Most Innovative Guitarists

All these guys made major contributions to guitar playing, be it in terms of technique, tone, style or simply feel. They changed the way people would see guitar, over the years, and are very much responsible for what we see it as today.

The Top Ten

1 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.

While many other influential guitarists made guitarists everywhere want to play like them, Eddie made people from all over the world go out and buy a guitar.

While other influential guitarists made guitarists everywhere want to play like them, Eddie made people all around the world go out and buy a guitar.

Hendrix did all of this too, and even possibly tapping. Listen to Hear My Train A-Comin', live at the Atlanta Pop Festival, you'll hear it,

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2 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 more.

No one proceeds Hendrix in this area in my book he literally rewrote the book on how to play the guitar in many ways not just flash but creating new audio landscapes, merging styles, creating new ones while apexing the old.

Who else can make the guitar scream and still sound good? - ameentheguitarist23

He should be number 1 - nickolie

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

He invented the solid body electric guitar. And a lot of other things, but that's all he needs to make this list. - ameentheguitarist23

He invented the les paul for crying out loud. He should be even higher

4 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.

This is innovation guys... No one can ever play like Tom Morello... Listen to the riff of "guerrilla radio" and solo of "bulls on parade".. No doubt at all

I don't care what you say, Tom Morello does things no one else does and no one else should touch a whammy pedal

Listening to him play is the only way to get an explanation of how good his innovations are. - ameentheguitarist23

Consensus. Definitively innovation in motion.

5 The Edge The Edge

His tonal innovations are something which is very hard to achieve. He is the reason why it is so hard to make a U2 song sound right if anyone other than him plays it. - ameentheguitarist23

6 Frank Zappa Frank Zappa Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.
7 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 more.

The father of metal guitar. Enough said. - ameentheguitarist23

Iommi could stand in 3rd place after Django Reinhardt and Hendrix.

8 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.

He might not have invented or popularized any techniques, but he sure did take Eddie Van Halen's works in a whole new direction. Vai made great innovations to many of the techniques made famous by Van Halen, especially whammy bar tricks and tapping. Even his tonal innovations are unbelievable. - ameentheguitarist23

9 Dick Dale Dick Dale

I personally think that he was more important than Dave or Ray Davies for guitar distortion. They used broken amps and power chord to create "hard rock" type of sound but Dick Dale's tremolo picking was far ahead than "You Really Got Me'. It was heavy, loud and fast. Brought the Arabian piece on fire. - zxm

10 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 more.

He is the bridge between Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen and all other blues guitarists. Enough said. - ameentheguitarist23

The Contenders

11 Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

This guy can multitask like anything, he invented the technique to make the highest note on the guitar infinity. - ameentheguitarist23

12 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 out the who can play lullabies one moment, then make computer sounds the next. - ameentheguitarist23

Should be in the top 5.

13 Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie 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.

Who else can play heavy metal on a classical background? - ameentheguitarist23

Nah, come on, the kind of neo classical should be higher! - gemcloben

14 Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt more.

So innovative, he invented to play jazz on guitar. And with only two fingers running on the neck! By far, the greatest guitarist of all time.

He literally invented playing solos on guitar! Before him, the guitarist was in the rhythm section and that was about it. Django should be #1 on the list just for that. But wait, there's more... He invented to play swing on guitar and he could Ā«standardizeĀ» any song or classical music into jazz. Innovative? While having two fingers paralyzed, he had to create his own chords which are widespread today and essential to many many music. He was Duke Ellington's favorite musician. He gave Tony Iommi the will to retake the guitar after his dramatic accident where he lost (him too) the use of two fingers. OK, enough said... vote to raise Django up the list!

15 Matt Bellamy Matt Bellamy Matthew James "Matt" Bellamy is an English musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and compose most famous for being the main vocalist in alternative rock band Muse.
16 Robert Fripp Robert Fripp Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946) is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King Crimson's line-ups from their inception in the late 1960s to the present. He has also worked more.

Definitely part of the top 10 innovative guitarists. Or what is guitar innovation?

17 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.
18 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.

The fact that he was not already in this list is entirely preposterous. I mean.. James Hetfield... Matt Bellamy. Jesus. Brian May was granted the opportunity to perform the national anthem on the roof of buckingham palace and he's not in TheTopTens' list of innovative guitarists. Listen to his arrangement of God Save The Queen (as well as his band's multi-platinum albums while you're at it). His popularising of multi-layering guitar parts was innovative enough to take a top three spot.

19 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.

His guitar playing helped create the foundation of rock n' roll guitar playing, an he was one of the first to make hard rock music out of a bluesy style of playing. - ameentheguitarist23

20 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.
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List Stats

38 listings
2 years, 339 days old

Top Remixes

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Les Paul
3. Eddie Van Halen
1. Eddie Van Halen
2. Steve Vai
3. The Edge



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