Best Guitarists Ever

The Contenders: Page 4

61 Les Paul Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor.

How is Les Paul so low on the list, he's LES PAUL creator of one of the best guitars on earth

If influential was a category this genius would be No. 1. Has had an impact on at least 99% of anyone playing an electric guitar if they know it or not... Check out this guy's story.

Where all those before mentioned artists are truly great... Les Paul has to be No1. Not only did he invent all the techniques and sounds he and his wife Mary set the presidence of all future lead guitarist's to the present day!

Underrated for sure. He's so fast and good

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62 John Mayer John Mayer

I got to sit down and watch his special and I have always been around music due to both of my parents singing and play an instrument and me, myself having a couple of different bands and being a lover of the sweet sound of a guitar just screaming or cry out to you, I have been a Stevie Ray fan for as long as I can remember and I can say after seeing the John Mayer special I second guessing heavily that it could be argued that he is the best guitarist. If your a guitarist freak then you should watch this guy in action. Soulful and talented beyond my wildest dreams.

Most talented guitarist of the newer generation. I've listened to SRV and Clapton and Hendrix and Mayer is right there with the talent but his songwriting and voice put him over them in my opinion. His best performances put others to shame, check out Gravity from "Where the light is", check out also Good Love is on the way from the same concert, along with everyday I have the blues...his solos are more than an exhibition in how fast one can go, more like someone singing and crying through a guitar. Plus he's versatile, how many of the aforementioned artists can do blues, acoustic blues, rock, country, hell His cover of lively up yourself by Bob Marley was damn good. This guy is a virtuoso and an incredibly underrated guitarist. His only fault was that he banged a lot of "america's sweethearts" so he has a bad rep in gossip circles, plus tough guy guitar fans think his music is too sensitive or soft. All of you grow the hell up, this dude does justice to those who came before, and sets ...more

If you don't consider John as a top 10, then you probably also think his only song is Wonderland. He is probably a top 3 or 4 right now and will finish his career better than that. Not taking anything away from Hendrix, certainly not, he's a man amongst boys, but he simply didn't have a full life to finish what he started unfortunately for this world... Mayer and others are picking up what he left us and who knows where it will go. In conclusion... Mayer is sick.

He Rocks!

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63 Buddy Guy Buddy Guy George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

One of the most influential blues players ever and he still rips it up... To see him live - The most moving performance I have ever witnessed

Eric Clapton rates Buddy as the best ever, shows how much you idiots know that he is at number 86.

What a fantastic Bluesman. A great player who has never disappointed in the many times I've been him play! Definitely underrated here.

Maybe technically not the best, but in terms of influence I think he's up there with BB King. Hendrix cited him as a major part of his style, and Clapton calls buddy the greatest player alive. He needs to be in at least the top ten

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64 Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer . With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music .

He is a great BASS player but that is different from these guys.

McCartney is a fantastic acoustic player, I've seen him in concert. Did a very nice job with Blackbird and I Will. Started out on six-string and only went to bass when Harrison came aboard.

Just because he can pull of some chords doesn't mean that it is okay from an otherwise great bass player to be above guitar legends such as Les Paul, Buddy Guy and Steve Hackett - RalphSaad

He is a good bassist but he did good on birthday and helter skelter with the electric guitar

Just like all he is one of the greatest guitar players!

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65 Chet Atkins Chet Atkins

He's the greatest, period. I'm a huge fan of these other rock/metal guitarists... I mean a really big fan! But the fact is; you can find a hundred videos on YouTube of people playing their licks note for note. Nobody can play Chet's stuff! Maybe they'll know 1 or 2 songs, and most times they're not playing it like Chet did... Leaving out notes here and there. It's impossible to beat him. Take my 30 second Chet Atkins challenge and see for yourself! Learn just 30 seconds of a Chet song (note for note, no mistakes) and then learn 30 seconds of ANY other song by ANY other guitarist on this list. See for yourself which one takes you longer to learn. Also, you can't find many tabs for Chet's stuff... Because nobody can play it. He's Mr. Guitar for a reason! Listening to it, you'll think you can play it like him... But you'll fail. Chet forgot more about playing guitar than most great guitarist will ever know in they're entire careers. SS

Chet appealed to diverse groups of music lovers. He was at home and admired it the country/western world. I saw him at the Kennedy Center and the place was packed with people from all walks of life. There was no "gimmickry" just great music from all the categories. He was well received and appreciated no matter what crowd he was entertaining. JR

For pure unadulterated guitar SKILL no one touches him. If you sat him next to any guitarist on this list and told them to duel by playing MUSIC and actual tunes without special effects there is no question who'd win.

I am a violinist who played back-upfor Chet on tour. He was one of the nicest men in the business. At every concert he would play one piece of classical music, to spread the word, so to speak.

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66 Andres Segovia Andres Segovia

HANDS DOWN! No argument, Segovia is the greatest ever. Any true guitarist or anybody older than 5 who knows how to play the guitar would agree. Ask any professional guitarist or musician and they will say the same. SEGOVIA hands down! - drV

He is, without a doubt, the best guitarist ever. Classical musicians are far more talented than rock musicians could ever be. I hate classical music, but give him his credit.

It's a shame that all of the rock musicians get all the spotlight in this list. Segovia is a true virtuoso, in my opinion, deserving of the very first spot.

Hands down the best ever.

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67 Alex Skolnick Alex Skolnick Alexander Nathan Skolnick, is an American metal and jazz guitarist who is the lead guitarist of the Bay Area thrash metal band Testament, and heads the jazz band Alex Skolnick Trio.

Obviously, no one who voted here has a clue if he is not in the top ten... Has his own Jazz trio, plus is the lead guitarist of one of the most underrated metal bands ever, Testament... Have the people on this list could not play Testament's rhythm lines...

The solo he played in "return to serenity" is a gift to metal lovers and one of the most beautiful solo in the world. He is so talented.

Alex Skolnick is amazing, his solos are extremely technical and you can hear classical and jazz influences in his playing. Alex Skolnick is the best guitar player ever.

I got the gift to meet this man..after a show from testament he kicks ass! so get him down below the top 20 - Dange_Strings

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68 Nuno Bettencourt Nuno Bettencourt

It's a shame Nuno hasn't achieved more mainstream recognition, but those in the know would have him in the top ten. How many guitarists on here have their own designed brand of guitar?

Technical virtouso and creative approach to guitar riffs. From delicate to raw and he can shred with the best of them. Totally underrated. His gifts are his timing and musicianship. Ih you love great guitar playing listen to He man woman hater- I guarantee you'll be blown away

The guy can do it all. Fast technical speed. Heart and soul. He can even write orchestra music (listen to the last 3 tracks on III Sides to Every Story). He helped form Satellite Party with Perry Farrell (great album). He has helped produce numerous albums for artists such as Dweezil Zappa. He was also the touring guitarist for Rihanna. Severely underrated due to being in a band that was labeled during the 80's as a cheesy hair band...

Stupid people only look at speed rather than melody, and I'm not saying he is not fast because he is extremely fast.

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69 Wes Montgomery Wes Montgomery

He's so much better than the people before him I mean for example how are you going to put paul mcCartney over him (no offense to Paul he was the cornerstone to the best band of all time) But if where talking about skill Wes blows him out of the water but in conclusion Wes should be in the top 20 no doubt about it.

A lot of jazz players normally are overlooked on most general guitar player polls. Wes should always transcend this oversight and be included. He was one f the few players like George Benson who were played on mainstream radio.

The best guitar player by far. I can't believe that kirk hammett is so far up the list. Wes knows what he is doing. Just listen to the incredible jazz guitar of wes Montgomery.

He should be in the top 10. enough said!

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70 Allan Holdsworth Allan Holdsworth

Can't believe he's this low. This list is made from people listening to boring rock/blues which is tired and overdone. Most of these people are playing the same thing. Allan actually creates his own voice. But because it's different and complex, these musically malnourished boring clones can't handle it. They should try and broaden their horizons and listen to some new stuff.

I really can't understand how he's not higher than this. Phenomenal improviser both single note and chordal, amazing composer. Technically superior to everyone who is on this list (maybe Guthrie could challenge him on that one). His whole idea of music and the ways he thinks about are unique, I'm actually disappointed in everyone who who thinks jimi, slash and jimmy are better than this man. This absolute genius, legend. This man is a god if you've never heard of him you need to, and stop listening to the rubbish that gets poured into your ears everyday by radio and T.V. , who have to play this easy ...more

I'm not a guitarist but I recognize genius when I hear it. Allan is the absolute OVERLORD of the guitar - no one on this list is even in the same universe as he is. When I first heard him play I literally couldn't believe it was real. One Of A Kind is my favorite instrumental album ever, but any album with him is jaw dropping.

Simply the best player who has ever touched the instrument. Also a true original - outclasses and outdoes everyone above him on this list and it's not even close. Master of all aspects of the guitar period.

Should be number one forever.

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71 John McLaughlin John McLaughlin

Wow - I trolled this list specifically looking for John Mclaughlin, and was starting to think he was omitted!. Well - now that I know he IS on the list - there are a couple tracks people should check out to understand the depth of his playing:

From his album "My Goal is Beyond" - Phillip Lane. My vote for 'If I could play ANYTHING on guitar it would be THIS...

Secondly - from the Miles Davis "Jack Johnson" - his electric playing on Right Off. Hard Core Rockers and Blues men alike should be able to connect to this, just in case Phillip Lane does not grab you by the throat.

I'm gonna check back here, and you children better get John AT LEAST in the top 10 based upon these two tracks. And if that is not enough - well, you can always go listen to his Mahavishnu Orchestra albums...

Really People...

He could grind most of guitarists listed here into the dust, then out the other side, he is that good. What makes John McLaughlin truly exceptional is his ability to come back each years stronger, with more melody and phrases under his belt. His ability to lead a band is second to none. His compositions are inventive and challenging to play.

I have been listening to top quality music especially jazz and jazz rock fusion for thirty years and there is no doubt john McLaughlin is the greatest of all time

U have to add in Larry coryell and paco de lucia and stanley clarke and many other jazz guys who are heads and tails above most rock musicians

Probably number 1 of all time...

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72 The Edge The Edge

Its not the speed at which you play the guitar that wins the crowd but it's the quality of sound that wins the crowd! Listen to the riffs played by him and you will agree with me.

What?
The Edge is the greatest guitarist ever! Did you listen "One" live in Chicago? His solo was much better than slash!
Come on, rate The Edge!

Even his mother calls him "THE EDGE"!
Just listen to the guitar riffs on "Until the End of the World" by U2 and you will believe too!

The Edge not only plays the guitar, he "lives" it.

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73 Steve Hackett Steve Hackett

I would include Hackett not only for his technical abilities, but his inventiveness. Many of the techniques of Brian May and Eddie Van Halen (and other countless heavy metal guitarists) were derived from the finger sweeping/tapping techniques created by Hackett (listen to the Musical Box and The Return of the Giant Hogweed from the 1971 Genesis album Nursery Cryme). Most people would never think of the band Genesis as contributing to the sound of heavy metal guitar solos, but it is evident on these recordings. Hackett was not a flashy stage presence (he himself was influenced by Robert Fripp); he was more interested in creating an atmosphere and mood than being the star of the show, and he had left Genesis before they became more commercial, so his contributions to the techniques of guitar are often not known by the general public.

Touring now playing "Gabriel" era Genesis. Going to see him for a second time. Outstanding guitarist. Loved him and Genesis in the 70's. Seeing and hearing him now he is even better than I thought he was then.

A true jack-of-all-trades. Could go from tapping runs (1971, who else did this is 71! ) to Segovia style classical to frantic squeals and squonks (pun intended) in the space of eight minutes. Highly underrated because band he was in didn, t get big in America until after he left. And when Hackett left, Genesis was never the same band. - salmacis81

My hero!

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74 Joe Walsh Joe Walsh Joseph Fidler "Joe" Walsh is an American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.

Anybody that knows music would tell you what an awesome guitarist this guy is. He should be in the top twenty if not higher.

He is way to far down on this list and should be in the top 20 at least. My favourite part is the intro to life in the fast lane was just a warm up exercise. His sound is incredible to listen to and his feel for the instrument is mind boggling. It's like the guitar becomes an extension of him.

Joe Walsh as #89? You've got to be kidding. This guy is amazing and should be in the top 10, at least. The Eagles did right bringing him on. I looked on another list of "top 100", and he wasn't even included. What's up with that? Joe, you get my vote.

One of the best!

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75 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

It really is unfortunate that most top rated guitar players got to where they are by emulating truly creative geniuses like Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Chet Atkins. Neil Young should be top 20. Let's hear it for Neil!

Hey Hey My My. My goodness! A great, talented singer/composer/songwriter, perhaps unequalled by many top ten rated here. His hundreds of songs are all his making, imagine he plays all the guitars in all of his recordings and concerts, from 60's to present. "Rock n roll can never die, it's better to burn out than to fade away". My salute to Neil Young.

Not so much for technique, but the absolute equilibrium between feeling and guitar sound! The man shows (without even trying! ) that so much immense power and feeling are accompanied by a handful of notes...

88? Unbelievable

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76 John Lennon John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40.

Listening to John Lennon you'll understand. He is a music Icon for crying out loud! He is the man who created the best classic rock group ever! The man that can truly imagine.

He's one of the best singers in the world and without him there with be no Beatles and he is the inspiration of all rock and roll guitarist here in the world and he plays the guitar smoothly like playing the guitar and almost dancing in his early years of the Beatles

COOl in fact far to cool to say, shame he is dead though still cool guitarist! - remsterpom

Top 10

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77 George Benson George Benson

Here's an example of how these list are a load of crap, seriously George Benson so far down the list, there are at least 4 others on the list that should be in the top twenty

George played like he and his guitar were one; the zen of guitarists.

There is simply no match to George Benson!

Deserving to be higher up on this list. An equal of almost all of those on 1-20

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78 Jerry Cantrell Jerry Cantrell Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician who is best known as the lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter for the rock band Alice in Chains.

A lot of the older folk in the world today and think music has gone bad. In one perspective, that is correct. In the mainstream overhaul, most music has gone to doggy doody. (you know what I mean) With our Kanye Wests, Muse, and more, it certainly seems that way. Not to be too biased though; the artic monkeys are a fine example of good break through music.

But back to my point; music prosperity has gone down over the years. In order to obtain music with power nowadays, you have to go underground. Not just punk; most popular "punk" bands these days aren't even close to the political sneer and anarchy of the glory days.

If you look at good bands, you see the 90's was really the end for most intellectually inclined music. Ironically, the 90's was a flourish (Renaissance if you will) of music. Music that contained politically charged lyrics, argued against religion, and expressed the of humanity.

Nirvana and Pearl Jam dominated the 90's while the less mainstream ...more

No artist has been through pain like Jerry. If layne could have stayed clean, Alice in chains would have been the greatest band of the 90's. They have such a wide style from all out metal to make you cry country tunes.

This list reflects the thoughts of most of the people and teenagers out there... And this is sad. Is that possible? Syn Gates better than the god of grunge guitar? The absolute riff maker? Cantrell has changed the 90's, Syn just sweeped some harmonic minor...

Wow looks like Jerry didn't win the popularity contest.Shame as he is probably the most meaningful guitarist of his generation.

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79 Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt

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!

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

The combination of technical skill, the ability to create beautiful melodies while improvising, endless ideas, the build up of solo's and songs, he is unchallenged.
He was the first and maybe only jazz musician from Europe who influenced his American counterparts. Playing solo's with only 2 fingers, using arpeggio's, modes nobody else uses (only when they copy him). Unbelievable that he is rated so low. Should be number 1.

Andrés Segovia told Django he didn't know how he did what he did. Any other argument is invalid, Django was one the best ever.

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80 Johnny Winter Johnny Winter

Best blues guitarist I've ever heard. Combines the classical blues sounds of greats like bb king and robert johnson and adds the technique, speed and skill that modern rockers still strive for. And he was playing his ass into the ground back in the late 60's before and during when Hendrix, duane, clapton and others were in their heyday

The worlds most recognizable guitar player, within seconds you know it's Johnny Winter. Lightning fast and able to turn on a dime. Such a guitar players guitar player! Played with the best from Lennon to Zappa. Lennon even wrote a song for Johnny, to give you an idea of talent level

He was lightning-fast, yet never played a note that didn't make complete sense. I can't say that about any other guitarist. Jimi and Johnny were the best... even Jimi would say so! RIP both of you... and keep ripping those guitar strings!

The fact that Johnny winter is not in the top ten showes how invalid this list is. Even jimmy Hendrix once said when asked how it felt to be the best in the world. " I don't know, ask johnney winter"

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