Top 10 Most Overrated Guitarists

The Top Ten
1 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.

For those of you saying Slash is overrated, I can 100% see where you're all coming from. I think he's overrated, but he doesn't deserve to be hated on so much. His guitar solos are brilliant, and his rhythm work is great too. Slash was my inspiration to both pick up the guitar, and continue from there on out.

I personally don't give a crap about the top hat. I didn't even know he was the guy from Guitar Hero back when I was a kid. I'd be listening to Nightrain, my favorite Guns N' Roses song, while pretending to jam out to it on guitar.

Now, Michael Schenker, Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Marty Friedman, Kirk Hammett, Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, Eddie, Dimebag, Angus, John Petrucci, Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, all these guys are also my inspiration. Being 15, I still have plenty of time to learn all of these guys' riffs and solos, but Slash has always been my #1. His guitar tone and sound may be too high, but that's his signature sound. It makes Nightrain and November Rain sound especially good. He may not play as fast as Dimebag, Eddie, or John Petrucci, but he's one hell of a guitarist. Badass, raw, vicious, the hair, his style, he's got it all.

2 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his Seattle home in 1994.

The phenomenon of accumulating popularity after untimely death has seemed to echo through the ages. The death of JFK quickly gave him the title of 'Best Ever President' to many people who otherwise would have written him off. Edgar Allan Poe's 19th-century poetry was only made more popular due to the mysterious nature of his untimely death.

The same is true of Kurt Cobain, a technically below-par guitarist. Inspired by the Pixies, a band who were by no means technically gifted either, Cobain, with his lack of ability on the instrument, might not have received the praise he has today if it hadn't been for his association with the rise of the grunge movement in the early '90s, and even that headline-snatching early death.

Guitarist ability is not just about the technical side of playing. It's about applying what you do know to make good music. Kurt is a good guitarist because his music was good. He didn't have much technical ability, but yet he made some of the best music there is. Perhaps making good music could be seen as a songwriting thing to some people. But you could write good music and never actually play any of it because you can't apply any knowledge you know to your instrument.

I've seen too many people think that just because you know all the scales and modes, you are a good guitarist. But if you can't actually make any good music out of it, then what you learned is pointless, really. Before you think I'm claiming he's one of the best, I don't think that at all. In fact, I do think he's overrated, just nowhere near to the extent some other people do.

TLDR: Being a good guitarist is more about technical ability. It's about how you apply what you know to make music. Cobain made good music with only knowing a few chords.

3 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 want to point out that, yes, I love AC/DC. Yet, I do have to agree that after a while, it gets to be all the same. I personally stopped listening to AC/DC after "For Those About to Rock," and came back after "Razor's Edge," when things became more interesting, and promptly left again.

Angus Young is one of the biggest inspirations in my life, and I love his work. His blues rock riffs and solos are just fun to play, but yes, he is really overrated. Though he is an absolutely outstanding showman, and I have to commend him for how long he's been in the business, his work became repetitive and less fun to listen to after Back in Black.

I also have to say that he doesn't suck. He's not a terrible player at all! It's simply the style that he plays with and what he developed and created over his years, but that does NOT mean he is some kind of guitar-god.

Slash and Hendrix are both phenomenal guitarists. Especially Hendrix. But Angus Young? He should be right on top at number one. His stuff is appealing when you first hear his guitaring, but then when you explore his playing in different albums, it is simply staggering... how much it all boils down to the same thing. His stuff is manipulation beyond belief.

4 Jimmy Page James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin ripped off many artists, and Page is way overrated. I saw Zep live back in the day, and between the violin bow, the 20-minute drum solo, and Plant's screeching, I was bored to death. I couldn't wait for the concert to end.

I don't understand what the big deal about Jimmy Page is. Ever since he wrote the guitar solo for Stairway to Heaven, he's been overrated. His other solos aren't that good at all.

Decent dexterity, but very limited in his scope of playing ability. Jimi Hendrix was far more sloppy than Jimmy Page, but Jimmy is a close second.

5 Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt. He's also in side-project groups such as The Network, Foxboro HotTubs, Pinhead Gunpowder, and The Longshot. His first group was a band called The Lookouts which disbanded after their... read more

Billie Joe is good at what he does, which is mostly power chords. And that's all he's really going for. He's not trying to be some guitar aficionado. His guitar riffs are made to support the song, and not as a lead instrument. Jason is a much better guitar player than Billie is.

In conclusion: Is Billie overrated? Yes. Is he good? Yes, he's good at what he does, which are simple guitar riffs made to support the song.

Ha! Guitarist? Really? What a joke! If I could just meet him and tell him to his face, "You really call yourself a guitarist? Can you even gallop?" I would. He's a disgrace to so-called "Punk." He should listen to some Killing Time or Biohazard. It might change his perspective on what Punk really is. Pop-rock poser.

Mostly a rhythm guitarist, plays few notes in a song, not many solos. Not very technical and on top 33 of the "Greatest Rock Guitarists of All Time" list.

6 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.

Dimebag set guitar tone back decades by taking a solid state Randall amp, cranking the bass and treble to max, then scooping the mids, i.e., the mistake every aspiring metal guitar player makes when they get their first Line 6 Spider or Boss Katana combo amp. Dude ruined songs that had great potential like "Walk" and "Cemetery Gates" by forcing in lead lines and solos that didn't fit the songs at all. There's a reason why he was playing a small shithole club like the Al Rosa Villa after Pantera's breakup.

Dimebag has a very unique sound first off. "This Love" I have to say is a very good song with a very good sound. But other than sound, that's it. Every other Pantera song just sounds the same. I mean, come on, sometimes it almost seems like Dimebag is playing the same note over and over again. The worst part is people think he is the BEST guitarist out there. He is good, but he is not excellent like people believe he is. Sorry.

7 Synyster Gates Brian Elwin Haner, Jr., better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn, is an American musician, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold.

First of all, I have nothing against Mr. Gates personally. But one question bugs me: "Why is he in almost all the top ten lists on this site anyway? I'm beginning to think that he is actually a member and voting for himself! And what in the name of Amplifier Overload is his name doing in the fastest guitarist section? Trust me. I watched him live and even I can play faster than that.

Okay, here is the deal. I think people voting on this site are having favorites, and their decisions are based on how famous this guy is and not on how good he really is. Sorry, but... I'm not impressed. Just not impressed.

Gates is my personal favorite, but I'll admit he is pretty overrated. However, there are more overrated guitarists, and many of those guitarists are in rock music. Synyster Gates is a decent guitar player, and I really don't see a point for all the hate towards him or towards any guitarists like Dimebag or John Petrucci, etc.

The reality is that despite being overrated, the majority of these guitarists are at least decent. Also, there's no need to be so close-minded about this either. Music is music, and we should at least appreciate that these guys are at least somewhat successful and have made a name for themselves in their respective genres or bands.

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.

His stuff on the Ride the Lightning album is alright, but after that, most of his stuff is just garbage. Listen to the solo on Blackened, for instance. The song is very decent, with good riffing and dual guitar lead stuff, but Kirk's solo is just pathetic. He's not particularly fast, if speed is what you want. Look at Mustaine, Schuldiner, Van Halen, or Satriani for proper fast. He doesn't play particularly good emotional solos. As I said, the ones on Ride the Lightning are good, such as Fade to Black. I also like Orion's solos. But after that, it's just downhill. For good emotional solos, look at Petrucci, Rhoads, or Schuldiner (Voice of the Soul). Kirk is ridiculously overrated, in my opinion.

I can't remember the last time I listened to a live performance of his where he was at least sufficient. No intonation whatsoever, using the wah-pedal to hide his sloppy playing. It's a shame because, in the first three albums, he did well.

9 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... read more

Noise, noise, crap. Terrible guitarist. Awesome showmanship though. I think that's why so many people were influenced by him. If there was a guitarist today that sounded or played that way, no one would take them seriously. Most anyone who wants to be a "rock star" gets this emotion from showmanship, not ability to play. For this reason, I feel like he is the most overrated guitarist of all time. If we were talking about showmanship, he could definitely be top three.

Jimi was pretty bad. He had some moments, but I really cannot stand the "well, for his time he was amazing" argument. No, he wasn't. The instrument has existed in its current form, although not with amplification and effects, for more than 400 years. We have music from people in the 1600s and 1700s that made this guy sound like a doof with a tonka truck. It is the same instrument, and it is in complete parity.

Just because somebody electrifies it and adds distortion doesn't mean that all of a sudden you can be garbage in the technique department and get a medal. I like Jimi, but I want to puke when he is number one on every single guitar list forever and all time, because he isn't.

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

How are Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Dimebag Darrell, and Kirk Hammett above this overrated hack?! Herman Li might possibly be the most overrated guitarist ever. All he does is play slow in the studio and speed it up so it can seem hard to play when we all know his work is slowed down then sped up in the studio. Herman Li is not that good at all.

Kirk Hammett is not the best guitarist, but how the hell is he higher? Because he could play circles around this guy and he is more versatile than this stupid hack. And Hendrix could flat out destroy this guy, no problem!

When I heard DragonForce, I knew something was wrong with Herman Li. He is a fake who drinks on stage and speeds up his music in the studio. He actually believes he is a god. Yeah, right!

You can't hear a single DragonForce song without too much distortion and whammy + tapping abuse. No natural guitar playing in Herman's riffs and solos.

The Contenders
11 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.

First of all, the fact that Slash is at #1 is ridiculous. I HATE Guns N' Roses, and I still admire Slash as a legendary guitar player. Also, why is Kurt Cobain here? He's not overrated as a guitarist because nobody thinks of him primarily as a guitarist. He's mainly known for his vocals.

Also, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, the two greatest guitarists of all time? Seriously? You guys are just haters who can't appreciate these two gods.

Meanwhile, Eric Clapton actually is overrated. First, a lot of his riffs sound very similar. Apart from his hit songs, there's nothing he's really achieved that was that great. As a soloist, he's great but not at the level of Page, Hendrix, Gilmour, Slash, and many more. I do think that Eric Clapton is a great guitarist, but the fact that people think he's the best is ridiculous.

The most overrated guitar player of all time! His tone is like nails on a chalkboard. His solos are uninspiring and boring. Just awful!

12 John Mayer John Clayton Mayer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, but disenrolled and moved to Atlanta in 1997 with Clay Cook. Together, they formed a short-lived two-man band called Lo-Fi Masters.

John Mayer is a joke. I saw an interview where Santana preferred Derek Trucks over John Mayer easily. Mayer is just a knockoff of Stevie Ray Vaughan. He just copied his style and didn't even come up with his own influential style.

Does this guy ever rock? I have yet to hear it. His music is boring. He's not a technique freak at least and can make actual music. I just don't like his style.

Terrible god awful guitarist. He's so bad he makes Lil Wayne look like Jimi Hendrix.

13 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.

His guitar playing is obnoxious. It's extremely repetitive and all sounds the same. The solos are very sloppy and poorly implemented into songs, and the tone of his guitar is painful to listen to.

I'm not a fan of Angus Young's guitar playing, but he can play circles around Van Halen. At least his playing isn't this obnoxious. I'm tired of hearing that he's better than Hendrix. Hendrix destroys this guy. All of Hendrix's complex techniques and diverse, amazing guitar playing have so much variety, and it makes this guy look like Lil Wayne. At least Lil Wayne doesn't focus on guitar playing. He's a crap rapper.

One of the most boring guitar players that existed. His guitar solos, 99% of them, sound the same. They are not melodic at all. His sound was obnoxious. He didn't invent anything. He was a poor improviser.

"The guy changed guitar." Yeah. For the worse! He influenced 80's hair and generic YouTube shredders. It was his influence that made a lot of people value technique and speed over music and melody. He sounds better than Yngwie Malmsteen and wrote some good tunes. Some. I'll give him that.

14 The Edge (U2) David Howell Evans, better known by his stage name the Edge, is an Irish musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist of the rock band U2.

Anyone can play like The Edge. Take away his FX units and he is playing one note and letting computers do the flash stuff. And a word about Hendrix, yup compared to modern players, he isn't all that, but remember this and remember it well, he was the first. If it wasn't for Jimi, we wouldn't have a lot of the tricks and likes of today. He worked with Jim Marshall to develop the Marshall stack and therefore gave the world metal guitar playing. We owe Jimi Hendrix EVERYTHING.

His playing is monotone, repetitive, and effect-driven. Listen to any other guitarist using echo-pedals, and notice how they are able to come up with something more interesting than good old Edge. But my problem is simply that everything I've ever heard him play was 2-note, 3-note riffs. If the man actually tried some doublets! Just anything instead of single string 4/4 "down-down-down-down".

The only thing Edge is known for is his effects. He cannot jam with someone else! I saw a video of him playing guitar with the old Jimmy Page and Jack White, and this guy was lost! Jack White had to help him like a little baby. It was a sad thing to watch. This guy doesn't know anything, only effects.

15 Dave Grohl David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer and film director. He is best known as the former drummer of the hugely popular 90s grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. He has sat behind the drums for many bands and artists, most notably: Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, Ghost B.C,... read more

I like the guy, would love to have a beer with him. But his music is more generic than Walmart brand aspirin, uninspiring, and simple. I mean, if you can pull a random dude out of a crowd and let him sit in on drums during a concert, you probably aren't pushing many boundaries.

16 Ted Nugent Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and far right activist. Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of the Amboy Dukes, a band formed in 1963 that played psychedelic rock and hard rock.

Really just not that good at all. His playing is boring and sloppy.

17 Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

He was far from the only one to play that musical style, and far from the best. 100% lightning-fast shredding, 0% emotion. If certain unfortunate circumstances hadn't come about and taken out the other major neo-classical guitarist of the time, he'd be second fiddle.

This is the most dull guitar player I've ever heard. Technique is not nearly as important as making decent music.

He is an insane shredder, but I don't think he could even improvise a blues solo.

18 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.

This guy looks like he's wearing a build-a-body outfit. He's so thin he has to wear tons of clothes to make it look like he actually has a body. The Stones are a decent band, but he plays guitar like a twelve-year-old.

Keith Richards sucks. What he did is introduce distortion to the mass and created modern rock with that act. His riffs are simple, and my 5-year-old cousin can play them on his child guitar. And I think Hammett is so not the 5th most overrated player. People say that because Mustaine is better than him. Hammett is an excellent player, but not one of the best. Also, Richie Sambora is terribly underrated. I mean, Richie could own all of the guys on this list.

He's out of tune most of the time! That's good for deaf people. Most of them can identify his playing. They call it "style". I call it "silly repetitive melodies played out of tune."

19 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.

As a guitar player myself, I can tell you sliding your hand across the guitar strings over the pickups instead of playing actual musical notes like Slash, Hendrix, Jimmy Page, etc., does not take talent. I strongly agree with Tom being on the list but disagree with most of the others. On the low key though, I still kinda like Rage Against the Machine and I don't know why.

I can't even consider this guy a guitar player. I saw him on stage with Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Zakk Wylde, John 5, Nuno Bettencourt, and others where they all traded solos. It was obvious from his body language that he didn't feel comfortable playing with actual guitar players. I actually felt bad for him.

This capitalist uses more effects than an animated science fiction movie. How else is he supposed to play AND hold up his fist? He has to let the world know he is woke.

20 Jack White John Anthony "Jack" White is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the duo The White Stripes, but has also had success in other bands and as a solo artist.

Only popular because of "Seven Nation Army." I believe Meg was the one who wrote the riff too. Just look at him. He looks like a rejected Ozzy Osbourne.

Jack White and the Edge, both show that you don't have to be good to be famous.

Knows nothing about articulation, yet another noisy and sloppy sucker.

21 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.

People who can't play always mention him as the best. He's just an elitist who only plays in one key and nothing else. Those liberal-yuppie-know-it-alls always hail him as the best. Unfortunately, his rotten political opinions aside, Carlos is still one of the most boring guitarists you'll ever hear. He has absolutely no technique (can't shred, duh) or musicality (always the same pentatonic scale and one key playing).

Carlos Santana completely hijacked Peter Green's style when Fleetwood Mac came to America. He even went as far as pawning off "Black Magic Woman" as his own material. Neil Schon was a way better guitarist, but Carlos only let him play rhythm during the Santana III years.

His songs are simpler and slower than anyone else's. Jimi Hendrix's songs were somewhat easy too, but at least he came up with good guitar riffs. Santana can't even do that.

22 Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society.

I can't stand his tone... That terrible blasty sound with tons of gain and then the endless wah... Definitely overrated.

He's definitely lost his sense of creativity in his solos and riffs.

Please save me from the pinch harmonics.

23 Dave Navarro David Michael "Dave" Navarro is an American guitarist, singer-songwriter, and actor. He is best known as a former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and as a founding member of the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction.

Angus Young was on this list, but not this guy?

24 Pat Metheny

Just because Pat Metheny is a Jazz player doesn't exempt him from the list. Compared to other top Jazz guitarists like George Benson, or top Fusion players like John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and Frank Gambale, Pat Metheny is boring at best.

Pat Metheny is not a bona fide jazz guitarist. Nor are jazz-wannabees John Scofield and Bill Frisell, both of whom should be on this list.

25 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.

He just plays blues licks over and over again. He seems like a guy who you would see at an open mic night and think, "Oh damn, he's pretty good," but nothing more. He's better than the other guitarists on this list, but I had to put him here because of how many people think he's the greatest ever.

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