Most Skilled GuitaristsA list of what I think are the most skilled guitarist past and present of all time. I wish there were enough space to list them all but these are truly the most important and impressive guitarist who deserve to be known as the best of the best. Note, this list is made of the MOST SKILLED guitarist, that means it goes not just for technical ability but musical knowledge as well as other factors.
The Top Ten
I agree him to be top on this list. Buckethead is probably the most skilled guitarist of all time (or at leas currently). He knows about every guitar technique. He can play both fast and slow. His stuffs are unique and new. And he has a very wide range of music genre. Hard rock, heavy metal, neoclassical metal, progressive metal, funk, jazz, experimental rock/metal, ambient etc. Plus he has lots of music stuffs. - zxm
I'm sorry but Shawn Lane being #16 is almost insulting. He was the most technically proficient guitar player who ever lived by far. If you have ever picked up the guitar you would understand. Even Buckethead himself, as inhumanly talented as he is, would admit as to the superior skills/sheer command over the instrument possessed by Mr. Lane. "Freakish nervous system" as Shawn himself so eloquently and humbly put it. This is not a popularity contest. - Quicksilver1217
He can melt your face one with screaming fast shreds and then rebuild it back again the next minute with soothing quiet riffs. The spectrum of musical abilities and sounds is greater than any other artist combined!
Funny how he can be number one on 3 lists here and only 36 on the Great list...He can play everybodys music, but nobody can play his. A true guitar freek. Huge hands seem to move like a mountain goat up and down a cliff. No wrong moves ever. The chicken stuff is an odd, but I think is a riot! Give him credit on being creative. Over 200 albums, yikes! Just in quantity he ought to win something. The most skilled for sure...his effects pedals, wah wah skills, and amazing other toys he uses show that KFC bucket might be hiding extra external brain. The guy has an gifted memory for music. THE Savant of music of our time. I like Clapton, dimebag, Eddie Van Halen, Bonamassa, Vai, Page, Emanuel, Schenker, Liefson, Carlos and Schon. But quite honestly, they don't tell the whole story Like Buckethead fast or slow...He is the Hendrix of our time, molded by the greats and unbridled by commercial and corperate rules and regs..V 7 Comments
Was blown off on seeing the tender surrender video... Contains all sort fast playing techniques like legato and sweep picking with not a single wrong note.. He is indeed an accomplished guitarist with high technical knowledge.. Linking at his composition when can see shredding and mad headbanging are not principles of music and high distortion songs are not something great.. It's melody and tone and emotion that matters... Check out whispering a prayer.. Vai crossed way out of limits of a guitarist
Watch "I'm the hell outta here - live at the crossroads" on YouTube and you'll see just how amazing his playing is. By far the most skilled guitarist around.
Just watched "For The Love Of God" and I have to admit that it was one of greatest visa solo's ever.
Only player able to play to his level and still be able to put feeling and soul in it. I wayan balawan is skilled, but not very much technique feeling, or versatility. allan holdsworth doesn't deserve to be in the top 10.V 4 Comments
If he had chosen to be a pro musician before guitar instructor then he'd be more famous and we might not have Steve Vai. - zxm
Joe satriani is the most technically skilled guitarist ever! And yes he taught Steve vai!
Joe should be above Steve vai...after all he taught him
Can't believe joe's not here he's the best in my eyesV 4 Comments
For me the most skilled player ever, all his solos contains difficult patterns, shapes, articulation, combination of fingers, fastest changes, tempos and melody and soul. To think he was 17-18-19 years old when he played for Cacophony and David Lee Roth make us think what it would be Jason Today? The best of all time..
Best but also made it impossible to prove
Very skilled guitarist. But the only problem is that his ego killed him. I mean, a lot of songs are same, copying licks to play in multiple songs. But other than this, pretty demanding guitar player. - zxm
Can't believe he isn't on here yet. Dream Theater anyone?
There's a video of him, vai, and satriani soloing together and he was just as good if not better. The fact that he is 10th is an insult to JP
Progressive, innovative and sounds as good live as in the studio, 7 strings... just amazing.
Uhm, G3 anyone? One of the best guitarists alive? Should be in top 2, no doubt. He is the Lord of the Strings.
Just watch his video on YouTube, He's the best guitarist ever! All you ever think about guitar technique, he can do it all better than you think...
He mixes bali ethnic and shred technic
Balawan is the best guitarist! No doubt. He can play all kind of music, accurate, smooth and fast guitar player!
Best and uniqueV 4 Comments
Best guitarist who ever lived.Was technically very fast & in my opinion was the guitarist who could evoke the most emotion out of everyone.
Great singer too.
He plays better backwards with his off-hand than most guitarist can play normal. He was at Yngwie level at age 13...
Very fast guitarist. - zxm
MAB should be number 1. He has amazing skills, and there is nobody in the world who can play like him. This guy can play right hamded and left hamded just as good. And he can also play 2 guitars AT THE SAME TIME! There are guitarists who has guitars with many necks, but they are only posers! MAB is the only one who can play multiple guitars at the same time!
With his thorough knowledge of scales and lightning speed mab is probably the most technical shredder of all time. his ability to be able use both hands to play separate and twin melodies is far impossible for any other. a serious force to be reckoned with.
Crazy guitar skills. A very good vocalist. A super interesting musician.
Great to see Allan Holdsworth and Chris Broderick here.
I don't know if he is technically the best, but he was the one who really got the ball rolling with being extremely technical with guitar. He is a pioneer so I don't know it's kinda comparing apples to oranges. He taught himself and that's what he came up with?! Amazing. Now we can learn guitar by going on YouTube and copying greats like the people on this list (if we put in the work that these greats do/did and if we're lucky enough for our genetics to work for us too). Anyway, I do think he brought soul and spirit to the technicality too, which some highly skilled technical guitarists totally lack. And since it's music, I think that is a technical aspect in of itself.
Plus, he made Eric Clapton jealous, lol.
In my personal opinion if Jimi would of lived longer he possibly would of evolve. What he accomplished in his short time was the best. He was an Innovator despite his roots. He led the way for others. His skills and techniques however in comparison to some of today's guitarist isn't on par, but like I mentioned, imagine if he had lived another five, ten or twenty years.
How is possible? Greatest guitarist is not in this list. For knowledge amongst all. Jimi has more than other. At his time there was no facility available but he played so many things and even now people won't be able to play he had during his time. Please vote him. Jimi should be at no. 1
Hi I Hendrix needs to be much higher up. He is one of if not the best guitarist in historyV 4 Comments
When guitarists were afraid of using their whammy bar to shift the pitch of guitar, Jimi Hendrix came and did some tremendous working by throwing different kinds of whammy techniques (including dive bomb) at woodstuck in 1969 for the national anthem. The next year this guy came and also does the same thing. That's just an example. - zxm
Ask the guitarrists listed here, they would vote Ritchie.
Of all shredders and fusion players, holdsworth is one the most prominent. his work on the album metal fatigue can go up against any of todays guitarists' work and come out on top. his otherworldly improvisation skills would make most players look like billy joe. allan holdsworth is, in my opinion, th most skilled guitarist ever! His work should not be ignored
I'd put him at like ten and Matheny at one. Yet he's still bomb.
It's him. RIP
There are the best, then there is Shawn Lane. His overall ability put him into a league that can never be matched.
One of many influences to players like buckethead, shawn lane's accuracy &speed and all around abilities were more than astounding. What shawn lane accomplished in his lifetime is remarkable and his album power fo ten showcases his jaw dropping skills
There is no one, no one playing like shawn lane
Steven Lee Lukather (born October 21, 1957) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer, best known for his work with the rock band Toto. A prolific session musician, Lukather has recorded guitar tracks for more than 1,500 albums representing a broad array of artists and genres.
He is also recognized for his efficiency in the studio, often recording tracks in one take using minimal sound processing.
Not my favorite, but probably the best ever. Followed by Wes Montgomery and 8 other jazz players. I don't listen to jazz all that often, but these guys are the best.
Pat is without question the most innovative and skilled guitarist in the world. Sorry but is simply the truth
Pat is actually number 1. He is much more diverse, and his soloing and improvisational skills outdo the others.
Most talented, diverse and skilful guitarist, arranger, composer, inventer and so on from our generation.
Stanley, unquestionably is just one of the most skilled guitarist in jazz and music period on this earth. his incredible two handed picking makes him the king of tapping that is second to none. he truly is a master with more to come. look at his cover of stairway to heaven and you'll more than agree!
Genius. Can't beat his arpeggios, two handed tapping and ability to play two guitars at the same time.
He is the most skilled tapper guitarist. Definitely more skilled than Shawn Lane.
Most skilled tapping guitarist. Better than any of the rock guys on this list.
Coordination, speed and technique personified.
One of my personal favorite guitarists. Plays complex fast rhythms with harmony nearly as advanced as it could be (matched only by some classical/jazz guitarists) employing extended altered chord tones and scales in an elegant, natural, and in a seemingly effortless manner. While playing his single-note lines with a pick requires high skill, playing them as he did (in a classical finger picking style) is ungodly challenging. Combine that with his ability to improvise with chords and solo with comping for himself and you have a guitarist who nearly tops Bach in improvising (this is an exaggeration, Bach's ability to improvise hardly seems human). More importantly than anything I've mentioned so far is that for all his technical skill he never once plays cryptically. He always keeps the listener in mind, and doesn't care for going of on empty tangents. He knows music should be experienced viscerally rather than cognitively, and aims for that for the listener and for himself. Grant it, ...more
A solo fingerstyle jazz player who laid down the foundations of how jazz guitar playing was to be played for years to come. his skills are amazing and his playing style is incredible. his album virtuoso should be checked out period!
Guthrie is one of the best modern guitarist nowadays in term of melody, soul, and of course skill. I like almost all his stuff especially when he starts to playing jazz and blues, but actually he can also play almostV 2 Comments
No one else on this list can do what he can do. Plan and simple. His style shouldn't be possible and he makes it look effortless.
Broaden your horizons. Not every significant guitar player plays rock.
Amazing in all genres
Synonym of Djent, this guy is ahead of our time.
One word... Eruption Google it
His improvisations along with his long prominence in many music genres make him one of the greatest guitarists to this day.
Being able hit the notes at the speed he can: few can pull that off.
Being able to make them all mean something, though, that's a talent that McLaughlin alone has.
There is no one like john mcglaughlin, he is a genius, bullet like notes sent off into dreamy atmospheres, john mcglaughlin takes people on a celestial musical journey far beyond the realms of space and time, a true technical wizzard.
Laughable that he was never on this list. Easily Top 3
Even Joe Pass (who is actually higher on the list) was a huge fan and some of this best pieces were inspired by him. Honestly though, classical guitarist should be on a different list. Putting them on a list with a buch of rockers is like putting Billy Joel on the same list as Frederic Chopin.
His name is a synonym of flamenco, his music is GLORIOUS
Number 31? , just see some videos, is the most skilled with the Spanish guitar, THE FUKKEN HARDEST GUITAR, compared with him the others are like... newbies.
Listen to his stuff with Angra and his jazz fusion bands. He's easily one of the most technically proficient guitarists I've ever heard.
Brutally skilled and never lost the emotions
Frank gambale, the inventor and developer of the sweep picking and economy picking techniques, is a fusion legend not to be left out. most guitarist today couldn't play as clean as this skilled master. his playing should be checked out by anyone who is interested in the fusion genre
Amazing guitarist and vocalist he and band (death) created death metal along with possessed but they disbanded in 1987 schuldiner would create a new style every album his solos were amazing and sound very good look up symbolic and crystal mountain if you want instrumentals look up flesh and the power it holds and my personal favorite voice of the soul
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2. Joe Satriani
3. Ritchie Blackmore
2. Steve Vai