Top 10 Best Electric Guitarists of All Time

The Top Ten
1 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

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.

2 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

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. He 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 number one spot. He never gets any recognition. He's so overdue.

3 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.

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 who 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 for whoever.

4 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 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 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!

5 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.

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 number one. Jimmy and Eddie Van Halen used pedals. Even Hendrix used pedals and effects.

Clapton was brilliant with Cream but disappointing as a solo artist.

6 Ritchie Blackmore Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the... read more

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 number 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 by studio tricks.

7 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.

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. Awesome!

8 Carlos Santana Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American musician who first became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American jazz.

No weaknesses. His extended play albums in his early years were beyond reproach! He 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.

9 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.

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, and 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.

David Gilmour is the best at stirring emotions and adding such depth to songs that they become true masterpieces. He is a visionary who has changed the way the guitar is played and, along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright, has changed the way music is played, made, and performed.

10 Frank Zappa Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.

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. 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 time and beyond.

The Contenders
11 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.

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.

12 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

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 for his skill at blending with and ornamenting the improv of his fellow musicians.

He can be seriously fast but also has some slow but skilled songs such as Lenny. In my opinion, he has been one of the most skilled and influential guitarists of all time. RIP.

Hardly anyone can play like him. Most people who can play Hendrix songs or any song that is considered difficult can't play Cold Shot or Pride and Joy the way Stevie does.

13 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 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!

14 Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" was an English rock guitarist. He was one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

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 in the top 20, Jeff Beck would be crowned number one. His technique and tone are like no other. He makes the guitar sing and was the first to ever be in that realm.

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

No doubt, Buckethead is a genius musician. Benediction. Thank you, Buckethead!

I can say the same words for Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Al Di Meola, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and 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.

16 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.

The guitar solos are out of this world. No way would Crazy Train have been what it is without that solo. He 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 is incredible.

One of the greatest guitarists of all time... Randy Rhoads. Just listen to what the other guy said and Diary of a Madman.

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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.

18 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.

Syn should be higher up. The list should be:

1. Slash
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 fourth, 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!

19 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.

Love Joe. He's the best of the still-alive bunch. Technically great. Plays amazingly varied styles despite 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.

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

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.

21 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 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.

22 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.

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.

23 Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.
24 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

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.


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 him and Vai, there's nothing they can't touch.

25 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.

Are you serious? Kirk Hammett must be in the top five. 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.

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