Top 10 Best Electric Guitarists of All Time
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 musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably... read more
Shouldn't even be questioned. Ever hear of 'Voodoo Child'? Yeah, that was recorded in one take and almost entirely improvised. It's the greatest recording of an electric guitar being played EVER. And this isn't from some idiot who just listens to a lot of music, I play the guitar and have done a lot of reading, and I know a few of your favorite guitarists would agree with me.
He is my absolute hero. I was never that much into guitar at first. I only learned it because my dad asked me to, but once I heard my first Hendrix song (Little Wing), I immediately fell in love. I wouldn't be so in love with my guitar if it wasn't for Hendrix. Love him. I hope we see him on top of all the greatest guitarist lists.
We know the guitar's capabilities because of Jimi. We can agree that vocal chords allow for our emotions to be rightly known. I hope we may also agree that Jimi's guitar was the closest thing on Earth in matching the level of emotional expression one makes with their word and voice.
The King of Swing. Massively underrated forever just because he is in Bon Jovi, but if you pay attention and listen, you'll hear he is innovative, soulful, and passionate - and has more technique than any other guitarist I have ever heard. Furthermore, he can freestyle and jam like no one else and always sounds amazing. He brings character and feeling to his playing and can adapt to all styles of music. Pick any song, but if you want direction, go for Dry County or 100 Thousand Years. Just wow!
Richie is the most amazing guitarist ever! I absolutely love his blues rhythm in rock music. His solos are just incredible. He has the whole package. And we aren't even talking about his vocals or his songwriting. He's just an amazing performer to watch on stage. Richie deserves the #1 spot. He never gets any recognition. He's so overdue.
Richie is the best sounding guitarist. He has so many great guitar solos! He's a role model to me. His songs have a great positive message and are played from the heart. Everyone says he's a nice guy and his music makes you feel good. Dry County is one of the best guitar songs of all time. I pray that he plays in Melbourne, Australia, as he plays a big part in Bon Jovi. Number 1 fan!
Eddie is number one, or at least tied with Hendrix, who relies on reputation alone. Bon Jovi's guitarist is a joke. For some reason, people (who have no idea what they are talking about) think Bon Jovi is better than all the other 80s bands that have solid guitar players that aren't on the list but are better in many ways, specifically the guitar. (Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses, Ratt, Mötley Crüe, etc.)
Anyway, Eddie Van Halen's self-taught style is the best there is. This list is more of a popularity contest, where people who have no idea what they are talking about vote for the band they have heard one or two songs from. The electric guitar was played by many, and for all those who can't get on the radio and name the band that is playing most of the time, better yet the album, shouldn't be voting. But if you can, vote whoever.
He has surely got to be one of the greatest electric guitar players ever. He has everything. Some people just think he is fast, but it is his precision and technique. I have got to be honest, Hendrix should be at the top.
What the hell!? Jimmy Page is the greatest guitarist ever! And this is coming from a guy who has listened to many types of music. Page is one of the reasons I fell in love with Led Zeppelin. From Hendrix to Vaughan to Clapton to Slash to Johnson to Sambora to Gilmour to Santana, nobody mesmerized me more than Page did. He made his guitar TALK. Phew, Buckethead? Give me a rest! Just give a listen to Achilles Last Stand or any song from Led Zeppelin 1, 2, 4, Houses of the Holy, or Physical Graffiti. In my view, all of the albums Led Zeppelin produced rocked! Page forever!
There is no contest to see who is the best guitar player when Jimmy is involved. There would be no Led Zeppelin without Jimmy. And anyone who thinks Eddie Van Halen, who plays notes with no rhythm at all at annoyingly high pitches, is better than Jimmy, who plays beautiful melodies and rhythms that Eddie could never play, is mistaken.
You're telling me that Richie Sambora is above Jimmy Page? This is ridiculous. I'll definitely admit that Jimi Hendrix is the best guitar player of all time, but there is no way that Richie Sambora and Eddie Van Halen are better than Jimmy Page.
This list can't be taken seriously with Eric Clapton not even listed. What a joke. This list is based on popularity or perhaps record sales, not talent.
He didn't use effects and pedals. If he did, then he would be higher than 1. Jimmy and Eddie Van Halen used pedals. Even Hendrix used pedals and effects.
Clapton was brilliant with Cream but disappointing as a solo artist.
Ritchie Blackmore... Best guitarist ever. Talented and a genius, both on electric and acoustic guitar.
Still active until now, he created a lot of great songs for Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Blackmore's Night. A pioneer for electric guitarists and influential to many. Not just the best in the studio but live in concert as well.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know about him and judge him too lowly. Just see and listen to how he played, from early Deep Purple until now.
Ritchie is the elite guitarist of all time. I'm not going to argue that Hendrix is one on this list, but it's either Blackmore or Jimi Hendrix. They were heads above the rest. And Ritchie influenced more people to play. His live performances tell you he was the best. No one could compete with him on stage. And that's how you measure talent, not studio tricks.
The greatest electric guitarist ever. He has the style that no one can beat. Just listen to Mistreated from Deep Purple and his early songs with Rainbow. He has the riffs that make our soul fly away.
Some guitar players on this list are there for their songwriting, recognizable styles, and the heroism they have brought to their music. Malmsteen has the ultimate technical ability I have ever heard in any electric guitar playing. From his shredding techniques to his arpeggios, his style is completely different from any other out there, so he doesn't just sound like another blues scale style guitar player. He is amazing, from playing in his band to playing with the world's top orchestras. From rock and heavy metal to Paganini classical style and slower 80's AOR styles. Watch his guitar lessons and interviews on YouTube, and you'll think the same.
For electric guitars, especially in rock music, only three guitarists stand out. Jimi Hendrix for his rock sound, EVH for two-handed tapping and standard shred, Yngwie for neoclassical and bringing the next level to modern shred.
I know there were guitarists before him who played neoclassical too, but those guitarists only incorporated a few elements, not solidifying every aspect like Yngwie.
No weaknesses, his extended play albums in his early years were beyond reproach! Never loses sight of the rhythm, his interplay has depth, and his mastery of sound is superb! In the top 5, for sure.
For someone who has been playing guitar LONGER than some of these punks have been alive - listeners should give "Moonflower" a listen.
Who has a better mix of tone and phrasing? Nobody.
Of course, the most talented and creative guitarist in the world. Guitarists like Slash can perform stunts but cannot be as creative as Gilmour. I don't understand why people prefer silly stunts over real talent. A layman can listen to the guitar solos of Echoes, Dogs, Coming Back to Life, Comfortably Numb, Time... of Pink Floyd, and they will easily recognize his vast talent. Gilmour must be ranked higher.
Some of the guys on these lists are awesome, technically brilliant, and have done amazing things, but for the most part, they just create sound. DG is the best at stirring emotions and adding such depth to songs that they become true masterpieces. A visionary who has changed the way the guitar is played and, along with RW, NM, and RW, has changed the way music is played, made, and performed.
Should be higher, and I wish he was. Pink Floyd are my favorite band, and David Gilmour's guitar solos can be matched by few, if any. Gilmour is famous for his bluesy, slow style that puts the emphasis on phrasing rather than technique.
Someone said something years ago that made me laugh - "Is it possible for us to learn to play an EASY Zappa song?" The thought that anyone could think such a thing existed flat out cracked me up!
Not only was Zappa an outstanding guitar player, but he also had the ability to write challenging charts for every single member of his group - and they'll tell you that when it comes to simple compositions, there ain't no such animal!
Pleased to find him here at the top, but realize that he started as a drummer and that he was a composer too. He was very much the best of the best band leaders of all times and beyond.
There are dozens of great solos in his oeuvre. Start with "Watermelon in Easter Hay", maybe give "Inca Roads" a try, or listen to a recording of "Any Kind of Pain" from his last tour in '88.
Slash is amazing. I agree that Jimi, Page, Clapton, Dylan, Gilmour, Santana, and Eddie should be on there. But Slash, whenever he picks up his Les Paul, you know that something amazing is going to come out of it. November Rain's solo is life-changing. I cry every time. Not only electric, but his solo in Patience is the most amazing thing I've ever heard on an acoustic guitar, besides perhaps Tears in Heaven by Clapton. But his November Rain solo matches the Let It Be album version by George. It's truly one of the best guitar solos ever, so Slash deserves a place on the list. He's truly melodical.
Slash has a great ability in improvisation, and all his solos are complex and are based not only on pentatonic scales but also on scales where the melody is written. For this and more reasons, Slash should be placed in a higher number!
Slash should be much higher on this list. Hendrix should be #1, Slash should be #2, and Eric Clapton #3. All of these guys are great guitarists, but Hendrix, Slash, and Clapton are in a totally different league.
I was lucky enough to see him play several times growing up in Austin, Texas. Unmatched in my opinion, not only for his ability to improvise at both fast and slow tempos but also in his skill at blending with and ornamenting the improv of his fellow musicians.
He can be seriously fast but has also got some slow but skilled songs such as Lenny, and in my opinion, has been one of the most skilled and influential guitarists of all time. RIP.
Hardly anyone can play like him. Most people that can play Hendrix songs or any song that is considered difficult to play can't play Cold Shot or Pride and Joy the way Stevie does.
Go Bri! You ROCK!
Brian May - total amazing genius! Very underrated, just like QUEEN, the most awesome band on the planet!
Dr. Brian May - absolutely brilliant, in so many ways, just like QUEEN!
Queen is so much more than just their hits. Their lesser-known songs are all gorgeous gems, a treasure trove of sheer ecstasy!
Love you, Freddie, Brian, Roger, and John! You guys are the best of the best!
Brian should be much higher on this list! He is a musical genius! I never listened to guitarists until I heard Brian May play! Everything he does is perfection! Put him in the Top 5 where he belongs!
Brian should be in the top 3! Period. This man built his own guitar as a teen and has his own sound. No other guitar sounds like "The Red Special" (which was built from a mantel). Who else can say that? Not to mention, he can play the hell out of it! You have underestimated Mr. May!
Here's how great Jeff Beck is: When Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds, Beck replaced him, and nobody missed Clapton. Later, when Beck left the Yardbirds, he was replaced by Jimmy Page, and everybody wanted Beck to return to the band.
Jeff Beck paved the way for heavy metal with the 1968 album Truth, and virtuoso instrumental music with 1974's Blow By Blow. Beck isn't the most talented songwriter, and some would say that he's willfully underachieved, but he's one of the best guitarists ever, period.
If you were to ask all of the guitarists on the top 20, Jeff Beck would be crowned number one. His technique and tone is like no other. He makes the guitar sing and was the first to ever be in that realm.
No doubt, Buckethead is a genius musician. Benediction. Thank you, Buckethead!
I can say the same words for Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Al Di Meola, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and for many more guitar giants, and these words will be true for every one of them. There is no measure for talent! You can measure and compare mediocrity, but how can you compare uniqueness?
All you can see in the charts are trendy people. Some of them are talented presenters, some are good musicians, some are great musicians, and very few of them are geniuses.
Yes, he wears a KFC bucket on his head and a Michael Myers mask on his face, but he's a genius. Buckethead (real name Brian Carroll) plays every style, from country to death metal. Albums like 'Monsters and Robots' and 'Population Override' are must-haves for any aspiring guitarists, and instrumentals like 'Nottingham Lace' and 'Too Many Humans' are hard to beat.
The guitar solos are out of this world. No way would Crazy Train have been what it is without that solo. Should be number one, to be honest!
Definitely one of the greatest guitarists ever, even on an acoustic. Listen to his abilities with Mr. Crowley... what he can do with the solos.
One of the greatest guitarists of all time... Randy Rhoads. Just listen to what the other guy said and Diary of a Madman.
For those who didn't know, he was the lead guitarist of X Japan and died in 1998. His technique is average by today's standards. He's more of a melodic guitarist than a shredder. All of his guitar solos really spoil the ears. Despite technical limitations, he is very versatile, playing unlike the most common shredder problem of being stuck in a few genres and types of playing.
He's the type of guitarist who arranges his solos not only as fillers in the middle. That's why none of his solos fail. They are all worth hearing. He's a very influential rock guitarist after his generation in Japan.
The greatest riffs and solos. Look at Art of Life.
Syn should be higher up. The list should be:
2. Jimi Hendrix
3. Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. Synyster Gates
After that, I don't really care. But any person with an actual brain for music knows that Slash, Jimi, and Stevie need to be at the top of the list. Come on. Syn is the best of the modern guitar players. That's why he should be 4th, behind the greats.
What's the matter with you people? Does it really matter if a guitarist is from the 80s or 90s to be cool? New ones like Synyster Gates are sometimes better. No one is going to criticize you for watching these new guitar players become heroes and masters. Be realistic. Sometimes, I feel his solos are talking to me!
6th place?! Some people should get brains and listen to "Afterlife"! It's so fast-paced! I say he is an expert at chugging and all of that, and in "Afterlife", his guitar can make cool screaming sounds. I call Synyster Gates fans "Synners". He's got a great sense of humor and a beautiful voice!
Love Joe. He's the best of the still alive bunch. Technically great. Plays amazingly varied styles in spite of being derided as "just a shredder". Always puts on a great show for the fans. Entertaining yet a custodian of the Blues and greats from the past. Encourages newer players. His singing and playing have matured over the years. Great Blues/Rock singer.
Joe is underrated by those who are nostalgic about their music. I've always been a Clapton fan and will continue to be. JB is all that and more, in my humble opinion.
Just go see him live and tell me he is not number 1. He has such an incredible range. Supreme talent.
The most technical electric guitarist... ever. Steve Vai may not be as flashy as the likes of John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert, but when he does go flat-out, he's untouchable. Vai has mastered every technique imaginable, but still has soul. Passion and Warfare and The Ultra Zone are must-haves.
A virtuoso partly driven by perfectionism that has had him playing with some of the best in their class for decades. Able to cover most genres with the guitar, Vai is right up there with the very best.
Steve Vai is amazing. Definitely the world's best.
I have only a question for you guys:
Why the hell is this man down here?
Much better than some of the overrated items on this list.
Under A Glass Moon alone is enough to beat everyone else on this list, let alone all of his masterpieces.
An innovator and motivator. When you think about it, when he died, he had only been playing guitar for 10 years. It's hard to imagine what he could have accomplished if he had lived.
He was such a great guitarist, but he also inspired the rest of the band to play up to their full potential, and he shared the spotlight.
Many of us learned by listening to him and Dickey. There's never been anyone like him since. He is unique and sorely missed by all the folks from that era and anyone else who has listened to him play.
Hendrix has been and always will be my favorite in my 70 years on earth. But I can tell you this. If there was ever another guitarist that impressed Jimi, it would have been Duane Allman. He reached that plateau that only he, Jimi, and JJ Cale inhabit, because of their abilities to add something to a song that made that song immortal. "Pure Magic." Honorable mention! Richard Bennett
In my personal opinion, Joe Satriani is the best guitar player in the world! He at the very least should be ranked in the top ten and at least be ranked higher than the guitarists he has taught. Thanks, Joe. You are amazing. P.K.
For the love of... Have you heard the hammer-ons in Potato Head? Satch is a virtuoso, and everything he plays is with purpose and melodic grace. He should be higher.
Satch took what Hendrix started and expanded it to its limits. Between he and Vai, there's nothing they can't touch.
Are you serious! Kirk Hammett must be in the TOP 5. Have you ever seen him? He can play the guitar only with his left hand and you want to talk about his solos! He made Metallica one of the best heavy metal bands in the world... !
Kirk Hammett is 30?! Are you guys serious? Slash and Kirk are somewhat competitors. I would say that Kirk is faster, and I personally like his technique better than Slash's. This list is pretty much garbage.
PS: Tony Iommi=26. ?!?! REALLY!
Come on, Kirk Hammett must be in the top ten. This guy is amazing.