Stevie Ray Vaughan

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


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

Hendrix created the style, and Stevie Ray perfected it. To say who is the better guitarist is almost impossible. However, in terms of playing the guitar, Stevie Ray takes the cake.

Sure, Hendrix was the creative genius behind modern electric blues, he brought it to life and took the style to new heights. However that is as far as he went. I believe Stevie Ray took what Jimi had created and truly mastered it better than anyone had before, including Hendrix himself. I believe Stevie could not have done what Hendrix did in terms of innovation and creativity, but he would sure as hell play the pants off of the man.

For that reason I believe Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix are collectively the two greatest guitarists this world has ever seen. I won't say that they're the best there will ever be, because you cannot be certain on that. One day there may come a guitarist who brings the "old and outdated blues" back into the world and anyone who has the talent to do so will ...more

I've been playing guitar since I was 12 years old. I am 31 now. I have never heard, seen, or fathomed ANYBODY ever playing the guitar like this man. Stevie Ray is untouchable when it comes to the electric guitar. Nobody even comes close. His style is what sets him apart. Maybe Alex Lifeson of Rush or Steve Vai might come in a distant second place. From what I've seen. But I think the people that vote on who the best guitarist is, don't usually play guitar themselves, so they don't understand. To them it's just who they like the best or who they "think" is the best. Not who actually is. Everyone who has ever played guitar knows that SRV is way out in front. I think Stevie Ray had a devine touch upon him that caused people to unknowingly think about God, and this is why he is on top, because he just "let it come out" and from his heart. Thanks, take it from someone who knows how hard guitar can be. Trust Jesus Christ

If this is on purely "Guitarist" merit, then consider; the way Hendrix changed Rock & Roll, Stevie changed the blues; which along with it's sister genre Jazz, was where many guitar purists felt the best and most emotionally raw players were and are. That along with Stevie's mastery of all three make him the undisputed Greatest of all time. The only man who played Jimi better than Jimi, was Stevie.

How are Slash, Kirk Hammett, Synyster Gates, Herman Li, and Billy Joe Armstrong above STEVIE? Stevie created a entirely new way to play, brought blues back from the dead, and RIPPED IT UP! Kirk stole Dave Mustaine's solos, Slash is really nothing special (he does not put more "feeling" in the guitar than anyone else), Synyster Gates... (face palm). Herman Li plays only a bunch of notes really fast, and Billy Joe Armstrong is no better than an average guitar player. Stevie really deserves his top 5 spot.

Stevie Ray Vaughn at # 30, COME ON, that's just crazy. In an interview about 20 or 25 years ago, B.B. king was asked, "who impresses you as a guitarist", his response was, "they say that I'm the KING but I say that STEVIE RAY VAUGHN is the Master". SRV was and still is, one of, if not "the" most talented guitarist of all time. Check out SRV's rendition of Voodoo Chile by Hendrix. Jimi would say "AMN that boy can play".

How can you not have Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of the top Guitarist ever?

I think he was the best Guitarist that ever lived and he was way ahead of his time. If he was alive today there would be no question as who the best is! May God rest your soul Stevie Ray Vaughan and thank you for giving us the best Guitar playing ever and Awesome Music! - PETE2938

I see Jimi Hendrix is number one BUT Stevie Ray Vaughan ran circles around Jimi Hendrix and EVEN played some of Jimi's songs BETTER than Jimi played them... Stevie Ray Vaughan created Texas Blues and he NEVER messed up and was always spotless clean and was the best ever... - SSDirk

If you can honestly listen to anything by Stevie Ray Vaughan and say Slash is a better guitarist then you need to have your head seriously examined. Hendrix and Vaughan should be #1 and #2 and those numbers are interchangeable in my book. Richie Sambora better than SRV? I can't even read this anymore. You've given me a major headache and my blood pressure is through the roof.

I agree about Stevie Ray Vaughan - he should be number 2, but ONLY because of Hendrix's brilliance an novelty. NO DOUBT! Even Eric Clapton said (and I saw the interview) that "Stevie Ray is the greatest guitarist I've ever seen! " That interview came just minutes after Clapton cancelled his world tour beginning in London...Stevie Ray just walked off stage. Eric Clapton said "I can't play behind someone like that! " Then said the earlier quote above. Clapton was very obviously shaken at Stevie Ray's uncanny ability. Years later Clapton said of Stevie Ray, "I've never seen anyone who could play deep from somewhere within his mind. All of us guitarists, including me, become stuck onstage, trying to think of a riff to use. That NEVER happens to Stevie Ray! " We will never live long enough to see anyone better at guitar.
In a quote above, someone said that Stevie Ray never plays the same version of any song the same way...a VERY astute observation. Stevie Ray has played a completely new ...more

I assume that this is a popularity vote and not a vote by people that actually have a clue about playing guitar. Not to include Stevie Ray in the top 3 is like saying Tiger Woods is an average golfer. What a useless "Greatest ever" list.

Another great guitarist that should be rated higher. I've heard most everyone on this list and it seems the criteria being ranks speed and technique higher than character and style. In my opinion, character and style are what distinguish the personality of the player. Stevie have a lot of both and should be rated higher.

Stevie wasn't just the best guitarist ever, he was also a caring person, a true friend and a loyal lover. And you know... No one could play like him, no one could touch people's hearts like him, no one had a soul this noble, a heart this loving and a smile this adorable... There will NEVER be anyone like him. Stevie is IMMORTAL... - LynnKrois

No doubt he is my favorite guitarist, his genre (blues-rock) is by far my favorite, and I love to listen to all the songs he has played. - jeremykloss

I'd like to see a really good honest poll - at least a million votes from average fans, THEN : the top 5 guitarists get to vote and their votes each count as 4% of the total, then # 6-10 vote, counting as 2% (each) of total, then # 11-20, each of their votes counting as 1% of total, then 20-50 counting as 1/4% of total fan votes. So fan votes would end of counting as 53% and the best guitarists (as determined by the fab votes) would then vote counting 47%. Of course, since several of the top guitarists are dead, the number would be more affected by fan votes than the 53% (dead guitarists = no vote)

Stevie Ray Vaughan is the greatest guitarist of all time. If you add up the factors that the few songs he wrote were great, he covered great songs and made most of them better, and he had more passion and soul than any other guitarist to ever live.

As we all know, Stevie Ray Vaughan's style resembles a bit with Jimi Hendrix's. But, besides that, his sound is unique by its innovation and its expressiveness. Also, his compositions are original and full of life and passion. Therefore, Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the greatest guitarists that ever played on stage.

Stevie Ray Vaughan at number thirty?! I guess there just aren't enough people around today who have seen him play live. This guy was absolutely the most amazing guitar player I have ever seen, and I've seen many, many great ones. It's a crying shame Stevie Ray died so young. Top five lead guitarists are Hendrix, SRV, Clapton, Page, and Santana. Keith Richards, John Lennon, and Chuck Berry for rhythm, in my humble opinion.

Jimi Hendrix was probably more creative, but Stevie perfected everything Jimi had done, with so much talent, giving all of his energy in every concert. At the age of seven he started and never learned (or needed) to read music notes. What a loss, both men, when they left this world too soon. What a revolution to guitar-rock music it would have been if they had been with us much longer. Being so young with so much talent still to be developed they would leave every one else on this list behind them. I give them both this credit post mortem.

He is the only person who could play Jimi's songs correctly, and just watch this video and you will soon realize that it's an absolute travesty that he (and other legendary blues guitarists) are not in the top 3.

I put it down his untimely death leading to lack of exposure, amongst the general disregard for the blues as a mainstream genre in modern generations. If you've never heard of SRV or haven't seen his live acts, I highly suggest you check it out. Just watching him play is a joy.

He was at one with his music. I remember exactly where I was when I heard he had died. He should never be forgotten, just as those like Hendrix won't be. One of the best concerts I ever went to (& I went to many in my day) was when it was opened wit The Fabulous Thunderbirds and he and his brother played together! Think of the things he &Hendrix would have done had they not died so young.

As I viewed the list it wasn't so much the Stevie was left out (or hasn't made the top ten yet) but it was PAINFULLY obvious that the people that have voted DID NOT see him play... Live in concert... after seeing over 150 concerts since the late 60's... I can, without a doubt... once and for all say the SRV was the greatest in his field! I miss him and we all will never know just how great he would have continued to be? - miklsam

There is only one guitarist that I have heard whose soul is audible when he plays. If he does not give you a tingle up your spine when you hear him play you truly do not appreciate music.

How is newer player like Synyster Gates in the top 5 and a legend like Stevie Ray Vaughn not in the top 10? He is not only the best player of all time, but also completely underrated. He is always undercut in guitar player lists. He hits every note beautifully and brought the blues back to popularity. This list makes me so mad.

It is not a matter of one's musical taste or appreciation for the blues, or any other music genre. Stevie Ray Vaughan was, and will always be, the greatest electric guitarist that ever lived. SRV might even be the greatest musician to have ever lived - he was truly masterful and in a place all by himself.