Top 10 Best Guitarists of All Time

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

The Top Ten

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

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

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

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

Jimi Hendrix inspired me to play guitar.

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

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

1088 Comments
2 Jimmy Page Jimmy Page James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

933 Comments
3 Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You hear one note and you know it's him.

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

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

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

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

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

Slash and some other ...more

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

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

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

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

538 Comments
5 Slash Slash Saul Hudson, known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hendrix is a retarded guitarists. Nothing compared to slash. Slash should be number 1. Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix are absolutely nothing compared to Slash.

1124 Comments
6 David Gilmour David Gilmour David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the two took the stage together, the level of awesomeness would surely cause the world to explode. Barring that, I can't help but speculate that while Hendrix would likely outperform Vaughn, Vaughn would be very capable of outplaying Hendrix. Innovative, influential, and revolutionary Hendrix was - the best ever he was not; I think that distinction should go to Stevie Ray Vaughn. - bruski1986

469 Comments
8 Kirk Hammett Kirk Hammett Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.

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

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

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

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

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

What makes Kirk a great guitarist is that most of Metallica's songs are almost always in Em and he makes some of the greatest solos in metal just with the minor pentatonic scale and some fiddling around.

496 Comments
9 B.B. King 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. - leongregory

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.

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

He is AWESOME! - MrHyde

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

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

One of the most creative and inspiring guitarists - gameofIceandFire

Black Sabbath rocks!

I can understand most of the people on this list being above Tony. But Kirk Hammett?! He is nothing compared to the groundbreaking, inspirational work of the rest of the people on this list.

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The Newcomers

? Lonnie Johnson

The Contenders

11 Dimebag Darrell Dimebag Darrell Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

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

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

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

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

DIMEBAG is the Best guitarist of all time - Rock on buddy!

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

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

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

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

Fantastic player

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

Angus Young isn't A guitar GOD.
He is THE guitar GOD. - jdog0591

Worst guitarists ever and highly overrated he is higher than randy rhoads, keith richards, chuck berry, dave mustaine, carlos santana, duane allman, steve vai, george harrison, john petrucci, pete townshend, alex lifeson, joe satriani, ritchie blackmore, yngwie mamlsteen, james hetfield, amrty friedman, adrian smith, frank zappa, and a hole lot more

551 Comments
15 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keef should be much higher

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

57 Comments
17 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.

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

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

Guitar playing rock legend

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

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.

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

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

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

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

While there are so many truly talented guitarists, No one makes their Guitar "sing" like Santana. If you are every seen Santana live there is no argument his genuine love and humility for his art propels him to #1

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

A really Great Guitarist. - Badger

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

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

He should be number 1

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

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

Tremendous talent, too bad he died so young

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

Slash at #5 and Duane at #24, REALLY? Duane is an easy top 5. The body of work speaks for itself. All you have to do is go back and listen to the Fillmore East album and you'll understand.

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

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

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

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

More than any other, I enjoyed listening to George play. He was very creative and highly skilled.

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

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

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

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

19? You kidding me! Try to cover his songs... Covering his songs may not be that hard but to bring the feelings same as him is impossible. His emotion speaks everything. He speaks with his guitar. He's got all speed, style, emotion.

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

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

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

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

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

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24 John Petrucci John Petrucci John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Compared to his level of skill, John Petrucci is relatively unknown in the modern music industry.

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

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

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

There are no guitarist is better than Petrucci above here

333 Comments
25 Pete Townshend Pete Townshend Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the lead guitarist and songwriter for the rock band The Who.

Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, Joe Perry, Frank Zappa, BB King, Jeff Beck, and Peter Frampton, are all listed lower than the rhythm guitarist for stupid, whiny, emo, lame Avenged Sevenfold, people these days just don't know good music. This list is meaningless. - Stangbass16

Pete Townshend is undoubtely the best rhythm guitarist that rock music has produced to date. He is one of the one of the founding fathers of modern rock and is the one who introduced the gritty sound of the guitar were so used to today. He used power chords extensively, thus laying the foundations for punk rock and came up with some of the catchiest riffs in the history of music. And Townshend COULD solo. Maybe he wasn't as good as Hendrixnor Clapton in that respect, but he certainly wasn't far behind. It'sonly because Moon's and Entwistle' playing were very busy that he mainly played rhythm (John especially used his bass as if it were a lead guitar). To end my rand, I will just point you to some songs that I consider quintessential, such as The Seeker, My Generation, I Can't Explain, Young Man Blues and Summertime Blues.

He looks like FaZe Banks

How do you choose between all these great guitarists? For me it comes down to how do they sound "LIVE"? Out of the studios and raw and I think it comes down to two! Pete and Jimi and as tough a decision it is for me Townshend gets my vote for his "Live At Leeds" performance and when I saw him in Detroit's old Cobo Hall on the Who's Next tour back in the 70's. Just spectacular guitar in the raw. But Hendrix and his Woodstocks "Star Spangled Banner" rendition comes very close for me to getting my vote but only one vote so I'll go with Pete!

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26 Alex Lifeson Alex Lifeson Aleksandar Živojinović, better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush.

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

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

Under rated & gifted guitarist ever

In general, Rush is an EXTREMELY talented band, the music the Alex plays is not the easiest to learn, but nonetheless, it is amazing what this band can pull off. From Tom Sawyer to A Passage Bangkok, Freewill, and 2112 Overture there is a song for everyone. For me, as a fan, Alex should be higher on the list, but that is just me. - RushFan123

160 Comments
27 Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Joseph Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie ...read more.

This is what happens when people who don't listen to anything but commercialized music vote for best guitarist. There are key components that should be considered when voting for this:

1. How well does the guitarist play? A truly great master of the guitar is not just about solos or speed, because everyone and their monkey can play fast and spit out solos (as can be seen simply by looking into genres that support such). A really great guitarist needs to be versatile, to be able to play any type of music or style.

2. Composition! Guitarists who have one or two "hit songs" and compose junk otherwise aren't true masters. An artist needs to be original, especially with the guitar. If a guitarist plays in a band, his sound should be distinctive and be neither drowned out nor overbearing (though this depends on genre sometimes). I look for guitarists who push the boundaries, that look for new and different ways to play.

3. Solos... When it is the guitarist's ...more

Most technically skilled guitarist ever, without a doubt.

Very very fine skills with musical heart to connect every living soul

Unique sound, Heavy, Blues, rock, Instrumental. All that makes Joe the best guitarist!

340 Comments
28 Ritchie Blackmore 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 ...read 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

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.

Best guitarist ever! How is he not in the top 10?
The guitar solos in songs such as Highway Star are amazing!

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.

Ritchie was an early stand out guitarist for me in the emerging Deep Purple days, has continued to dazzle through the permutations of Rainbow and shown many other aspects of his skills with Blackmore's Night who deserve far more media attention than they have so far had. With the fluidity and emotion he packs into his work I would rate him with Jimmy Page and Hendrix.

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29 Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society.

His sound is just amazing and not a lot of people sound like that and those pinch harmonics all his techniques his songs are much harder to play than Hendrix songs I should know I play guitar he's faster then Hendrix to and has feeling like Santana and slash he's simply the best eruptions pretty easy compared to bark at the moon and know one knows the solo he does live it's to damn hard to figure out

Zakk wylde the power complimenting ozzy and his own band black label society, his fast blues influenced metal solo's are the perfect compliment to his chugging riffs... A master of guitar

I agree with other comments and think that dimebag and wylde should be higher on the list than they R. I respect wylde more then any other guitarist because he also sing's well and can play the crap out of a acoustic. Wylde deserves a lot of credit playing the super fast riffs he does with using little or no hammer-ons.
"The Guitar God"

Dime and Zakk 1 2 Zakk #1

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30 Buckethead Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

The only guitarist who can play heavy metal about slaughterhouses and then play a soothing lullaby.
He has has more emotion than half the guitarists on this page and he wears an expressionless mask...

I am ashamed to see how low he is on the list, really. Very, very sad. Have any of you people even listened to his music? I've heard Slash, and while he is good, he is far from phenomenal. He doesn't really stand out besides proficiency. Buckethead, on the other hand? His songs stand out. Heck, his many fans' claims that he is the Guitar Jesus isn't that much of an exaggeration.

Also, it's quite stupid how people instantly assume he's emotionless due to his wearing a mask... Gentlemen and Ladies, please do get rid of the abundant piles of earwax in your ears... How can you not hear the emotion and beauty that overflows from his songs?

He is amazing. I have never seen such emotion from someone like him.

Buckethead... Only the name of his voice makes his songs echo in my head. He is so diverse that I can't begin with his best genre. The best thing about this man is that he has over 50 albums (collaborations not even counted. ) and almost every song of him are longer as 5 minutes. And even when these songs do not have vocals, all of his songs contain a story to big to tell. He will never be that famous because of his looks and appearance but the people that see through that will experience one of the best guitarists to ever lived the planet (maybe the best). No man will ever write a song with the pure emotion lets come of his strings. No man will ever write as much tribute songs as Buckethead did. No man will master as many genres as he did. See through his stereotype and check out some random albums. Listen to the song called Look up there, it's a 20 minute long solo. Give it a try and you will be sold. Listening to another guitarist will never give you the same thrill again as ...more

482 Comments
31 Yngwie J. Malmsteen Yngwie J. Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

He is the strong root of neo-classical if anybody follow his theory and practical as well he can be a legend so he he legend of legends (only the shredders can judge him) normal musician and public can't understand his glory

Just epic
He is one of the greatest guitarist on earth. No way someone of this earth could do what he does
With that passion. Sure he isn't a Kirk Hammet or a slash but he is his own unique guitarist like a snow flake

#31...You gotta be kidding, man. Without a doubt he should be a top ten member. Definitely more talented than the over rated Slash and David Gilmore.

What! Slash top 10... are yo fk kidding me?... Yngwie it's a trend setter and maybe the best shredder ever, definitely top 10.

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32 James Hetfield James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

James certainly can't make the guitar sing like Hendrix or Satriani who are both Gods on the guitar. However there is not a single human on this planet who can down pick and punish the guitar like Hetfield, speed isn't everything but his speed is unmatched, listen to "Fight Fire with Fire" there is not a single guitarist who can play with that speed and precision and still sound so heavy. He practically defined the sound of Metallica, Master of Puppets was his creation, and he can play solos just as well. He doesn't have the soul of Hendrix or Satriani and doesn't play solos like Slash or Gilbert, but the man can flat out control the guitar, defining his band and an entire genre of music. There are so many players to aspire to be like him because of the simply crushing riffs he has written. Also a down to earth guy despite his talent.

Anything James does, Dave Mustaine does better. The only argument for James being more talented at something is singing. It's the only thing he has over Mustaine. James has a better voice. - MetalPope

32?!?!? He has a very fast right hand strumming and he can sing good at the same time play a hard riff.

Disappointed to see him only #21. He has not only written so much of Metallica's work, he's played a lot of amazing solos. Just listen to Nothing else matters and you'll get what I mean - TheDarkOne_221b

Best downpicker - BlueSphere

41 Comments
33 Robert Johnson Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians.

How 36?

Time has its' way of warping things. Robert Johnson not being in the top 100 is insane, but over time things will change. In 50 years, 98% of the top 150 guitarists on this list will not even be known, but Robert Johnson will. Think about it.

Without Robert Johnson and his invention of twelve bar blues, so many genres that came after blues would not exist. Imagine a world without rock and roll, imagine a world without Chuck Berry's guitar riffs, imagine a world without Page, Iommi and so many other guitarists heaviness. Without Johnson, there would be no Hendrix, there would be no Claton there would be no rock or any genres that originated from it. Such a shame that nobody knows or pays enough respect to the most influential musician of the 20th century

It's not just his technical skills that are still unmatched today. What's absolutely thrilling about Robert Johnson is the emotional power of his songs. Robert Johnson HAD to play and sing the songs he sang just for his sake. Unfortunately, he most likely didn't find the peace of mind he was looking for. And you can hear it. I am so deeply touched by every single note he ever played.

22 Comments
34 Synyster Gates Synyster Gates Brian Elwin Haner, Jr., better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn, is an American musician, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold.

Synyster Gates has such blistering speed and yet you can hear every note played, he is a pro at dive bombs and sweep picking and definitely a amazing guitarist, and because of his young age by the time he is slash's age he will be the next slash

He is a very multi-talented guitar player, almost all the techniques he mastered.

He can play well even while backing vocals.

He is very feasible juxtaposed with other guitar legends chest of Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani.

He is the most complete!

Slash is great, but not #1. Syn has amazing speed but still plays clean and has unforgettable solos and riffs.

I think a lot of people who voted for bucket head explained stuff that would apply to syn, like that he play jazz rock and country, I do think buckethead is awesome, my top three are syn, Van Halen, then buckethead. See bucket head does a lot of guitaring by himself, and I find it easier to write solos without anybody else, so really bucket has the easiest job. Eddie is one of the greatest guitarists ever, everything that bucket does was most likely invented by eddie. So, finally we come back to syn, the best. I picked syn because of how any solo he does has so much feel that it makes me want to play just like him. He also knows his strengths and a lot of people say that he plays to fast, sweeps to much, or bends to much. Well the only reason he does those three so much is because they are the three things that make him extremely unique and talented, even he can tap and do plenty of other things, he prefers to use the three things that he can put into a song and still keep it true to ...more - syngatesfan

1004 Comments
35 Mark Knopfler Mark Knopfler Mark Freuder Knopfler is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and film score composer. He is best known for being the frontman of the British band Dire Straits.

Man, how many times did I get goozebumbs when listening to Dire Straits? The man does it every time. Such distinctive rifs, unmistakable Mark Knopfler. My personal favorite: Private Investigations, which is one of the greatest songs of all time! - redmess

Mark Knopfler is the Best! Lets see Jimi Hendrix do a unplugged version or work the guitar with a simple pick. That is true guitar skill for you. Mark can make make the guitar sing literally, his Sultans of Swing solo is by far the best guitar solo rendition I have ever heard.

Knopfler's great but no Hendrix by far -- for more reasons than I can count!

Not only one of the greatest guitarists ever but also one of the greatest songwriters ever too. His solos are musically flawless and he doesn't rely on overdrive for his guitar work to stand out.

Just find any live versions of Sultans of Swing on YouTube etc. And try and prove me wrong... You won't! :-D

There is no one that can make the same sound as him. He may not have been the most gifted, or just the best all around, but he is for sure the one that I like the most to listen to.

366 Comments
36 Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt is a famous guitarist in the genre of jazz. He lost 2 of his fingers in a fire but carried on with his playing. He later inspired Tony Iommi, the original guitarist of Black Sabbath, to continue playing after he lost his fingertips in a factory accident. His guitar is an acoustic gypsy. ...read more.

This is absolute crap! Just because he didn't live in the era of rock guitarists who thought they were good playing their little electric guitars doing the simplest of chords and thinking they were good because they could shred at half the speed Django could. Django had two useable fingers, had an acoustic guitar that had an action about 2 cm high with hard steel strings and people like Hendrix, slash and clapton could not have possibly come close to the virtuosity and musicality that was Django Reinhardt! How could anyone vote him down so low as 199?! He should be at least top 3!

Just listen to 3 fingered lightning

Truly amazing, shredded with two fingers. - Markicore

I could've chosen any one of a couple of dozen jazz, folk, flamenco or country players who could run rings around the numpties in this list. I choose Django because he is the daddy of high speed single not soloing. Any proper player will know this. Rock isn't the be all and end all of guitar playing. - Sago_Bladderwort

22 Comments
37 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck ...read more.

Great guitarist

Literal god of guitarists

Better than synyster gates

I'm tired of all the popularity lists, these lists are for people who actually know they're crap about guitar. How the hell is Chuck under jack white and kurt cobain? Jack and Kurt can only play a few power chords and slow, easy, and short solos. And syn at 6th? Don't get me started, I'm glad that a7x is famous, they bring hope to new music but seriously syn is not that great! People who think he's the best guitarist of all time are emos who have never picked up a guitar in their life, a7x songs are some of the easiest metal songs I've ever tried on guitar

38 Comments
38 Marty Friedman Marty Friedman Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s, as well as Cacophony alongside Jason Becker until 1989. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted ...read more.

FOR GOD SAKE, anyone who has heard the frigging amazing solos of this man on rust in peace know he has to be in the top 5 of this list easily, I haven't heard better solo's yet.

I am not angry or something but I seriously think that slash and kirk Hammett are really overrated guitarists. When I started playing guitar, I thought Slash was the best. I have been playing guitar for 3 years now and I recently listened to Marty's work - Cacophony, Dragon's Kiss (His solo album) and his work in Megadeth. Every solo and riff he plays blows my mind. Kirk is light years away from the skill and musical knowledge Marty possesses but still Kirk is in the top ten and Marty isn't. People who don't understand metal or hard rock guitar music well, think that Slash or Kirk is the best and unfortunately there are millions of such voters in this list and that's why Marty is here on #35. Just look at Marty's lesson about Melodic Control on YouTube (It is about an hour long). He tells you how he creates solos and riffs and I bet you a 1000$ that learn a lot from that video.

Marty should be #9...Where's Jason Becker is before him

Found him finally. Far superior to most guitarists already mentioned on this list - benreidy100

74 Comments
39 Jack White Jack White John Anthony "Jack" White is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the duo The White Stripes, but has also had success in other bands and as a solo artist.

Till number 58 I kept scrolling thinking, "ok next is gonna be Jack White". This makes me very sad. The guy is an unbridled genius. One of the few artists today that you know really gets consumed by what they do. Go watch him play the solo of 'blue veins' live, and I guarantee that he wont stick to his scales and he wont be crisp with his notes, but what he will do every time is leave his heart on that fretboard.

I saw him live back in 2013 and it blew my mind. He's one of those guys that sounds so unique most people don't know how to deal with it; but if you do understand what's going, nothing else compares. When other guitarist need a full band, he needed one mediocre drummer who was only their because he was related/married to her (still not sure which). Even today, he refuses to conform and continues to evolve in his sound, while continuously pushing the envelop of what a modern guitarist can be. Sure, Hendrix and Page have a longer crib sheet, but in terms of raw style and who has inspired this current germination (including me) the most, no one compares to Jack White.

He should at least be in the top 20. I mean, come on you can do better than that. Haven't you heard icky thump, seven nation army, his cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton, him singing with Loretta Lynn on the song Portland Oregon, Blue Orchid, and all that other good stuff! In The Rolling Stones magazine, he was number 17. He deserves better than this!

Jack white has his own uniqueness which so hard to find these days

59 Comments
40 Adrian Smith Adrian Smith Adrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.

All iron maiden fans ll be disappointed to see this guy below top 50 - hanger

Every song by iron maiden has a solo and if you haven't heard a song by iron maiden, try it. - aaron1234

I don't know why he is in number 62 but you have to know the real guitarist. This is to much disappointing. You have to vote for the right guy who doesn't deserves this place. Adrian is the best guitarist of one of the most legendary heavy metal band iron maiden. Yeah I agree Slash and Eddie Van Halen are legends. But they got what they deserves but Adrian still doesn't. So people vote for the right guy and take his name to his place.

Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers all deserve to be higher up on this list. Without their efforts, Hallowed be Thy Name and other great songs like The Trooper, Aces High, wouldn't exist.

Hendrix, Page, Slash and others are good, but they're tremendously overrated. And what is Synyster Gates doing on this list? Yngwie Malmsteen can blow off anyone's socks with his sheer speed, and Alexi Laiho plays incredibly hard solos and growls and the same time. It's really disappointing to see the talented guys way down on this list.

34 Comments
41 Ace Frehley Ace Frehley Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as the former lead guitarist and founding member of the rock band Kiss.

Listen to Detroit rock city and tell me he isn't talented

I don't know why Ace is so far down on this GD list. Paul Frehley was and IS one of the most influential rock and roll guitarists of all time. While he may have not been as technical as some other guitarists out there, Ace definitely provided some stepping stones for some modern guitar sounds. He is loud and in your face with those solo's. He produces a sound that's loud, raw and genuine. While sometimes sloppy and quick on the frets Ace always manages to put the icing on his work, his songs Fractured Mirror, Fractured Too, Fracture III, and Fractured Quantum are easily some of the best instrumental guitar pieces I have ever heard. The song "Cold Gin" has been covered by countless bands and remains a great rock favorite even to this day, his signature 2 string octave bends on the blistering "Love Gun" solo still give me goosebumps when I hear it. He is and will always be one of the most badass Guitarists of all time. Should definitely be in the top 10. - Daelis86

If someone is judging based on methodology and technique, then, Ace Frehley deserves to be here. However, if you're basing this on heart, soul, influential qualities, and most importantly, inspiration, then, Ace is down here WAY TOO FAR. Ace gave birth to a series of guitarist, and he inspired so many individuals to pick up a guitar that it is impossible to place him here without a major argument. Ace has his own style, and that style fit KISS so perfectly that their current guitarist must mimic him to be accepted. That's a compliment. Bruck Kulick is a better technical guitarist, but Ace Frehley is a better guitarist to hear in any format. It's just that simple.

In most top 10, 100, 200 I am yet to see Ace Frehley's name, and yes on this site here He is, WOW!. I think that Ace should get more credit for His Guitar work from the Music World whoever it may be. Ace followed Jimmy Hendrix's footsteps in playing and learning Guitar. Some of Ace's solo's are mind blowing when You must look at it that more than a couple of stings are being used. Most solo guitarist only use a string or two as the Amp does most of the output that rings out long great tones. Ace uses this same style however He adds so much more with a lot more stings. Come On I hope You know what I mean, if not then watch the Space Man play and then You will get my drift. Give the Man credit where as credit is due

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

It's a shame that Frank is so low on this list. His work has always been known to musicians and weirdos (and weirdo musicians), but most people find it too off the wall to access. I was trying to introduce an acquaintance to Apostrophe the other day, and the guy asked me, "What genre is this? " I said, "Frank Zappa. What the hell does it matter? Do you have to categorize music to understand it? " He jumped on his phone and found Zappa listed as "rock and roll". Ok. Fine. Whatever.

It's amazing how hard it is for people to get him... even the retarded humor! I mean... Is it really that hard to find the funny in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"? Frank's world of Sears ponchos, zircon encrusted tweezers, etc. just doesn't seem to cross that psychic barrier for all but the few. Same goes for the guitar. As I'm typing this, the opening wank from "I'm the Slime" is playing. He was doing that stuff before metal guitarists had even imagined ...more

Frank's the BEST guitarist. His playing was typically brilliant -- improvising the most intelligent, unique, inspired, moving, and energetic solos I've ever heard. While not the most accomplished "technician," he was the most creative and gifted of them all. Frank released so much material over the years that it's not possible to do justice to his talent by citing a few albums or song titles. Best to just listen, listen, listen to Zappa's material released between, say, 1967 and 1987, when his guitar playing was at it's best and most practiced. But perhaps most notable are Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Just Another Band From L.A., Apostrophe, Chunga's Revenge, One Size Fits All, Zoot Allures, Joe's Garage, Shut Up 'N Play Your Guitar, and Jazz From Hell, which all contain examples of his incredible talent, energy, and improvisational playing skills. Enjoy..!

Best guitarist I've ever seen. No contest.

Frank Zappa deserves to be in top 10

79 Comments
43 Alexi Wildchild Laiho Alexi Wildchild Laiho Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.

To be honest doing lead vocals while also doing lead guitar meaning to do guitar solos. I mean that is not easy to do. And basically Alexi Laiho is the best death metal vocalist that ever took the stage of heavy metal in general. And I felt like he deserves to be higher than what the list says as well.

Alexi is such a great guitarist, when he plays, we are afraid when his guitar is gonna burst in flames. And remember, he plays insanely hard solos and sings at the same time...

Alexi Laiho is a guitar genius and he's very young too. If you think otherwise, go to see Children Of Bodom live. It's incredible!

Love him he's underrated
nuno Bettencourt should be higher, so should john 5, Johnson, knopfler, etc.

50 Comments
44 Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi Oluwatosin Ayoyinka Olumide "Tosin" Abasi (born January 7, 1983), is a Nigerian American musician, best known as the founder and lead guitarist of the instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders. Before founding Animals as Leaders, he was the guitarist for the technical metalcore band Reflux. ...read more.

It's so difficult to have a "Greatest Guitarists" lists. There are so many incredible players that have graced us with their playing, it's difficult to compare apples to bananas. What I mean is it's difficult sometimes to cross genres in guitar playing. A lot of lists are simply based on popularity, and that's fine because it's hard to explain to someone that doesn't play why Petrucci makes Slash look like a child on overall skill. And no, I'm not saying Slash is a bad guitarist. You can't argue with some of the most recognized guitar hooks of all time that he wrote. All of these guys are good players, some legends and we owe them a great deal, even if it's just the pioneer they were. Clapton, Santana, Satch, Hammett, Wylde, Dimebag, Eric Johnson, etc. all deserve their place on this list. That being said, Tosin Abasi is in a lot of ways in a league of his own. There are VERY few players as well rounded as Abasi. The only other one that is up at this caliber, in my opinion, is John ...more

Definitely should be higher on this list

Tosin is probably one of the most amazing guitar plays, like, ever. I watched his video on 'thumping' (slapping and plucking together) and it showed how much he can use his brain rather than his fingers -not that both aren't talented- This guy though, he was picking 5 times at once with every stroke, that's amazing! - xEliHbkx

I don't believe this list. While Hendrid, Clapton and many other classic players are deserving of top spot, when it comes to people like Synyster, and this is not hating on a7x, who I like, with enough skill anyone can do what he does. Granted, he is a very skillful player but one of the things that makes Animals As Leaders my favourite band is that you don't hear anyone else doing anything like it. To me, as talented as Syn may be, and however great his solos and leads are (Hail To The King intro is genius) it just doesn't have the same individuality, because any shredder can follow the fornula of alternate picking and sweep picking, and unless someone does something new with these techniques, it all begins to sound a bit samey. What grabs me about Tosins playing is his double thumb slap technique, which I have never heard from another guitarist, and his use of extended chords helps give AAL its signature sound. Please vote people like Tosin and Paul Gilbert higher to stop this from ...more

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

Prince is well known for being able to play many instruments and there is no doubt within the music industry that he is one the worlds leading guitarists. Prince taught himself to play by the age of 13 and by 16 was able to play Santana note for note. When he hit the mainstream with his first album at the age of 20 he was already being compared to the likes of Hendrix. And he still had a long way to go.

One thing that become apparent very early on with Prince was that he wasn't tied down to one style of music and excelled with a versatility not seen in anyone else before or since. Because of this versatility not all his released music is guitar focused and therefore he hasn't always been judged for his skills as a guitarist.

Arranging and Producing his own music from the beginning Prince has also become an extremely adept guitar engineer in the studio and live on stage with an ability to manage a wide range of effects simultaneously, whilst also arranging the other band ...more

Prince is the greatest guitarist of all time because he is the greatest musician of the 20th century. What makes Prince No1 is this that he understands the guitar better than any one else in the list, because he plays drums, bass & keyboards at a high level, this has allowed him to find the prefect place for a guitar within a song. His funk grooves are without equal. He can swing, push the beat, lay behind it his dynamics are incredible. Listen to when doves cry for guitar dynamics, a burst of emotions notes followed by a keyboard hook with no bass, and it's just a perfect record. Any other guitar player in the world wouldn't have been able to stop putting guitar all over that record. But Prince know when to be flashy and when to be stripped down and minimal for the best effect. That why a good as Joe Satriani & Yngwie Malmsteen are they will never have top 10 albums because they over play. Guitar playing is not an Olympic event. The guitar is an instrument. An if it's electric you ...more

I strongly agree that Prince is #1 on the list. He's by far greater than all of them. He's way ahead of his time like Jimi Hendrix was. He's very underrated as a guitarist. Because of his variety in music, he sings, dances and plays many instruments many critics over-look the genius in this man. As a guitarist of 30 years myself, he has been my biggest influence along with Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Page, Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton just to name a few. If you listen 2 early Prince cuts like "Bambi", "Why you Wanna Treat Me So Bad", "For You", these cuts will show you how bad this man is and he was only a teenager playing licks like that. His more up 2 date stuff just don't do justice 4 his guitar playing. Well, some does... But it's more about his lyrical skills and all the other instruments he plays. A living legend. Check out the video of his 2004 induction of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame on stage with the greats such as Tom Petty. Prince does a solo ...more

You have to give it to this guy. Very underrated as a guitar player, it's a shame his public image over-shadows the incredible talent this man possesses. Dig a little, check this guy's guitar playing, a little bit of Santana, a lil' bit of Hendrix, with his own stamp on it! Could play any style with anyone and still come out on top! You should also hear this guy play piano too!

199 Comments
46 Joe Pass Joe Pass Joe Pass was an American jazz guitarist of Sicilian descent. He is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century.

He was Oscar's and Ella's favorite, what more can You say.

Technically probably the best

If he isn't on the top of this list I wonder how many enjoy great guitarists.

Agreed, but he wasn't a rocker, so it's not surprising that he is not recognized as he ought to be.

4 Comments
47 Dave Murray Dave Murray David Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Dave an Adrian smith are just fantastic and anyone who's not clueless about playing in a band would admire that, they play like a team the even pass solos to each other and along with Gers they just team up a 3 man guitarist witch every band would just beg to have.
I don't understand and wouldn't even want to argue about this ranking because there is no way you can just put these guys up and down, they've worked all their life, been through absolutely everything and now they're there to respect.
I don't want you to become a Maiden fan over a night but listen to his solos and you'll Respect him and his band members more that ever.

I don't understand why all guitarists of Iron Maiden are so low on this list! Thez are all much better than the most of this list and songs of Iron Maiden have always rocked... But surveys and lists like this will never be objective because they are all based on subjective opinions of the readers... Probably the only truth is that the best guitarist ever is Jimi Hendrix...

What Price, Synster Gates Are You Kidding Me, This Dave Murray Damn It He Influenced Most Hard Rock Guitarists Of Are Time, And His Guitar Solos Hallowed be thy name, run to the hills number of the beast legendary songs, I Just Don't Get It Why Dave Is Underrated, Way Better Than Slash. I Don't Get It, Why - copkiller

All the Maiden guitarists are seriously underrated. I think it's partly down to keeping a lot profile and letting their music speak for them. They don't try to show off or get a lot of media attention and rarely if ever get heard on the radio.

With a few exceptions this list seems to be more about popular celebrities than actual guitar and musical skill.

26 Comments
48 Albert King Albert King Albert King Nelson, known professionally as Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer, and a major influence in the world of blues guitar playing.

I concur with the previous comments, and If you really appreciate rock/blues guitar look into it's history. Maybe it's only other guitarists who really appreciate him. Long live this King

It's sinful and blasphemous that Albert King did not make the top 100. But like Robert Johnson's ranking, time will adjust all things. In 50 years, 98% of the people in the top 150 won't be known.

Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray, all rated Albert King Much higher than you do...Get the hint?

And I'm here to tell ya, this list got to have some changes made. Because you think you're so wise angel.

5 Comments
49 Steve Howe Steve Howe Stephen James "Steve" Howe is an English musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist in the progressive rock group Yes.

Steve was really the 1st player I ever heard who was able to combine the genres in a totally individual way. His playing has become neither of the original forms it was inspired by - It's Steve Howe music. Most other players are very generic, nothing wrong with that, but if you're going to vote on greatness. It has to be Steve Howe. Not technically perfect, but original. Try and play it, there are some things that you will have to abandon all you've learned in order to play. Even Jimi (RIP), was basically a blues player. Looking forward to seeing Steve play in a couple of months

Best guitarist, plain and simple

Steve Howe should be #1 followed by Jimmy Page, period! These two guitarist were the most technically great and complex writers ever. They were both the most versatile and had more range than any of the others mentioned. They both played with such passion. They both incorporated elements of Jazz, Blue Grass, Classical, rockabilly and country all into rock. Hendrix, slash eddy and all others mentioned never evolved or changed it up like Howe and Page. Both can play anything. The rest were limited. Howe was the most technically complex, intricate player followed by Page. Listen to the album "Close To The Edge". It is a guitar masterpiece. Hendrix could never play what Howe or Page played. Hendrix was not as complex or skilled.

He who does not acknowledge that Steve Howe is the most skillful and technically accomplished among rock guitarists knows little about guitar playing. It's not just the noise, speed or dexterity. Of course, Steve has all these too. But more than these qualities, there are others like: complexity, direction, tonality, integration of the instrument, choice of intervention... I could go on.
Anyway, Steve Howe is definitely the best. And yes, YES is the greatest rock band ever.

77 Comments
50 John Frusciante John Frusciante John Anthony Frusciante is an American guitarist, singer, producer and composer.He is best known for his time with the Funk Rock California based band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was also part of the Mars Volta, Swahili Blonde, Ataxia and more.

John Frusciante needs to be #1. He contributes incredible feel for music. His playing is not shredding like many others.. People think fast playing and shredding.. His playing is incredibly melodic and beautiful to the ear. He is one of the rare guitarists which improvises solos playing live.. And that improvisation is almost better than any other guitar solos. He knows to put such emotions in his guitar playing and really is the best guitar player now.. And maybe EVER!

The best guitarist, and does not get enough recognition. He can play any style, any speed, and even can sing a little if needed. His guitar playing was the part of the artistry of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for some of their best years, and I wish him the best now even after leaving RHCP.

John Frusciante set the guitar standard for a generation by combining both a funk and rock style. He revolutionized the way alternative music should sound and set the bar for anyone unlucky enough to come after him. - Paragor34

As someone else said on here, no one else can give me goosebumps when they play their guitar other than John. Heck, sometimes when I hear his voice singing, like in Hey-Oh, it makes me cry. How a band could create such a beautiful sound of pure love is incredible. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have influenced me so greatly I can't even explain it. Especially John, and everything he's been through. It's really an encouragement for me to stay away from the things he did.

They introduced me to REAL music. John is definitely the best guitarist that ever lived. Yeah Jimi was a lot better in speed and all that, but Jimi really just played a lot of noise and fast solos. John creates beautiful music. Beyond anything I've ever heard. So simple... But amazing and emotional. My favorite solos have got to be "Soul to Squeeze, " "Californication, " and "Scar Tissue. "

I know that the rest of the world thinks differently. But most people just like what they see or hear. For instance, how ...more

324 Comments
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