Top 10 Best Guitarists of All Time

The guitar is one of the most versatile and popular instruments in modern music. With its ability to produce a wide range of sounds and styles, it has been the backbone of many genres from rock to jazz and everything in between. Over the years, there have been many guitarists who have pushed the boundaries of what is possible on the instrument, captivating audiences with their virtuosity and creativity. In this top ten list, let's identify the best guitarists of all time, whose contributions have shaped the way we think about and play the guitar.

The guitarists on this list come from all walks of life and have made their mark on different genres and eras. Some of them were pioneers who invented new techniques and sounds, while others refined existing styles to perfection. They all share one thing in common, however, and that is their ability to make the guitar sing in a way that touches the soul. So, without further ado, let's dive into the top ten best 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 celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music". Hendrix is consistently ranked on lists of musicians who died too soon.

There's no competition here. Hands down, #1. Thanks to him, the guitar was played differently later on. He is an inventor more than a guitarist. Thank you, Jimmy, for changing the way we play the guitar!

I'm sure that Slash would admit that he, and basically every guitarist since the early seventies, owes Jimi Hendrix big time.

Jimi Hendrix revolutionized the playing of the electric guitar. Before Hendrix, guitarists just strummed the guitar, played the chords, maybe picked out a solo melody. Hendrix got sounds out of the guitar that nobody had ever heard. He was THE innovator. He didn't just accept the guitar method book approach to playing the guitar and approached the instrument as more than just chords and twangy solos. He used the guitar and amplifier together to create even more unique sounds. He was the first to use feedback as a part of his playing. He brought fuzz and distortion and feedback and reverb into the mainstream of guitar. You want to talk about shredding... Hendrix did it with his teeth.

The entire concept of the killer rock guitar solo started with Jimi Hendrix. True, it would have happened sooner or later, but Hendrix was the one man that changed the playing of every guitarist that came after him.

I guarantee if you ask Eddie who is the best guitarist of all time, he would ...more

What?! Jimi does not deserve to be 2nd, and Slash doesn't deserve to be first! Slash is not the greatest guitarist of all time. My buddy just showed me this list of the top ten, and he told me about this, but I didn't believe him, and I still don't believe how people can just choose their favorite and not the one who truly deserves it. Dude... This is not cool. I'm only 16, and even I know about how almost every guitarist (the ones that aren't jealous) can even say that Jimi is the best guitarist ever! This is the kind of stuff that gets me aggravated, and I have a low temper, and I just can't stand when people know something, but they just want to disagree because they think someone else is just popular at that point in time. We all know that there are still guitarists that are dying to learn Jimi's tricks with the guitar. I'm sorry if I offended anybody, but I just had to let that out. Please forgive me. Jimi rocks, and there is no other like him!

2 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.

It's subjective as to who is the best at any art form, although there are some analyses that can help. How enduring and widely popular, how much quality content, how complex, varied, and original are all factors. Page's brilliance has been obscured by the fact that Zep, as a band, was so great. It gave him more exposure but also camouflaged him. This is true with others, of course: e.g., Joe Walsh, Neil Young, Keith Richards. There are other reasons great guitarists don't get their due. I love guitar, and for me, it's Page, then Duane Allman. The fact that Allman is so far down this list is ridiculous. Also, many on this list don't really belong because so many voters are too young to know the difference.

Jimmy Page was far better than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is overrated because he was the first to exemplify the electric guitar. However, that doesn't mean he's the best. Jimmy Page was much more versatile and had a much wider spectrum of styles. He was a better technical player and a more intricate player and writer as well. For example, he could intertwine a beautiful melody and transition seamlessly into a brutal riff, as demonstrated in the song "Babe I'm Going To Leave You." I have all the respect for Jimi Hendrix, but he never came close to what Jimmy Page achieved. Hendrix never played the brutal riffs or the beautiful melodies that Page did. Page constantly evolved, whereas Hendrix did not. Page was not influenced by Hendrix because they were both playing at the same time, but in different worlds. At the time, Page was the top session guitarist. It's worth noting that Hendrix auditioned in Nashville because they wanted him to play tracks for country musicians, but he ...more

This is a difficult distinction to make, but Jimmy Page gets the nod not solely because of his virtuosity, but also because of his songwriting. Everybody on this list can play the hell out of the instrument, but it's the originality and musical intuition that separates the greatest from the greats. Jimmy has a somewhat limited catalog to display his superiority, but he succeeds. He begins his professional career as a studio musician and moves on to a blues group (The Yardbirds). This creates a sort of education for Jimmy that introduces him to many styles and techniques. Once he forms Led Zeppelin (by assembling legendary talent), he has an impressive repertoire and implements everything he has, from folk-based ballads like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (not an original, but his arpeggio-driven rhythm certainly is) to epic rock paradigms like "Stairway to Heaven." Jimmy exhibits adeptness in all areas that the greatest guitarist of all time would have to.

Page has the whole package: great solos, great riffs, was excellent with both electric and acoustic. Then you add that there are (I think) fewer than five Zeppelin songs that he didn't have a hand in writing, plus he produced all of their albums - I guess that has nothing to do with his guitar playing, but is impressive nonetheless.

It should also be noted how well he reproduced songs which had multiple guitar tracks on the studio versions by himself in concerts. Prime examples are "Ten Years Gone" and "Achilles Last Stand," both of which, I might add, were added to the set-list during his "heroin period," if you will.

Just my two cents; this is obviously very subjective when you get near the top of the list, and we're choosing between players of fairly comparable ability.

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.

In my opinion, Van Halen should easily be number one when you add in everything. While his technical skill has probably been surpassed, nobody before or since has combined chops, feel, tone, influence, songwriting, and stage presence in such a complete package. He advanced the art of rock guitar like no other. Hendrix was great and gets the nostalgia vote since he died in his prime, but really, he doesn't come close to Eddie Van Halen. That also goes for today's uber-shredders who can't write a good song to save their life and simply don't have Eddie's fabulous finger tone. I predict that years from now when people look back, Eddie will be considered number one.

It amazes me that there are so many detractors and doubters in the comments. Quite simply, Edward Van Halen changed the way guitars are played and made. The band Van Halen literally saved Rock and Roll. If you were born after 1965, you CANNOT understand these concepts. If you were there, actively listening to all sorts of music in 1977, then in early '78 when the first VH album hit the airwaves, you just might understand. There was nothing like Van Halen between 1978 and 1984. During that time, they went from being the Kings of Pasadena to the biggest Rock band on earth. Eddie is the most emulated guitarist, most influential, and the most talented Rock guitarist in history. Jimi was great, but he was no Eddie Van Halen. Page was not even in the same league. Page was an awesome guitarist, but limited in comparison to King Edward.

Some of the comments about Eddie are ridiculous. The negative posters are likely less than 40 years old.

I was 15 when Van Halen's first album dropped. For two days prior, the only rock station in town had been creating excitement about this new band with the greatest guitarist ever, and it would be played for the first time at 4:00 PM on February 10, 1978.

They played "You Really Got Me," then "Eruption"... Mind blown! Then the album in its entirety.

This was life-changing to me and tens of thousands of other hard rock fans. It was mind-boggling, new, brilliant, and completely different from any band before.

Van Halen saved rock music. Edward Van Halen is the most influential guitarist in history. He changed the way guitars and components were designed, he brought "Tone" to the forefront of rock amps, and he inspired countless famous and unknown people to pick up the guitar and play.

So when people say he's not all ...more

Just look up I'm the One, a backtrack from the first album. There is all you need to know about him. His shredding was faster than the speed of light. He was basically the one who invented the word shredding in terms of guitar. His control over such untamed animals as the Frankenstrat and the Bumblebee guitar is why he is so high on this list! You know what he started off with when he came to America? Five dollars and a piano! He is living proof that anything is possible! Without him, the gritty sound would not be influencing other guitarists. Slash was inspired by Eddie Van Halen. What does that make you think?

4 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.

The great B.B. King once said you will never find a guitar genius that can hold down, note to note, to Eric Clapton. He is the "one." He doesn't care if he's in any top list of anything; he has nothing to prove. Kids love to hear a guitarist banging on his guitar, but Clapton never does that. He actually knows how to play an instrument. Some oldies but goodies think he is the rebirth of Robert Johnson. You will seldom find anyone who knows who Robert Johnson is, so how can you expect teenagers and 20-something guys who want to be guitar heroes themselves to understand the history of true rock and roll? Step up and listen to the ballads, and then listen to the riffs Clapton manages without breaking a sweat and the magic that happens when he does. There is soul to this man's music. He is simply the best.

There are thousands and thousands who can force a guitar to sputter. There are hundreds who can make a guitar talk. But at any given time, there are only a very select few who can truly let a guitar sing. Clapton is one of those few (along with Hendrix, Santana, and a couple of others). Clapton writes his music straight from the heart, finding inspiration in his real life. From his relationship with Pattie Boyd, with whom he was madly in love (Wonderful Tonight), and later his deteriorating marriage with her (Running on Faith), to the death of his son (Tears in Heaven), Clapton puts more raw emotion into his music than any other guitarist I've ever heard, including Hendrix.

Compared to him, more recent music can come across as flat and empty in both lyrics and guitar work. No one could say he hasn't stood the test of time (1970-today), but he is being slowly forgotten in an age where playing fast and looking cool is more important than musical brilliance.

Slash and some ...more

Being a great guitarist shouldn't mean who can play the fastest or using all these insane techniques. It should be about understanding the instrument, making it talk and sing, using it like your voice. These days, what people look for in a guitar player is if they can pull off fast rhythms or have catchy solos, but that's not what makes a great guitar player. People like Synyster Gates can pull off fast rhythms, but what makes Eric Clapton stand above those is his understanding of the instrument. He is a true master not because he can play really fast, but because he knows how to use the instrument as a voice. His guitar is not just a regular instrument; it is a way he talks to others, and that is what makes Clapton such a great guitar player.

Number 5? Really? Aw, come on now. If not for Clapton, would there have been the expansive identity of the Guitar Player? He has taken his place in each decade of music with an exploration of how the guitar is a voice with six strings. He has collaborated on so many styles of music with so many artists that it has to number into the hundreds. He has done screen scores for big-budget movies, TV shows, and independent documentaries. He has more awards than you can shake a stick at and has used his music mastery to share some of the lowest lows and highest highs. He is a master of the six-string, second to none. Some might rock louder, but none are as soulful, and his legacy keeps on inspiring new generations to explore and appreciate the blues.

5 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 an awesome guitarist. He's got it all! He's dedicated, and I think he's proven that he doesn't give up. All the music he plays is great. You don't get a song in which Slash plays the guitar that sucks. He just does what he loves.

Slash has earned his place in the top 5, and one day he may even make it to number two. Let's face it, Slash is a great guitarist.

I mean, you don't just wake up and are good at something; you have to earn it, and Slash has. For this, he is one of my greatest idols.

Slash may not be the greatest guitarist in the world, but he's definitely one of the most iconic, for sure. Slash is the reason I picked up the guitar when I was 7 years old. I'm now 18, and I don't know what I'd be doing now if it weren't for him. Despite any other guitarist who I might consider to be better, none of them have shaped who I am as a guitarist better than Slash.

Slash gets my vote because, since I first started hearing their songs around 1992, when I was 13, Guns were by far my favorite band and that was largely because of Slash's amazing guitar work. It just "hit the spot" like no one else really had in the past, or has, consistently, since.

It would (and still can) give me goosebumps on songs like "Sweet Child" (especially when he really winds up in the middle guitar solo) and "November Rain" (near the end, when it reaches a crescendo) and "You Could Be Mine," but could also just go straight to the heart and soul on other songs, like during the beautiful guitar solos earlier on "November Rain" and in "Estranged."

One of the reasons he is so good is that he reportedly would just play what came to him in the moment, when in the studio. So someone would hand him a song and he would just let go and play what came to him in the moment (pure inspiration), and that would basically be what would end up on the album. He wouldn't ...more

Slash is the second greatest guitarist EVER, only behind Hendrix. He is without a doubt the greatest soloist of all time. His solos aren't a couple of licks put together or just playing a scale as fast as he can, his solos are thought out masterpieces that are incredibly amazing technically and emotionally. Listen to all his recorded songs and you'll see what I mean.

6 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.

In my opinion, David should be put alongside Hendrix, Clapton, Van Halen, and Iommi in the league of Guitar Gods. In terms of technique, he may not be the best, but no one can match him in making the guitar sing (even Clapton). Regardless of whether he's using an electric, acoustic, or steel guitar, the sound is always magical. His best compositions are Echoes, Dogs, and Shine On, while his solos on Comfortably Numb, Time, High Hopes, Money, and Sorrow are timeless. True masterpieces, all!

He's such a great player, he creates a kind of world where we can see things that are simply magical and cannot be understood. What David Gilmour gave to us is a gift, yet many don't understand it the way it's supposed to be taken. David Gilmour, that name that can only belong to the genre of Space Rock with a grandiose number one title, we owe this true god of guitar a huge thanks. And let's not allow the recent generations to only listen to rap and pop because life has given us way more than that. Pink Floyd, the name of the best.

Come on, Dave is the one who can sing with his guitars. And don't forget that he has created speechless solos. At least he deserves top 3.

People who vote on this list don't play guitar. Gilmour is the master. Being a great guitarist isn't about playing as fast as possible. No one on this list can make a note sing like him. No one on this list comes even close to his ability to write solos. His solos are more melodic than any other individual on the list, and they could go on for many minutes without ever boring you. You'll be in a trance every instant of his solos, no matter how long they are. Listen to his solos on Comfortably Numb, Echoes, Money, Time, Dogs, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and I could name many more. He can play anything when he has the sacred instrument in his hands.

He is the God of all guitarists, and no one can beat the God.

7 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 one of the most important figures in the revival of blues in the 1980s.

To me, the fight for the #1 spot comes down to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and if I had to choose one, I'd give it to Vaughan. Hendrix was phenomenal. He absolutely ripped on guitar. But to me, he was more of a creative force - a guy who sounded different than anyone else, past and present.

I was in the midst of writing a lengthy argument when I realized that probably no one would read it, so I will just sum it up with my closing paragraph:

If the two took the stage together, the level of awesomeness would surely cause the world to explode. Barring that, I can't help but speculate that while Hendrix would likely outperform Vaughan, Vaughan would be very capable of outplaying Hendrix. Innovative, influential, and revolutionary Hendrix was - the best ever he was not. I think that distinction should go to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Hendrix created the style, and Stevie Ray perfected it. To say who is the better guitarist is almost impossible. However, in terms of playing the guitar, Stevie Ray takes the cake.

Sure, Hendrix was the creative genius behind modern electric blues. He brought it to life and took the style to new heights. However, that is as far as he went. I believe Stevie Ray took what Jimi had created and truly mastered it better than anyone had before, including Hendrix himself. I believe Stevie could not have done what Hendrix did in terms of innovation and creativity, but he would sure as hell play the pants off of the man.

For that reason, I believe Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix are collectively the two greatest guitarists this world has ever seen. I won't say that they're the best there will ever be because you cannot be certain of that. One day there may come a guitarist who brings the "old and outdated blues" back into the world, and anyone who has the talent to ...more

I agree about Stevie Ray Vaughan. He should be number 2, but only because of Hendrix's brilliance and novelty. No doubt! Even Eric Clapton said (and I saw the interview) that "Stevie Ray is the greatest guitarist I've ever seen!" That interview came just minutes after Clapton canceled his world tour beginning in London. Stevie Ray just walked off stage. Eric Clapton said, "I can't play behind someone like that!" Then he said the earlier quote above. Clapton was very obviously shaken by Stevie Ray's uncanny ability. Years later, Clapton said of Stevie Ray, "I've never seen anyone who could play deep from somewhere within his mind. All of us guitarists, including me, become stuck onstage, trying to think of a riff to use. That never happens to Stevie Ray!" We will never live long enough to see anyone better at guitar.

In the quote above, someone said that Stevie Ray never plays the same version of any song the same way - a very astute observation. ...more

I've been playing guitar since I was 12 years old. I am 31 now. I have never heard, seen, or fathomed ANYBODY ever playing the guitar like this man. Stevie Ray is untouchable when it comes to the electric guitar. Nobody even comes close. His style is what sets him apart. Maybe Alex Lifeson of Rush or Steve Vai might come in a distant second place, from what I've seen. But I think the people who vote on who the best guitarist is don't usually play guitar themselves, so they don't understand. To them, it's just who they like the best or who they "think" is the best, not who actually is. Everyone who has ever played guitar knows that SRV is way out in front. I think Stevie Ray had a divine touch upon him that caused people to unknowingly think about God, and this is why he is on top because he just "let it come out" from his heart. Thanks, take it from someone who knows how hard guitar can be. Trust Jesus Christ.

8 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.

Kirk can flat out play anything. I've been playing for 7 years. I'm pretty good, but not great. I've heard thousands of guitarists. I've heard thousands of bands. I'm a music junky, and I know guitar. Not only is he in the greatest metal band of all time, Metallica, which I would hope you all know of, he is the most influential guitar player since Randy Rhoads. If not more influential than Rhoads. The only two I would put ahead of Kirk would be Joe Satriani and Jimi Hendrix. Period. And as far as the Dave Mustaine vs. Kirk Hammett debate goes, Mustaine's twenty thousand miles behind. Could be why Megadeth hasn't been even half as successful as Metallica. Hmm, I think I made a good point.

Kirk is a special guy. Yes, he is the ripper of the wah pedal, but he can use it like Jimi. He is also a guitarist who uses a lot of emotion. However, in my opinion, his complete style incorporates influences from Jimi and other artists like Joe Satriani. You can hear these influences in their songs. For example, the solos in Trapped Under Ice, Ride the Lightning, Welcome Home, The Outlaw Torn, and Until It Sleeps. However, he is often underestimated in Load and Reload. My personal favorite solo is the one in Hardwired... to Self-Destruct in the song Murder One, where he plays a slot machine solo as a tribute to Lemmy (rest in peace).

Slash and Hendrix are great, but Hammett is far more versatile than either of those guitarists. Slash has a great bluesy-rock style of guitar that he uses to great effect, but that's really his only style of playing. Hendrix was great too, but I can't tell how much of his playing came from him or the drugs. He, too, stuck mainly to one kind of playing style -- psychedelic. Hammett does stick to metal, but he's had so many different approaches to metal over the years that it cannot be called one style of metal. Each album he comes out with is a different style of metal from the last.

No one could ever be better than Kirk Hammett. Dave Mustaine is such a rip-off. If he's so good, why didn't he and his band become better than Metallica? Think about that. Hammett made Master Of Puppets, One, Sad But True, Enter Sandman, and all of the bests! Without Hammett and with Mustaine staying in Metallica, Metallica now would just be a piece of crap with all the girly voice and the crying, dirty sound of his riffs and solos.

9 Tony Iommi Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand, and considered giving up music. His boss encouraged him to continue playing by playing a record of the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who became famous even though his fretting hand was limited due to an injury. He carried on and down tuned his guitar for easier playing, which helped give birth to heavy metal music.

Hands down, Tony is the greatest of all time. He has the best body of work out of all these guitarists on this list. He helped pioneer some of the most influential metal genres ever: traditional metal, stoner rock metal, and thrash metal. Don't believe me? Just listen to Supernaut, Symptom of the Universe, Paranoid, Into the Void, Iron Man, War Pigs, Snowblind, Lord of this World, Sweet Leaf, Heaven and Hell, and Methademic. Not to mention the fact that he is missing part of his fingers due to a factory accident when Tony was a child. Come on, give this guy the credit he 100% deserves.

The master riff maker! A more iconic sound has never been heard. Just when you think he has run out of juice, he comes out with a whole album of classics, again and again. Even chucking Ozzy didn't matter; the riffs were what mattered. When he dies, I think they will find a stash of riffs he didn't think were good enough, and he would be wrong. I have heard he just writes and writes, then writes some more. I can only hope.

The guitar God's God. There is more soul in his playing than any other practicing metal master. If it were a drug, it would make all other guitarists' strength look like children's Tylenol. I respect many other guitar wizards, but he really is the grand master. When he dies, God and Satan will be having a grudge match over who gets to keep him as the leader of their house band. No one else on this list is so good they could make Chuck Norris cry - but Tony is...

The master riff maker! A more iconic sound has never been heard. Just when you think he has run out of juice, he comes out with a whole album of classics, again and again. Even chucking Ozzy didn't matter; the riffs were what mattered. When he dies, I think they will find a stash of riffs he didn't think were good enough, and he would be wrong. I have heard he just writes and writes, then writes some more. I can only hope.

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

So, let me get this straight. Everyone, and I mean everyone on this list eats Slash for breakfast. I simply can't see your point when you fuss about him being the best guitar player, or even the best soloist. Really, people? November Rain is the best you can get? Well, if you pop in any Queen song, it will most definitely have a solo that humiliates all. But if you are going for harmonies, try My Bijou. If it's for creativity, check out Brighton Rock. And if you are someone to be amused only by the speed (which is a shame), then Princes of the Universe shall blow your mind. But then again, I could have mentioned basically any songs from the band, from The March of the Black Queen to Crazy Little Thing Called Love (for those rockabilly fans), so this is just a little appetizer for you all, and also a friendly reminder that you should check out others before you decide to stick with the current favorite.

He's very underrated. That probably has to do with the fact that most Queen classics don't feature much guitar play. But if you listen to the guitar-heavy Queen songs, as well as his solo songs, you will be blown away by the things he could do with that guitar. There's a reason Queen put on their early albums "No synthesizers" because people wouldn't realize that those sounds were actually from Brian's guitar. He also built his guitar, literally with his own two hands, so he's responsible for his guitar being able to make unusual sounds. He may not be number one, but he deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Slash, and Beck.

One of the best guitars ever made by himself and his dad from an old mantelpiece and some old motorcycle parts. I think probably the best guitar ever made despite mass-produced Fenders and Gibsons out there. Brian also noticed Jeff Beck's solo in Hi Ho Silver Lining had a very slight delay, so he played on it and wrote solos like Brighton Rock. Brian is a big Hendrix fan and has made albums with guitarists like Eddie Van Halen. Brian isn't noted for being a super-fast guitar player as Jeff Beck said his solos are mind-blowing, as you can sing/hum along with his solos. A truly brilliant guitarist and part of what made Queen the supergroup they were.

Brian May deserves a number 1 spot! The fusion between the melodic and the hard rock riffs is amazingly wonderful. Also, he's very talented as a songwriter and song engineer. Aside from the many well-known hits by Queen, which most of us still love to hear and talk about, I will enhance songs like Father to Son, White Man, Sail Away Sweet Sister, and Brian's touch on Fight From the Inside. It's all very emotional and tough at the same time. It seems the more careful you listen to the songs, the more you seem to find. Like a colorful painting where fine strokes hide among the obvious. Queen music without BM would be very naked and would not have been able to tell the stories properly. May delivers the magic dust that makes the music insanely interesting and provides an everlasting durability.

The Contenders
11 Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while still playing songs accurately.

I find it tough to put him over Hendrix, who's the clear #1, but Angus is right up there with Van Halen, Clapton, and Berry in my top 5. He was the inspiration for half the guys on this list, and for my money, he's still better than all but a few of them. The pure energy of his performances is unmatched, and in a band that has featured the inimitable Bon Scott and the freak of nature that is Brian Johnson, Angus is the face of AC/DC, a band that needs even less introduction than he does. Safe to say he's tough to beat on a list like this, and to find him all the way down at #11 is a little bit disheartening.

Angus is literally the epitome of "rock." There is no other guitarist who can play pure rock the way Angus does. People criticize him for the simple chords, but that's just a part of the songs they play and not a reflection of Angus's true abilities. When he lets loose, he is very close to Eddie Van Halen. I understand why people always place Hendrix at the top, but it's more for his innovation rather than purely being the best. I believe Gilmore and Page are better, and the things said about Stevie Ray are true as well. These lists need to be more specific. If you're talking about the best rock guitar player ever, it's Angus by a long shot. For the best ever across all genres, I'd say Gilmore, who literally speaks to you just like everyone says. He takes you away to another land when he plays. Also, the guitarist for Yes escapes me, but they would be up there too. They take you to places you've never been in your mind. Bunch more, but this is enough.

If he were a Greek or Roman god, he would be "Angus, the god of music." Apparently, the 98% of you who didn't vote for Angus are either deaf or have never even heard of him. He's a rock god, and I only know how to nail one of his solos, which took me 3 years to learn, and I go to a "musical arts" school. Angus Young is a beast, a guitar god, and everything that signifies greatness. If I ever met him, I would run to an empty room and go, "AHH! IT'S HIM!" I believe Angus deserves to be #1! VOTE!

Come on! He's Angus Young! "Back in Black" is the second best-selling album of all time. They don't just give that to anyone! And unlike any of the guitarists above him, he puts energy into his songs. He plays the most badass solos while rolling around on the ground or running all over the stage, which none of the guitarists above him can do. Sure, he isn't number one, but he's definitely better than Slash, Eric Clapton, Synyster Gates, Kirk Hammett, and David Gilmour!

12 Dimebag Darrell Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

Dime was and will always be number one for me as a guitarist. Not even Jimmy could compare to the amount of inspiration and skill that Dime brought to the table. He was the innovator for future metal guitarists, and he was absolutely brilliant! His memory will live on through his family, friends, and fans. And if you think that he doesn't deserve this spot, and you've never heard him shred, I strongly suggest you watch/listen to "5 Minutes Alone," "This Love," "Walk," "Cemetery Gates," and all the greatest songs by Pantera. I'm sure you'll change your mind! R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell.

"In this river, all shall fade to black" - Zakk Wylde (In this River, a tribute to Dime)

Why are Slash and Kirk Hammett ranked higher than Dimebag? Who votes here? 9-year-old kids? I mean, Slash is good. He has written some good riffs and songs, but he is SO overrated! And Kirk, well he has good aspects too. Playing with too much wah-effects has created his own style and the same thing, he has written a bunch of good riffs and solos in Metallica together with Hetfield. But he and Slash, even if they were together, will never compare to what Dimebag did with Pantera. Just entirely masterpieces. RIP Dimebag Darrell.

You've got to be kidding me! Synyster Gates at number 4?!?! Dimebag Darrell is the daddy of Synyster Gates. Sure, "He has blistering speed... a pro at divebombs, sweeps..." whatever. You're talking about divebombs in front of Dimebag? And how does Synyster Gates rank ahead of Gilmour and Clapton?! What about emotion? Guitarists like Clapton, Gilmour, and Dimebag have loads of emotion in their playing. Such soulful music! This list seriously needs to change! Dimebag Darrell forever.

Dimebag shredded his way to fame. He's not the best, but there aren't many better than him. He needed more range, though. But the important thing was that his success brought his entire genre of music more fame. Without Dimebag, who would've heard of Pantera? Without Pantera, who would have listened to any of the other truly heavy, in-your-face stuff they produced? So, top 10 for his significance and his amazing shredding.

13 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.

Randy was a true great. He was so far ahead of most people playing guitar and always practiced, and you would never see him without a guitar in his hands, like Hendrix. He was great in Quiet Riot. He had a great opportunity to join Ozzy because Randy's writing and playing dramatically improved. He was that type of person who was in it for the music. "Blizzard of Ozz" and "Diary of a Madman" are great examples of what rock/metal virtuosity is. Listen to songs like "Mr. Crowley," "Revelation (Mother Earth)," "Diary of a Madman," "Crazy Train," his spotlight solo that he did in Quiet Riot, "Laughing Gas," "I Don't Know," "Over the Mountain," and "Flying High Again," and you'll surely be amazed. He was always in control of what he did. "Blizzard of Ozz" is a very powerful title because of its power and energy that you get from it. "Diary of a Madman" shows him going deeper into jazz and classical music. The best example of that is the album's title track, which doesn't have the typical ...more

Randy's work was outstanding. I think he was the most naturally gifted guitarist rock music has ever known. Such classical beauty and yet such awesome power in his playing. He played for the shortest time, being on hardly any albums, and his stuff is hard to get hold of. But what we have is enough to have shocked the rock music world with his incredible playing. He was just as good as Eddie Van Halen when it came to rock, but he had more heart, emotion, and versatility in his playing. He's even better live than on record. No one's ever played like him or been better than him. And someone once said that he's the only guy ever to eclipse Ozzy Osbourne during live shows. Considering Ozzy is regarded as one of the most exciting rock performers ever, that speaks volumes. This man gets my vote!

He died young, and I wonder how his playing would have improved after 20 more years. Thanks to his musical talent and his passion for it (talent is worth nothing without passion), Ozzy's first solo albums became classics and masterpieces. I doubt they would have been that successful if someone else played there. There's that story from Ozzy's autobiography - he had a melody in mind, but as a non-instrumentalist, he couldn't get it down. Randy got it out of him, and they created a masterpiece (though I forgot which of the many masterpieces it was). Not many guitarists (or instrumentalists in general) can get the melody out of the heads of other people (moreover, people like Ozzy Osbourne). To me, Randy is the definition of talent, passion, and years of practice.

There are very few albums where I rate every song 5 out of 5 stars. Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman are two albums I rate that way. Randy was taken from us far too early. Find the song Laughing Gas (Live) when he was with Quiet Riot. During the solo, you hear strains of Goodbye to Romance. Randy was a perfect match for Ozzy's vocal style. Randy had a strength of technical ability matched only by Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai. What sets Randy apart was his composition. He knew exactly when and where to play down and dirty. He also knew when to play classical modes such as Phrygian and Mixolydian. He had an uncanny ability to play a smooth solo with a trill placed at just the right point to accent the song. Over the Mountain is a perfect example. Listen to the solo. Diary of a Madman, the song, is a perfect blend of using a classical theme to build a song on. This is a very haunting song that fits the lyrics and Ozzy's voice perfectly. Dee is a beautifully composed piece that is a ...more

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

B.B. King, the man who started it all when the other greats were just babies or perhaps not even conceived yet, quite literally didn't create this amazing instrument. However, besides T-Bone Walker, he brought the electric guitar to the forefront along with Albert King, Freddy King, Buddy Guy, and a vast majority of the older and late great bluesmen. His "hummingbird" vibrato effect, nuance, and style have made him a household name for some 50 or 60 years. Even today, with all the different types of music, he is still a household name. However, in this day and age, blues is no longer the mainstream music it was way back when.

One of the only artists I know of who can tell a story within a single note. A man who knew about quality over quantity, I guess people value super speed these days. In my opinion, the guitar is an extension of the body, and BB knew how to make his guitar tell a whole story without him needing to sing.

This guy is probably number 2 right behind Hendrix. No one ever made a guitar sound as pretty (Hummingbird) or as sad (3 o'clock blues) as this man. Listen to Live in Cook Co. Jail and watch the Live in Africa show. Speed, soul, feel, and heart are his fairway, and every guitarist wishes he or she had a fraction of King's soul.

One of the best. But I won't complain about him being #17 because those above him are also really good. There are a lot of great guitarists here, both above and below BB King on this list. It's hard to put all the greats in a certain order. Let's just say they're the best.

15 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.

The OG of all OGs, he's one of the people (you can count them on your fingers) who literally turned the music industry on its head forever. Chuck Berry started it all and did it brilliantly while being a fantastic showman and breaking barriers all over the place. Number 16 is, frankly, flat-out disrespectful to his legacy and talent.

He's the father of the electric guitar! Without him, there'd be no Hendrix, no Slash, no Clapton!

I agree that Hendrix and Page should be number 1 and 2, but Chuck should be right above Eric Clapton in third, not 20!

Just listen to Roll Over Beethoven, My Ding-a-Ling, and most notably Johnny B. Goode. You'll see I'm not kidding when I say he deserves the bronze.

He introduced guitar solos to the industry. Even Marty McFly played Johnny B. Goode right before the Van Halen-styled solo. And the '50s crowd loved it!

Why is he number sixteen? Good ol' Chuck Berry deserves to be number one, enough said. If it were not for him, the Beatles may not even exist. Jimi Hendrix sure did bring the electric guitar to new heights, but there is just no out-shredding Chuck. If it were not for him picking up the electric guitar and making it a thing, then there may not be anyone else to make a list with.

Ok guys, this is the best guitarists list, not the most important guitarists list. In this list, we're talking about skill. Chuck Berry invented rock, so he's probably the most important musician/guitarist to have lived. But not the best. People like Hendrix, Page, and Gilmour are more talented than him, but they should be very grateful because of him.

16 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.

He is top 5 in my opinion; however, this list is pretty darn close in my view. Duane Allman should be higher as well. It's sad that Jeff has left us like so many of rock's greats.

Jeff Beck listed at #74 on this list shows just how little most music fans know about the history of the electric guitar. As one reviewer stated earlier, Page, Clapton, Brian May, David Gilmour, and Slash have all stated that Jeff Beck is the best guitarist on the planet. You can add Joe Perry and Steve Lukather to that list. He plays with a fire that nobody else can match, and his technique is stunning, equal to anybody on this list. Many of this generation's greatest jazz musicians have recorded with Jeff, including Stanley Clarke, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, and Lenny White. He has toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. In 1966, when Chas Chandler was trying to convince Jimi Hendrix to move to England, Hendrix agreed but only if Chandler promised to introduce him to Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. If you don't know who Jeff Beck is, pick up a copy of Blow by Blow or Wired and give it a listen.

One of the greats. He uses his guitar as his voice, and it has always been the main focus in his music. The instrumental album Blow By Blow is a prime example of Jeff Beck's great playing, feeling that makes every note mean something. Unlike most rock guitar players, he is rooted in jazz, not blues, which makes his playing all the more unique. But he has never been a purist, taking inspiration from all styles. There are no singers present on Jeff's best work (Wired, Blow By Blow, and Emotion & Comotion) because one is simply not needed. Not only does he play great melodies, but he also communicates a certain message to the audience without needing lyrics to do so. Jeff Beck has continued to develop his style and improve his playing, even though he has been around since the sixties, which is quite amazing, to be honest. He is definitely underrated, never achieving the success he deserves. He also deserves to be up there with Hendrix, Clapton, and Page as one of the greatest rock ...more

Agreed, all of the names you have here are "of the caliber" for the title of the "Greatest" guitar player of ALL time. But Jeff Beck should certainly be #2 if not #1, only because he once stated that (at the time), "Jimmy Page and I may be considered the best (guitar players) in the world, but neither of us could hold a candle to Hendrix." And that is the truth! Jimi Hendrix WAS, IS, and shall forever be the greatest ROCK guitar player in the history of the Electric Guitar! Furthermore, Mitch Mitchell, Jimi's favorite drummer, was and is one of the greatest drummers of all time!

17 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.

I saw him outdoors at the World's Fair Park and though I liked most of the songs, Samba Pa Ti was unbelievably magical. It was perfection as it floated through the air during dusk. Hearing it live made it become one of my top ten songs. Too bad the friend I took for her birthday kept calling the band Chicago. Getting a second-hand mild high from all the dope smoke going on around us definitely didn't hurt the effect either. Every time I play or hear the song, I'm right back on that hillside on a mildly muggy night with that song floating on a gentle breeze. I could almost see the notes floating through the air. It was an unbelievably magical experience that will stay with me forever, and no, I hadn't even hit being stoned.

From Slash to Vaughan, from Hendrix to Page, from Clapton to Van Halen, from Prince to Hammett and beyond, no one, but absolutely no one, can masterfully sing, string, stir, and sling their guitar out to an audience without vocal ability like Carlos can! Carlos executes his gift alongside angels; he sings THROUGH, not ON the electric guitar, devoid of ego. Who else could immaculately adapt to performing with the finest musicians worldwide, such as Ottmar Liebert and countless other musical artists, to bring incandescent soul to each performance with impeccable perfection? Carlos unegotistically offers his God-given talent as if it were for sale on the street, to anyone who is musically promising, while abandoning the forced march of solitary recognition in the music world. Carlos appears to effortlessly, unfalteringly, and exponentially lift the spirits of fellow musicians of various notorious styles. Carlos has another gift: the most transparent ability to bring other artists to ...more

This guy can play anything. He can play great expressive slow blues leads (you want emotional leads, he's up there with David Gilmour and John Frusciante), he can play virtuoso solos with the best of them, and he's a genius acoustic guitarist to boot. And with any of these, he's instantly identifiable, in the way that he uses vertical vibrato or straight tones on held notes instead of standard vibrato, his impeccable sense of complex rhythm and phrasing, and his awesome trill technique. I like shred, but sometimes feel and tone are more important, and there's none better than Carlos Santana for that.

Unique guitar sound - purest, smoothest, most singing guitar of all. You only need about two notes to recognize him in any context. 17 is far too low for him - perhaps he was not flashy enough? I'd rank him equally with the other "gods" of rock guitar: Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jerry Garcia, and Pete Townshend. However, I'm not sure if I would place any of these guys at the top as the best guitarist ever. I might go for a classical guitarist or, more likely, a flamenco guitarist like Paco de Lucia.

18 Dave Mustaine David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own band Megadeth shortly after.

Dave Mustaine: Ah yes, the man who never truly deserved to leave Metallica, which turned out to be a good move as we wouldn't have the band we all love and know as Megadeth today. Dave, like Megadeth in general, runs laps around Kirk and the rest of Metallica. As for the solos of Kirk and the work of Hetfield, the solos we hear in Megadeth's repertoire are much more technical and pleasing to listen to. "Rust in Peace" is the very best thrash metal album of all time as well, further solidifying my opinion on Megadeth.

He is the person responsible for the early success of Metallica (nobody can deny) and then he created Megadeth, which turned out to be better than Metallica if not as good. He influenced guitarists like James Hetfield, Kerry King, Marty Friedman, Chris Poland, Chris Broderick, etc. He is a great composer and songwriter and has also proven to be a great vocalist for his band. His music and voice are aggressive and have a fast tempo. He mostly writes meaningful songs about society, politics, nature, relationships, etc. He is a better rhythm guitarist than Hetfield and a better lead player than Hammett. Most of Metallica's hits were written and composed by Mustaine before he was fired, namely: The Four Horsemen, Phantom Lord, Metal Militia, Jump in the Fire, Motorbreath, Ride the Lightning, The Call of Ktulu, and many more.

Runs laps around Kirk. While singing.

On a more serious note, the Megadeth vs Metallica thing is dumb because it's all subjective. However, if you're judging music by complexity, then yeah, he really does run laps around them. Many of his songs are very difficult to play, and judging by his personality, it's probably done on purpose.

It is my personal opinion that Rust In Peace is the best metal album ever. Also, Dystopia recently showed us that Mustaine can still deliver, even without Marty or any of the great (and some not so great) others in the revolving door of Megadeth guitarists.

What do you mean, Dave Mustaine is number 30? He is one of the forefathers of thrash metal, which is a highly influential genre for all the other rock/metal genres to come! Dave Mustaine "Wrote 'em all!" Everyone who has listened to Dave Mustaine's work since his first demos with Panic knows that he is underrated. He is a living legend, even better than Slash. Believe it or not, it is true! Slash and Dave were friends, but Dave was always better!

19 Keith Richards Keith Richards is an English musician—primarily a guitarist—singer, songwriter, best-selling memoirist, and founding member of the rock band The Rolling Stones.

Being a good guitarist is more than just playing the song, it's about writing music. Everyone on this list is a fantastic guitarist. What makes some stand out more than others are the songs they write, and for me, the riffs Keith Richards wrote were the reason The Rolling Stones are so famous. Even today, 50 years later, they are still very catchy and energetic. And there are so many good ones! The guitars in Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil, Start Me Up, Paint It Black, Beast of Burden, and countless others are all amazing, and very few other guitarists have the creativity to create so many masterpieces.

I can't understand why Keith Richards is always rated so highly, other than his innovative tuning method. He is not even the best Rolling Stones guitarist, let alone the best rock guitarist. His playing style is very choppy. Ronnie Wood plays with greater finesse and versatility. Observe the live recordings of the late seventies and early eighties when Ronnie was featured playing more leads. Whereas Keith plays in abrupt short staccato bursts with the finesse of a claw hammer. Brian Jones was the gifted and creative musician behind the early Rolling Stones sound (even though Mick and Keith stole the credit). However, Mick Taylor steals the show as the best Rolling Stones guitarist ever. The Mick Taylor era (1969-1975) was considered by many to be the best and most creative of the Stones' tenure as a band (Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Let It Bleed, It's Only Rock 'n Roll, and Goat's Head Soup). Check out Mick Taylor's guest appearance at a Stones concert in Coventry, England in ...more

I'm seeing a lot of comments saying Keith Richards is overrated and that his playing is choppy. Actually, it's his choppy style that makes him so great. It's obvious that a lot of his riffs early in his career were heavily inspired by The Beatles. 19th Nervous Breakdown sounds so much like I Feel Fine. But if you listen to the entire album Exile On Main Street, you'll be convinced that he is the riff king!

Keef is rock 'n' roll. It's just a shame that people in the business don't really understand his overall contribution to music. Go ahead, go back to 1964 and The Last Time in 1965, and Satisfaction at the age of 21. Then, continue on for so many years with incredible riffs (no wonder he loves AC/DC). Keith is a combination of Lennon and McCartney, with or without Jagger.

20 Alex Lifeson Aleksandar Živojinović, better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush.

When I need a good laugh, I always come here to see this absurd list. Alex Lifeson at 23? Eddie Van Halen called him the best guitarist around.

Alex Lifeson isn't just a technically good player, but he's a better songwriter than most people on the list. He knows how to play with many tones. He is a great riff writer (ex. A Passage to Bangkok) and he is comfortable with using both chords and licks to write riffs (something that not all guitarists understand). He has no problem coming up with a great solo (ex. Limelight). He has both emotion and shredding skills. He is an expert of arpeggios.

Outside of the guitar world, he's not as popular as Hendrix or Page, but for a guitarist, studying his guitar parts in Rush (from the hard-rock days to the more progressive albums) will show you how great and complex he can be and will, without a doubt, shape your musical brain to be a better, more creative, and interesting guitarist in the future. He is at least top 5.

Alex Lifeson at 23. This list is ridiculous. If he wasn't with Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, he'd be the star of his band. When I was learning guitar, it was pretty hard to play their first album (from 1974). And Alex wrote that when he was 20 years old. He wasn't even near his prime and still at 20, he wrote that amount of GREATNESS. He was already a MASTER of the instrument at the very start of Rush. And Rush songs are extremely technical. He's the type of player who can do anything (shred, acoustic, etc). If people like Brian May, Angus Young, or Keith Richards didn't play in such popular bands, they would not be ranked above Lifeson. He should be in the top 5 at least. Hell, he could even be top 3 or 2. Play some Rush songs on the guitar, and a revelation will be at hand.

Alex Lifeson deserves more credit for his influence, not only as a band member of Rush but also as a very underrated and powerful musician. He not only used big, swirling arpeggios to form his sound, but also knows how to shred. Just listen to every song on "Exit Stage Left." I have read about people saying that Steve Howe was the most awesome prog rock guitarist in the 70s and today. I was hugely influenced by Howe, but Lifeson brought something more to the table than any other prog guitar player. He knows how to rock, and he knows how to bring diversity to the songwriting with Geddy. Rush never compromised their sound to commercially sell out. The bottom line is, in the past and present, if you were or are a young aspiring musician, you listened to Rush and then learned how to play their songs.

Although Hendrix is overall a more skilled guitarist and much more influential than Lifeson, I'm gonna give my vote to Alex because of how low down on the list he is. He is a brilliant guitarist and made some of the best riffs ever conceived. Tom Sawyer, Limelight, YYZ, Red Barchetta, Spirit of Radio, Freewill, La Villa Strangiato, Xanadu, Closer to the Heart, 2112, Fly By Night, Anthem, Working Man, Finding My Way, and many, many more all have amazing guitar riffs that are very complicated, yet still groovy. His guitar solos are unrivaled, such as the ones from La Villa Strangiato and 2112.

21 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.

I don't care who plays the fastest, has the best technique, the slickest... Whatever. It comes down to telling an emotional story, note by note, and Duane could do it better than anyone. Add Dickey, and they weaved a story untouched by any duo. Then Duane adds slide to the mix and just takes your heart and mind to places no guitarist has reached. Just listen to Live At Fillmore, considered by many (Rolling Stone, Playboy, and others) as the best live album ever recorded. After that, get a beverage, a couple hits, headphones, and put on Mountain Jam from Eat A Peach for the ride of your life.

What? You kidding me!

Can anyone here name a song that goes on for 24 minutes and takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions without ever getting old or boring? I can... "Whipping Post" from the "At Fillmore East" album. Listen to the last note Duane plays in his solo on "You Don't Love Me". It goes on for about 4 seconds and is arguably the greatest blues note ever recorded. Also, listen to the slide after the drum solo in "Mountain Jam". It'll make your eyes swell up because it's so sweet. He and Dickey were in a league of their own.

To make Duane anything but Number 1 is a shame. It shows how those who vote have not listened to him live. There are plenty of examples out there to listen to. I have seen more than half of the top 25 live. From 1970-1971, I was lucky enough to see Duane live three times. I also saw Hendrix (couldn't reproduce the albums I loved live, maybe it was the drugs). Page I saw twice, and he was not good at all. I have seen better bar band guitarists. Gilmour was great, May was great, Slash was good, BB was great, Stevie was great. Clapton was good. Bonamassa was OK. But Duane was the "Natural." To lose him in 1971 at just 24 was a horrible loss. What he could have done live or in the studio is beyond comprehension. There is a great band up there, and they all are giving Duane their pick for him to play lead. Listen to the live stuff and the Anthology albums. This is what he was and did every time.

You guys don't know guitar if you haven't heard Duane Allman. Why are all the most overrated guitarists in the top ten? (Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Syn Gates) Just listen to Whipping Post and be amazed by his skills. David Fricke of Rolling Stone put him at #2 on his list, and Rolling Stone put him at #9. He is the best slide guitarist. Eddie Van Halen doesn't even make a top 50 for me; all he does is tap. Slash sounds the same in all his solos, and I don't even know what Syn Gates was doing there. So please, take the time to listen to some of Duane Allman's guitar work.

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

If mastery of the guitar is the criterion, then the number one spot can only go to Steve Vai. I've been playing for almost 50 years, and he is the hardest to replicate. Every time I try to learn one of his songs, I end up frustrated and just listen in awe of the speed and soul of his music. I've seen him live a dozen times and am floored by the precision and absolute lack of mistakes. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I saw him in a bar once in Pompano Beach, Florida. One night, he let an amazingly talented 12-year-old sit in and play Steve's parts. The kid's mother sent him a video, and Steve let him come up and play. Number 1 in my book every time!

I've seen Satch, a couple of years back, and saw Vai last night. Steve is way, way out there beyond any other player I have seen. Sure, he can shred at a million notes a minute with the best, but he can bring subtlety and expression like I've never heard from anyone before and has completely mastered some of the hardest techniques out there, as well as invented loads of others. For me, he is the greatest of all time. Sure, Hendrix was awesome in his time and changed the face of guitar work, but it's not Steve's fault he was born too late to fit that category. He would have achieved icon status in any era.

Number one... by some margin.

You know this list is bad when Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Angus Young, Brian May, and David Gilmour are above the master Steve Vai. God, you blues/classic rock-praising boomers obviously don't play guitar. Trust me, there is not one thing that Steve Vai cannot do on the guitar. He came up with many techniques that most people on this list couldn't even think about, like the Joint Shifting technique that he recently invented. He's like a Swiss knife guitarist. Plus, he's an absolute innovator.

It astounds me that Steve Vai is placed so lowly. As a technical guitarist, Vai is virtually unmatched, which is displayed in every impressive song. Obviously, it is not only technical ability that governs how good a guitar player is; emotion is vital too. This is not something that Vai lacks. All of his live shows make the audiences' hair stand on end as they witness a true virtuoso of the guitar express his soul through 6 strings. He should definitely be in the top 10.

23 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 "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2011. In 2016 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of original members of Deep Purple.

The first shredder in rock. Great technical abilities compared to other rock guitarists at the time. Amazingly talented improviser. Riff machine. Oh yeah, and he popularized using harmonic minor and other exotic scales in rock, which in turn laid the foundation for neo-classical metal.

He's also responsible for Dio's fame.

I would rate Blackmore above Page and definitely above Hendrix. He is able to play melody and powerful rock riffs. The latter are great guitarists, with Page's music easily surpassing Jimi's quota for range and variation. But that is my opinion, and not everyone likes what I like.

Jimi may have been a pioneer in his genre, but there is something two-dimensional about his music. Blackmore and Page added more dimension, even though I prefer Page's songs. Blackmore's guitar playing brought out incredible emotional detail, even though the overall theme of the Deep Purple songs could be really shallow.

Why is it not strange to see that Jimmy Page is 2nd and Blackmore is 25th? Well, it's because Led Zeppelin is simply more popular. The funny thing is, if Ritchie and Gillian had stayed together and Deep Purple had survived from 1974 to '84, they would probably be even more recognizable than Zeppelin. And if that were the case, Ritchie would be ranked higher than Jimmy. But he went off, started Rainbow, and you know what? He reached an even higher level as a guitarist. It's another ranking based on popularity rather than guitar playing. It makes me angry because I first listened to Zeppelin's hard music, and then my dad introduced me to Deep Purple. The difference in guitar playing was so significant that it knocked me to the floor. Technically and in general, Ritchie was always far superior to Jimmy. Jimmy stuck to blues and rock, while Blackmore developed something harder to play - hard rock/heavy metal with neoclassical melodies performed with speed and technical precision. He is ...more

I love and admire so many guitar players for different reasons, too many to list. But the guy who has it all for me is Ritchie Blackmore. He is a true virtuoso of rock guitar. Between 1969 and 1983 (a very long time), he was at the top of the tree. I love Gilmore and Knopfler on record; they're excellent as well as in concert. However, when playing live, they can't really change things around like Blackmore could (all of Deep Purple, in fact). Gilmore pretty much plays the same thing every night for every solo, just like Knopfler. They don't take chances like Blackmore. Page was never as clean as Blackmore. All the shredders can play fast, but most can't keep up the melodic quality to make a great solo. They just play a million notes and end at the top of the neck with the inevitable screaming bend up. Even with a bit of tape echo, Blackmore always sounded like he was plugged straight into the amp. That's one of the reasons I put him ahead of Jeff Beck. Beck, along with Hendrix and ...more

24 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

A lot of people think the only reason George Harrison is mentioned on these lists is because he was in the Beatles. That's pretty misguided. He's mentioned because he is one of the greatest. Do you know how old Harrison was when he joined the Quarrymen (the band that evolved into the Beatles)? 15! And that's not because they were desperate; that's because he was that good! He was only 27 when the Beatles broke up. If you listen to the Beatles' hard rock songs, his skills come through. And he further demonstrated those skills in his solo career after the Beatles broke up. It's a shame a lot of people don't respect George Harrison as much as he should be. He is definitely in the top 20, maybe even the top 10. He was good.

Hendrix was good but pretty much played the same style in every song. If you learned one Hendrix song, you pretty much could play his style. George, on the other hand, had a more sophisticated approach to playing guitar. His playing is more structured, and his chord vocabulary was much more advanced than most guitar players from that era. He was the first true guitar player to take guitar playing to the modern age. I can't see why most people don't hear that. I think they do, but people like to always mention the old Hendrix-Clapton page thing. Don't get me wrong, they are phenomenal, but George definitely deserves to be in the top 10.

George Harrison at 29? Whoever made this list has made a lot of mistakes in ranking. I demand a recount! I always loved George, his quiet reserve while other girls were screaming over John and Paul, and his good looks. We both share a unibrow. I always hoped that he would beat his cancer.

I was very happy to see his look-alike son, Dhani, playing in the background with the other living Traveling Wilburys of the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while Prince Rogers Nelson stole the show with one of my favorite songs by George: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Bump George to #4.

Now, hopefully, they are somewhere in the universe playing beautiful music together.

If you were to rate him on his technical ability on a scale of 1 to 10, he would be a 10. The only guitarist that was better at technical skill than him was Hendrix. People focus so much on speed and not on quality, and that's why George is always never given notice. George cared about the quality of his playing more than anything. Everything he did, he did on purpose, not due to limitations because, like Hendrix, he had no limitations. Hendrix even cited George as an influence. Imagine how awesome it would have been if George and Jimi did a song together.

25 Tom Morello Thomas Morello is an American musician, singer-songwriter and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave.

Before 1991, I don't think a guitar has ever been manipulated in the way that Tom Morello has managed. He may not be the most technical, fastest, or knowledgeable, but he is definitely one of the most insanely great-crafted guitar players ever. Just watch the solo in Bulls on Parade or the riff in People of the Sun played by scratching one string. He uses screwdrivers to make chopper propeller sounds and a multitude of effects to give his guitar that unique, Tom and Rage sound.

Frusciante above Tom Morello?! I love RHCP, but seriously? You can't even compare Under The Bridge to Fistful Of Steel! A lot of the people on this list use 20 pedals to get an above-average signature tone out of an array of varying boutique guitars. Morello uses only six pedals to get sounds nobody has ever heard of from a few modded Strats, an old Tele, and an Artstar. His riffs are downright simple on the fretboard, but his genius and almost comically complex picking techniques using a pencil to make helicopter sounds on strings, striking strings above the nut for squeals, volume swells, precise harmonics, scratching, heavy trem use, and proficiency with a kill switch make Tom Morello one of the most creative and diverse players alive today. He deserves at least to be in the top 20!

Tom Morello has the ability to create amazing new sounds out of a wide selection of guitars and pedals that I have not heard anyone else doing, not only in his solos but throughout a whole song. This is difficult enough as it is, but he makes these sounds fit and sound really great! Not only this, but he fights against political injustice in an attempt to make the world a better place. He has changed the way I look at a guitar and the way I view the world!

Tom Morello is the greatest guitarist ever because of one simple reason: His guitar playing is many times more creative and innovative than a lot of guitarists on this list. Sure, they may be able to play really fast solos that sound really impressive, but Tom's guitar playing (not just his solos) doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard before. This is obviously a good thing.

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