Top 10 Fastest Guitarists of All Time

The Top Ten
1 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.

I strongly agree! Listen to Afterlife. It is so awesome, of course. I like the vocals too, and if you get to the solos while trying to play it... Ouch! (except for Syn). I can press the equal button on a calculator many times and I almost got to a thousand (but probably not as fast as him).

I say Afterlife is harder to play on Guitar Hero than Through the Fire and Flames on expert.

Synyster Gates is simply one of the best guitar players ever. The emotion he puts in his songs is just so great because they go so well together with the lyrics of the songs (of Avenged Sevenfold). It's great that his guitar notes can really touch you.

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

Not the best, okay, not the best, but surely the fastest. Listen to their new song, Dragonforce - Fallen World. I bet no one can cover it 100%, and don't tell me that they speed up their song in the studio because I have seen them live.

And they erupted the stage. Surely needs to be higher, or surely I think he is number one.

Herman Li should be the second fastest guitarist, and number one should be Michael Angelo Batio. Because both of them have greater skills than the others.

I cannot believe that Synyster Gates and Buckethead are on top. What? They are nothing! Guys who vote for them must be crazy.

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

This is not a vote on who is best. This is a vote on who is fastest. Quantitative data has no place for preference. You can't change the results because you don't like them.

Buckethead is the fastest guitar player. There are faster pickers, but for overall speed in all aspects, nobody matches Buckethead. Some come close, but ultimately fall a little short of this title.

Buckethead is definitely the fastest guitarist. Just listen to Soothsayer and the Jordan solo. Plus, not only is he fast, but his melodies are amazing.

People argue that his music lacks soul and passion. Just listen to Leave the Light On and see how completely mistaken they are. This guy can take on Synyster Gates. Great guitarist.

4 Michael Angelo Batio Michael Angelo Batio also known as Mike Batio or MAB, is an American heavy metal guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois.

I am a guitar player and have been shredding since I was a kid (almost 50 now). All these guitar players are outstanding and worthy of being on this list. But, to pick the top of all time (which I do not like doing, for I love and appreciate all players and styles), Michael Angelo Batio is the king of all shred and teaching shred. His speed, accuracy, and knowledge of theory, and teaching are unmatched.

If you review his career, its main focus is always raising the bar on ability and lifting up everyone else in the guitar community as well. He only gives everyone praise and always teaches everything he knows. He is a blessing to the guitar world. Period.

5 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.

I play guitar. Trust me when I say there is no one else. When you talk about speed, from a more professional standpoint, it's about how fast your fingers are moving, and Eddie takes the cake.

But all of you who don't play guitar may not understand that speed is not just about playing the same two chords repeatedly at 900 beats per minute, which is entirely possible. Fast is defined by movement, not note lengths or space between notes. As a result, 99 percent of these guitarists do not measure up. Eddie is the best out there.

6 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.

Yngwie is by far faster than all of those listed above him. He dominates in arpeggios, legato, sweep picking, and accuracy in being able to pick as fast as his legato. Nobody comes close.

Maybe Michael Angelo Batio (overrated because of his unique "over the neck technique" but nonetheless good), Rusty Cooley (a freak of nature and actually an Yngwie worshipper), or Shawn Lane should be at the top or in the same range. Shawn Lane is probably the best, followed by Yngwie Malmsteen and then Rusty Cooley.

Honestly, half of you kids probably know nothing about the art of playing the guitar. I agree with Buckethead, Herman Li, and Eddie Van Halen being in the top five. But Synyster Gates? Great guitarist, not nearly the fastest.

Yngwie is so fast and accurate when he plays it almost seems superhuman. Go watch 'Arpeggios From Hell' or 'Acoustic Solo' on YouTube. You'll see what I mean.

7 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.

I have heard Slash play, and you can definitely tell he has skill by listening to his latest album, Apocalyptic Love. He might not sound fast when he's with Guns N' Roses, but in his solo career, he really shows his talent. Just listen to the song "Anastasia", and you will hear the speed.

I know, Slash has more melody than speed in his music. Still, Slash has evolved a lot since Guns N' Roses. For his speed samples, try the new "Godfather intro to Sweet Child O' Mine." It's Blitzkrieg.

No one can challenge Slash. He has all the talent of a guitarist. No one can challenge his solo melodies like November Rain, Sweet Child O' Mine, Don't Cry, Welcome to the Jungle. He should be number 1.

8 Steve Vai Steven Siro "Steve" Vai is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer, born and raised on Long Island, New York.

This is horrible! Why is he down here? I can't believe Synyster Gates is number 1. I would put Vai up against Synyster on his worst day.

9 Sam Totman

Everybody disses the guy because he plays behind Herman Li, but he is a very fast and accurate rhythm guitar player. I saw Dragonforce live in Osaka in 2004, and he was very good in Valley of the Damned!

He is right behind Herman Li in speed, which means he is the second fastest, and Herman Li is first.

He should be in second place, right behind where Herman Li should be.

10 Ilan Ashkenazi

I have known Ilan for many years. His methodical and articulate playing is outstanding. He inspires the mind and music with his accomplished playing.

This freak of nature has the most perfect technique and is one of, if not the, fastest guitar players I've heard.

This man is unbelievable on the guitar. Fast isn't the word for his amazing work on the guitar, and he's an awesome friend.

The Newcomers

? Peter Lennodo Peter Lennodo is a British musician. He is also a composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the vocalist, lead guitarist and main songwriter of the rock band The Arcana.
The Contenders
11 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.

He wasn't just blindingly fast, he was melodic too. His solos were just as much about speed as they were about emotion. He was simply the best at what he did. Along with Jason Becker, Dimebag Darrell, and SRV, one of the biggest losses in the history of rock/metal guitar.

And to those who compare him to Eddie Van Halen: look up his solo on Laughing Gas with Quiet Riot.

This dude's awesome and super fast, definitely not the fastest but should be up there a little more, at least numbers 12-10. I agree that Synyster is the fastest and should be, but this guy should be a little higher up.

12 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.

What do you mean he's the tenth fastest guitarist ever? Go listen to something like Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, or even You Shook Me. He plays blazingly fast!

Few people know this, but Van Halen got his famous tapping technique that gives him his speed from watching Jimmy Page play Heartbreaker live. You people don't know true talent.

He's fast. Maybe not quite as fast as some of the others on this list, but keep in mind that many techniques hadn't yet been invented in the 70s.

Not as fast as some of the guitarists on here, but Jimmy Page is still a top three all-time guitarist.

13 Alexi Wildchild Laiho

Synyster Gates shouldn't be at the top of this list. There are guitarists like Randy Rhoads who are better than him, and talking about Alexi Laiho, well, speed is his middle name.

What the hell is wrong with this list? Overrated guys like A7X top this list. I respect them, but they are overrated. Seriously.

He should be first, not Gates. Gates plays riffs like the slowest bike, but guitar god Alexi plays riffs like the fastest bike in the world. Gates sucks. Mark Morton should be second. He's great.

Saw him playing live some time ago... I do not know words that could describe what I felt. You have to experience it!

14 John 5

There's a huge difference when it comes to speed and technique. While I agree that Petrucci, Jimmy Page, and Steve Vai are guitarists way better than John 5, none of them can beat this man when talking about speed.

And please, Synyster Gates in first place? John 5 does what that guy does while he's sleeping. Just nonsense. Listen to Soul of a Robot and Black Widow of La Porte, then you'll see what speed really means.

John 5 should replace Slash because you just can't compare them. Compare Slash's fastest song with Black Widow of La Porte, or better yet, Soul Of a Robot, and you will see that Slash doesn't even come close.

Slash will destroy his hands trying to play Black Widow! Has the internet gone mad?

15 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.

I really like Dream Theater because of their tempos and timings. They have great musicianship. I also like Synyster's playing, but John has got to be before him. He's just better and more technical.

John Petrucci is a god among men, and why he is only number 10, we shall never know. Synyster Gates has nothing on him. Just listen to the Stream Of Consciousness solo at about 3 minutes in. He reaches 38 notes per second.

Let's just let that sink in: 38 notes per second! Tell me that is not fast.

Alright, he may not be the fastest, but Synyster, Slash, and Herman don't even come close. And where is Rustey Cooley? He may not be that great melody-wise, but you cannot deny that his speed is unmatched.

16 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... read more

There are live versions that surpass the fastest jazz guitarists I have ever heard. Two examples: LA Forum I Don't Live Today 04-26-69 toward the end of the song, and about 60 percent of the way through Woodstock Instrumental Improvisation.

Many other examples exist, and he does almost every guitar style very well.

WHAT! Jimi Hendrix in 16th place? This man is so good he can play the guitar with his teeth and tongue.

17 Paul Gilbert Paul Brandon Gilbert is an American hard rock/heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums.

Paul had an endorsement from Makita, who make battery-powered drills, back in the day for the song where he uses one with three picks stuck in a wooden dowel. Nobody can pick as fast as a drill, so he wins, in my opinion.

I don't know what some guys are doing at the top of this list, but this guy is surely the fastest! No one can beat PG.

You know, Paul Gilbert is fast, and he also can play with stretchy fingers quickly.

18 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.

Fact: Mr. Gates does 198 BPM in Battery, and in Master Of Puppets, Kirk does 220 BPM. One time, Kirk did 19.8 notes per second. Van Halen in Eruption does only 10 notes per second. In Afterlife, he does 16.4 notes per second.

Kirk is the guy who made the Master Of Puppets solos. Even Gates said Kirk could beat him in a contest.

Why is Kirk Hammett so underrated on fastest guitar lists? He may not be the fastest guitarist ever, but he's up there. For me, he is at least top five. I'm fine with Syn at 1, though.

Come on, Kirk might not be the most well-known (even though he should be "Metallica"?), but he should definitely be in the top ten though.

19 Joe Satriani Joseph Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie... read more

He can play the fastest if he wants. He just has clarity and soul.

Teacher of all the masters mentioned above. He can play at any speed, but most of the time he prefers melody.

I would have voted for Buckethead or Batio, but Joe Satriani deserves to be higher. He's one of the best guitarists ever, and without him, there would be no Kirk Hammett, Steve Vai, or Tom Morello!

He also taught Kevin Cadogan, Larry Lalonde, and Charlie Hunter. In these cases, all these students, including Kirk himself, never surpassed the master.

20 Brian May Brian Harold May is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.

Go and listen to Brighton Rock live at Hammersmith, 1975. For a couple of bars, he is playing with 10 notes per second. One Vision tapping plays 12 notes per second. Far from a world record, but I challenge you to find faster playing in the classic rock era: Clapton, Hendrix, Page...

Highly underrated because Brian always plays what's best for the song, not what's best for his ego, like so many other guitarists on this list. He may not be the fastest, but he can play pretty fast. Still, that speed, to me, is not a criterion for quality.

21 Chris Impellitteri

Synyster Gates? Slash? Kirk Hammett? The fastest they've ever played is half the speed of Chris Impellitteri. Impellitteri is an absolute Speed Demon!

Chris is definitely the fastest. I have watched every guitarist mentioned here, and the clear answer is Chris Impellitteri.

The list says fastest. Without question, Chris is the fastest of the choices offered. Check out Empire Of Lies. Says it all!

22 Michael Amott Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.
23 Jason Becker Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American neoclassical metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up... read more

Faster than Yngwie, Batio, Gate, etc. Speed was never his priority, but he could play faster than all the guitar players above. Just listen to his live solo with Cacophony.

Best, greatest, and fastest guitar player of all time. The real master of the fretboard.

24 Shawn Lane Shawn Lane was an American musician who released two studio albums and collaborated with a variety of musicians including Ringo Starr, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Reggie Young, Joe Walsh, Jonas Hellborg and many others.

Not just fast, but ultra-fast and clean. He's a lot more unknown than the others here, and that's too bad because he, like his friend Buckethead, simply outmatches the instrument. He never liked to showcase his speed, preferring substance, tone, and expression.

But ever since I saw him bring down the house in Munich, Germany, one night with an awesome display of speed, I'd say Shawn belongs in the top 2. No disrespect to the other talented guitarists here. Shawn Lane may not be as well known, but I'd invite guitarists everywhere to listen to his unique style.

25 Richie Sambora Richard Stephen "Richie" Sambora is an American rock guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter who was the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi for 30 years. He is known for his work with Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013. He is a very praised guitarist who played solos for songs like Dry County, Stranger... read more

Since I saw Richie playing his three-necked guitar, I've been so amazed. That song is Wanted Dead or Alive.

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