Top 10 Best Rock Guitarists of All Time
Go find the best sound quality Zeppelin boot from their lean mean early years (1969-'72) and just listen to Page's astonishing, eerily inspired,improvisational brilliance...There is good reason he has been called the Pagannini of electric guitar. It's not about a zillion flawless notes per second (though Page was blisteringly fast in his prime), it's about what the sounds being produced do to the listener! Page has been called "sloppy perfection" because he would always reach for the inspirational sound rather than technical perfection. I know it sounds a little strange but musicians know exactly what I mean. Jimmy Page has deservedly eclipsed Jimi Hendrix in this otherworldly inspired playing category. Go find "Listen to this Eddie" and see exactly what I mean.
It sounds odd to call a rock god of Jimmy Page's magnitude, who is universally revered in rock music circles, underrated. But he is generally underrated. As much as I enjoyed Jimi Hendrix, his death at a young age led to the inevitable deification & overrating of his great talent. Page was the superior overall musical talent. Though young JP was blisteringly fast, as many other players have proven, a gymnastic exercise of a zillion notes a second means very little. Page's real gift and power was always evidenced by the emotional impact that his playing never fails to convey. It was called "sloppy perfection" by those that understood that the power never lay in note for note inerrancy but in overall impact on the listener. Page will forever remain the Paganini of rock guitar, the greatest rock guitarist that ever lived. (P.S. He was also the most innovative and gifted studio record producer in rock history. )
It really annoys me when contemporary guitarists call Page's guitar work sloppy. They should have such sloppiness. The break on Whole Lotta' Love is as sharp as a tack. Since I've been loving you is surely one of the greatest minor blues tracks ever and if Jimmy occasionally misses a note it's because he's playing / improvising so fast. His composing talent is second to none.
The person who is responsible for starting the greatest rock and roll band of all time. 9 studio albums that were all critically acclaimed, 200-300 million records sold, the greatest riff maker of all time... Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, Kashmir... The list goes on. Jimmy Page is one of the greatest to ever play the instrument. Period.
Hendrix was great because he was the first to turn up the volume, use the fuzzbox, etc., and changed the sound of music to come. He was a great player, to be sure. But Eddie ALSO changed the sound of music, and physically reinvented the guitar itself AND influenced it's production forward. Furthermore, we all know he didn't "invent" tapping and hammering per se; but, in 1978 with one solo we all knew what it was, and then EVERYONE was doing it, plus his other multitude of techniques, AND the first thing every young slasher does is learn to do it. I think that speaks for itself. It's pretty hard to convince me that anyone else has done more - overall - to alter and progress the sound of rock music than Eddie.
Eddie Van Halen was one of the most innovative rock guitarists, one of the fastest players, one of the catchiest writers...along with singing while doing all this...and stage presence.
He brought finger tapping to mainstream rock. His playing completely changed ALL genres of music. All your favorite guitarists from the 80s and more recent copy Eddie, or copy someone else who copies Eddie. It's inevitable. Somewhere in your guitar playing is a piece of Eddie. :)
If you can move around stage like him, and sing, both while playing like him, then you're doing something.
Well it's all a matter of taste 'cause all "best rock guitarists" lists differ. But I think we can all say that after Hendrix' and Page's era, Edward Lodewijck Van Halen was the best and most important new kind on the block. Eruption changed the whole rock/metal guitarist landscape totally. No one had heard a guitarist play like EVH before, his speed, sound, style and skills changed everything.
Not many guitarists, hence musicians, can make that claim.
Eddie should be in the top five.. If not the top three! One of the few guitarists that created his own style and done his own thing.
A life lived far too quickly. Can you imagine a mature Hendrix playing well into his 70s like some artists? I can't. Maybe his fire was a product of his lifestyle
Many people have different opinions on what makes a guitarist great. Some point to technical ability. Some to legendary bodies of work. Some to influence they have had on musicians after them. JimI had all of that and more. He defined his own generation and many after it. He cultivated a bluesy guitar sound into hard rock with jazz elements and created a sound never heard before. If you listen to his straight up blues tracks, you will quickly come to realize Stevie Ray Vaughan owes him every dime he ever made. He was heavy before heavy was even established and still elegant in a way that few after have managed to capture. He was a pioneer and a legend. And he did this all in 27 years on Earth. Every rock guitarist since him is to some degree indebted to him. Long live the king.
Jimi Hendrix lived and breathed talent, power, soul, the blues and every other emotion possible. I love all these guitarists, but none of them compare to Hendrix, every note he played was the most powerful, most soulful note the world has ever experienced. Hendrix shall rule as the king of music until the end of time. Are you experienced?
The man could play guitar behind his back, underneath his legs, and with his teeth. He literally embodied what a guitar player should be. He is a skilled player, and fantastic showmen, and a excellent composer. Just listen to his performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" and you will see why his the the best guitarist that ever lived.
What?! Syn on 2nd!
Slash should be the 2nd greatest guitarist behind Hendrix. Page should be on 3rd only because of "stairway to heaven". Synyster has technical skill but no feeling. If we consider speed, Syn can never be greater than Eddie Van Halen. However, feeling is what actually matters. So, Slash would be actually on 1st because Hendrix died soon and could not play many solos as Slash did.
Here's my top 4:- 1. Slash
2. Jimi Hendrix (may also be 1st)
3. Jimmy Page
4. Eddie Van Halen
Slash is like the best guitarist you can get. His style of playing is so melodic, compared to all the other rock guitarists. It can even impress people who have always denounced rock music! that's something even a legend like Jimi Hendrix couldn't do as well as this awesome guy
The man has a presence about him that most don't have, he's raw and he's real which pushes him into the top 3 somewhere.
He is a magician on that thing! He even made it sound like it growled on Welcome To The Jungle, when I saw them live!
He is the second best guitarist behind Jimi, but my favourite!
He is very diverse... He can move from the hard rocking songs of Layla and sunshine of your love, to his technically brilliant slow paced work like wonderful tonight and next time you see her.
Eric doesn't just play the guitar... He is the guitar, and let's it sing!
Slowhand is the absolute best ever! Consider where he came from, his tragic losses and his personal demons!
He is, has been and always will be the best for me. There are many talented guitarists and more evolving every day, but he is the best.
What else can you say about Cream's solo specialty guitarist. This guy made solos sound easy when they really weren't. His solo on White Room by Cream influenced billions of solos latter on.
He's not called "God" for nothing. Everyone else is in his shadow. If you're under 50 just shut up and listen - you'll learn.
This guy doesn't just play guitar, he's an artist. He can take any of the beautiful, amazing songs Queen produced and come up with the perfect guitar solo that COMPLIMENTS the music without DOMINATING it. In my opinion, that's an incredibly important and admirable skill in a rock guitarist, when you see so many opting to steal the show with ridiculously overdone, over complicated riffs. Brian May was, and still is, dedicated to the music first and foremost rather than just showcasing his own talent when it's his time to shine. Plus, he has an epic singing voice and can write absolute bops! Definitely my favorite rock guitarist!
Brian should be a close second to Jimi Page. No way is Slash better. I wonder if the maker of the list was even born when music was music and there were rockers. Not these singing show winners that no one is going to remember in 10 years. Just listen to Brian shred it on Fat Bottom Girls and then tell me that he doesn't at the least deserve second place.
Look may not be better than page he's up there with Hendrix but synester gates is NOT better than May. I'm an avenged sevenfold fan but I can admit he is no where near the top ten. Listen to any queen song. Take bohemian rapsody for example. Just listen to how beautiful the guitar sounds. Others examples are we will rock you, any others will do.
Should be in the top three no question! Although Mercury certain was the main attraction, without May the band would have lacked direction. I mean really just listen to the complexity of his solos! The guitar was part of the man!
Angus Young isn't top tier, but he should definitely be higher up than he is now. Angus can play the guitar better than a lot of people on this list, but his best quality that makes him an even better guitarist is how he plays the crowd, he doesn't just go on the stage play his stuff and go off, he goes onto the stage and plays his guitar while simultaneously playing his audience, it's amazing how he can run around like a lunatic, play his music, and play his audience all at the same time
In my opinion Angus young tops slash by far, slash is a good guitarist no question, but listening his guitar solos, there are still a few flaws or lacks of creativity while angus young really plays flawless solos.
Angus is one of the only guitar players that can run around playing amazing riffs and solos unlike slash who looks like a bell end.
Angus Young definitely first. I'd like to see any other player play with that much soul and blues and emotion and be doing spasms and duck walks. he is the best and there is no such thing as a bad or less than amazing AC/DC song. Angus should be #1.
One way to understand the personality of Kirk Hammett is to just listen to two tracks that I suppose depict him perfectly. They are 1). ONE 2). Welcome Home (Sanitarium). I have also seen many people criticizing Kirk just because he is a metal guitarist. Just become mature and stop being cynical. He is a satriani student along with Vai. Rolling stones didn't give him a place in top 100. Though he is just not what he was but lets not forget what he did from 1984-1992! The whole world said WOW! He was much much better than Page in is initial years. Kirk played at seatle at 27. Listen to that solo there. Then listen to Page solo (Again at 27) at Royal Albert hall. That had such a rough sound. So respect Mr. Hammett!
While Kirk Hammett was influential in the metal community and his solos are awesome, he can't compare to the pure melodic and creative genius of Gilmour, Clapton, Hendrix and Eddie. Anyways, metal guitarists like Dimebag and Iommi were/are more influential. If we were going off of pure technical abilities, then Kirk would be close to the top.
Hammett has found peace within outsider music. This consummate professional isn't simply an amazing talent he has been for 30 years with very little interuption. It is one thing to have talent and another to have sustained talent for 30+ years - he is still relevant - Metallica is relevant.
He changed rock and metal completely, with epic solos like Fade To Black, Master Of Puppets, and countless more. Come on people, he deserves to be higher than seventh!
The best. He plays with his feelings and doesn't try to play a lot of notes in one second (but this doesn't he is bad technically, try to play "Dogs" for instance). He would make you cry with "Comfortably Numb", "Time" or "Shine on"; you would hear hs guitar speaks on "Money", "Pigs" (the long one) or "Keep Talking" and discover his rage on "The Nile Song" or "Have a Cigar". He is very influential too: John Petrucci, Andrew Latimer, Steven Wilson, Frederik Akesson or Steve Rothery all quote him as an influence. Dave Mustaine praised his guitar skills too.
This guy is the greatest solo writer ever. While his stuff isn't particularly hard to play (note-wise) replicating his tone is impossible along with coming up with anything as melodic, psychedelic and genius as Comfortably Numb or Time. To me, Gilmour is #2 behind Hendrix, but that's just personal preference.
Need to relax, play Comfortably Numb LOUD. Works at the dentist, for surgery, getting a tattoo. Gilmour is the best guitarist... He can reach your inner soul, you feel it. The hairs on your arm stand up every time. Comfortably Numb actually brings tears to my eyes every time I listen... And I'm old!
Although I must pay my respect/tribute to "Stairway to Heaven" by Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, since it was THE SONG that, as a preteen, brought me to Rock-n-Roll, and for which I consider to be my favorite song of all time, and additionally is nearly impossible to choose given Page's other brilliantly composed music, my sincere love of David Gilmour's musical brilliance takes the lead if I have to choose who is the best. I know "Comfortably Numb", "Marooned", "High Hopes", "Pigs (Three Different Ones), and "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" are just a few of Gilmour's numerous songs that would have brought me to rock-n-roll, had I heard them before Stairway to Heaven. Thankfully wisdom taught me music is a compilation, not a competition (hehe, so I'll just enjoy them both, and Tony Iommi, and...).
Synyster Gates is hands down an amazing guitarist. Of course he is mostly known for being able to shred faster than most guitarists (a fact even his haters have to admit), but Syn was classically trained and can do so much more. He can write/play upbeat riffs like in "Scream" and "Nightmare," go all out like in "Hail to the King" where he plays an incredibly difficult beat throughout the entire song and pairs it with an even more difficult solo, but he can also slow it down and play songs like "Seize the Day," "So Far Away," and "Dear God." He is still so young and has loads of time left to make an even bigger impact. The fact that a guitarist from Avenges Sevenfold is on a list with guys from all these legendary bands is proof enough for me!
All the folks talking down on Syn's ability to invoke powerful feeling in his solos and riffs need to take a day listening only to A7X songs. Really soak them in, then ask yourself if there is or ever has been anyone that can top him. No one can compare to his speed and precision, but he also deserves a place high on the list for his 'powerful feeling' and originality, which is hard to stand out
with the originality in an age where so many great riffs and solos already exist. Switch him out with any lead guitarist of the past and he will match or exceed their role. Whereas Slash or Van Halen wouldn't quite fill his shoes in A7X. So considering all the attributes that make up these greats, Syn is #1 in my opinion. We're talking about the greatest, period. Not the biggest fan base, or boundaries pushed at their time. -JMS
A lot of people on here are hating on Syn, but regardless of if he has made any impact on rock music or other guitarists should be overlooked by the fact that he is simply amazing! And he's only 33 years old so he still has A LOT of time to make those impacts. Its hard to compete with legends, but I think he definitely deserves to be here.
Yeah Syn. If you only watch A7x on a concert maybe you can't see if he is the best. But try to hear all A7X songs. He not just make a song, he created an art.
I have hear many songs of Metallica, Bullet For My Valentine, BMTH, Slipknot eve dream theater. They're famous, but FOR ME no ones better.
Jimmy page or slash maybe better. But is because they're a leggend.
Don't ever chidded syn with sayying "I can do faster and even better than syn" stop joking man. Its because you hate him.
Try to hear best A7X songs.
In my opinion this guy is one of the best rock guitarists alive today. Why you ask? Objectively, most modern electric guitar players have a large pedal board in front of them plus other FX gear to blow an audience's mind with a killer sound. This dude doesn't and uses only an overdrive pedal, choosing to get his sound the old fashioned way, from his guitar. He has been compared to guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa etc. for years. He's gets a ton of press, constant terrestrial & internet radio play, is a published song writer and can play at the speed of light with the best of them. His one-off guitars are made by his sponsor, Gary Kramer Guitars and he fronts 3 piece rock/metal band Men Without Armies. Just Google him or MWA if you want to see what I mean. He's not backed by a label or an agent so what you hear, see & read about Dylan is all unbiased, grassroots information and opinions. He doesn't have a PR Agent blasting the company line about him all over the ...more
This dude is a prodigy. I saw him on stage when one of his strings broke and he kept playing. And the amazing thing is that it sounded awesome. He sure is underrated.
Although I am happy to see my friend Brennan on this top 100 list, I believe he should be in the top 25, at least for modern rock guitarist. His sound is fresh and vibrant.
He is amazing to watch and deserves much more recognition for his skills with a guitar than he is getting.
The first time I heard Randy was on Crazy Train and a thunderous performance of Paranoid live, the likes of which I've still never heard anything like. I've been a rock fan for a long time, but I've always thought since hearing him that Randy is the best guitarist I've ever heard. He's unlike any other player. You can't really compare him to Eddie Van Halen because Randy has a sound that's very unique to him. He had a beautiful ear for music, very melodic and he brought this to Rock and Metal. His playing is a privilege to listen to. He's often overlooked in polls on greatest guitarists so it's great to see him get to No 12 here.
Any day or night, Randy could play circles around Eddie Van Halen. He was an absolute original. Where other axe-men borrowed from Page, Clapton, Berry, Waters, etc., Rhoads borrowed from Classical and pure Spanish riffs and forged them into metal. Was a year behind him in high school, and would sit in his next-door neighbor's room (my younger brother's best friend) and listen to him and his brother hammer away in their garage, or to Randy giving lessons to folks of any age. He didn't need a reason to shred, it was pure nature to him. Clapton, SRV, Page, maybe Gilmour ahead of him, nobody else.
Obviously, people who vote aren't guitarists. If they were guitarists, Randy would be on top! He was pure genius when it came to music. It's unfortunate that most people don't know what he could do. Most people don't realize that he actually laid down a track, and then do it all over with an overdub, so his sound was much fuller. I've heard that he even did up to 4 guitar dubs on some songs.
I find it very sad that Randy isn't even in the top 10. He was very creative in the way he wrote his music and played. He combined classical guitar with rock guitar and was extremely creative in his solos, riffs, and his technique, especially in crazy train, goodbye to romance, and dee, (songs off of Blizzard of Ozz) along with most of the stuff on diary of a madman. Randy is definitely my all time favorie.
Famous because he's a great guitarist. Kirk Hammett should not be anywhere near here because he uses a wah pedal, and Is only famous because of the band he's in.
I can't believe Pete isn't even on the list. He is a top ten guitarist, anyone with a decent music taste knows that. The Who is legendary, and Pete made them so.
Helped revolutionize feedback before Hendrix and he's incredibly skilled and influential.
Name any other guitar player who has written 2 Rock Operas...?
Seen and heard most of these guys over the last 40 years. Almost all the supposed top guitarists on this list could not have held a candle to the Townshends' et al. I f they'd been in the same time frame. Townshend invented the first and best power chords that knocked out the massive audiences of the time. Don't get me wrong as their are some fine 21st century guitarists. As a still active concerteer, I've seen well over 100 of the top rock bands in the UK, USA and Europe over the last four+ decades and the fact Peter Townshend, Richards, Lee, May, e tc. e tc are either far down or not even on the list, is embarrassing to lifelong rock fans me and an insult to their memory. Most of the modern guitar heroes posted do not deserve the ranking they have for three simple reasons: 1) Townshend (and the other oldsters) had no 'giant shoulders' to stand on and learn from, 2) they did not have the tremendous resource of rock guitar books, videos, manuals e tc. t hat were and are available to ...more
Tom gets my vote because, despite not being the most traditionally "talented" on the list, he brings so many new things to the table. What he does is all new and hasn't been done by anyone else; he's completely original.
I don't know how he's not number 1.
He's amazing. This man is nice asf. I say it's between him and Slash. and I say Tom beats Slash by a hair. He was born to play guitar for Rage Against The Machine. His skills are unbelievable.
This guy is just amazing! His skills are different and plays amazingly in audioslave
Tom Morello is one of the best, it's cool how what he does has never been done before
The ONLY modern guitarist that can touch the sheer RANGE that Blackmore has done well is Clapton - who is more of a blues guitarist than a rock guitarist.
ALWAYS underrated - just listen to his work on the Rainbow Live version of "Catch the Rainbow", where he does more styles in ONE SONG than most guitarists manage in a career.
Honorable mention to Hendryx as the most INNOVATIVE electric guitarist.
Purple's sound morphed several times over the years, and Richie knew how to add all the right touches to make it work, not to mention his work with Rainbow and Blackmore's Night. From the quiet smoothness of 'When a Blind Man Cries' to the lightning speed of his 'Highway Star' solo, Blackmore's axe was instantly recognizable.
I think we are looking at the best damn Hard Rock Guitarist to play modern hard rock music. Blackmore turned Deep Purple into a wicked Hard Rock band with countless solos that you can't miss out such as: Highway Star, Child in Time, Burn, Black Night, Fireball etc
The most often imitated but never duplicated., Ritchie had nothing committed to memory every thing he played came from emotion. Instantly recognizable style and tone. Could play any style and pioneered much of what you hear today.
Dime by any measure was one of the GREATEST GUITAR PLAYERS who ever walked the planet. The Dude was astonishing... Just one killer player. He just unleashed fury. He was a fearless player who attacked the fretboard. This may offend some but in my opinion he was a better player than Eric Clapton could ever hope to be. Eric is just too measured a player... Watching him is like watching caution perform. Sure Eric's solos are great but he strikes me as a guy who leaves nothing to chance & therefore improvises nothing. DIMEBAG is the MAN!
Has anyone here ever listened to Pantera? He sends Slash home and he clearly deserves to be number 1 on this list becuase Dimebag is god. Just listen to any Pantera song. Slash is nothing compared to Dimebag.
One of the most technically talented guitarist that ever lived. His riffs were aggressive and would rip your head off your shoulders yet his solos were graceful masterpieces! Took too soon. Watch him play the complex 'Domination' solo. He never hits a bum note! Legend. R.I.P
Dimebag's playing is just phenominal. He could make a guitar sing like nobody else and the different techniques he used with the speed he had I don't think anybody else
Ace at this number? Again I wonder what the heck are you listening to? He was Dimebag Darrell's idol. Have you ever listened to Ace on many KISS classics like Cold Gin, Do You Love Me, Dr. Love, Shock Me and so many others? Listen to Ace's work on his new single Gimme A Feelin. Open your ears.
Ace might not be the best but his solos are always very catchy and when he dose them live there the same as on the album and always suits the song part perfectly. But for me page1st, Blackmore 2nd and ace and Angus young in the top ten some where.
Diference "Greatest Rock Guitarists of All Time" and "Best Guitarists Ever"?
Ace Frehley appears in different positions. Position 29 is cool, 46 in the other list is wrong.
Very good guitar player, a little underrated but he should be around 15 or so.
People tend to think that because George was in the Beatles he is overrated. Well because this I have to say he is incredibly underrated. No one had a feel for a guitar like George did. He wasn't flashy or necessarily fast, but he played in way that made you want to sing along to his guitar. Everything he played he played in a way that was just perfect for the song. Just think about hi playing in Something, You Can't Do That, I Saw Her Standing There, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cheer Down, and the list goes on and on. Maybe He's not the greatest but he deserves to be in the top ten at least.
John and Paul may have provided the lyrics, but George, along with Ringo, made the songs special. If only his ego could have competed with the two primary songwriters, he might be much more appreciated for the incredible talent he was.
Probably the most "tasteful" guitarist on this list. Understood that the notes one doesn't play are just as important as the notes that one does play.
For the type of great music that George produced his skills as a guitarist were very well suited indeed.
Early fuzz genius.
What's to say? Pure brilliance--smooth, inventive, versatile, lyrical, bell-like tones. He put it all out there on 'Sultans...' and only got better.
The Dire Straits guitarist who pretty much invented his own style of guitar playing which turned him into a success by the early 80s, however he isn't recognized by many as a great guitarist but I know his skills have never been similar to other guitarists.
Surely the greatest of the greats; just beyond compare and can play a wide range of styles.
He gets sounds out of his guitar that no one else can. In my opinion, clearly a top 5.
How is someone who basically invents a genre like heavy metal not in the top 10?
He changed the music genre, he created a new genre, he's the god of metal
One word sums up Carlos. "Taste". His playing has it for days.
You can keep your flash-in-the-pan shredders.
Speed kills, especially when what your playing is crap.
Also, how can you have a list of top-flight guitarists and omit Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan and have Ritchie Blackmore down in the weeds?
Ace Frehley? Lindsey Buckingham? Are you boning me?
Longevity has a lot to do with guitarists. This guy should be in the top ten. No way Dylan should even be on the list. Ace Fraley, Tom Morello,Synyster Gates, or Kirk Hammette. And talk about Jimmy, Randy SRV And some would say Duane Allman and when you have Hetfield on the same stage that doesn't hurt. Dylan great writer that's not a guitar Morello,Gates,or Fraley, nope not even close.
Be serious. I have been listening to this guy for 45 years, & it's hard to imagine him standing behind all of these other guys. He's just too good.
If you do not think this guy is in the top 10 all time you are crazy.I have listen to his rips for so long and he can play anything,not so for a lot on this list period.
What Alex Lifeson in the top 10? Yes I'm not being an idiot, I'm being honest by putting this talented underrated guitarist where he belongs. Rush had highly success not just because of Peart and Lee. If you listen to La Villa Strangiato by Rush, it shows you what Lifeson is capable of playing.
Alex Lifeson is SO Underrated. He IS one of the top ten rock guitarists of all time. Rush is still going strong after 40 years...and there is only 3 guys in the band making all that awesome sound! Enough said.
Definitely belongs in the Top 10, if not Top 5. No guitarist has the creativity that Lifeson has. Awesome that every solo is different and unique in its own way. So many classics
Alex is the most underrated of the theee Rush musicians. Geddy is often called best bassist (rightfully) and Neil is almost always called best drummer (rightfully) but Alex always gets pushed down.
Number 30! What a joke. Lindsey Buckingham is a guitar god who could hold hold his own against anyone who ever picked up a guitar, past or present.
Always overlooked in this category.