Best Metal Guitarists

The Top Ten
1 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.

Dave Mustaine has achieved BALANCE across his riffs and solos in every category from his SHREDABILITY without coming across as trying too hard to his unique but very relatable style and tones. He is the closest definition of a PERFECT guitarist in the category of metal BY FAR.

It was a really close call between Dave and Dimebag. They're both extraordinary guitarists. My vote goes to Dave for two reasons. The fact that he's been through copious amounts of adversity. People are incomprehensibly crude towards him. And although Dave and Dimebag have unmatched skill and similar unique qualities, Dave has had the sustained ability to perform and shred wicked solos for decades. Unfortunately, Dimebag's career was cut short. If that casualty wasn't to occur, I'd most likely be swayed to choose Dime, depending on if he could maintain his legendary skill. All in all, I believe Dave and Dime are equally talented and their legacy is past on to and through our generation.

Dave over Kirk and James any day of the week...better than Friedman? No, He's even stated in the past that Marty can play rings around him. Would Megadeth have had the success they have had now had Mustaine not have been a member of Metallica? YES. Would Metallica be the Juggernaut they are now had it not been for Dave? Not Necessarily so! Both great bands but Megadeth's material in the latter part of their career has easily usurped anything Metallica have released in the last 25 years. Metallica as much as I hate to say it are living on past achievements, whilst the Black Album is the most successful album they've released commercially, it is my opinion that they haven't released anything of real note since And Justice For All...Dave is the ultimate Riff Lord!

He literally along with James Hetfield created thrash metal. His complex rhythm structure and thrash lead solos are definitely one of the 80's purest and influential work. If you are looking for original unique sound then he is the man not Kirk. Everybody wanted to play with him; legends like Dimebag Darrell, Kerry King, Slash are few of them. Back in the days the greatest concert was "The Clash of the Titans" and the promo picture featured Dave in the middle and the rest like Tom Araya, Scott Ian, Jeff Hanneman, Marty Friedman, Joey Belladonna, Dave Lombardo around him. This just shows his class.

2 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.

Not one Metallica, dragon force, megadeth, a7x, etc. Song could match the heaviness of mouth for war, primal concrete sledge, or 5 minutes alone.
Some bands have made better epics, but few have topped this love, cemetery gates, and floods.
Since he played with his brother he had a groove connection like he did in songs like shattered, primal concrete sledge, and use my third arm.
As far as live., nobody could play live like dimebag,. He rarely played parts that weren't on the record, but when he did it was a better part that he replaced it with. Also no one moved as much on stage like he did,. As far as cover tunes cat scratch fever was good but nothing special. And the legacy he left behind is rivaled by none. No one else can play a dean or Washburn without the first thought being "dimebag"

Ok let me put this together for you, by the 90s, 2 of the big 4 thrash metal bands( Metallica and Megadeth) had gone to a more traditional heavy metal and hard rock sound. And other thrash metal bands did the same. And grunge rose to the mainstream. Pantera filled that gap for metal in the 90s. Hell Bassist Rex Brown has said that Metallicas change in sound was what inspired them to go from glam to turning heavy. They made the metal genre of Groove Metal. Dime was one of those main driving forces. He was an insanely great guitarist, so many riffs and solos. He inspired me as a guitarist so much.

Dime I miss ya man, love ya
DIMEBAG FOR LIFE!

How is Dimebag not number 1? Dave mustaine is one of my favourite guitarists don't get me wrong but chris poland and marty friedman were actually better than him and he chose them because of that fact. He always wanted the ultimate lineup. Come on Kirk hammet! He can't even play live properly anymore and he keeps hiding behind the wah pedal. However he makes good use of what skill he has. Dimebag is hugely influential and he was so good that pantera only needed one guitar player! No body can replicate his style and he is a legend. He was lost far too soon.

Dime was the new king stronger than all so good that e.vh buried him with the Van Halen 2 guitar. Check out his headstone, beautiful. Try to dig him up for that guitar and my dean vendetta 4.0 is going up your ass though! Number 1 til I get recognized in a few short yeArs. I learned from dime on his selfless tell all videos. Check them out too. Taught me from the tomb now my dreams are coming true... By far best lead and solo guitarist since Eddie. Imagine his skill level had he not been barraged by a broken military boy... He'd still be# 1 and make it hard for me to match. Watch his tutorials, you'll ball your eyes out but quantum learning kicks in. Rip dime the best frontman ever. Vinnie best heavy metal drummer ever. Check out (copyright) western metal alliance, and join if your top tier I need 7 members like me, frontmen with extensive recording,drums, bass, rhythm, violin, piano. I will donate a large percentage of the revenue to help shell shocked and injured vets that are ...more

3 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.

Acts such as Cream, King Crimson, and Blue Cheer helped reshape rock music. However, it was not until Black Sabbath's arrival onto the budding heavy rock scene that the face of music would be changed forever. Tony Iommi took the blueprint set before by other musicians and added heavier distortion, lightning-fast solos, and killer riffs. Mixed with the gloomy and depressive lyrics of Geezer Butler (Geezer also gets credit for being one of the most creative bass players in heavy metal history), the wailing vocals of Ozzy Osbourne, and the pummeling drumming of Bill Ward the result was that of an unorthodox rock machine that favored dark topics of obscure over the optimism of the hippy-era. And the driving force behind the band's songs were Iommi's riffs.

Songs featuring notable riffs of Iommi: Black Sabbath, N. I. B. , War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Sweet Leaf, Children of the Grave, Lord of this World, Into the Void, Wheels of Confusion, Supernaut, Snowblind, ...more

The best of the best, for sure. There is no doubt that this guy should be in the number one place. The fact that he lost a finger in a factory accident did not even hinder him. And, he has written and created some of the most iconic metal riffs of all time. He even is responsible for my favorite guitar noise: the Iron Man Bend. And how would it be complete if I did not mention a few of his solos. The best would be Iron Man, riff and solo. My flavorist solo is from Ear in the Wall, a very underappreciated sabbath song. So yes, as you all have probably said before me, this guy deserves to be in number one place.

He may should be higher up. As far as riffs, nobody wrote heavier riffs until dimebag Darrell came around in 1990 he single handedly made metal what it is today and his influence on the entire metal genre will never be denied, that being said. He was not a great lead player, and as far as the slowly building epics I have not heard any that really stuck out enough to crush me. Still iommi as a player and an influence brought him this high and possibly deserving of a higher spot above tremonti and wylde.

Dave Mustaine is awesome, but overrated. Tony Iommi is actually the greatest metal guitarist. He may not be one of the greatest guitar technicians, but he innovated and perfected heavy metal with his signature dark guitar tone and scary riffs like "Black Sabbath," "Iron Man," "Children of the Grave," "Into the Void," "Hand of Doom," "Electric Funeral," "Symptoms of the Universe," and "Under The Sun."

Let's not forget that his solos are not too shabby. Check out "Black Sabbath," "Warning," "Junior's Eye," "Planet Caravan," "War Pigs," "Fluff," "Children of the Grave," "Supernaut," "Snowblind," "Symptoms of the Universe," "Heaven and Hell," "Neon Knights," "Children of the Sea," "I Go Insane," "Devil and Daughter," "Wheels of Confusion," "Lonely is the Word," "Warning," "Turn Up The Night," especially the "Live at Last" version of "Wicked World," and a few more to come. He has phrasing, feeling, wicked vibrato, screaming bends, usually raw aggression, and even versatility to ...more

4 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.

Dave's more rhythm, he has solos on some of his songs though, and they are good solos, but they sound the same, it should be Marty Friedman, all Megadeth fans overlook Friedman. And though Mustaine has his crazy spider chords, which are amazing, Kirk steals it because Kirk has created some of my favorite solos, and his solos are more variant and he has ranged in his solos, whereas Mustaine is often playing shredding solos, which kinda gets repetitive.
But I love Friedman, Mustaine, Hammett and Hetfield, and I love both bands in general.

He rocks when plays guitar. He plays leading over and above our expectations that makes us proud that we are his fans. When he plays fade to black, nothing else matters, I like his style of playing guitar lead whether he taps or treks. Fade to black lead is one f my favorite leads he have played. His Esp guitar is very rocking. I also like his hair style. I think nobody can stand in front of him, when he performs.

Perfect use of effects, shows his technique, shows how good he is on the guitar, but does not overdo it like many others do, he is just what Metallica needs, he is the first guy most people think of when someone mentions who is the best metal guitarist. Surely there are many other guitarists who are better players technically than kirk but no one else plays their solo with so much power, emotion and quality, he is excellent live, he is number one

BEST COMPOSER OUT THERE! He is the reason why I picked up guitar. Although I'm influenced by a lot of bassists but he's the one who made me discover my passion. Listen to his solos in Master of Puppets, One, Fade to black, Orion and Enter Sandman. Not only the best guitarist, he is a well behaved artist, a music worshipper, a calm person. Never minds when dumbheads compare him with the asss like Dave Mustaine 'cause he plays to feed his soul and to feed the souls of music worshippers. Guitar is a part of his body and he makes it cry. He doesn't make noise with it. He is a true source of inspiration for those who understand music.

5 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.

This just demonstrates the folly of democracy. Either those who have voted for other guitarists have not listened to Randy Rhoads, or have rooted themselves in denial that any guitarist outside their obscure (probably destructive) taste could be any good. Randy Rhoads is the best metal guitarist because he doesn't play metal for the sake of metal. He plays music for the sake of music, and luckily for metalheads, he just happens to play metal. Maybe other guitarists are better at playing pretentiously technical arrangements on guitar in a metal format, but none are better at playing music in a metal format... Than the legendary Randy Rhoads.

Randy is a Metal guitar God! I have true respect for all on this list, but Randy was exotic, small time footprint in history, yet in that short of a time he left Metal never the same again. He was a perfectionist, a classical music background that was flawless with Ozzys gothic style it was stunning. Perfectionist on every level including laying down studio track, he was so anal about the sound that he even wanted to listen to his creations fart away, in another room or floor just to make sure every note is directly driven to every metal freaks brains. Mr Clowley, Crazy train are on of the best metal songs in existence

I had no idea what metal or any other genre of music was when I heard Crazy Train at 12 years old, but I loved it! Randy ushered in the world of metal and was the Hendrix of the late 70's, early 80's - no one could hold his jock (or pick). I love Metallica, and as a group, none is comparable. Hetfield is a genius and Hammett is a great soloist, but not the best. If Cliff were still alive, Metallica would probably have ruled the world by now. But I digress. Randy = the metal Hendrix, period. These two were arguably the greatest guitarists ever! So sad both passed away at 27.

Is shredding doesn't mean, meanless fast playing, there was actually meaning behind all those solos, every note is picked up carefully, there is feeling in every note, and all that and Randy himself is much more bigger and higher level than any other metal guitarists, its just a level that other guitarists still can't beat. Yeah Dime is pretty damn good, but Randy did more than any other, and he was motivation for other guitarists, like Zakk Wylde, Dimebag..etc.

6 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.

It's really funny that some people say Kirk is better than Marty, and that he is more melodic. They have no understanding of music whatsoever, as the only thing they can decipher is pentatonic scales, Wah, and triplets. Marty is a very tasty player. Never gets boring. Kirk just happened to be lucky to be in a band with James and Cliff. James is a much better soloist than him, at least he constructs better solos than him. Kirk has had a few great solos like One and Fade to black, but Marty's whole career is filled with awesomeness. Marty has put so much time into his bends that comparing Kirk's vibrato to Marty's is just like comparing trash to gold.
Also, where the hell is Chris Poland? He can make a guitar sing and has such a fluid legato. Vote for Marty people!

Marty Friedman is one of those guitarists who have their own distinctive playing, no matter how obscure. His knowledge of music theory is absolutely masterful, and his solos never fail to blow me away. His material is really difficult to emulate as well. He's a musical genius in his own right and he still doesn't get the amount of credit he deserves. His work with Megadeth displays just a portion of his skill and work, listen to Cacophony and his solo albums such as Dragon's Kiss. To further prove how incredible he is, his solo in Tornado of Souls was one of the three improvised takes he did, and Dave decided that the one we hear is the best one.

Mustaine, Hetfield, Dimebag and Iommi are the kings of riffs, but when it comes to soloing, Marty Friedman evokes an emotion like none other. Marty has proved himself through Cacophony and his solo career as well. Kirk is a good player, but his vibrato is horrible and bends are out of tune man... People say that Kirk's solo in MoP is very good, but I personally think that James' solo is much better. Marty has a very mesmerising vibrato, and his phrasing is what guitar players dream of. Dime was a very fine lead player as well, but Marty can construct melodies that just grip you.
Upvote Marty!

Kirk shouldn't be in the top anywhere, instead put James above him, James plays much better solos than those Wah solos having pentatonic exercises, sloppiness and sharp bends.

How is Marty lower than Dave? Dave is a good guitarist, but he himself admits that Chris was a better guitarist than him. Moreover, all of the solos on RIP are played by Marty, not Dave. That signature classical influenced sound Megadeth has? Its all Marty, who took a huge page out of his last band, Cacophony. Just look at the solo from Tornado of Souls - you can't deny the Cacophony influence.

7 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.

In terms of sheer technique, Petrucci wins hands down. He is the most consistent of everybody on the list, especially when watching live performances, as most of these guitarists only can play their own parts so-so in live shows... but Petrucci always delivers. Even in videos where he is covering other bands, he always plays the guitar parts BETTER than the original guitarist (even when I don't want it to be so) and even mimics their style of playing. I really like most of the other guitarists on this list, but in a completely objective comparison of "who is the best guitarist", I think that Petrucci is by far at the top.

As I listen to Fall Into The Light from D/T (2019 release), having listened to Dream Theater since I was in high school when Images and Words was released, having heard plenty from other talented guitarists on this list (including multiple live performances from many them), it is my opinion that John Petrucci may be the best guitarist living on the planet today.
I love jazz, classical, world music, rock, country and nearly every genre. I have a plethora of favorite guitarists. There is no doubt that from a technical, song writing and heart to hands perspective, nobody comes close to JP. Some may play with more soul, but they lack everything else in comparison. Nobody can touch Petrucci's genius level of imagination combined with wizardlike technique. Nobody.

Synester gates is a joke and so is anyone who thinks he should be ranked high on any guitar list, that just shows your level of ignorance when it comes to guitar playing. Petrucci or Mustaine are the clear winners. Both can write the meanest rhythm sections, but have incredible lead ability. It's one thing to play really fast and have technical skill, but it's another thing when you can use that skill to write brilliant solo's, rather than just doing typical shred. I just think Petrucci is more technical which is why he has my vote. Even though, Dave is one of the pioneers of metal.

I've heard all the metal guitarists out there and I must admit he is the best out there. Mind blowing technique, crazy song writing, his solos are just beautiful. He speaks through his guitar. He deserves no less than #1 spot. Kirk Hammett and synyster Gates on this list shows what's wrong. Its become more of a popularity contest it seems. If you don't believe me on john petrucci then go listen to The Best of Times or Glasgow kiss or Under a Glass Moon or Illumination Theory. There's no one quite like him. Listen to his works and then dare to tell me I'm wrong

8 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.

If Schuldiner had done a collaboration with Marty Friedman, then that would be the most melodic thing that the world had ever heard. Chuck had a sense of melody that very few others have (Friedman is the only one that comes to mind), and the fact that he could change keys easily only goes to show that he was on par, if not above, most of the guitarists in the top ten. Also, my favorite quality of his was that he could make his own sound out of sweep picking, instead of just (Friedman's words) blBLOOP bloop, blBLOOP bloop. If there is any guitarists to compete with Schuldiner, then Friedman is the only one. Both were badass enough to no care about what key they play in when they're in a jam session. Long live Death!

I think it's wrong how people say this guy isn't as much of a shredder as the others. I've been trying to learn how to play flesh and the power it holds, and I'm not lying, but this guy can reach joe satriani levels of speed. Not only that, but his vocals are still quite decent, even though he's yelling in all of his songs, and his voice is death metal. Also, this guy pretty much CONTROLLED an entire band for 14 years until his death (what a coincidence), and his ability to be both an insane rythym and lead guitar player is unmatched on this list. If you still think Synyster Gates is #1, get over yourself.

Chuck is better than more of the guitarists here, I bet all the ones that vote are posers. He is the master of shredding, the pioneer of death metal, because of him, there would be no actual guitarists. Like seriously, Slash? What does that mean? Dimebag Darrel? Dimebag was a good guitarist, but he isn't at Chuck's level, like seriously. I bet all the people voting are posers. He could scratch his nose while playing a solo and he didn't even cared. His guitar technique is probably one of the greatest in metal history.

Playing guitar riffs while singing with extreme metal vocals is not an easy task. He also wrote the most memorable death metal riffs and solos as well as the sweetest yet still brutal death metal songs.

9 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.

"Powerslave" is THE definitive metal album in my book - and it's only one of 7 masterpieces in a row Iron Maiden put out. Adrian not only writes great riffs and plays great solos, but he also fleshes out the songs with his overall guitar playing - listen to Maiden in the 90s and a whole dimension is missing. When Adrian rejoined the band (and when he joined Bruce's solo band), the quality went up a notch. He's not only a great guitarist, he makes the whole band better - and that sets him above most others. (Adrian Smith fans note that his pre-Maiden band Urchin has finally seen CD release, it's not really metal but nice 70s guitar rock. )

When Adrian Smith joined Iron Maiden, he formed a partnership with Dave Murray that became one of the most impressive yet underrated in metal history. The styles of the two guitarists formed the riffs and solos of some of the most influential and ground breaking songs in metal history - (Hallowed be Thy Name, The Trooper and Aces High) to name a few.

His solo in wasted years, alexander the great, caught somewhere in time, powerslave and countless others are more memorable than those played by Herman Li. Speed does not make you a great guitarist, it is the feel of the music that makes you great. P. S Kirk Hammett deserves top 5, Listen to Fade to Black. SMith and Murray should be in top 15 at least.

How on this sick, dying planet can you say that Adrian Smith and Dave Murray are underrated? Iron Maiden are 2nd only to Metallica so far as fame, reputation and quality goes. Murray is classically explosive, whilst Smith was the more restrained.

10 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.

Why is James Hetfield 10 ? He should be in the top 3 behind Tony Iommi and Randy Rhoads. Marty Friedman is ranked at 7, probably because he's a good lead guitarist, but come on, solos aren't everything... I just can't understand Friedman over Hetfield, Hetfield is on the Mount Rushmore of metal guitarists. People outside of Metal know him, unlike many guitarists here. For rhythm guitarists like myself, Hetfield is a hero. He is a revolutionary metal guitarist, known for his innovation on the downstrokes, his creation of Thrash Metal, tons of iconic riffs he wrote and he wrote many, many classics. He is responsable for making tens of millions of people buy a guitar. There is no metal band that started after 1986, that has not been influenced by him.

It's actually sad that people think Kirk is better than James. Have you seen Kirks solo's lately? They're pretty bad. There's a reason why James always plays the riffs first by himself and not Kirk like in Blackened, Battery and Creeping Death. He wrote almost all of their riffs from Kill em all to...And Justice for all and then some. Enter Sandman is an iconic metal riff written by Kirk Hammet, but Master of Puppets, Creeping Death, Battery, Harvester of Sorrow, One and Ride the Lightning all have riffs that are masterpieces. The stuff James plays and sings at the same time is incredible. Not much I need to say about that. And James has also had his share of solo's from Nothing Else Matters to Master of Puppets to The Outlaw Torn etc. He puts more emotion in his solo's. The only emotional solo from Kirk was the Unforgiven solo. But of course, Kirk is the better guitarist when it comes to solo's cause Creeping Death, One and Blackened all have amazing thrash solos.

If anyone on this list actually heard him play hard wasn't playing his usual backup, Then he would have made the list. I've heard him let loose and he's one hell of a guitar player. Remember, its not about how fast you can play, its about what you play and how intricate it is. Not only did he write most of the riffs for his music but he has an agreement with his manager that he MUST be recorded whenever he picks up a guitar, because of his creativity and natural talent he always comes up with new material every time he plays.

One of the most important figures in metal history right there with iommi, hetfield and Ulrich changed the face of metal and along with slayer, anthrax and megadeth. Unfortunately hetfield does not perform solos.. But his rhythm, singing, influence, and legacy bring him to make it on this lust. Now some ask why James and Dave made this list and not kirk. The reason behind that is kirk is terrible. He overbends, plays off tempo, and out of key often enough that I think he deserves to be on the 10 worst metal guitarists list.

The Contenders
11 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.

This list is beyond ridiculous. Dave Mustaine is good, but to say he's the best guitarist in metal is ridiculous. Marty Friedman was in the same band and is WAY more technical than Mustaine. Tony Iommi? Jesus, he just downturns his guitar and tries to sound evil 100% of the time. Nothing that special. Dave Murray is the lead guitarist for IRON MAIDEN, the greatest, most emotionally compelling metal band of all time. Why don't you actually listen to some of Dave Murray's solos on songs like Powerslave, Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, Number of the Beast, Fear of the Dark, Run to the Hills, anything off the NOTB album really... Dave Murray's guitar solo on Hallowed Be Thy Name gives me goosebumps and chills and makes me feel emotional ever single time, something that can only be said for very few other songs. This guy may not be the absolute fastest or heaviest, but he definitely has the most soul in his playing.

Overrated, the majority main riff was written by Harris & Smith (which is better more variable & structured). His solo is boring, repetetive, same pattern, and already stale. Just like Kirk Hammett, they're write the solo based on feeling not structured writing that's why boring. He never tried to something new on his guitar.

Same like Kirk the only I liked on him is personality. Sorry if offended, I'm the big fan of evolved guitarist.

It's not about being the fastest, or heaviest guitar player. Rhodes would probably get my pick for best player of his time, but if you're talking longevity, there are not many that can compete with Murray for his amazing technical skill and memorable riffs. Not only that, but to be that consistently great for over 3 decades of kick-ass metal, is outstanding and noteworthy in its own right.

I think he's an amazing guitarist and in an amazing band too. Iron maiden inspired me to play guitar and also where I knew I wanted to play the guitar. I went and saw them play live recently, and they were amazing. Mid Solo, dave would just break out in a improvised solo that sounded better than the original solo! He's a great riff writer, performer, and guitrarist.

12 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.

While ironically beat at his own invention by Glenn, this man is still the next best sweep picker. His shred arpeggio's are hard to beat, but he doesn't experiment much so I ranked him down a bit. After Randy and Ritchie invented Neo-classical metal, Yngwie invented the sweep pick and developed the genres true stylistic sound.

Yngwie is the King! A big plus besides his musical geniality and technical skills is that he is mostly inspired by the greatest and most influential composer of all time Johann Sebastian Bach.

Looking at this picture, it aroused mixed feelings as it looks like my two favourite things: hot looking women holding guitars. Long live Girlschool.

Some may disagree and say "Oh well he's good but he plays the same thing over and over" but man, without Yngwie, Metal as it is today wouldn't exist.

13 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.

Never heard more complete, smooth, and most memorable riffs other than his. Definitely Top 5. Listen to his skills in Beast and the Harlot, Critical Acclaim, and Almost Easy.

AMAZING! Synyster Gates is by far one of my top 3 favorite guitarists EVER! Black veil brides Jake Pitts, and Slash are the other two... I'm in a heavy metal band called either Divine and Twisted or Perdition Pandemoniem, were still finding a name but those three are my INSPIRATION to any music I love and were not quite finished but were working on an album called Scream in Silence,... Cry with Smiles and try to get that selling. The members are Gage Wartenbe lead guitar and song writer which is me, Jake King our unbelievable drummer, singer and song writer, Adam McDonald our very talented rhythm guitarist and song writer and were finding a bass... But anyway... Those beasts of the six string are my favorite!

He not only has speed and technicality, but is incredibly versatile and emotive. He is one of very few who can strike a balance between technical prowess and tasteful phrasing. He has his own distinctive sound and creative use of conventional techniques. His solo's always compliment the music, the style and the underlying harmony and are always memorable. Over 5 (6 including DITR) albums he has never written a bad solo. In short he is the complete package and an inspirational figure that represents all that a modern guitar player should be.

Make this boy up the list my buddies... Dave Mustaine, Kirk and others may be legends but confined to their age. Just leave the fact that they started doing something in metal, but think how Syn started creating his own style of music, shredding like anything! My God, look at his control when he shreds, although sounds devilish kind of solos, who can create those kind of scales! If you are serious about the technique, who can play all those kirk and Dave's solos with a single hand with out tapping? My boys It's Synyster Gates!

14 Alexi Laiho Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho (April 8th 1979 - December 29th 2020) was 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. He was also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band, and Kylähullut. ...read more.

This position is an outstanding one though he is really talented and should be 1st. Being lead vocalist and guitarist is really hard and takes real concentration and Alexi is issued in that state but he enjoys it and is clearly known to be a "crowd favorite". I also have to mention that some of his verses do not equalize with his vocals and that shows a great talent cause not only can he concentrate on his vocals but also his melodic guitar tunes. Thanks for reading this comment and I hope to have every other 14 year old children like myself to encourage themselves to pure music

Amazingly talented guitarist. To hear this guy play a solo it is amazing to me that anyone would not see how incredibly talented he is and a top 5 artist if not the absolute best.

Ironically one of his best solos and the one I recommend everyone hear to gauge his skill would be his side work on the Synergy project. Just listen to his solo on "I spit on your grave" and tell me who else could pull that off? It is VERY select company.

Are you kidding me? Alex laiho should be number 1. The only thing that let dave enter top 5 because he is a legend. But by odin's beard! Alex's guitars riffs, shreds and solos are unique, fast and unpredictable! Kirk even admitted that alex laiho is the best! Besides using guitars, he also serves as the main vocal and composer of the group which in his case, a very rare combination! Watch his solos. This guy is a GOD!

He is one of the best guitarist around. He is skilled and he knows how to put his skills to use. He writes amazing songs with melodic riffs and awesome solos. His way of playing and guitar sound is very distinct. He can play fast or slow or whatever.. And he can do vocals too while playing tough riffs.. And also he is a good performer on stage and he can play well live.

15 Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore and death metal band Arch Enemy.

I know that by best metal guitarist, we are talking about the most influential, skillful and unique players. And while I understand Dave Mustaine's influence on metal (I have all megadeth albums from before 2000) and agree that he is probably the most influential guitarist in metal, I would like to see him cover Miles of Machines.

Jeff Loomis takes inspiration from the likes of Marty Friedman, Jason Becker and in my opinion, is the one of the best metal players to emerge in the 21st century. I don't believe he is the best player in metal, but I don't think he should be as low as 34

Probably one of the most under-appreciated guitarists ever. There is no excuse not to have him in the top 10. He can sweep better than almost anyone (Devil Theory, This Godless Endeavor), has written some of the best riffs I've ever heard and most of all isn't just a mindless shredder like so many.

Amazing guitarist. One of the few that can shred and convey emotion simultaneously. Most shred guitarists sound amazing by virtue of their technical skill, but the emotion seems missing from much of their work. Loomis manages to do both brilliantly. He should definitely be in the top ten.

34?!?!? Are you kidding me? Jeff Loomis is amazing. How many other guys can say they turned down an offer to be in Megadeth? I understand Dave Mustaine's being number 1, I love Megadeth, and I get it, but not having Jeff Loomis in at least the top 5 is a joke.

16 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.

He Should be in the top tens easily. He's way better than Kirk. Think about it Who has better guitar solos. Alex does. Kirks Best solo is one. But Alex's solos are SO GOOD I can't even choose a favorite solo. Switch Alex with Kirk and a few other minor changes and this list is perfect.

As a fan of Kirk Hammett and Metallica, as much as I love Testament, they were physically and mentally incapable of inventing thrash, writing its greatest albums, and Hetfield and Hammett in their prime could easily duplicate anything Testament have done.

Why is alex at 64? Definitely one of the most diverse guitarists out there, which shows from his soft metal, to death metal, to his jazz trio he is currently part of, not to mention being one of the lead guitarist for the philharmonic orchestra.. Testament!

A Testament fan that disrespects Metallica? Ok, stop listening to Testament because Metallica invented thrash, hypocrite. Skolnick left Testament for a long period, so although he's a great guitarist, he sold out Testament.

17 Glenn Tipton Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. He is most commonly known as the lead guitarist for English heavy metal band Judas Priest.

This is number one for me. Glenn Tipton is living proof that class and style beats technique any day of the week. Not that his work isn't technical or difficult (it is, though there's several on this list that take it quite a bit further on that aspect), but he's a sloppy player - especially live. That doesn't stop at least half of his solo's being beautiful, memorable tunes and mini-stories that fit perfectly within the song. That percentage is easily 5 times as high as any other guitarist in this list in my very humble opinion - many guitar solo's are either boring or just don't add much to what is already in the song; regardless of how difficult, unusual or well played it is.

Are you kidding? Criminally underrated Tipton easily must be in the top 3, Priest are pioneer twin lead guitar of early Heavy Metal in mid 70's (Thin Lizzy aren't metal but it's rock). Most evolved guitarist ever, you can see his playing style in 70's then compare to 90's etc that's insane.

He mastered all metal guitar technique, he can play like modern shredder guitarist. His solo are memorable, complex, good precision, good & unique note selection, different pattern every solos (anti-boring), can fast shred can melodic, soulful player. It's very rare old guitarist can evolved then compete with millenium shredder.

I'm listening many modern metal band but if looking back in old school metal, Glenn Tipton have equal technique to compete with metal guitarist today.

Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are two of the best metal guitarists out there. How these two, and Richie Blackmore, aren't in the top ten just boggles my mind. How can you have Synyster Gates as #3, but not even include the people he was influenced by in the top 10? I mean, good god, Judas Priest were one of the bands that synthesized Black Sabbath and Deep Purple into its fiery and chaotic self. Especially on the album Painkiller. I find myself just continuing to skip back to the solo on the title track just to hear the whole thing another time. Very fast, very talented, and very underrated on this list.

WHAT? I'm the biggest Megadeth fan and Dave is a great musician and lyricist but as a metal guitarist Glenn Tipton smokes pretty much everyone on this list because he's got it all: style, feeling, speed, technical proficiency, melody and incredibly memorable leads.
I mean, just listen to the solos from Dreamer Deceiver, then Frewheel Burning and then All Guns Blazing. They all sound so different yet they are top tier in songwriting quality.

18 K.K. Downing

Continually creates solos that work to connect with the melody of the song. Together with KK Downing no other band can match Judas Priests mastery of solos with such dedication to detail.

He was shredding in 70', while no one knew how to play metal! (I mean the solo of Victim of Changes)

For me..K.K. Downing is in top 10. I don't agree with Gibson's top 10 list.

Should be in Top Ten. Totally underrated.

19 Jeff Hanneman Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

I feel Jeff should be in at least the top 15. He was certainly the best guitarist compared to Kerry. Also, when he plays riffs, you can easily hear how challenging or easy one is, which is pretty Unique.

Slayer are a band - and one of the mightiest - but they had a FU attitude to pompousness and don't care what anyone thinks about them. They are a punk bank band in a thrash outfit, so Lombardo aside, don't leave them open for judgement on a best guitarist list. They, like Metallica, are a united front.

How is Jeff not in top 10! Some of these guys before him on list are good guitar players but is music they play METAL? The list should read as this! Chuck Schuldiner, Dave Mustaine, Jeff Hanneman, Gary Holt, Kirk Hammet, Alex Skolnick, James Hetfeild, Kerry King!

Chuck Schuldiner

Should definitely be in top 5. He has created a parade of extraordinary Thrash riffs throughout the history!

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

Underrated is his nickname, I guess. I found this guitar legend, and I can say, he plays amazing. I'm a huge Metallica fan and I have listened thousands of bands but buckethead is very different. Everyone should listen and give him a chance. Nobody can say "buckethead sucks". He is great on his job.

Buckethead is hands down the greatest guitarist ever, give soothsayer a listen and you will see why. His songs have strong cleans that really draw emotion as well as mind numbing speed in the solos, should be #1 for sure.

Way too much for the average non guitar player to process. I don't advise listening to this if you like"popular music" way too advanced. Stick to The Rolling Stones list of mainly overrated guitarists.

Very underrated, and Metallica is my favorite band, yet that doesn't mean Kirk is the best guitarist, he is a little overrated in my opinion...

21 Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) was a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor. He was best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

Does not matter what list! EVH can do anything with strings and took the guitar to the next level as well an inspiration to so many guitarist throughout history as did Jimmy Page. His solos gave chills... RIP EVH

The problem with this list is the fact that some people do not consider Eddie Van Halen or Jimmy Page metal players, so they get less votes. If this was a best guitar player list not best metal list these two would EASILY be top three, in my opinion they are better than Hendrix so top two. They are, along with Iommi THE biggest inspiration to metal guitar players, Zeppelin were the the heaviest at the time other than sabbath, and Eddie Van Halen basically invented the metal guitar solo, with pinch harmonics and whammy dives, but with a lot of feeling(although his rhythym playing is untouchable and I wish he got more recognition for it).

I've heard guys imitate Hendrix, Rhoads, Satriani etc. I've never heard anybody play Van Halen even close. You can play the notes, but not the personality. Eddie is the best.

Eruption is an epic song. End of story.
Why is Eddie at 25th? I respect Kirk and Slash and all the others, but Eddie Van Halen is the real deal, the original.

22 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.

Few guitarists can take the pentatonic scale as far as zakk. Epics like no more tears and mama I'm coming home had just perfect solos. One thing he lacks with is grooving with a drummer. He seems to work more off a bass player, in other words the riffs aren't fun to listen to. Zakk has started slacking the last few years, but hell we all get old.. But his stage precense is unmatched by anyone. Rockstars typically are short so seeing a large muscular Viking is epic all by itself.

Zakk Wylde should be #1 on this list. Top 3 at the very least. For one thing, many guitarists mentioned don't play Metal! The poll clearly says Metal. If your talking greatest guitarists of all-time period, he's still top 10. In my opinion, in a guitar duel, Wylde can stand with anyone whose ever held a guitar.

News flash Zakk though good is way overrated and should never be compared to Randy Rhoads! No more tears and Momma I'm coming home do not even rate as a true metal song! They're ballads of a sort! Listen to the sond SATO that whole song is a guitar masterpiece! Mr Crowley, Over the Mountian enough said!

Zakk plays like the deafening thunderous power of the driving Viking hoards crushing all before it. The Berserker would DESTROY hammet, mustaine or King... kerry king? really? Slash? Are you kidding me? Go to youtube and watch the Zakk/slash duel... pitiful. Zakk kicks a$$!

23 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.

The most versatile technical guitarist on this list. A long career writing so many classic riffs, songs and solos. Ritchie really is terribly under valued. He started modern metal with Deep Purple In Rock in 1970, and expanded on that with Made in Japan in 1973. Rainbow Rising is another high point of which there are so many. A true musicians musician and genius. The one and only Man in Black.

Richie Blackmore is openly recognised as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Nobody in their right mind would deny this. But he was a divisive figure, and marched to the best of his own drum, much like the great Dave Mustaine. Both are genius personified, and both have been very successful.

Was sweep picking back in the 1960s, way before Yngwie. A true innovator. He's slowed down now but was used all four fingers and thumb in his solos and was among the fastest for two decades.

Best...what is best? But with his combination of riffs, improvisation solos and superb technical skill, he belongs in every top 10 list. Looking at this list, who influenced these guys more than RB?

24 Andy LaRocque

Yes, in both King Diamond and Death he was a virtuoso. Most inside the metal scene know of his flamboyance and skill, though not publicly well-known.

Underrated When metalheads finally discovers him, he's a favorite every time.

Andy needs to be higher. Any King Diamond song is better than any a7x song

Absolutely the most original guitarist on this list and also the most underrated

25 Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

This freaks me out that Kerry King isn't listed as one of the best guitarist in the world. Who plays faster, tighter, and cleaner than him. Whether you listen to him live or recorded you cannot tell the difference. Slayer has 3 of the best musicians in metal/thrash. King, Hannemin and Lombardo.

While King isn't the best at leads nor at composing songs, it was King who taught Hanneman how to play guitar. In fact, King is the ONLY Slayer guitarist who can play Sex. Murder. Art. live, and has the correct picking technique, as Jeff Hanneman started picking with the elbow and not the wrist.

I'm a Slayer fan, but apart from Dave Lombardo, I don't look at their musicianship as being first-rate. I think it's part of their DIY punk heritage, which is actually what makes them unique and great.

Slayers lead guitarist. I don't even know how they get through an entire set list at the rate they play.

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