hendrix was the greatest inspiration, but SRV took what Hendrix gave us, and transformed it into something greater. He is more of a lead guitarist with greater solos, he is also a much more refined player than Hendrix. Also, Lmao at EVH being above SRV. EVH was great, but he is only that high because of recency bias (his passing).

He can do shredding solos behind his back perfectly...and sing while he does it...who the hell else can do that? He is a technical wizard , better than anyone above him on this list..and he is 7th? He and the music are one, I don't know I think this list show how stupid people are. You can actually watch him on YouTube and say that 6 are better than him when in reality he is as good as it gets.

To me he is the best! He is technically the best ever. He got so into the music and had such s like he and the music where as one ! The guitar was just an extension of him. His tone is very recognizable, Just one string bend and you knows its him! I don't get why people compare him to Hendrix? He played a few of his song BUT his original songs sound nothing like him? If you just watch him play, its pretty obvious he is as good as it gets!

To me, the fight for the #1 spot comes down to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and if I had to choose one, I'd give it to Vaughan. 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 Vaughan, Vaughan 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 Vaughan.

8 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 Hammett is incredibly underrated. Sure he wasn't there since the beginning of the Metallica but he was there way longer than Dave Mustaine! Hammett is so cool and doesn't frickin' age. Seriously he's almost sixty and he only has white hair, nothing else. His solos are INCRDIBLE and honestly... I think he's one of the kings of metal.

Slash and Hendrix are great, but Hammett is far more versatile than either of those guitarists. Slash has a great bluesy-rock style of guitar that he uses to great effect. But that's really his only style of playing. Hendrix was great too, but I can't tell how much of his playing came from him or the drugs. He too stuck mainly to one kind of playing style-- psychadelic. Hammett does stick to metal, but he's had so many different approaches to metal over the year that it CANNOT be called one style of metal. Each album he comes out with is a different style of metal from the last.

Kirk can flat out play anything. I've been playing for 7 years, I'm pretty good, but not great. I've heard thousands of guitarists, I've heard thousands of bands. I'm a music junky, and I know guitar. Not only is he in the greatest metal band of all time, Metallica, which I would hope you all know of, he is the most influential guitar player since randy Rhodes. If not more influential than Rhodes. The only two I would put ahead of Kirk would be Joe Satriani and Jimi Hendrix. Period. And as far as the Dave Mustaine vs. Kirk Hammett debate goes. Mustaine's twenty thousand miles behind. Could be why Megadeth haven't been even half as successful as Metallica. Hmm,
I think I made a good point.

Look, choosing the best fruit at player ever isn't about choosing the guitar player that played on songs that everyone knows about. Half of the guitar players in this list are some of the most overrated guitar players ever. Kirk SUCKS compared to other guitar players. Compare him to Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani. If you even asked Kirk Hammet who the best guitarist is he'd say that Jeff Beck is. Metallica itself is overrated because of just 3 songs that just happened to hit the top of the charts. There

9 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.

One of the only artists I know of who can tell a story within a single note. A man who knew about quality over quantity, I guess people value super speed these days. In my opinion the guitar is an extension of the body and BB new how to make his guitar tell a whole story without him needing to sing.

This guy is probably #2 right behind Hendrix. No one ever made a guitar sound as pretty (Hummingbird) or as sad (3 o'clock blues) as this man. Listen to live in cook co. jail and watch the live in Africa show. Speed, soul, feel and heart is his fairway and every guitarist wishes he or she had a fraction of king's soul.

One of the best. But I won't complain about him being #17 because those above him are also really good. There are a lot of great guitarists here, both above and below BB King on this list. It's hard to put all the greats in a certain order. Let's just say they're they're the best

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

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.

Ask almost any Brit what the greatest song of all time is and they will say Bohemian Rhapsody. They will also say is that the Beatles are first but Queen is ALWAYS right behind. Not Zeppelin, Bowie, Kinks, Stones, or even 1D! Queen is an amazing band who is not only led by one of the greatest vocalists of all time, the late Freddie Mercury (RIP), but also one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Brian May. May is just as talented as Van Halen and Page but unfortunately gets caught up in the pop flair that Mercury preferred, However if one truly delves deep into the Queen vault they can find extraordinary solos and riffs by May. Brighton Rock is a campy driven song at the beginning in the end but is completely interrupted by an insane echoing solo by May. Even simple hits like Killer Queen, We Will Rock You, and especially especially We are the Champions have great solos. Plus May could pull off intense rhythms as well (I.E. Sheer Heart Attack). All in all May is one of the most ...more

He's very underrated. That probably has to do with the fact that MOST Queen classics don't feature much guitar play. But if you listen to the guitar heavy Queen songs as well as his solo songs, you will be blown away with the things he could do with that guitar. There's a reason Queen put on their early albums "No synthesizers", because people wouldn't realize that those sounds were actually from Brian's guitar. He also built his guitar, literally with his own two hands, so he's responsible for his guitar being able to make unusual sounds. Not number one, but deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Slash, and Beck.

Brian is the BEST of all! Including Slash and the overrated Jimi H.
QUEEN is the GREATEST BAND on Earth, largely due to the genius of Brian May, as well as the rest, esp, of course, the greatest frontman ever to have lived, FREDDIE MERCURY! They had this wonderful symbiotic relationship in which they brought out the best in each other, encouraging one another to go higher and better, which they did, thereby becoming the most awesome and absolutely THE BEST BAND on the planet, going where no other band had ventured, before or since, producing over 40 different genres of music, each so diff, so unique, so incredibly brilliant! Most innovative and eclectic band ever! QUEEN!

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

WHAT?!?!?!? Tony Iommi created heavy metal! If it weren't for Black Sabbath, do you think we would have Metallica, Judas Priest, Pantera etc? No! This guy should at least be in 2nd place with Chuck Berry at 1st place (OBVIOUSLY, because he created rock n roll). And Iommi should be way above that horribly overrated Jimi Hendrix, I painfully disagree that Hendrix is the GOAT.

Overall, here's my top 5
1: Chuck Berry (Because he was the origin of rock n roll)
2: Tony Iommi (Because Black sabbath was the original heavy metal band)
3: Eddie Van Halen (Because he invented tapping
4: THEN Jimi Hendrix

Greatest Guitarist
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath
The Wizard
War Pigs
Planet Caravan
Iron Man
Electric Funeral
Rat Salad
Master of Reality
Sweet Leaf
After Forever
Children of the Grave
Into the Void
Vol. 4
Laguna Sunrise
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Heaven And Hell
Lady Evil
Heaven and Hell

These are all of Tony Iommi and the entire band of Black Sabbath's best performances...

What in the blue hell is Kirk Hammett doing at 8 ? Tony Iommi is the goat. Listen to "A bit of finger/sleeping village/warning : A 13 minute jam of creativity and badassness. There's like 50 riffs alone in both Paranoid and Master Of Reality albums. And it isn't just a bunch of riffs put together, they're all well combined in an ARTISTIC way.

Tony Iommi is without a doubt... a king of metal. I play guitar and I play a lot of Black Sabbath. All his riffs are so dark and mixed with SOOOO MANY power cords. He basically created metal when we started Black Sabbath. He plays things on guitar that shouldn't sound good, but do you know why it sounds good... BECAUSE HE PLAYS IT XD!

12 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 is a master of his instrument in a way that very few guitarists on this list are. The way he uses his vibrato, the way he controls his volume and tone from moment to moment, his phrasing, his one does that like Jeff. When guitar legends like Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and Brian May want to see a guitarist that blows them away, they see Jeff Beck, and any one of them will admit it. Hendrix said he wanted to play as good as Jeff, SRV was shown up night after night on their co-tour (and I LOVE Stevie, don't get me wrong), and the man has toured with everybody. His sound and playing are instantly recognizable. Jeff is in a league of his own.

One of the greats. He uses his guitar as his voice, and it has always been the main focus in his music. The instrumental album Blow By Blow is a prime example of Jeff Beck's great playing, feel that makes every note mean something. Unlike most rock guitar players, he is rooted in Jazz, not Blues, which makes his playing all more unique, but he has never been a purist, taking inspiration from all styles. There is no singers present on Jeff's best work (Wired, Blow By Blow and Emotion & Comotion) because one is simply not needed, not only does he play great melodies, but communicates a certain message to the audience without needing lyrics to do so. Jeff Beck has continued to develop his style and improve his playing, even though he has been around since the sixties, which is quite amazing to be honest. He is definitely underrated, never achieving the success he deserves, and he also deserves to be up there with Hendrix, Clapton and Page as one of the greatest rock guitarists to have ...more

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.

Agreed, all of the names you have here are "of the calibre" for the title of "Greatest" guitar player of ALL time. But Jeff Beck should certainly be #2 if not #1, only because he once stated that (at the time) "Jimmy Page and I may be considered the best (guitar players) in the world, but neither of us could hold a candle to Hendrix. " And that is the truth! Jimi Hendrix WAS. IS and shall for ever be, the greatest ROCK guitar player in the History of the Electric Guitar! Furthermore, Mitch Mitchell, Jimi's favorite. Drummer, was/and is one of the greatest drummers of all time!

13 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 more.

It is not easy to write easy but memorable riffs but this is what angus did. He may be surpassed by if talking about skill but he had like EVH. He revolutionized many things when it comes to rock.

Everyone knows Angus Young or... Angus without the G. He once said that, but anyway I should probably talk about his guitar skills. His specific style is underrated, but I think it's pretty cool. He plays some really cool cords for the intro and the chorus, but then we get a GREAT solo while Malcolm plays the main riff and... it's just SOOOOO awesome!

He inspired about half the guitarists on this list and they aren't even half as good as Angus. Don't wanna take my word for it? Fine. Go on YouTube, look up AC/DC, let there be rock, River Plate. May be a long video, but who cares? Watch the whole thing, look at his skill, and then, when you can do what he does, comment again, and you sir, can go on the Highway to Hell. When you can do a ridiculous solo while spinning on the ground, let me know. Until then, For Those About To Rock, I Salute You!

Come on! He's Angus Young! Back in Black is the 2nd best selling album of all time... the don't just give that to anyone! And unlike any of the guitarists above him, he puts energy into his songs... he plays the most BAD ASS solos while rolling around on the ground or running all over the stage, which none of the guitarists above him can do... sure he isn't the number one, but he's definitely better that Slash, Eric Clapton, Synyster Gates, Kirk Hammett, and David Gilmore!

14 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.

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)

Best guitarist ever! His style in rhythm and leads surpasses the masses. Influenced by Eddie Van Halen, ace freely, zakk wylde, ted nugent and Dave mustaine... To name a few... Dime honed into making the best metal records of their time. With anselmos lyrics and Dime's amazing metal poetry, Pantera was the last heavy metal (I mean heavier than, as far as heavy metal goes) to over night hit #1 on the billboards with far beyond driven; even though billboards is mainstream bull. They will be the last metal band to gain overnight success like this. COWBOYS FROM HELL! RIP DIME! GET YA PULL!

Why are Slash and Kirk Hammett are ranked higher than Dimebag? Who votes here? 9 year old kids? I mean slash is good, he has written some good riffs and songs, but he is SO overrated! And Kirk, well he has good aspects too, playing with too much wah-effects has created his own style and the same thing, he has written a bunch of good riffs and solos in Metalica together with Hetfield. But he and slash, even if they were together, will never compare to what Dimebag did with Pantera. Just entirely masterpieces. RIP Dimebag Darrel.

Dimebag should be higher! He was so talented at playing, especially since he could play like that at 16! His solos are as amazing as his riffs. R.I.P Dimebag Darrell

15 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

Being a good guitarist is more than just playing the song, its about writing music. Everyone on this list is a fantastic guitarist, what makes some stand out more than others are the songs they write, and for me the riffs Keith Richards wrote were the reason the Rolling Stones are so famous. Even today, 50 years later, they are still very catchy and energetic. And there's so many good ones! The guitars in Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil, Start Me Up, Paint it Black, Beast of Burden, and countess others are all amazing, and very few other guitarists have the creativity to create so many masterpieces.

I'm seeing a lot of comments saying Keith Richards is overrated and that his playing is choppy. Actually, it's his choppy style that makes him so great. It's obvious that a lot of his riffs early in his career were heavily inspired by The Beatles. 19th Nervous Breakdown sounds so much like I Feel Fine. But if you listen to the entire album Exile On Main Street, you'll be convinced that he is the riff king!

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

16 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.

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 of that is the album's title track which doesn't have the typical power chords ...more

Randy's work was outstanding. I think he was the most naturally gifted guitarist rock music has ever known. Such classical beauty and yet such awesome power in his playing. He played for the shortest time, being on hardly any albums and his stuff is hard to get hold of. But what we have is enough to have shocked the rock music world with his incredible playing. He was just as good as Eddie Van Halen when it came to rock, but he had more heart, emotion and versatility in his playing. He's even better live than on record. No-one's ever played like him or been better than him. And someone once said that he's the only guy ever to eclipse Ozzy Osbourne during Live shows. Considering Ozzy is regarded as one of the most exciting rock performers ever, that speaks volumes. This man gets my vote!

He died young and I wonder how his playing would have improved after 20 more years. Thanks to his musical talent and his passion for it (talent is worth nothing without passion) Ozzy's first solo albums became calssics and masterpieces. I doubt they would've been that successful if someone else played there. There's that story, from Ozzys autobiography - he had a melody in mind, but as a non-instrumentalist, he couldn't get it down. Randy got it out of him and they created a masterpiece (though I forgot which of the many masterpieces it was). Not many guitarists (or instrumentalists in general) can get the melody out of the heads of OTHER people (moreover people like Ozzy Osbourne). To me, Randy is the definition or talent, passion and years of practise.

I don't know what is wrong with people randy should be at the top of the list at #1! He is the best guitarist that ever lived if only his life wasn't cut short, it seems like no one even acknowledges (sorry for my spelling) him, if you don't think he is the best then listen to Mr. Crowley, flying high again, goodbye to romance, his days in quiet riot, dee, the solo on the tribute album on suicide solution, they are all amazing and by far beat everyone else, he knew the guitar like no other and could do anything, and he was only 25 when he died, it's a shame that he doesn't get the respect he deserves...R.I.P. the Best Guitarist that ever lived... Randy Rhoads

17 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.

Without Chuck, music (not just rock, MUSIC) as we know it today wouldn't be the same. He's not the best guitarist technically, but he can still noodle like nobody's business.

Why is he number sixteen? Good ol' Chuck Berry deserves to be number one, enough said. If it were not for him, the Beatles may not even exist. Jimi Hendrix sure did bring the electric guitar to new heights, but there is just no out shredding Chuck. If it were not for him picking up the electric guitar and making it a thing, then there may not be anyone else to make a list with.

Primitive rock'n'roll player. Not to the technical level and virtuosity of later musicians. Players of his era deserve a different kind of honours

No Chuck Berry, No Rock and Roll as we know it. Go back and listen to his stuff and put yourself mentally in the mid fifties when Do Wop and crooning were just about the only thing on the radio. Try to imagine what it would have felt like to hear Maybellene or Johnny B Goode suddenly hit the airways! Thank you Chuck for giving us Rock and Roll!

18 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.

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.

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

Saw him outdoors at the World's Fair Park and though I liked most of the songs, SambaPa Ti was unbelievably magical. perfection as it floated over the air during dusk. hearing it live made it become one of my Top Ten. too bad the friend I took for her birthday kept calling the band Chicago. Getting a 2nd hand mild high from all the dope smoke going on around us didn't after years of feeling that way definitely didn't hurt the effect either. Every time I play or hear the song I'm right back on that hillside on a mildly muggy night with that song floating on a small breeze. I could almost see the notes floating through the air. It was an unbelievably magical experience that will stay with me forever and no, I hadn't even hit being stoned.
't hurt the effect

Unique guitar sound -- purest, smoothest, most singing guitar of all; you need about two notes to recognize him in any context. 17 is far too low for him -- perhaps he was not flashy enough? I'd rank him equality with the other "gods" of the rock guitar (Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jerry Garcia, Pete Townshend). I am not sure, however, I would place any of these guys tops as best guitarist ever -- I might go for a classical guitarist or, more likely, a flamenco guitarist (Paco de Lucia, most likely).

19 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.

To make Duane anything but Number 1 is a shame. It shows how those that vote have not listened to him live. There are plenty of examples out there to listen to. I have seen more than half of the top 25 live. From 1970-1971, I was lucky enough to see Duane live 3 times. I also saw Hendrix (couldn't reproduce the albums I loved live, maybe it was the drugs.) Page I saw twice and he was not good at all. I have seen better bar band guitarists. Gilmore was great, May was great, Slash was good, BB was great, Stevie was great. Clapton was good. Bonomassa was OK. But Duane was the "Natural". To lose him in 1971 at just 24 was a horrible loss. What he could of done live or in the studio is beyond comprehension. There is a great band up there, and they all are giving Duane their pick for him to play lead. Listen to the live stuff and the Anthology albums. This is what he was and did every time.

I don't care who plays the fastest, has the best technique, the slickest... Whatever. It comes down to telling an emotional story, note by note and Duane could do it better than anyone. Add Dickey and they weaved a story untouched by and duo. Then duane adds slide in the mix and just takes your heart and mind to places no guitarist has reached. Just listen to Live At Filmore, considered by many (Rolling Stone, Playboy others) as the best live album ever recorded. After that, get abeverage, a couple hits, headphones and put on Mountain Jam from Eat A Peach for the ride of your life.

I'm sorry, but I can't place any validity in a list that does not have Duane Allman in the top 5 guitarists of all time. He, Hendrix, and Clapton are the only ones on that level. It's a shame he's not a household name like those 2 though. I think that's because: 1) he died at 24, only after 2 1/2 studio albums with The Allman Brothers Band. 2) The Allman Brothers Band never received commercial/mainstream success until songs like "Ramblin' Man" off the Brothers and Sisters Album that was made after Duane was dead. Their music before that simply did not appeal to the masses.

R.I.P. Skydog

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

20 Dave Mustaine David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own more.

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.

I've seen people are just as amazing at guitar playing on most or all levels of guitar playing (speed, musicailty, technicality, musicianship, etc. ) but I haven't seen anyone who can surpass him on any guitar playing level and he also does vocals and doesn't look at the frets so his job is even harder. So to recap, he is betterat al of this stuff than anyone else because he hasn't been surpassed as a guitar player on any level and he he does vocals. And doesn't look at his frets. Also did I mention he can solo while singing (this day we fight, chosen ones) and he can do taping where he can do single notes AND he can do taping where he plays full chords with his left and right hands instead of strumming the chords. He does this in looking down the cross.

He is the person responsible for the early success of Metallica (nobody can't deny) and then he created megadeth which came out to be better than Metallica if not as good... he influenced guitarists like james hettfield, kerry king, marty friedman, chris polland, chris broderick etc...
He is a great composer and song writer and turned out to be a great vocalist for his band... his music and voice are aggressive and have fast tempo...
He mostly writes meaningful songs about, society, politics, nature, relationship etc.
He is a better a rhythm guitarist than hetfield and a ar better lead player than hammet
Most of the Metallica's hits were written and composed by mustaine before he was fired... namely- the four horsemen, phantom lord, metal militia, jump in the fire, motorbreath, ride the lightening, the call of the ktulu and many more...

What do you mean Dave Mustaine is number 30? He is one of the forefathers of Thrash metal, which is a very influential genre for all the other rock/metal genres to come! Dave mustaine "Wrote 'em all! ".
Everyone who has listened to Dave Mustaine's work since his first demos with Panic knows that Dave Mustaine is too under-rated. He is a living legend! Even better than slash. Believe it or not, it is true! Slash and Dave were friends, but Dave was always better!

21 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.

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!

A lot of people think the only reason George Harrison is mentioned on these lists is because he was in the Beatles. That's pretty misguided. He's mentioned because he is one of the greatest. Do you know how old Harrison was when he joined the Quarrymen (the band that evolved into the Beatles)? 15! And that's not because they were desperate; that's because he was that good! He was only 27 when the Beatles broke up. If you listen to the Beatles' hard rock songs, his skills come through. And he further demonstrated those skills in his solo career after the Beatles broke up. It's a shame a lot of people don't respect George Harrison as much as he should be. He is definitely in the top 20, maybe even the top 10. He was good.

Hendrix was good but pretty much played the same style in every song if you learnt one Hendrix song you pretty much could play his style. George on the other hand had a more sophisticated approach to playing guitar his playing is more structured his chord vocabulary was much more advanced than most guitar players from that era and he was the first true guitar player that took guitar playing to the modern age. I can't see why most people don't hear
That, I think they do but people like to always mention the old Hendrix Clapton page thing don't get me wrong they are phenomenal but George definitely deserves to be in the top 10

George Harrison is extremely underrated as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His mid 60s riffs, like Paperback Writer and Day Tripper, were very groovy. In the late 60s, he began to play with heavier tone and more emotion. Listen to I Want You (She's So Heavy) and you'll be amazed. George is maybe not top 10, but definitely higher than 23rd.

22 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.

When I need a good laugh, I always come here to see this absurd list. Alex Lifeson at 23 ? Eddie Van Halen called him the best guitarist around.
Alex Lifeson isn't just a technically good player, but he's a better songwriter than most people on the list. He knows how to play with many tones. He his a great riff writer (ex. A Passage to Bangkok) and he is comfortable with using both chords and licks to write riffs (something that not all guitarists understand). He has no problem coming up with a great solo (ex. Limelight). He has both emotion and shredding skills. He is an expert of arpeggios.

Outside of the guitar world he's not as popular as Hendrix or Page, but for a guitarist, studying his guitar parts in Rush (from the hard-rock days to the more progressive albums) will show you how great and complex he can be and will without a doubt shape your musical brain to be a better, more creative and interesting guitarist in the future. He is at least top 5.

Alex Lifeson at 23. This list is ridiculous. If he wasn't with Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, he'd be the the star of his band. When I was learning guitar, it was pretty hard to play their first album (from 1974). And Alex wrote that when he was 20 years old. He wasn't even near his prime and still at 20 he wrote that amount of GREATNESS. He was already a MASTER of the instrument at the very start of Rush. And Rush songs are extremely technical. He's the type of player who can do anything (shred, acoustic, etc). If people like Brian May, Angus Young or Keith Richards didn't play in such popular bands, they would not be ranked above Lifeson. He should be in the top 5 at least. Hell, he could even be top 3 or 2. Play some Rush songs on guitar and a revelation will be a hand.

Alex Lifeson Is the king of prog rock... and nothing is gonna change that. I've been listening to Rush since I was nine years old and I love hearing his great guitar sound. He starts with a AWESOME iconic then the chorus hits and you can faintly hear some pick, but then... the solo hits, it's a solo of bending strings, whamy bars, and very quick picking. It shows how great he is.

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.

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

You know this list is bad when Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Angus Young, Brian May and David Gilmour are above the master Steve Vai. God, you blues/classic rock praising boomers obviously don’t play guitar. Trust me, there is not one thing that Steve Vai cannot do on guitar. He came up with many techniques that most people on this list couldn’t even think about, like the Joint Shifting technique that he recently invented. He’s like a Swiss knife guitarist. + An absolute innovator.

I've seen Satch, a coupe of years back, and saw Vai last night. Steve is way way out there beyond any other player I have seen. Sure he can shred at a million notes a minute with the best, but he can bring subtlety and expression like I've never heard from anyone before, and has completely mastered some of the hardest techniques out there, as well as invented loads of others. For me, he is greatest of all time. Sure Hendrix was awesome in his time, and changed the face of guitar work, but its not Steves fault he was born too late to fit that category. He would have achieved icon status in any era.
Number some margin

If mastery of the guitar is the criteria then number one spot can only go to Steve Vai. I’ve been playing for almost 50 years and he is the hardest to replicate. Every time I TRY to learn one of his songs I end up frustrated and just listen in awe of the speed and soul of his music. Seen him live a dozen times and am floored by the precision and absolute lack of mistakes. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I seen him in a bar once in Pompano Beach, Florida one night he let an amazingly talented 12 yr old sit in and play Steve’s parts. The kids mother sent him a video and Steve let him come up and play. Number 1 in my book every time!

It astounds me that Steve Vai is placed so lowly. As a technical guitarist, Vai is virtually unmatched which is displayed in every impressive song. Obviously, it is not only technical ability which governs how good a guitar player is; emotion is vital too. This is not something that Vai lacks. All of his live shows makes the audiences' hair stand on end as they witness a true virtuoso of the guitar express his soul through 6 strings. Definitely should be in the top 10.

24 Ritchie Blackmore Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the more.

I love and admire so guitar players for different reasons, to many to list. But the guy who has it all for me is Ritchie Blackmore. He is a true virtuoso of rock guitar, between 1969 and 83 (very long time) he was at the top of the tree. I love Gilmore and Knopfler on record excellent as well as in concert, but, when playing live they can't really change things around in the Blackmore could (all of purple in fact) Gilmore pretty much plays the same thing every night for every solo just like Knopfler, they don't take chances like Blackmore. Page was never clean like Blackmore, all the shredders can play fast but most can't keep up the melodic quality to make a great solo, they just play million notes and end at the top of the neck with the inevitable screaming bend up. Even with a bit of tape echo Blackmore always sounded like he was plugged straight into the amp. That's one of the reasons I put him ahead of Jeff beck. Beck along with Hendrix and Les Paul are probably the most ...more

What are synyster gates, tomo milicevic and tom kaulitz doing in the top 10s? No disrispect to them, they're great guitar players but you have to be kidding me... Blackmore has played some of the catchiest riffs in rock history (smoke on the water, black night, burn, stormbringer, woman from Tokyo, man on the silver mountain, kill the king) some very memorable solos that will stand the test of time (burn, child in time, highway star, stargazer, knockin on your back door, why didn't rosemary) while pioneering metal itself with deep purple and power metal with rainbow. His mixture of classical music and hard rock is amazing and he should be in the top 10s.

I was dreaming of " Hush". I got up with the song in my head. I was not quite sure which band it was Cream or Deep Purple. Had no idea. Never listened to Deep Purple. Before my time, but still, very pathetic, I know. Spent the last three days, listening and reading comments, documentaries, etc... When comparing him to Jimmy Page, who is always put up at the top of the greats, I thought there would be a lot of flack from Zepplin fans, like myself, but there wasn't. Check out this and that. I changed my mind. Read a lot. Know all the members. Became a huge fan. Love them. Where was I. Love them live. Thank God for Made in Japan. AND IT ALL BEGAN WITH A DREAM ABOUT "HUSH". STILL LOVE THAT SONG. Thanks Purple fans!

Why it's not strange to see that Jimmy Page is 2 and Blackmore 25? Well it's because Led Zeppelin is just more popular. The funny thing is that if Ritchie and Gillian could stayed together and Deep Purple could live from 1974 to '84 they would be probably more recognizable than even Zepps. And if so, Ritchie would be higher than Jimmy. But he went off, started Rainbow and you know what? He went on even higher level (as a guitarist). It's another ranking based on popularity and not on playing guitar. It makes me angry because I first listened to Zepps hard and then my dad showed me Deep Purple. The difference in guitar playing was so strong, it kicked me to floor. Ritchie technically and generally was always by far better than Jimmy. Jimmy sticks to blues and rock, Blackmore developed something harder to play - hard rock/heavy metal with neoclassical melodies played with speed and technically clean. He is just no match to Page and he was certainly pioneer and influence to shredders and ...more

25 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.

Okay,I'm already on #25 here and have yet to see one of the most overlooked and underrated guitar players in my lifetime. Listen to "Who's That Lady" and "Say You Will",( I could name more) by the Isley Brothers,then slap yourself for not having Ernie Isley higher on this list--..If he is on it..

Greatest and most creative guitarist ever love every some of his fro rage to audio to prophets To nighwatchman to atlas. Just incredible! How is he only at 24 on this list

Travesty that Chris Cheney of The Living End isn’t on this list. The best in my books, but definitely at least a top 5 Guitarist of all time for sure Such an incredible guitarist.

1. Tom Morello
2. Chris Cheney
3. Santana
4. Jimi Hendrix
5. Angus Young
6. Jeff Waters
7. Kirk Hammett
8. Jared Dines
9. John Fruschante
10. Jimmy Page

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

Never played an unoriginal riff, and all of his riffs are perfect. He can create sounds that no one else has even though of before.

8Load More
PSearch List