Most Overrated Guitarists


The Top Ten

1 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1988, he started the grunge band Nirvana. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his Seattle home in 1994.

My friends play better guitar than him. Awesome vocal and songwriter though... - AymanKabir

Guitarist ability is not just about the technical side of the playing, it's about applying what you do know to make good music. Kurt is a good guitarist because his music was good, he didn't have almost any technical ability but yet he made some of the best music there is. Perhaps making good music could be seen as a song writing thing to some people, but you could write good music and never actually play any of it because you can't apply any knowledge you know to your instrument. I've seen too many people think that just because you know all the scales and modes that you are a good guitarist, but if you can't actually make any good music out of it, then what you learnt is pointless really. Before you think I'm claiming he's one of the best, I don't think that at all, in fact I do think he's overrated just no where near to the extent some other people do.

TLDR: Being a good guitarist is more about technical ability, it's about how you apply what you know to make music. Cobain ...more

The phenomenon of accumulating popularity after untimely death has seemed to echo through the ages. The death of JFK quickly gave him the title of 'Best Ever President' to many people who otherwise would have written him off. Edgar Allan Poe's 19th century poetry was only made more popular due to the mysterious nature of his untimely death. The same is true of Kurt Cobain, a technically below-par guitarist. Inspired by the Pixies, a band who were by no means technically gifted either, if Cobain, with his lack of ability on the instrument, hadn't coincided his association with the rise of the grunge movement of the early 90's, even that headline-snatching early death wouldn't have got him the praise he has today.

He's a good singer and songwriter nyt bad guitarist. - Disturbedpotato

V 41 Comments
2 Slash Slash Saul Hudson, known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Before we get to Slash, I am outraged that Hendrix is on this list. Anyone who actually plays/studies guitar knows he is if anything, underrated. The man has a whole style that everyone after him copied for Christ's sake. Hendrix blew the minds of guitar players in his time, player that were thought as Gods (Eric Clapton went off stage after Hendrix jammed with him) and continues to influence guitar plays through out the 70s to current times (Jimmy Page, Brian May, SRV,! SLASH!, John Frusciante, the lead guitarist of Pearl Jam[forgot name] and most other guitarists that followed him). Slash, on the other hand, as only influenced 10% of preteens who start playing guitar, of which only a handful don't give up on playing. He is though as a God to people who have seen him in pop culture video games and hear his ANNOYING riff that is a few tones too high. When Guns n' Roses got big, it wasn't a revolution of sound, they were just another stadium rock band.

For those of you saying Slash is overrated, I can 100% see where you're all coming from. I think that he's overrated, but he doesn't deserve to be hated on so much. His guitar solos are brilliant, and his rhythm work is great too. Slash was my inspiration to both pick up the guitar, and continue from there on out. I personally don't give a crap about the top hat, I didn't even know he was the guy from guitar hero back when I was a kid. I'd be listening to Nightrain, my favorite Guns N' Roses song, while pretending to jam out to it on guitar. Now, Michael Schenker, Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Marty Friedman, Kirk Hammett, Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, Eddie, Dimebag, Angus, John Petrucci, Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, all these guys are also my inspiration. Being 15, I still have plenty of time to learn all of these guys's riffs and solos, but Slash has always been my #1. His guitar tone and sound may be too high, but that's his signature sound. It makes Nightrain and November Rain sound ...more

the only reason he is so popular is because he has a cool nickname and he wears a top hat

He is not overrated - ColbyS

V 64 Comments
3 Synyster Gates 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.

First of all, I have nothing against Mr. Gates personally. But 1 question bugs me: "Why is he in almost all the top ten lists in this site anyway? I'm beginning to think that he is actually a member and voting for himself! And what in the name of Amplifier Overload is his name doing in the fastest guitarist section. Trust me; I watched him live and even I can play faster than that. Okay here is the deal. I think people voting in this site are having favorites and their decisions are based on how famous this guy is and not on how good he really is. Sorry but... I'm not impressed. Just not impressed.

I can't believe this guy is in the top 5 of nearly every top 10 guitarists list. Oh look, drop D power chords and arpeggios, how original, how inspirational, how skilful. - scaryness

I hate this guy just because of his fake style... Big time poser! No stuffs only the wrapper! - rahulmondal

This one. - Disturbedpotato

V 17 Comments
4 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.

I painfully disagree with Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page appearing on this list too damn high. Jimi Hendrix knew everything about guitar, Slash's solos were unbelievable, Eric Clapton knows a lot about guitar and sure as hell can play one, AND COME ON, Jimmy Page is legendary. He's my favorite guitarist. I mean, just listen to his solo in Stairway to Heaven! And that's for starters. But when you become a bigger Led Zeppelin fan over time, you love most of their music even more! And you hear these awesome guitar solos! Led Zeppelin for the win! And one more thing, I know he's not that high, but get Brian May off this list. He's good too. And a thing about Kurt Cobain, I agree that he doesn't know that much about guitar but people are disgustingly ripping on him WAAAYY too much. I mean really, he said it himself, so why still hate him for something that other people call him? That's just immature and ridiculous. - MontyPython

Seeing hendrix and page on this list is proof that humanity is doomed

Decent dexterity, but very limited in his scope of playing ability. Jimi Hendrix was far more sloppy than Jimmy Page, but Jimmy is a close second.

He sucks live, like a squirrel with AIDS trying to play guitar

V 19 Comments
5 Kirk Hammett 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.

ok people you all nedd to listen to music and think who really is ovverated and who really is underated angus young is number 5 on here that is rediculous he shouldn't even be on here he is by far the most underated guitarist of all time he was number 96 on rolling stones 100 greatest guitarist of all time that is just stupid. and so what if he only uses three chords they are 3 dam good chords and they all sound hella lot better then metallica, u2, guns and roses etc. you people really need to think before you vote ANGUS YOUNG NEEDS TO BE RECOGNIZE AS A ROCK LEGEND AND A ROCK GOD without him there might be no metallica or no guns and roses or a hole lotta other bands. and you never hear people saying oh yea angus is the best because people don't know good music and music with heart and angus is way above a lot of guitarist you hear about every day such as the edge, kirk hammet, slash, jimmy hendrix I think they are all overated don't get me wrong those are all good guitarist (except ...more

Angus Young doesn't play the best music, but he's still a great guitarist because he can play guitar well while spinning on the ground, on his side, while kicking his legs around. That takes a lot of skill and focus. - Skullkid755

His stuff on the Ride the Lightning album is all right, but after that most of his stuff is just garbage. Listen to the solo on Blackened for instance. The songs is very decent, with good riffing and dual guitar lead stuff, but Kirk's solo is just pathetic. He's not particularly fast, (if speed is what you want. Look at Mustaine, Schuldiner, Van Halen or Satriani for proper fast). He doesn't play particularly good emotional solos (as I said, the ones on Ride the Lighting are good, such as Fade to Black. I also like Orion's solos. But after that it's just downhill. For good emotional solos look at Petrucci or Rhoads or Schuldiner (Voice of the Soul).). Kirk is ridiculously overrated in my opinion.

The metallica fans make him #1 at everything on this site.

Without his WHA WHA peddle I don't think he could play a lead. Every time he wants to appear like he is shredding he falls back on it...this covers up the sloppy notes and makes it sound faster..Still love Metalica though

V 33 Comments
6 Angus Young Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while more.

Slash and Hendrix are both phenomenal guitarists. Especially Hendrix. But Angus Young? He should be right on top at number one. His stuff is appealing when you first hear his guitaring, but then when you explore his playing in different albums, it is simply staggering... how much it all boils down to the same thing. His stuff is manipulation beyond belief. - PinkflASHES

You all don't get it, do you. Young made great sounding music with very few chords, and that's what made him great! He was the main part of one of the greatest bands of the 20th century. There's a reason he's in most top ten greats lists.

Good showman but average guitarist. Most of ac/dcs songs sound exactly alike and he didnt do anything fancy or different. His playing was always very simple and he uses like 2 notes so yeah he is very overrated. - Chris-1

Plays 3 chords in every song. Boring. - Disturbedpotato

V 25 Comments
7 Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt.

HA! Guitarist? Really? What a joke! If I could just meet him and tell him to his face "You really call yourself a guitarist...? Can you even gallop...? " I would... He's a disgrace to... So-Called "Punk", get him listening to some Killing Time, or Biohazard. Might change his perspective on what Punk really is... Poprock poser.

Billie Joe is good at what he does, which is mostly power chords. And that's all he's really going for. He's not trying to be some guitar aficionado. His guitar riffs are made to support the song, and not as a lead instrument. Jason is a much better guitar player than Billie is.
In conclusion: Is Billie overrated? Yes. Is he good? Yes, he's good at what he does, which are simple guitar riffs made to support the song.

Similar to Angus Young, all he plays are just a few chords and a really easy solo (if there is one). - Archer250

First, what is Jimi Hendrix doing on top 10. Billie should be first! In every song he only plays 4 or 5 chords and people still think he's a guitar god. - Disturbedpotato

V 15 Comments
8 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.

Jlmi Hendrix,? , if you going to Write a "Load of Diatribe" about Jimi Hendrix, first learn to Spell his Name Correctly.

Also you seem to think Rogers Waters is a Better Guitarist than Jimi Hendrix..?.. Roger Waters is a Bass Player...

I bet 99% of people who voted Hendrix were trying to appear edgy and hipster just because you disagree with what is easily accepted as truth by pretty much any guitarist (which is that he is the greatest guitarist of all time or at least one of). Almost any guitarist during or after Hendrix has probably been influenced by him in some way, so if he's overrated, why do all these guitarists claim him as one of the greatest there ever has been?

Back in the 1960s when rock and pop were new you had guitar groups like the Shadows in England and Dwayne Eddie in America neither of which were of true virtuoso type unlike the jazz guys from the 1930s to the 1950/60s,

Then Eric Clapton appeared to be something of a relative prodigy for pop/rock so the US had to have their version which was put out and marketed as Hendrix. Although he was never happy about this and as time went more and more decent class players emerged and Hendrix really although talented would like a bumbling ham now and that's the truth.

Hendrix was never as good as the early Clapton either another guy whose guitar talent disappeared with too much heroin and acid in the late 1960s... Pity because he was good... About as guitar skilled as Dolly Parton today though- at least he's still alive!

Hendrix is way surpassed by Van halen, Knopler, Brian May, Vai, etc. Clapton's contemporaries have largely surpassed him Roger Waters for example is now ...more

Don't get me wrong I love Hendrix and he was an amazing player, but that doesn't change the fact that Jeff Beck was a much much greater guitarist than anyone to ever pick up a guitar.

V 41 Comments
9 The Edge (U2) The Edge (U2)

Anyone can play like The Edge, take away his fx units and he is playing one note and letting computers do the flash stuff. And a word about Hendrix, yup compared to modern players, he isn't all that, but remember this and remember it well, He was the first and if it wasn't for Jimi, we wouldn't have a lot of the tricks and likes of today. He worked with Jim Marshall to develop the marshall stack and therefore gave the world metal guitar playing. We owe Jimi Hendrix EVERYTHING - jonwisbey

His playing is monotone, repetitive and effect-driven. Listen to any other guitarist using echo-pedals, and notice how he is able to come up with something more interesting than good old Edge. But my problem is simply that everything I've ever heard him play was 2-note, 3-note riffs. If the man actually tried some doublets! Just anything instead of single string 4/4 "down-down-down-down".

The edge is the nearest nothing guitarist that's ever been. All he can do is use a bunch of effects.

Should be closer to #1. Great with filtering cool guitar sounds through various electronic devices, but hardly a great guitarist.

V 10 Comments
10 Herman Li Herman Li Herman Li is a Hong Kong-born, British Chinese musician, record producer, and lead guitarist for the British Power-Metal band Dragonforce.

herro, my name is herman sah. I show you how to shled the guita. You just pick vely srowry and then go to lecoding studio and make vely fast - sharm7064

I don't care too much for Dragonforce, but that's just plain racist - Nickelstickman

The difference between Li and most others on this list is that while others are trying to sell their unique techniques,
Li is selling himself as a guitar god. He would be better if he focused more on songwriting and style, instead of speed

When I heard DragonForce I knew something was wrong with Herman Li. He is a fake who drinks on stage and speeds up his music in the studio. He actually believes he is a God. Yeah Right!

Ok he may be the fastest, and Dragonforce number one Power Metal band, but I receive no emotions listening to their music, at all

V 10 Comments

The Newcomers

? Kerry King Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.
? Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran Edward Christopher "Ed" Sheeran is an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was born in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk.

He's pretty boring to listen to

Wait is he a guitarist?

The Contenders

11 Dave Mustaine 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 more.

I have to say, Dave revolutionized metal in the early to mid-80's with his work on "Kill 'em All" and his own "Peace Sells." He was an extremely talented kid (and I say kid, because he was, what? 17 when he started writing some of his riffs) with speed and aggression -- although not great vocal abilities, haha. He was quite the pompous ass, true, but he deserves credit for his work. On the flip side, his 90's albums and 2000's work are crap compared to his masterpieces of "Peace Sells" and "Rust in Peace," and his live performances SUCK. Overrated before? No. Now? Absolutely.

Lets just put it he's a better guitarist than he is a singer. - Plonderss

Marty Friedman is far superior.

I think he's not underrated, but not overrated. In the list of best guitarists of all time he is 21st, and I think it's a good position for him. - Disturbedpotato

V 9 Comments
12 John Mayer John Mayer

John Mayer is easily the most underrated guitar player of all time. The fact that he wasn't in The Rolling Stones top 100 absolutely disgusts me. 90% of the other guitar players on that list are one trick pony's but Mayer has mastered so many styles on guitar. If you don't believe me go see him play with Dead and Company this summer.

John Mayer is a joke. I saw an interview where Santana preferred Derek Trucks over John Mayer easily. Mayer is just a knock off of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just copied his style and didn't even come up with his own influential style.

13 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.

Contrary to popular belief, Tom Morello only uses Whammy, Wah Wah, Delay, Tremolo, Equalizer, Flanger, Phaser. That's not a lot. Sure, some people can shred faster or do two hand tapping better than he can, but he is one of the most original guitarists ever. He gets sounds out of his guitar that shouldn't be possible. I'd love to see Slash try and emulate DJ scratching or creating a helicopter effect with nothing more than a delay pedal and a pencil.

All this guy has is special effects and once you take those away, he's nothing but your average guitar player. Tom Morello shouldn't even be considered a guitarist

I can't really fathom why Tom Morello is on here. While he's one of my personal favorites, he's not the best ever. However, he doesn't belong anywhere near here.

He looks like a truck driver with a wah pedal - SoldierOfFortune

V 9 Comments
14 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.

Excellent guitarist, but nothing else. All the techniques he's known for, finger tapping, whammy bar abuse, harmonics... Were already used before by someone else like Steve Hackett. Also today he can't even play real well. A great and inspiring guitar player but doesn't deserve so much. - EnglandSeller

He never plays brilliant solos of the back of his hand, and Van Halen cannot keep the same singer for at least 15 years. Alex Lifeson is way better, yet so underrated, as with Joe Bonamassa. Also, Slash is judged a bit high, but he still deserves at least a top 30 spot. - bighercules

Gotta admit, I'm a bit puzzled why Eddie Van Halen is #4... sure he didn't invent tapping or other techniques that he would become famous for, but he popularized the technique and inspired many people to pick up the guitar and use the aforementioned techniques.

Not a fan of him. Plays fast, plays furious, but that's it. He doesn't have much else to show other than that.
Plus Eruption is hella overrated. - isaaonrtdmtr

V 14 Comments
15 Jack White Jack White

Jack White and the Edge, both show that you don't have to be good to be famous.

Awful guitarist and singer - Disturbedpotato

Well, this is what happens when you start a band with meg white... anyways he isn't bad but he was the only guitarist. Listen to blue orchid and say it isn't good.

Very basic player. Would have voted for The Edge, but then I came across this guy.

V 3 Comments
16 Keith Richards Keith Richards Keith Richards is an English musician—primarily a guitarist—singer, songwriter, best-selling memoirist, and founding member of the rock band The Rolling Stones.

Frankly I think a lot of people are frustated. Keih Richards is not only a great guitar player but a faithful family man with a lot of qualities, that most straight people don't have

He was a FANTASTIC rhythm guitarist

I think there is always an end for playing the same instrument for so long

Old man needs to go back to the nursery

V 10 Comments
17 Buckethead Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

Oh, come on, give the man some credit. How many of us could actually get inspired by dog poop? But then again, so untypical of Axl to exaggerate and talk crap about former band mates. What Buckethead does behind the scenes is none of our business. He's a guitar-raping God.

People have lost their minds was the last name to be seen in the list

I don't care how much of a virtuoso he is... After reading about his studio experience with axl rose in guitar world magazine... He was watching porn and smelling dog poop for inspiration? Axl didn't like it one bit and I don't blame him. Still had to use his solos though... So I am intrigued by his playing but what an idiot overall... Wouldn't play with ozzy because he called him brian and wouldn't let him play without a bucket on his head. So no matter how good he is I think he's not worthy of respect.

Bh is by far the last guitarist, you could call overrated. He is probably the most underrated one

V 1 Comment
18 Eddie Vedder Eddie Vedder Eddie Vedder is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as a member of the rock band Pearl Jam, with whom he performs lead vocals and is one of three guitarists.

He's a lead singer; maybe plays acoustic now and then. Could have used someone else in this spot that actually is a guitarist.

Eddie is an awesome rhythm player

You can't be overrated if no one rates you. Eddie Vedder is a singer no one cares about his guitar playing - matt1

Vedder is mostly known for singing rather than guitar. - isaaonrtdmtr

V 1 Comment
19 Dimebag Darrel

Nobody could playing Dimebag riffs like Dimebag. His phrasing was second to none and his rhythm riffs were more difficult to play than most people's solos. Not saying he was the best ever but not overrated for sure.

What the hell? When I searched for this list the LAST man I thought would be on the list is Dimebag Darrel! I love Pantera, and not to mention the way he died. I remember watching the footage of the club/bar they were playing at and just watching him fall. I was so shocked when I found out he was shot in the middle of a show. It's pretty sad that someone thinks the Dimebag is "Overrated", He's anything but.

Now I like pantera and respect them for keeping real metal around during the atrocious "grunge" era but I honestly never considered Dimebag to be nothing more than a pretty good guitarist.

He is sympathised a lot, just because of his unexpected death. As a guitarist, he is just good but not great like what people say.

V 11 Comments
20 Malcolm Young

Rest in peace, malcolm, You're one of the best rhythm guitarists of all time - Disturbedpotato

He may not be as good as his brother. But he also doesn't get as much credit as his brother. - zxm

He plays the same chords as his brother most of the time. He's just as good an Angus.

He just bangs out a few power chords
Not as good as his brother

PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Most Overrated Rock Guitarists Best Guitarists Ever Best Metal Guitarists Most Overrated Actors and Actresses Most Overrated Rappers of All Time

List Stats

3,000 votes
64 listings
9 years, 248 days old

Top Remixes (8)

1. Kirk Hammett
2. Kurt Cobain
3. Angus Young
1. Slash
2. The Edge (U2)
3. Jimmy Page
1. Jimmy Page
2. Kurt Cobain
3. John Mayer

View All 8


Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.