Top 10 Best Guitarists of All TimeShredders, 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
He's one of the best, but you guys put him on a god status, he was just a man, and so many of you guys are typing ''hIM aNd sLAsh aRe tHe beSt'' without actually knowing what he did or listening to any of his music, all you wanna guitarist just say he's. the best without knowing what he did. IT PISSES ME OFF
I'm sure that Slash would admit that he and basically every guitarist since the early seventies owes Jimi Hendrix big time.
Although before my time, I've watched footage & watching his hands is something I have NEVER seen before or since. The sound that he produced was amazing and it looked so effortless and SO SPECIAL. He truly looked as if he was just BLESSED with this gift. His hands moved so quickly, played with his teeth. It was as if his guitar was an extension of his body. He's number one for good reason. He belongs on the top of this list.
There is a reason why Hendrix is placed first all the time on these "best guitarists" lists. He's not my favourite, but he is the best. He's got it all - amazing solos and riffs that are very complicated as well.
I don't get why Hendrix is always considered the greatest ever guitarist, ahead of Jimmy Page. I love Jimi Hendrix, but he didn't live long enough to prove he's really the goat. Page on the other hand, is a god. He's extremely versatile. His bluesy riffs, like Dazed And Confused are incredible. He can also rock hard, like in the song Bring It On Home. Those are just two examples of his many great riffs. And nobody can do a solo like Jimmy Page. Just watch the 1973 Madison Square Garden Led Zeppelin performance, and your mind will be blown. Page, without a doubt, is the most complete, greatest guitarist of all time.
Possibly better than Hendrix. I know that's a bold statement but page played electric, acoustic, doublenecked, a plethora of different tunings, slide guitar, he could play soft and slow, or loud and fast, he also pores more passion into his solos than most guitarists. One of the most influential guitarists ever, not to mention a super recognizable style
I would probably call Page the best because while its argued between him and hendrix who had more technique, Page had infinitely more Feel for the instruments. If you see Page in his prime (The Song remains the same recording of Stairway to heaven) (Knebworth east Achilles last stand) he almost always plays the right note for the right time. Page was also one of the first to blend Rock, Folk and the Blues to create a signature sound that would Define the decade of the 1970s
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.
Can’t say much about Eddy that hasn’t been said many times. Van Halen 1 is the best album of all time! I will never forget the first time I heard it. I had been playing guitar for about 6 years when I heard it and have never been in such disbelief of what I was hearing, even thinking it was two guitar players or dubbing or some other effects trickery, but no, just amazing Eddy!
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.
Very versatile and emotional guitarist. He has tons of good stuff like Layla and other assorted love songs, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire, Blind Faith, Fresh Cream, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and his solo career. He is one of the first British guitarists to play blues, he experimented with fuzz, distortion etc. he made the guitar as important as vocal (he did it before Hendrix, on Disraeli Gears) he is great at improvising and playing live. If Hendrix is inarguably the best, Clapton is inarguably the second best.
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)
"I think Clapton, man, is one of the baddest guitar players I know, as far as heart and, I'm talking from within, when he plays, when he plays a note, the charisma that he puts into it." - Ike Turner, 1995
There is no denying that Eric Clapton is the greatest guitar player of all time. Keep in mind, I am judging this based off of him being an amazing guitar player, and not how good his guitar sounds, otherwise I would be. picking Hendrix
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.
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 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
This guy is amazing and dedicated. The soloshe plays on November Rain and Sweet Child'O mine just blew my mind. Let alone the intros to Paradise City and Welcome to the Jungle.
Apart from Hendrix and Van Halen he is one of the greats.
David Gilmour should be in the top 5 at LEAST. He's better than Eric Clapton. Unlike Clapton, his riffs are way more original and sound completely different from each other. Also, Gilmour has the most electrifying solos ever. He's ability to change the mood of songs and write novels with just four chords makes him a genius like no other.
I know this all just an opinion based list, but you'd be daft to not put in Gilmour in top 5 (at least).
I am yet to hear another guitarist that can really transfer pure emotion into their instrument quite like this man, you might not agree with me but if you listen to pretty much any of his work (especially in the floydian years) then you will realise that David was a cut above the rest in terms of progressive, integrative and downright impressive soloing work.
As I say, at the end of the day it always comes down to opinion and interest, but I am sure that it wouldn't take much to persuade anyone of the pure brilliance that this man resonates in the world of music to consider him as one of the greats.
This man is an absolute genius. He can go on and on without getting tired. Listen to the song Echoes. It goes through so many phases and emotions of guitar brilliance. Gilmour's solo on Comfortably Numb is the greatest guitar solo of all time. What a legend.
The man is the king of the guitar solo. Tone, precision, and the best bends ever. Pink Floyd is the greatest band of all time and Gilmour is the reason. Only player that comes close is Stevie Ray. Deserves to atop this list by a wide margin. Slash is above him? that's blasphemy.
His song is simply delightful to hear. I can listen Pride and Joy in loop all day without getting tired. Technically (I mean, considering his guitar skills), I can't think of anyone better than SRV, except for Hendrix and, maybe, Eddie Van Halen, but it's really hard to compare these two, since both Eddie and Stevie played in totally different styles. And considering creativity, originality and musicality, I personally see Halen, Hendrix, SRV, Page and Gilmore (not in this order) as the best. The list is not entirely wrong, but it could be better. Stevie, for example, deserves a higher place.
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.
No doubt he was and still is the best guitar player os all time. Eric Clapton himself once told that when he played with Stevie he was worry because he couldn't understand and follow the Guitar Magician Stevie
Hendrix created the style, and Stevie Ray perfected it. To say who is the better guitarist is almost impossible. However, in terms of playing the guitar, Stevie Ray takes the cake.
Sure, Hendrix was the creative genius behind modern electric blues, he brought it to life and took the style to new heights. However that is as far as he went. I believe Stevie Ray took what Jimi had created and truly mastered it better than anyone had before, including Hendrix himself. I believe Stevie could not have done what Hendrix did in terms of innovation and creativity, but he would sure as hell play the pants off of the man.
For that reason I believe Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix are collectively the two greatest guitarists this world has ever seen. I won't say that they're the best there will ever be, because you cannot be certain on that. One day there may come a guitarist who brings the "old and outdated blues" back into the world and anyone who has the talent to do so will ...more
Kirk is an spezial guy. Yes he is the ripper of the wah pedal but he can use it, like Jimi. Also is he a guitarist, who used a much of emotion, but (Theory) I think his complete style of jimi and other influences like joe satriani and more are important and you can hear in there Songs. For Example Solo of Trapped Under Ice, Ride The Lightning, Welcome Home, The Outlaw Torn, Until It's Sleeps, but he is underestimated in load and reload and especially my favorite solo is one HTSD in murder one, where he plays a slot machine solo for lemmy RIP
Kirk Hammett is not only a talented genius at Guitar but writes most the Lyrics for most the Albums it is known. Pretty high rank as Guitar player if not truly the best.
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.
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
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.
The master riff maker! A more iconic a sound has never been heard. Just when you think he has run out of juice he comes out with a whole album of classics, again and again. Even chucking Ozzy didn’t matter the riffs were what mattered. When he dies, I think they will find a stash of riffs he didn’t think were good enough and he would be wrong. I have heard he just writes and writes then writes some more. I can only hope.
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
Hands down Tony is the greatest of all time. He has the best body of work out of all these guitarists on this list. He helped pioneer some the most influential metal genres ever. Traditional metal, stoner rock metal and thrash metal. Don't believe me? Just listen to Supernaut, Symptom of the Universe, Paranoid, Into the Void, Iron Man, War Pigs, Snowblind, Lord of this World, Sweet Leaf, Heaven and Hell, Methademic. Not to mention the fact he is missing part of his fingers due to a factory accident when Tony was a child. Come on give this guy the credit he 100% deserves.
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.
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.
You have to be kidding me! Synyster gates at number 4?!?!?
Dimebag darrell is the daddy of synyster gates..
Sure, ".. He has blistering speed... Pro at divebombs, sweeps.. " whatever.. You're taking about divebombs in front of dimebag?
And how does synyster gates figure before gilmour and clapton!? What about emotion? Guitarists like clapton, gilmour, dimebag have loads of emotion in their playing.. Such soulful music!
This list seriously needs to change! Dimebag darrell forever, /
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.
Absolutely horrible. Only knows power chords, maybe 3 open chords, and the minor pentatonic scale. He doesn’t deserve to be top 100, let alone here
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!
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.
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.
Brian May is just absolutely amazing. His guitar riffs and beats are comparable to the likes of the guys at the top of this list. Just listen closely to songs like 'Hammer To Fall', 'March Of The Black Queen' and of course 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and you can hear the amount of thought put into his playing. Not to mention his guitar 'The Red Special' looks absolutely great!
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
His style was so uniqe you can instantly tell that's Randy Rhodes, his solos and riffs are so damn good and fun to play its amazing, He ONLY made 2 albums and is compared to eddie van halen! say no more.
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.
Would we even have a list if it wasn't for this man, I mean he was still touring at 80+ True Legends die hard. His influence has to be felt by everyone else minus Robert Johson who started it all.
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.
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!
Ok guys this the best guitarists list not the most important guitarit's list. In this list were talking about skill. Chuck berry invented rock so he's probably the most important musician/guitarist to live. But not the best. People like hendrix, page, and gilmour are more talented than him but they should be very grateful because of him.
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.
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 dynamics...no 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.
Underrated by fans but not by musicians. Always in my top ten. Any chance you have to catch one of Jeff’s concerts you should go out of your way to see him live. I’ve seen him 3 times and he surprises me every time.
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.
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.
Saw him in concert. He broke a guitar string, finished the song and didn't miss a note, then played another before he changed guitars - UNBELIEVABLE.
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 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).
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.
You know who else does that? CARLOS SANTANA.
Nevertheless Mustaine is a phenomenal guitarist and criminally underrated.
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!
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!
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.
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
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!
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 one...by some margin
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.
Ok, all of the people on this list are good. But Steve Vai is the best. Just the way he really knows his guitar and the sounds he can make with it. Steve Vai, you are my guitar hero.
Keith Richards, Angus Young and Tom Morello above Blackmore? You've got to be kidding me. They're all good but they're not as good as Richie. Never. If Deep Purple is not enough for you listen to Rainbow, especially the first three albums.
My favourite guitarist. If you started to rank guitarists by body of work, Blackmore would rank much higher. Also he isn't a one trick pony. Can play in various styles. Can play slow with feeling and shred with the best. I enjoy listening to his music whether it is Deep Purple, Rainbow, or Blackmore's Night. Favourite album Rainbow Rising. Over the years I have seen many great guitarists, but none impressed me as much as Blackmore.
If this is a list of true guitar gods then why is Ritchie Blackmore so low. If we all worship at the altar of Guitar Gods then bow down to Ritchie Blackmore. He is the Oden on this list.
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
Blackmore is one of the top guitarists for sure, but your statement about Gilmour and Knopfler being not very good improvisers is the most absurd and inaccurate statement ever.
When Eddie Van Halen was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he was asked how it feels to be the best guitarist in the world. His reply, "ask Alex Lifeson"
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.
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.
Although Hendrix is overall a more skilled guitarist, and he was much more influential than Lifeson, I'm gonna give my vote to Alex, because of how low down on the list he is. He is a brilliant guitarist, and made some of the best riffs ever conceived. Tom Sawyer, Limelight, YYZ, Red Barchetta, Spirit of Radio, Freewill, La Villa Strangiato, Xanadu, Closer to the Heart, 2112, Fly By Night, Anthem, Working Man, Finding My Way, and many, many more all have amazing guitar riffs that are very complicated, yet are still groovy. His guitar solos are unrivaled, such as the ones from La Villa Strangiato and 2112.
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.
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.
Duane Allman is so under appreciated. How is it that Eric Clapton is so high on this list when it was Duane Allman who on the recording of “Layla” that did the majority of the work. Duane Allman is second only to Jimmy on my list.
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.
Actually, it is pretty simple. Tom Morello can do what anyone in this list does. But not many, probably very few, can do what Tom does.
So modern day/alive #1
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
Frusciante above Tom Morello?! I love RHCP, but seriously? You can't even compare Under The Bridge to Fistful Of Steel! A lot of the people on this list use 20 pedals to get an above average signature tone out of an array of varying boutique guitars Morello uses only six pedals to get sounds nobody has ever heard of from a few modded Strats, an old Tele and an Artstar. His riffs are downright simple on the fretboard, but his genius and almost comically complex picking techniques using a pencil to make helicopter sounds on strings, striking strings above the nut for squeals, volume swells, precise harmonics, scratching, heavy trem use, and proficiency with a kill switch make Tom Morello one of the most creative and diverse players alive today. He deserves at least to be in the top 20!
Before 1991 I don't think a guitar has ever been manipulated in a way that Tom Morello has managed. He may not be the most technical, fastest or knowledgeable but definitely one of the most insanely great crafted guitar players ever. Just watch the solo in Bulls on Parade, or the riff in People of the Sun played by scratching one string. Using screwdrivers to make chopper propellor sounds and a multitude of effects to give his guitar that unique, Tom and Rage sound...
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!
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.
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