Best Metal Rhythm Guitarists
Best rhythm guitarists in the metal genre. The focus here is on good riffs, rhythm harmonies, picking speed, accuracy, and tightness, and overall rhythm playing. Rhythm/lead switches and dual leads are acceptable as long as their rhythm playing is impeccable.
The Top Ten
1 James Hetfield - Metallica
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.
Based on metal? Without a doubt it's James! I STILL can't emulate the speed of his down-picking rythym riffs! How the heck he does if during a live show for a few hours is beyond me... My forearm is sore after one song!
2 Dave Mustaine - Megadeth
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.
3 Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth
Jon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".
I say his speed and technically is above hetfield any day. Look at every song before Dark Saga proves it.
Lightning fast galloping riffs!
Hetfield is naff
4 Gary Holt - Exodus
5 Marten Hagstrom - Meshuggah
Mårten Hagström, (born 27 April 1971) is the rhythm guitarist for the Swedish experimental metal band Meshuggah. Hagström, along with his bandmate Fredrik Thordendal, was rated #35 by Guitar World as the top 100 greatest heavy metal guitarist of all-time.
The albums obZen and Chaosphere from the technical metal bosses Meshuggah proves that he could do very badass rhythm grooves and deserves to be in this list.
6 Jeff Waters - Annihilator
Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator . He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos . Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band . Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, ...read more.
His Lead / Rhythm switches are awesome. He's one of the riff masters of all time. - Metal_Treasure
7 Chuck Schuldiner - Death
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.
8 Zacky Vengeance - Avenged Sevenfold
Zachary James Baker, better known by his stage name Zacky Vengeance, is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Zacky V. also owns a small clothing company, Vengeance University.
Zacky just has amazing riffs! I love how his melodies and timing coordinates with Synyster Gate's solos! Plus he can also sing, along with Syn. Especially in City Of Evil. His melodies and riffs are just phenomenal!
9 Bill Kelliher - Mastodon
Bill Kelliher is a musician from Atlanta, Georgia, best known as rhythm guitarist of heavy metal band Mastodon.
10 Toni Iommi - Black Sabbath
11 Scott Ian - Anthrax
Scott Ian is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing and additional lead vocalist, and the only remaining original founding member of the thrash metal band, Anthrax.
12 K.K. Downing - Judas Priest
13 Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden
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.
14 Eric Peterson - Testament
15 Mille Petrozza - Kreator
Miland "Mille" Petrozza is a German metal guitarist and singer of Italian descent, who has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the German thrash metal band Kreator since 1984.
16 Sully Erna - Godsmack
Salvatore Paul "Sully" Erna is the American vocalist and guitarist for the American hard rock band Godsmack.
17 Kirk Hammett - Metallica
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.
18 Fredrik Norrman - Katatonia
19 Matt Tuck (Bullet for My Valentine)
Matthew "Matt" Tuck is a Welsh musician. He is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the Welsh heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine.
20 Jim Root - Slipknot
James Donald "Jim" Root, also known by his number #4, is an American musician known for being the rhythm/lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Slipknot, and the former lead guitarist for alternative metal band Stone Sour.
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