Most Talented Blues Guitarists

The Top Ten

1 Stevie Ray Vaughan Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In spite of a short-lived mainstream career spanning seven years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music, and ...read more.

Just by watching him live, I cannot conceive that anyone is better at actually playing the guitar. When he plays he and the music are one. Hendrix fans he was inventive...But he was not to good a guitar player...really sloppy

I've been waiting for the next great guitarist since SRV passed in 1990. Many fantastic technicians have come along, fewer still who play with true soul, but no one has come close to fusing the two with that immeasurable something extra Stevie had. His emotionally sensitive ferocity is unique in the annals of electric blues rock playing, possibly music history in general. He could simultaneously make your spine tingle, drop you to your knees, and bring you to tears in the same tune. There seemed to be an infinite supply of devastating licks and musical concepts he pulled from as easily as breathing. Imagine what he would have produced these last 25 years, as he had yet to reach his peak. Imagine him on stage with Hendrix. Rave on Stevie, and God bless

The most incredible player ever. My vote SRV is #1 Blues and Blues Rock Guitarist!

I agree with this simulation of Stevie Ray Vaughn, he just so happens to be my favorite blues guitar player on all my favorites list. I think that Kenny Wayne Shepard is possibly the closest link to his style and way of playing that I have listened to that can compete with him. I love to listen to both of them and the way Kenny Wayne Shepard is progressing these days at his still very young age we can expect many good things to come from him in the future.

2 Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

Face it. Vaughan and Hendrix are dead. As in gone. Bye bye. And while they were with us they played only one style of guitar. Ever. Clapton has been with us half a century, is still with us, is still evolving and has mastered every style he encountered including reggae, acid rock, delta blues, gospel, bluegrass, southern rock... the list keeps getting longer. Nobody has EVER done that before. I doubt anyone ever will again.

Tough list but Clapton first... And I don't see Muddy Waters, David Gilmour, Joe Bonamassa, Dwayne Allman... Come on. Jimmy Page? Gimme a break... Most overrated guitarist ever.

Best guitarist. Perfect solos, excellent technique. I do not think Jimi Hendrix is better than him. Best blues guitarist.

Stop rigging these lists. The comments on Clapton's section have +40 likes and the comments on Stevie's section have 0 like and yet Stevie has 15% of the vote while Clapton only has 9%? This list is obviously rigged, Clapton is first.

3 Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians.

Johnson is the best simply because EVERYONE tried to play like him but settled on their own style when they failed..Many ended up pretty damn good

He 'invented' the blues. His guitar playing was so revolutionary for that time that generations of guitarists strived to immitate him with varing success.

An innovator at a time when there was less information and it was much more difficult to excel in the manner Johnson did. This is why he is considered "ahead of his time".

I personally think that Johnson is overrated. He had innovative songwriting, but his guitar playing wasn't as challenging as it sounded.

4 B.B. King Riley B. "B.B." King was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer.

At the time I right this 'comment' I can tell you B. B king is 47th. That will NOT do. If you were to ask competent gifted and phenomenal guitarists such as Buddy guy, eric clapton, stevie ray vaughn(RIP) or even modern artists such as joe bonamasa. Ask anyone who there key influence was I can tell you they will say BB king. His elegance and unique tone was unbeatable, still is. To paraphrase jimmy vaughn 'everyone is trying to work out what BB king did and we are ALL trying to sound like him' BB king, is THE KING OF BLUES. It is an embarrassment that The king is so low. Blues artists would be ashamed, buddy guy, clapton or vaughns would all be let down or annoyed. The king is a legend

Made just as huge impact on blues as Albert King. A true legend that can't be replaced. Hard to say which one of them is better guitarist they are both legends.

Ask any blues legend to come after him, they will admit that B. B is their influence and what blues guitar is all about. He is the king of blues.

BB King turns the guitar into a voice. So distinctive that in a note or two it could only be BB King.

5 Joe Bonamassa Joe Bonamassa is an American blues rock guitarist, singer and songwriter. When he was only 12 years old, Bonamassa opened for B.B. King. He was born 8th May 1977. He is known to be one of the greatest blues guitarists ever.

My favorite one... Technically amazing, unbelievable feeling and plenty of domination of music, production, band playing and others. All this put together with some incredible vocals. He is just a legend!
Respect his place on this rank, 4th is pretty fair, even more with the three ahead being SRV, Clapton and the king of Delta Blues. But for me, he is the number one.

Listen and watch all on this list... Joe Bonamassa is the most talented blues guitarist the genre has ever seen. The throne has a new king of the blues for years to come. Long live the king.

His tone, expression, accuracy, speed, dynamics and versatility puts him at #1 for sure. If you're in doubt, listen to his version of "Blues Deluxe". Yes, the other players on this list are all incredible, but Joe is one step above.

Joe is so versatile with his music, from Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall and everything in between. Best guitarist I've seen live and that list is pretty long with legends included.

6 Buddy Guy George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Buddy Guy is at the pinnacle of Chicago blues, with enough technique to outpace many of the older blues masters but vastly more soul in his playing than the contemporary style-over-substance figures who play an altogether too large role on this list.

Simply the essence of blues. The greats of Britain as well as many guitarists from American(such as Hendrix) owe this guy big time.

Buddy invented the electric blues! BB King and Muddy Waters were his idols and predecessors, but no one else played with the volcanic intensity he did right through the 60's, 70's and 80's through to today! To mention the others on this list without Buddy leading this list is laughable! Now, at 78, Buddy plays and sings as intensely as he ever did. Long live Buddy Guy!

Isn't it odd that Buddy Guy is the only black blues artist on the list? In fact all the others should be called "contemporary" blues artist. Guy is the only true blues guitarist on the list. You missed a bunch of great ones...

7 Albert King Albert King Nelson, known professionally as Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer, and a major influence in the world of blues guitar playing.

Extraordinary guitarist and a master of a single string solos. His bends and vibratos had a huge impact on generations after him. For example SRV to just name a few.
Extraordinary voice as well. Also my personal favourite.

He is the best I've ever heard... Hands down

Solos are incredible listen to ill play the blues for you

8th on this stupid list? You should all be ashamed.

8 Elmore James Elmore James was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader. He was known as "King of the Slide Guitar" and was noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.

Let's see here. What rock n roll player who also plays good blues on this list before this man... Did not idolize him, and play his tunes?. The Sky is crying... Albert K and Stevie Ray. Bleeding Heart Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix had called himself "Jimi James at one point." Come on... Folks put away yer rock hats and put on yer Madison Blue Shoes...

Greatest slide player of all time.

9 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 ...read more.

He is not the best guitar player at all lol! I have watched him and SRV play live a lot...SRV is obviously a lot better at actually playing the guitar. Hendrix fans just wanna say he was inventive..he was...he is a better artist than Vaughan...But their is absolutely zero comparison in their guitar playing ability . Vaughan plays Hendrixs own songs better than him...with his eyes closed lol.

Best guitarist ever, not just in blues but in everything. No one ever came close to replicating his style or writing blues and rock the way Hendrix did. Every note just filled itself with emotion, while innovation was greater than all other guitarists. He invented the classic distorted guitar sound while keeping his original the best. He created rhythms baselines and melodies all at the same time playing fast paced but still loyal to the blues tradition. Essentially every electric guitarist after him was influenced by him and respected him. Heal so respected all those before him, performing everything from Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry to Eric Clapton in his live shows. Woodstock and Monterey Pop were some of the greatest shows ever. Also those psychadelic posters of him make him look divine. RIP to the greatest guitar god

As far as pure talent on/off stage goes in any genre of music he is super human no doubt. He created his own music by converting traditional blues into rock which was then enjoyed by generations of rock and hard rock fans all over the world.

Jimi scared Clapton with his guitar playing. He freaked out a lot of people. Who else has really made that much of an impact? So he should be ahead of E.C. in this poll. Stevie got a lot of his chops from listening to Hendrix and other guitarists. The three I just mentioned turned the world on it's ear. Joe Bonamassa is no doubt very skilled at what he does, but is a product of these three. He is not an innovator or originator of anything, but is a great technical guitarist. However, Hendrix did more than just Blues. He was the most innovative and mind blowing guitarists of all time. The best? No such thing, but I'd put him at the top of this list!

He scared Clapton...? Clapton was the reason he was and still is so famous

10 Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield, known by his stage name Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".

The absolute king of blues!

I don't care what anyone says this man is my idol! Love to sit back an turn up the volume an just listen to his music! The earliest music has the soul of a poor hungry blues mantryin to make it! Hen you have the hoochiecoochie man! I just love Muddy Water music! 😉

The Contenders

11 Rory Gallagher William Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.

Rory Gallagher was and is the most versatile rock, blues, folk guitarist of the last 50 years. Shadowed by the other greats Page, Clapton, Beck,Santana and Peter Green, Rory played music not the media.

The greatest loss for this style of music in 1995. RIP Rory- Thank you for the music.

I'd put Rory Gallagher at the number 2 spot personally...He was a way better guitar player than clapton. While Hendrix was a better guitar player, he really wasn't so much a blues player...so I'm not even sure if I'd put him on that list. Joe Bonamassa even says on a youtube interview that he doesn't consider himself at Rory's level (when he was being interviewed where he got to play Rory's guitar at 2 london gigs), while he, clapton, slash, gary moore and many others were very influenced by Rory's playing style.

Rory was on a whole different level for his time. Ultimately one of the greatest slide players in my opinion but the mix of his style and vocals was always something to be in awe over. He'd always sneak a note in that'd match what he was singing truly showing that the two went hand in hand but ultimately his tone was by far one of the best. Almost always equiped with his 61 strat, a Vox AC30, and the occasional Uni-Vibe he truly had a sound like no other. Taken away from us a bit too soon but definitely left his mark on the world. Thank you Rory, you were truly inspiring.

My vote goes to the late great Corby Yates (1981-2012). I've seen all the greats. Corby was self taught from age 6. No one in history Ever played blues/rock guitar with the continuous ferocity than he. His shirt was drenched withheld sweat after the first song. He was as mild mannered and humble as they come, but Corby coulda mopped the floor with SRV. If you don't believe me, buy the "Into Oblovion" cd. Admittedly, it is a dark album, as it turns out that Corby was a paranoid schizophrenic, which led to his early passing. But if you listen to the heart and intensity he pours into his insane solos (he was also the singer), I think you'll become an instant admirer and fan.

12 Jay Jesse Johnson

Merging the rock genre with the blues, Johnson has his own unique style and tone. It's blues based but he goes for it. Where others play it safe with same old riffs, Johnson digs in deep and creates a modern yet classic statement. Some say he's In the style of Trower, Travers and Marino and there is some truth to that but I think this guy stands up to some of the great guitarist of the world.

Been a fan of Jay's since the '80's when rock was his world; fast forward and Jay has matured into his own style of rock 'n blues. You can hear many of the great guitarist's influences in some of his music, but it is classic Jay Jesse Johnson's tone and inflection that comes through on every song. Hoping he will record his rendition of Over the Rainbow one of these days, as it is killer!

I have had the pleasure of listening to Jay perform his craft since the early 70's. His talent shines in everything he does. Very few can make you feel their music the way Jay does. Mirrored of Trower and Hendrix Jay's talent amazes. There are a lot of guitar players, but very few with talent at this level.

Jay Jesse Johnson music touches deep into my soul. He is and has his very own unique style but every now and then I hear...Roy Buchanan, Stevie Ray, Santana just touches of everything you love. I think Jay Jesse Johnson is a must see and one of the greatest guitarist I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

13 Gary Moore Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.

Personally I think Gary Moore is #1
For my preferred taste.
I have a vast collection of Rock and blues.
Including all albums by Joe Bonamassa.
But for tone /precision and sheer musicality Gary Moore is the main man for rocking blues.
And let's face it, Joe Bonamassa was pretty much unheard of until Gary Moore passed.
Joe Bonamassa is amazing
But in my humble opinion he is still lacking a bit of soul and the feel in his playing to take
#1 spot.

Gary Moore is definitely the best blues guitarist of all time - even Joe Bonamassa actually acknowledged his main influence was Moore in a video on youtube. I'm surprised he not in the top 5... As or other styles he could play them all - his prog rock with Coloseum 2 was superb. You have ti remember that Moore was around from the late 60s doing this thing and he was considered one of the best guitarists in the UK at that time too - even Peter Green agreed with that - so all the ones that came after were at least a little influenced by him. I know I was hugely influenced by Moore when I started playing in 1980, but for his metal stuff. He brilliant a so many genres he must be in line for one of the best of all time overall, let alone just blues. RIP Gary

The reason Gary Moore wasn't number one is because not that many people ever heard him play. I've heard all these players, Stevie Ray could come close, and maybe Bonamassa too, but unless you listen to everything he has done, you won't agree. He didn't just play blues, he played psychedelic and progressive rock with Skid Row, In Colossium II he played progressive rock-jazz fusion with some of his very best guitar work, then to Thin Lizzy and solo albums with just good heavy metal rock out, and finally grasped on to the blues. With Albert Collins "Live At MontrenX" the best Blues I've ever heard and a great Texas Strut tribute to Stevie. His licks aren't just fast and clean but with real feeling and soul.

I'd vote either Gary Moore or Joe Bonamassa number one for their sheer versatility, tasty improv ideas and technical ability. Love Clapton, Stevie Ray and Hendrix, but they simply cannot compare to these two. The Kings were, well, KINGS, but again, not as fluent. Maybe Rory Gallagher or Roy Buchanan could make a case, but only in top 5.

14 John Lee Hooker

A great blues guitarist and singer. Played by his own rules and unique as a result.

The Godfather of the Blues!

Was truly a genius.

His rhythm guitar, I’ve never heard another musician play blues rhythm guitar as well!

15 Roy Buchanan

Anybody who is a real blues fan will know who Roy Buchanan is. he is the worlds greatest unknown blues guitarist as said by Rolling Stone. Just listen to some tracks like When a guitat plays the blues, his cover of Hey Joe and so many others. His guitar playing will put you in a trance.

I was just awe struck. Roy's music had me mesmerized for days after I first heard it. Made me want more. Too bad he died the way he did. I believe his death was a coverup. What do you think? The world was robbed of a great musician.

Roy was incredible live - Roy's Bluz, I'm Evil, The Messiah Will Come Again - had as much fireworks as a Hendrix or SRV. Definitely his older stuff was better and I especially liked that he was straight Telecaster and amp. His record "Second Album" is one of the best ever - Side 1 is a must listen - for me "5 String Blues" is electric blues guitar perfection (and he played most of it with only 5 strings! ).

Oh hell ya! Listen to THE MESSIAH WILL COME AGAIN. AFTER THE OPEN VOCAL, THE GUITAR SCREAMS SEND SHIVERS UP AND DOWN FOR A LONG TIME. True talent. So underrated.

16 Blind William Jefferson

Blind lemon Jefferson was a big influence in Texas blues

17 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.

This guy is my all time favorite guitar player. He was as good at blues as any other blues guitarist and better. Listen to songs like Since I've been loving you, Traveling Riverside Blues, When the Levee Breaks, In my time of Dying and I can't Quit you baby and you will see what I'm talking about.

enough said

Even though he covered those old songs. Still he invented new techniques for playing it. Created heavier songs than the original songs. Greatly used hard rock and blues.

Most definitely, the best blues guitar god!
He can do any song of any guitarist.
Clapton doesn't come close.
Not that clapton isn't awesome. You know what I'm saying.

My opinion is you. Only the best blues guitarist in the world but the best all-round guitarist in the world. He can play just about any type of music.

18 Otis Rush

Me thinks this is a rock n roll guys who like or rate blues deal. Do not get me wrong. Love Stevie Ray. I would not have ever been bitten by the blues bug if it were not for Jimi Hendrix... Whose playing sent me on a search for more blues after he died and 70's rock got goofy and glam... But Otis Rush... Searing and biting sounds... Come on folks!

Ain't enough (votes) coming in.

19 David Gilmour David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.

David should be in the top ten. He has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time in Comfortably Numb. When you hear him play you know right away it's him.

Pink Floyd are not blues but David Gilmour is a blues guitarist who uses blues licks and scales in his and Pink Floyd songs. Some of the songs where he uses blues scales and licks: Wish You Were Here's riff is in a blues scale, Another Brick In The Wall Pt 2's blues-like guitar solo, he also uses some blues licks in Shine On. etc

He may nott be as blues as Stevie, but he is sure as hell more blues then Page

The best.

20 Peter Green Peter Green is a British blues rock guitarist. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Peter Green is the best blues guitarist of all time.

The truth will always come out in the end.
I am sure someone with a big following will bring his work to the light someday.
Peter is so underrated.

A lot of people in the music industry seem to have forgotten that he even existed, but far as I'm concerned he will always be number 1. Even fifty years on I never tire of hearing him play, or sing the blues. As Mick Fleetwood said "Don't forget the voice". He could make a guitar talk and bring you to tears by the feeling that he put into his playing. Just listen to "The Stumble", the sublime "Slabo day" or The Supernatural" and you might appreciate what I mean!

I can listen to this man play guitar over and over! Oh well part one and two blow me away every time. But the one true record that gets me is "i need your love so bad" his voice coupled with just simple expressice guitar playing is just breathtaking. I urge all walks of life to listen to this!

Listen to "The Stumble" live and realize the year it was recorded. He smoked almost everyone.

21 Alvin Lee Alvin Lee was an English singer and guitarist, best known as the lead vocalist and lead guitarist of the blues rock band Ten Years After.

WHY isn't he on the list

Should be top 10

Saw him with the Everly Brothers..was great should be in top 20!

Total Bad Ass!

22 T-Bone Walker

Listen to the entire T-Bone Blues album and you will IMMEDIATELY understand that T-Bone is the greatest and most influential blues guitarist of all time.

How is T-bone Walker not near the top of this list? He influenced nearly EVERY guitarist before him, either directly or indirectly. Hendrix learned how to play behind his neck by emulating him. Eric Clapton got his phrasing by emulating him. Stevie Ray and Albert King where also heavily influenced by him. And lets not forget to mention he was one of the first ones to pick up an electric guitar, which literally directly inspired BB King to start playing electric too.

T-bone. Awesome. And the world thought Jimi H was the first guy to play guitar behind his back or bite the strings with his teeth... Nope It was T bone. Love his "Two bones and a pick>"

23 Johnny Winter John Dawson Winter III, known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

Number 23...really? May not be the greatest ever but certainly worth top ten considerations. Saw him in concert about twenty years ago...one of the greatest concerts I have ever attended.

Great List. Rarely see Roy, Rory and Johnny in same top ten. Hard to argue with Clapton's longevity but Beano was his biggest moment.

Leland, Mississippi man with the blues in his hands. Cotton and Waters knew, why not you? Johnny Winter is the man.

Saw him when I was 15, saw him when I was 55...and a few times in between. Still my favourite!

24 John Mayer John Clayton Mayer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, but disenrolled and moved to Atlanta in 1997 with Clay Cook. Together, they formed a short-lived two-man band called Lo-Fi Masters.

John Mayer should be on the top 10. Being dubbed as a "master guitar player" by Eric Clapton is the biggest compliment a guitarist could receive from a living legend.

The new generation. He doesn't have any associated sound, because he is capable of every style that all revolves around the blues influence. He is the most versatile and academic musician alive today. Anyone who doubts his indubitable capabilities, please just watch the 'Where The Light Is' DVD.

"Where The Light Is" is by far the best thing ever he did! Blues is definitely in Mayer's heart. He inspired me a lot and thanks to him I now know a lot of blues artists that I got really inspired by them as well

Probably the most mechanically gifted guitar player still playing right now. People deny him his props because they don't like his pop songs, or his personality, or they're jealous of the fact that he can get any girl he wants. But let me tell you if you've listened to "Where the Light is: Live in L.A." or if you've just seen him play live at all and you refuse to believe that he is an insanley gifted with a guitar in his hand, there's something wrong with you. The man is a stud.

25 Duane Allman Howard Duane Allman was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death in a motorcycle crash in 1971, when he was 24 years old.

Duane Allman was just 24 years old when he died. What he left behind in just a few short years was nothing short of amazing. Of course we all know about his great guitar work with the Allman Brothers but people often forget about all of his session work with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and so on. That's without his contribution to Derek & The Dominoes "Layla & other assorted love songs". Raw, powerful, bluesy/rock bordering sometimes on jazz... How good he could have been we will never know!

Duane is not number one. Him and Dickey are #1. Here's why. They as a duo rewrote blues guitar. They showed the world that two guitarists when synchronized as one takes the whole definition of blues lead to whole new level. Never been matched since. Individually, it comes down to your choice since music is an art form. No problem. Combined, nothing has touched (before or after) the phrasing these two put together on the Live at Filmore album...and we haven't really thrown in that he rewrote the book on electric slide. Now I love SRV, cause I love the blues but Stevie's slide work reminds me of the slide work Fleetwood Mac played on their live Chicago album 20 years earlier.

I was a teenager when he died, just eight years or so younger than him. For the ensuing 42 years, I have listened to his work countless numbers of times and have lamented his untimely death. He was not a casualty of the excesses of the late sixties and early seventies, which makes his passing even more poignant. Damn, he was good, so good.

I just loved his work. We lost a real blues man the day he died. not a day goes by that I don't listen to him... Thank you Duane for all the memories

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