Top 10 Best Guitarists of All Time

Shredders, riff masters, acoustic geniuses, virtuosos, and straight up rockers - they're all here. Check out the top ten best guitar players ranked based on over 244K votes.
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.

According to our Chinese language habits, we generally say that Jimi Hendrix is the "only real god" in the guitar industry. He has unprecedented influence and changed the guitar style later.

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 of later, but Hendrix 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 say ...more

You KNOW when you're listening to Jimi Hendrix. He literally reinvented how to play modern rock guitar with an incredible off the wall guitar technique, over 40 years after his death people still try to emulate him. He fused blues, rock and funk. King of the 60's psychedelic sound. Produced guitar sounds that know had ever heard or thought were possible, introduced several of the most important guitar effects, made the wah wah popular, amongst the first too control feedback and experiment with high gain. A genius whether it was from beautiful sad blues to raw hard rock, the man was filled to the rim with licks and chord embellishments ideas and absolute feeling, has a wonderful sense of phasing, and laid the basics for almost every genre for future guitarists. Jimi Hendrix is still the king.

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 analysis than 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 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 its Page then Duane Allman. The fact 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 dif.

Jimmy Page was far better than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is overrated because he was the first to exemplify the electric guitar, that said, it doesn't mean he's the best. Jimmy Page was a much more versatile and had a much wider spectrum of styles and was a better technical player as well as being a much more intricate player and writer. He could intertwine a beautiful melody and go right into a brutal riff for example the song "Babe I'm Going To Leave You". All respect for Jimi Hendrix but he never came close to what Jimmy Page did. Hendrix never played the brutal riff or the beautiful melody Page did. Page constantly evolved Hendrix did not. Page was not influenced by Hendrix because they were both playing at the same time worlds apart and Page was the top session guitarist at the time. Also note, Hendrix auditioned in Nashville because Nashville wanted him to play tracks for country musicians but he didn't make it because he could not play blue grass guitar or classical picking. Page ...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 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.

Honestly should be number one. Jimi was great and changed history, but he is only really famous for being the first and dying. Yes he was talented, but not as number one. And Brian may is an overrated guitarist in an overrated band. Eddie was known for his skill, while jimi was known for being first and changing the way an electric guitar was played, and Brian may was known for being in queen. I think Eddie should definitely be number one.

I voted for Eddie because I believe that he was the best guitar player that has ever lived and their will never be anyone else that will even come close to being the guitar player that he was.

In my opinion Van Halen should be easily #1 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 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 the 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 years from now when people look back, Eddie will be considered #1.

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.

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, 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, understand the history of true rock and roll? Step up and listen to the ballads and then listen to the riffs Clapton manages with out breaking a sweat and the magic that happens when he does. There is soul to this mans 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 is 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 others). Clapton writes his music straight from the heart, finding inspiration is 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 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 other ...more

8The great be. Be. 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, 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, understand the history of true rock and roll? Step up and listen to the ballads and then listen to the riffs Clapton manages with out breaking a sweat and the magic that happens when he does. There is soul to this mans music. He is simply, The Best.

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 it has to number into the hundreds. He has done screen scores for big budget movies, T.V. 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 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 guitar when I was 7 years old. I'm now 18 and I don't know what Id 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 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 to witch Slash plays the guitar that sucks, he just dose what he loves.

Slash has earned his place in the top 5 and one day 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 gets my vote, because, since I first started hearing their songs, around 1992, when I was 13, Guns were by far my favourite 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 goose bumps, 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 generally ...more

Many people would say Slash could never be as great as some legends, such as Hendrix, Page, Van Halen, but I beg to differ. Look at the quality of his work with Guns and even thereafter. Many of the tunes he wrote with Guns still hold up today and are popular with the younger generation: Sweet Child, Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, & more. Then in the 2000's he brings rock back to mainstream for a period with his new band Velvet Revolver with hits: Fall to Pieces, Slither, The Last Fight, & more. Many of these others may have influenced and created many things he uses, but the facts show he has learned how to use them better. He may not necessarily make more complex music all the time, but it doesn't have to be.

I mean most people's argument that Hendrix is better is just because he invented things, that doesn't mean people can't learn to use them better. I've listened to a couple of Hendrix songs but none of them have just hit me like "Wow, that's so great ...more

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.

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 as suppposed to be taken. David Gilmour, that name that can only belong to the genre of Space Rock with a grandious number one title,we owe this true god of guitar a huge thanks and don't let the recent generations to come to listen to rap and pop because life has given us way more than that.. Pink Floyd, the name of the best.

As a guitarist who has studied Gilmour's playing, he's just as much as an innovator as Hendrix and more so than Page. I think he deserves number two. Don't get me wrong, Page is an amazing guitarist, but Gilmour out does him on so many levels.

No one writes better solos than David Gilmour. Comfortably Numb, Marooned, High Hopes, Echoes, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Sorrows, Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), Time, On The Turning Away, Hey You, In The Flesh? , Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2, Run Like Hell, Money and many other great guitar solos I'm probably forgetting. I agree with Jimi Hendrix being at number one and Page being at number two. But Slash at number three?! David Gilmour is way better. Comfortably Numb live PULSE is the greatest solo ever performed. Brian May is okay, but very overrated. I can't think of an extraordinary solo by him. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the greatest songs ever written, but it's solo is overrated. I used to listen to Queen more often when I was about 16-years-old. I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody all the time. The solo never got me going. It never felt special to me, even though I loved the song. Same with We Will Rock You. I loved that and never found the solo special. I would even fast ...more

I mean.. it's David Gilmour. The dude just has so many classics he's played guitar on as part of Pink Floyd. Comfortably Numb. Dogs. Pigs. Time. Echoes. Even the post-roger waters stuff is good. What Do You Want From Me comes to mind from that era.

Possibly my favorite guitarist.

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 on 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 do so will ...more

I agree about Stevie Ray Vaughan - he should be number 2, but ONLY because of Hendrix's brilliance an 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 cancelled his world tour beginning in London...Stevie Ray just walked off stage. Eric Clapton said "I can't play behind someone like that! " Then said the earlier quote above. Clapton was very obviously shaken at 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 a quote above, someone said that Stevie Ray never plays the same version of any song the same way...a VERY astute observation. Stevie Ray has played a completely new ...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 that 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 devine 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" and 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 Rhodes. If not more influential than Rhodes. 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 haven't been even half as successful as Metallica. Hmm,
I think I made a good point.

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-- psychadelic. Hammett does stick to metal, but he's had so many different approaches to metal over the year that it CANNOT be called one style of metal. Each album he comes out with is a different style of metal from the last.

Kirk Is good, very good, But even I as a die hard Metallica fan can admit that Hendrix, Van Halen, Slash, Page, and maybe some others are better. Kirk can play awesome solo's, he's very fast and plays flawless. I've seen him Live and he has a very good Live performance. He very much deserves this top 10 place. My personal top 10 is: 1st-Jimi Hendrix, 2nd-Eddie Van Halen, 3rd- Jimmy Page, 4th-Slash, 5th- Carlos Santana, 6th- KIRK HAMMET, 7th- Angus Young, 8th- Prince, 9th-Eric Clapton, 10th- Adrian Smith... But I most of all loves kirk's style of playing...

Look, choosing the best fruit at player ever isn't about choosing the guitar player that played on songs that everyone knows about. Half of the guitar players in this list are some of the most overrated guitar players ever. Kirk SUCKS compared to other guitar players. Compare him to Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani. If you even asked Kirk Hammet who the best guitarist is he'd say that Jeff Beck is. Metallica itself is overrated because of just 3 songs that just happened to hit the top of the charts. There

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 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, Methademic. Not to mention the fact 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 a 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 guitarist's strength look like childrens 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 for the leader of their House Band. No one else on this list is so good they could make Chuck Norris cry- but Tony is...

Almost every metal-riff that you hear today has been invented by this guy. He is the best. Guitarists like Mustaine, Friedman, Frehley, Gallagher deserve to be a lot higher on this list. And what about genius Brian Robertson (best guitarist Thin Lizzy ever had! ) and John Sykes, I don't even see them here and they should have been!

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.

Ask almost any Brit what the greatest song of all time is and they will say Bohemian Rhapsody. They will also say is that the Beatles are first but Queen is ALWAYS right behind. Not Zeppelin, Bowie, Kinks, Stones, or even 1D! Queen is an amazing band who is not only led by one of the greatest vocalists of all time, the late Freddie Mercury (RIP), but also one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Brian May. May is just as talented as Van Halen and Page but unfortunately gets caught up in the pop flair that Mercury preferred, However if one truly delves deep into the Queen vault they can find extraordinary solos and riffs by May. Brighton Rock is a campy driven song at the beginning in the end but is completely interrupted by an insane echoing solo by May. Even simple hits like Killer Queen, We Will Rock You, and especially especially We are the Champions have great solos. Plus May could pull off intense rhythms as well (I.E. Sheer Heart Attack). All in all May is one of the most ...more

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 with 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. Not number one, but deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Slash, and Beck.

Brian is the BEST of all! Including Slash and the overrated Jimi H.
QUEEN is the GREATEST BAND on Earth, largely due to the genius of Brian May, as well as the rest, esp, of course, the greatest frontman ever to have lived, FREDDIE MERCURY! They had this wonderful symbiotic relationship in which they brought out the best in each other, encouraging one another to go higher and better, which they did, thereby becoming the most awesome and absolutely THE BEST BAND on the planet, going where no other band had ventured, before or since, producing over 40 different genres of music, each so diff, so unique, so incredibly brilliant! Most innovative and eclectic band ever! 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 favourite.

The Newcomers

? Tom Paxton
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.

Angus is literally the epitome of "rock". There is no other guitarist that can play pure rock the way angus does. People knock him for the simple cords. That's just a part of the songs they play and not an effect of angus's true abilities. Let loose he is very close to Eddie Van Halen. I know why people always put Hendrix at top, but it would be for innovation rather than purely just being the best. Think Gilmore and page are better and the things said about Stevie Ray are true as well. These lists need to be more specific. Cause if your saying best rock guitar player ever it's angus by a long shot, best ever of all genre I'd say Gilmore who literally speaks to you just like everyone says. He takes you away to another land when he plays. Also escapes me but guitarist for Yes would be up here. Another one that just takes you to places you've never been in your mind. Bunch more but this is enouhh

Yes Angus Young! This man is the best guitarist ever, he even shows how much he loves playing guitar just by watching him. Also he is on the greatest band ever, ACDC. Please vote this guy up because he deserves number one!

Come on! He's Angus Young! Back in Black is the 2nd best selling album of all time... the 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 BAD ASS 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 the number one, but he's definitely better that Slash, Eric Clapton, Synyster Gates, Kirk Hammett, and David Gilmore!

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

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 innovater for future metal guitarists, he was absolutely brillant! 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, Cemetary 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 are 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 Metalica 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 Darrel.

You have to be kidding me! Synyster gates at number 4?!?!?
Dimebag darrell is the daddy of synyster gates..
Sure, ".. He has blistering speed... Pro at divebombs, sweeps.. " whatever.. You're taking about divebombs in front of dimebag?
And how does synyster gates figure before gilmour and clapton!? What about emotion? Guitarists like clapton, gilmour, dimebag have loads of emotion in their playing.. Such soulful music!
This list seriously needs to change! Dimebag darrell forever, /

It just makes me angry that Kirk Hammett is higher than Dime. Kirk did some pretty crazy stuff with his solos ( Most notable are One, Master Of Puppets, Fight Fire With Fire, and Dyer's Eve), but I'd you haven't noticed, Kirk's are kinda sucking right now. But dime? This guy pretty much restored metal from the emo nu-metal of the 2000s. To the riffs and solos from Wall and 5 Minutes alone and you'll know why this guy deserves top 5 at least.

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 power chords ...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!

I don't know what is wrong with people randy should be at the top of the list at #1! He is the best guitarist that ever lived if only his life wasn't cut short, it seems like no one even acknowledges (sorry for my spelling) him, if you don't think he is the best then listen to Mr. Crowley, flying high again, goodbye to romance, his days in quiet riot, dee, the solo on the tribute album on suicide solution, they are all amazing and by far beat everyone else, he knew the guitar like no other and could do anything, and he was only 25 when he died, it's a shame that he doesn't get the respect he deserves...R.I.P. the Best Guitarist that ever lived... Randy Rhoads

There are very few albums where I rate every song 5 of 5 stars. Blizzard of Oz 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 place 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 great ...more

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

BB King, the man who started it all when the other greats were just babies are perhaps not even conceived yet. Quite literally he didn't create this amazing instrument but besides T-Bone Walker he brought electric guitar to the fore-front along with Albert King, Freddy King, Buddy Guy and a vast majority of the older and late great bluesmen. His "hummingbird" vibrato effect and nuance and style has made him a house hold name for some 50 or 60 years or so and today with all the different types of music he is still a house hold name though 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 new how to make his guitar tell a whole story without him needing to sing.

This guy is probably #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 is 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 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.

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 him not kidding when I say he deserves the bronze.
Introduced guitar solos to the industry, even Marty Mcfly played Johnny B. Goode right before the Van Halen styled solo. And the 50's 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 the best guitarists list not the most important guitarit's list. In this list were talking about skill. Chuck berry invented rock so he's probably the most important musician/guitarist to live. But not the best. People like hendrix, page, and gilmour are more talented than him but they should be very grateful because of him.

People seem to be missing a point here. To be ranked 20th best guitarist on a list consisting of thousands of guitarists is pretty amazing. Just because he's very influential doesn't mean that he's the absolute best. However, 20th or any position in the top 100 is amazing.

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.

Jeff Beck listed at #74 on this list shows just how little most music fans know about the history of electric guitar. As one reviewer stated earlier, Page, Clapton, Brian May, David Gilmore, 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, the equal of anybody on this list. Many of this generations greatest jazz musicians have recorded with Jeff, including Stanley Clarke, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, and Lenny White. He's toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, BB King, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, and Kenny Wayne Shepard. 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.

Jeff Beck is a master of his instrument in a way that very few guitarists on this list are. The way he uses his vibrato, the way he controls his volume and tone from moment to moment, his phrasing, his one does that like Jeff. When guitar legends like Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and Brian May want to see a guitarist that blows them away, they see Jeff Beck, and any one of them will admit it. Hendrix said he wanted to play as good as Jeff, SRV was shown up night after night on their co-tour (and I LOVE Stevie, don't get me wrong), and the man has toured with everybody. His sound and playing are instantly recognizable. Jeff is in a league of his own.

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, feel that makes every note mean something. Unlike most rock guitar players, he is rooted in Jazz, not Blues, which makes his playing all more unique, but he has never been a purist, taking inspiration from all styles. There is 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 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, and he also deserves to be up there with Hendrix, Clapton and Page as one of the greatest rock guitarists to have ...more

Agreed, all of the names you have here are "of the calibre" for the title of "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 for ever 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.

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.

From Slash to Vaughn, from Hendrix to Page, from Clapton to Van Halen, from Prince to Hammet and on, no one but no one can as masterfully sing, string, stir, and sling his guitar out to an audience without vocal ability! Carlos executes his gift by the side of angels; he sings THROUGH, not ON the electric guitar, devoid of ego. Who else could immacutely adapt to concert with the finest of musicians world-wide, such as Ottomar Leibert, and innumerable musical artists to bring incandescent soul to each with impeccable perfection? Carlos unegotistically offers God-given talent as if it were for sale on the street for one who is musically promising while abandons the forced march of solitary recognition in the music world. Carlos appears to effortlessly, unfaltering, and exponentially lift the spirit of fellow musicians of promising notorious varieties. Carlos has another gift: most transparently to bring other artists to their pinnacle without over-shadowing their style. Thus, this man ...more

Unique guitar sound -- purest, smoothest, most singing guitar of all; you 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 equality with the other "gods" of the rock guitar (Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jerry Garcia, Pete Townshend). I am not sure, however, I would place any of these guys tops as best guitarist ever -- I might go for a classical guitarist or, more likely, a flamenco guitarist (Paco de Lucia, most likely).

Saw him outdoors at the World's Fair Park and though I liked most of the songs, SambaPa Ti was unbelievably magical. perfection as it floated over the air during dusk. hearing it live made it become one of my Top Ten. too bad the friend I took for her birthday kept calling the band Chicago. Getting a 2nd hand mild high from all the dope smoke going on around us didn't after years of feeling that way 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 small 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.
't hurt the effect

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 to the solos of kirk and 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 bettering my opinion on Megadeth.

Runs laps around Kirk. While singing.

On a more serious note, the Megadeth vs Metallica thing is dumb cause its 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.

I've seen people are just as amazing at guitar playing on most or all levels of guitar playing (speed, musicailty, technicality, musicianship, etc. ) but I haven't seen anyone who can surpass him on any guitar playing level and he also does vocals and doesn't look at the frets so his job is even harder. So to recap, he is betterat al of this stuff than anyone else because he hasn't been surpassed as a guitar player on any level and he he does vocals. And doesn't look at his frets. Also did I mention he can solo while singing (this day we fight, chosen ones) and he can do taping where he can do single notes AND he can do taping where he plays full chords with his left and right hands instead of strumming the chords. He does this in looking down the cross.

He is the person responsible for the early success of Metallica (nobody can't deny) and then he created megadeth which came out to be better than Metallica if not as good... he influenced guitarists like james hettfield, kerry king, marty friedman, chris polland, chris broderick etc...
He is a great composer and song writer and turned out to be a great vocalist for his band... his music and voice are aggressive and have fast tempo...
He mostly writes meaningful songs about, society, politics, nature, relationship etc.
He is a better a rhythm guitarist than hetfield and a ar better lead player than hammet
Most of the 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 lightening, the call of the ktulu and many more...

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.

I can't understand why Keith Richards is always rated so high, other than his innovative tuning method. He is not even the best Rolling Stones guitarist, let alone 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 best and most creative of the Stones tenure as a band (Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Let It Bleed, It's Only Rock and Roll, and Goat Head's Soup). Check out Mick Taylor's guest appearance at a Stones concert in Coventry, England in 2018. He ...more

Being a good guitarist is more than just playing the song, its 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's 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 countess others are all amazing, and very few other guitarists have the creativity to create so many masterpieces.

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 rocknroll its just a shame people in the business don't really understand his overall contribution to music. Go ahead, go back to 1964 and "last time" 1965 and satisfaction, at the age of 21, and then go on, for so many years of, yes, incredible riffs, (no wonder he loves ACDC) 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.

Alex is the greatest guitarist of all time. No exceptions. Could hold his own playing with the greatest drummer and bassist of all time.

Alex Lifeson deserves more credit for his influence as not only a band member of Rush but also a very underrated and powerful musician. He not only used big swirling arpeggios to from his sound but knows how to shred. Just listen to every song on "Exit Stage Left". I read about people saying that Steve Howe was the most awesome prog rock guitarist in the 70's 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, he knows how to bring diversity to the songwriting with Geddy and 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 you learned how to play their songs.

Alex Lifeson at 23. This list is ridiculous. If he wasn't with Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, he'd be the 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 guitar and a revelation will be a hand.

Although Hendrix is overall a more skilled guitarist, and he was 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 are 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 and duo. Then duane adds slide in the mix and just takes your heart and mind to places no guitarist has reached. Just listen to Live At Filmore, considered by many (Rolling Stone, Playboy others) as the best live album ever recorded. After that, get abeverage, a couple hits, headphones and put on Mountain Jam from Eat A Peach for the ride of your life.

I'm sorry, but I can't place any validity in a list that does not have Duane Allman in the top 5 guitarists of all time. He, Hendrix, and Clapton are the only ones on that level. It's a shame he's not a household name like those 2 though. I think that's because: 1) he died at 24, only after 2 1/2 studio albums with The Allman Brothers Band. 2) The Allman Brothers Band never received commercial/mainstream success until songs like "Ramblin' Man" off the Brothers and Sisters Album that was made after Duane was dead. Their music before that simply did not appeal to the masses.

R.I.P. Skydog

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.

I don't know which is more of a joke - Duane at no. 52 or BB King at no. 76!

Rolling Stone put Duane at no. 2 in its list of '100 Best Guitarists Ever' (followed by BB King, Duane's great admirer Clapton, and Robert Johnson (any of you kids heard of him? ).

Basically, all these five taught their guitar a new language.

I love Prince, and he certainly made his guitar talk a new language.. but it was basically a 'theatrical' language. In purely musical terms, in expressive control and range, he's a baby crying to Duane's astonishing fluency. Even Hendrix seems coarse in comparison.. but then Jimi trips over into another dimension from all other guitarists in history, and you'd have to be more insane than he was, not to put him at the top.

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 criteria then 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. 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 seen him in a bar once in Pompano Beach, Florida one night he let an amazingly talented 12 yr old sit in and play Steve's parts. The kids 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 coupe 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 greatest of all time. Sure Hendrix was awesome in his time, and changed the face of guitar work, but its not Steves fault he was born too late to fit that category. He would have achieved icon status in any era.
Number 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 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. + 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 which governs how good a guitar player is; emotion is vital too. This is not something that Vai lacks. All of his live shows makes the audiences' hair stand on end as they witness a true virtuoso of the guitar express his soul through 6 strings. Definitely should be in the top 10.

23 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.

George Harrison at 29? Whoever made this list has made a lot of mistakes in rank. 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 uni-brow. 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 travelling wilburys of the 2004 rock and roll hall of fame while Prince Rogers Nelson stole this 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.

The most versatile and technically accomplished rock guitarist. Harrison has played everything, from his rock'n roll/rockabilly roots in the early days of the Beatles, to his GROUNDBREAKING guitar works at the fade of the '60. Besides his well known work within the Beatles (Old Brown Shoe, One after 909, The End, Something, I Me Mine), check out his work as a session player with Doris Troy (Give Me Back My Dynamite, it's all Harrison, check out Apple's informations about it) or with Jackie Lomax (Thumbin' a Ride, Sour Milk Sea, with his soulmate Eric Clapton)...not to mention his slide work, one of the best being How Do You Sleep, on Lennon's Imagine album. Fast is not best, and, by the way, Harrison surely knew how to play as stinging as anyone of his era.
My N.1 guitarist, unfairly overshadowed as a guitar player by being a Beatle.

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 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.

24 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.

Why it's not strange to see that Jimmy Page is 2 and Blackmore 25? Well it's because Led Zeppelin is just more popular. The funny thing is that if Ritchie and Gillian could stayed together and Deep Purple could live from 1974 to '84 they would be probably more recognizable than even Zepps. And if so, Ritchie would be higher than Jimmy. But he went off, started Rainbow and you know what? He went on even higher level (as a guitarist). It's another ranking based on popularity and not on playing guitar. It makes me angry because I first listened to Zepps hard and then my dad showed me Deep Purple. The difference in guitar playing was so strong, it kicked me to floor. Ritchie technically and generally was always by far better than Jimmy. Jimmy sticks to blues and rock, Blackmore developed something harder to play - hard rock/heavy metal with neoclassical melodies played with speed and technically clean. He is just no match to Page and he was certainly pioneer and influence to shredders and ...more

What are synyster gates, tomo milicevic and tom kaulitz doing in the top 10s? No disrispect to them, they're great guitar players but you have to be kidding me... Blackmore has played some of the catchiest riffs in rock history (smoke on the water, black night, burn, stormbringer, woman from Tokyo, man on the silver mountain, kill the king) some very memorable solos that will stand the test of time (burn, child in time, highway star, stargazer, knockin on your back door, why didn't rosemary) while pioneering metal itself with deep purple and power metal with rainbow. His mixture of classical music and hard rock is amazing and he should be in the top 10s.

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 gendre but there is something two dimensional about his music. Blackmore and Page added more dimension even though I prefer Pages songs, Blackmore's just on pure guitar brought out incredible emotional detail even though the overall theme of the DP songs could be really shallow.

I love and admire so guitar players for different reasons, to 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 83 (very long time) he was at the top of the tree. I love Gilmore and Knopfler on record excellent as well as in concert, but, when playing live they can't really change things around in the Blackmore could (all of 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 clean like Blackmore, all the shredders can play fast but most can't keep up the melodic quality to make a great solo, they just play 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 Les Paul are probably the most ...more

25 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.

The fact that John Petrucci is at number 18, and Synyster Gates at number 6 is absolutely sickening. Synyster Gates is a fast player - that's about it. But even so, John Petrucci is still faster. But that doesn't even matter, speed is only one slice of the pie.

Petrucci has feel, emotion, musical knowledge, the ability to compose the most beautiful solos in any situation. Just check out solos like Lines In The Sand, Under A Glass Moon, the outro solo to Octavarium, In The Name Of God, I could go on and on.

Anyway, if you listen to these pieces and still cannot conclude that John Petrucci is one of the greatest guitarists in the world, you obviously don't know enough to make such a judgement.

If you don't play guitar or only started you shouldn't be allowed to vote. Slash is an overrated piece of crap I've seen people that have been playing less than a year play better than him. Petrucci is the real deal. Amazing melody (wishful thinking) amazing shredding (stream of consciousness). Pretty damn good lyrics too (Metropolis pt1). Also guitarists like Shawn Lane, Joe satriani, Guthrie govan, Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Vai, Reb Beach, Eric Johnson & Michael Romeo should be higher on this list. Also why is the guy from 30 seconds to mars on this... I wish I could play power chords and get Voted one of the best guitarists of all time... Ugh this list is sickening.

How can John Petrucci possibly be at 24th? As far as well-rounded musicians go, he's easily top 5. Without a doubt deserves a spot in the top 5 greatest guitarists of ALL-TIME. The guy can play anything, is technically as advanced as anyone, has an unbelievable work ethic, and plays in the pinnacle of progressive bands. You can't rate these guitarists based on subjectiveness. You can only look at technical ability to rate a guitarist otherwise it's completely useless. Just look at the list that made it ahead of him? The only greats that can hang with Petrucci are Hendrix, Clapton, Vai, Eddie V, and I suppose Satriani. Hell, Yngwie didn't even crack the top 20? This list has almost no credibility whatsoever.

Amazingly versatile guitarist. Can shred just about as well as, if not better, than anybody. Can compose a brilliantly beautiful solo, a melodic passage, an epic riff. Great songwriter and lyricist too. His technical ability, feeling for the instrument, and versatility make him the best.

As for the other people on this list - Brad Delson? Seriously? Linkin Park is one of my favourite bands of all time. I love them. And Brad does alright for what Linkin Park needs - good, chunky riffs and a few melodies here and there. But among the greatest guitarists of all time? Come on. People who voted for him are probably 12 year olds who haven't discovered classic rock yet and still think that nu-metal is the coolest thing on Earth. And they will probably label me as 'not a true LP fan'. No, I am a huge LP fan and own all their stuff, plenty of posters, a jacket and have been to see them live. They were awesome. I'm just not so blind to think that Brad Delson is one of the best guitarists ...more

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