Top Shredders of All Time

Throughout the years, many things define a great guitarist. Here, guitarists are defined only by their speed. Who's the fastest? You decide.

The Top Ten

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

There's something special about Buckethead that sets him apart from the crowd. He possesses unreal speed that only one or two people on this list can match. However, on top of that, he has precision. You can hear every single note he plays without slowing the track down. However, what is most special about Bucky is his heart for the music. Not everything he does is shredding, and that is where his passion truly sings. Musicians seem to be losing the heart of music the more we progress as a society, but Buckethead has kept in touch with that sensibility.

Best guitarist ever! And I'll tell you why... He can play any type of music very soulfully, beautifully, and express his emotions on guitar! It's like he's speaking with his guitar! Not only that... The guy can shred like a mother! He shreds, solos does bass, plays banjo, piano! He's definitely the best guitarist out there... Ever actually! I love Hendrix, and people say he was like an alien! Don't get me wrong, I love Jimi! He's damn good! But if he's alien, then I don't know what the hell Buckethead is because he doesn't need lyrics or singing in his songs to make a masterpiece, all he needs is his guitar his mask and his bucket! He's known for his shredding but he definitely does NOT shred mindlessly! Buckethead is the best for his emotional bypolar songs! The ons with passion and emotion! That's what sets him apart from any guitarist out there!

Buckethead still has emotion and precision, even with shred. On top of this, his music expands across a wide range of genres, and his nubbing technique is revolutionary.

He's only fast on days he had KFC otherwise no but he's voted the best because everyone is scared they would get hit by buckethead's nunchucks. - tastetickles

V 71 Comments
2 John Petrucci 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.

Laugh out loud @ buckethead being before petrucci. Petrucci has one of the most unique styles that is very hard to master. He always surprises me with every dream theater release. His stuff with Liquid Tension Experiment is amazing also. Also for the people who think that he can't play with emotion, check out the music he did with explorer's club. You'll be proven otherwise.

He has shredding, technique, a great talent and his own style... His solos are just masterpieces of shredding and feeling! - rock2metal

Anyone looking for an exact clip, the solo from DT's Train of Thought stands out from nearly any other Guitar Solo I can think of. Both of them, but primarily the first solo, which absolutely tears it up.

A lot of people says that Petrucci's guitar playing has no feeling, but even when he is shredding you feel emotions that you can't feel with Malmsteen or Batio. Petrucci should be no. 1 here. (And even if you say this isn't about feels, then just listen the solo from "Stream Of Consciousness"

V 19 Comments
3 Yngwie Malmsteen 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.

Yngwie should be the second on the list. Every time I listen to his playing, I always remember paganini and other classical musician. He is pure classic guitarist and shredder, to be specific. Here is my own top 10 list of great shredder:
1.Michael Angelo Batio
2.Yngwie Malmsteen
3.John Petrucci
4.Steve Vai
5.Paul Gilbert
6.Joe Satriani
7.Reb Beach
8.Jerry C
9.Neil Zaza
10.Eddie Van Halen

Definitely not the fastest because his mouth driven by his ego is always ahead of his playing. - tastetickles

There are a handful of guitarists faster than Yngwie (Synyster Gates is not among them :p), but none who have contributed so much to rock/metal lead guitar technique. I guarantee you 90% of the guitarists on this list would list Yngwie as an influence, and those who wouldn't most likely came before Yngwie (and also probably shouldn't really classify as "shredders"). Also, where is Uli Jon Roth? That guy can shred insanely, and came even before Yngwie!

Most of the newbies nowadays consider "shredding" as "playing as fast as possible". Well, that's not how it is. You gotta be smooth, melodic and innovative in various ways to be considered as a full-fledged shredder.
It is also impossible to say that a certain guitarist is "the best", because all of them has a different style and every shredhead has a different taste, but when you compare them in means of their musicality and compatibility with varios styles of music, it is fair to say that YJM is better. When you look into his stuff, especially live shows rather than studio records, it is obivious that
his way of thinking and using his guitar is way simple yet powerful than any other. Also he has appeared in the era where everybody was rocking with their blues-based licks and he refused to copy them creating his own barouqe-based licks. (Guitarists such as Jason Becker, Vinnie Moore and Joe Stump and other various artists alongside him.) Even his tone is screaming like it is ...more

V 16 Comments
4 Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

How come he's not 2?

He was in a friendly rivalry with Randy Rhoads, but ultimately Randy was a better guitarist. His rivalry with Randy pushed both of them to make great music which influenced almost every guitarist in some way.

Eddie should definitely be at least the top 3
Eddie may be the king of tapping but he shreds like a madman on that guitar too! - OzzyVanHalen

He is the fastest guitarist bar-none. No one can strum faster than him and he's as if not mroe influential than Hendri. Listen to how solos are done after him and see where they originate. EVH is the greatest of all-time. Nuff said.

V 11 Comments
5 Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert Paul Brandon Gilbert is an American hard rock/heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums.

When half of his pinky is longer than the width of the fretboard, you know he's gonna be fast. - tastetickles

-Buckethead's TEACHER.
-By far the cleanest at those speeds.
-Best picking on the world, every stroke is 10 times more accurate than it needs to be for the human brain to consider it spot on.
-Insane left hand dexterity, speed, accuracy.
-Perfect genetically engineered fingers lol.
-By far the best teacher, more videos than the others, more lessons on all topics better and more detailed explanations than anything I've ever seen. Amazing ability simplify and pass on his point in most cases in the most humorous way possible.
-Most humble guy in the industry.
-Best string skipping technique ever conceived by miles.
-Manages to do all of the above with picks like tortex 0.60 mm the "orange ones".
-Technical god, and very close to a musical god.

Quite simply as good as it gets. Nice guy to boot.

Paul Gilbert is the one of the only shredders that their attitude isn't "Lolz I canz play guitar faster thawen yew lawl" or "Lewk at that 8th notes riff, it needs more stripes! MUAHAHAAHAAHHA! ". Him, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads and some more I can name.


V 17 Comments
6 Steve Vai Steve Vai Steven Siro "Steve" Vai is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer, born and raised on Long Island, New York.

Steve might not have the fastest fingers but he surely has the strongest grip, his JEM is a proof of that. - tastetickles


Has tons of feeling and is very versatile. You know it's Vai when you hear a song, because he has such a distinct sound. Also the GOD of the Whammy Bar.

Buckethead, Synyster Gates, and Herman Li... Above Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, And Eddie Van Halen... (goes into corner and cries)

V 3 Comments
7 Shawn Lane Shawn Lane Shawn Lane was an American musician who released two studio albums and collaborated with a variety of musicians including Ringo Starr, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Reggie Young, Joe Walsh, Jonas Hellborg and many others.

I used to think the fastest shredders were Yngwie Malmsteen, Buckethead, John Petrucci, etc and that there may be faster guitarists but not that much faster. But when I first heard Shawn Lane play, I could see that he was miles above every other shredder that I had ever heard. His technicality, along with his speed, and ability to play notes with impeccable cleanliness, are almost inhuman. He even said that he was just born with a freakish nervous system, which helped contribute to his lightning fast playing. Until future generations pick up the guitar, there has not been another Shawn Lane yet, and no ones ever even been close to his speedy and flawless playing, all while sounding incredibe.

This is the most ridiculous list ever. first of all stupid Avenged Sevenfold fanboys that probably don't play guitar voted for him. Guitar Hero fanboys voted for Herman Li and Slash are you kidding me put Slash playing next to Shawn Lane, Jason Becker or Petrucci, he would look like a five year trying to play what they're playing. anyway now that iI got that of my chest Shawn Lane is defiantly the best shredder just watch any video of him playing. Look up the live version of Get You Back the licks that he plays near the end are not only insane but also sound absolutely beautiful. I tried to learn how to play them but although I know the notes he is playing it'a almost impossible to make the stretches, make it sound clean and play as fast as he did. In the words of Paul Gilbert"He has Amazing Blazing Phrasing"

Was the rarest of guitarists in that he could shred your head clean off but still maintain musicality. Anyone who doubts the fact that he was the fastest listen to "Gray Pianos Flying" and "Get You Back" off of Powers of Ten. Or check out some of his instructional videos.

An awesome fusion player. So much soul in his playing. An unparalleled musical mind.

V 4 Comments
8 Randy Rhoads 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.

Alright, so he's not the fastest. But he comes from a time when it wasn't entirely about speed. You hear him play a solo like on Mr Crowley, Diary of a Madman or Crazy Train, and you think "damn! That's a solo! " He's obviously no slouch in terms of technique, but speed's not his only trick. OK, Gilbert is really fast, but his solos lack substance. Randy plays with excellent taste and inspiration, showing true beauty in his solos. It's surprising how few guys here know how to shred with feeling (I'd have to mention Petrucci and Alex Lifeson as two who do). Not to mention the songs he wrote are brilliant. This man was a brilliant guitar player, who truly knew how to use a guitar. I remember seeing the live video of Crazy Train which blew my mind. He was my first guitar hero

My favorite guitarist of all time. Randy was one of the greatest guitarists to walk this earth. Inspiring, and being an Idol to every guitarist Above and Below. Hard to imagine his true talent since he was taken so young, and no one got to hear his true talent except Ozzy, his Family, and Quiet Riot.

if he had not died from the plane crash...i believe he would be on the G3 tours with Gilbert, Satriani, Vai, and Petrucci....speaking of which....where the hell is Petrucci

Eddie Van Halen played liked he partied cool and with a lot of tricks unlike randy who played like a philosopher

V 7 Comments
9 Dimebag Darrell 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.

After Dimebag I can't listen to these other outdated turds.

Sound of his own still to this day. All others boring in comparison.

If anyone stops a Pantera solo it's punishable by death, it's a crime to stop dime...

I'm not the biggest Pantera fan in the world but my god Dimebag was a incredible shredder and guitarist. Slash was a classic guitarist too but HELLO GUYS this is the top 10 SHREDDER LIST. So vote for the fastest! Tom Morello doesn't shred at all. All Synyster Gates does is his little sweep picks and arpegios here and ther - Junkie

V 13 Comments
10 Synyster Gates 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.

This guy is flawless. When he is killing it on stage, and looks really bored, he is actually focusing intently on not screwing up. It pays off because not only a top shredder, but top 10 all-time Metal Guitarist in my opinion

Synyster Gates is the best if you put his shredding power up against anyone else he would own the crap out of them his talent could never be taught he is a God..

Name someone else who can shred that fast, play that clearly and play with emotion all at the same time, completely faultlessly and with no mistakes. I'll wait

I think he never make a mistake whenever he plays the guitar, especially when he does the melody. His fingers are really fast and accurate. And he put his feelings when he plays the guitar, so we can feel his expression in his music.

V 19 Comments

The Contenders

11 Guthrie Govan Guthrie Govan Guthrie Govan is an English virtuoso guitarist and guitar teacher, known for his work with the bands The Aristocrats, Asia, GPS, The Young Punx and The Fellowship, as well as his solo project Erotic Cakes.

The Homeless Jesus - tastetickles

I don't understand how Guthrie is 10th on this list. His technique is supreme and musicality is on another level. You can watch him ripping Steve Vai apart on the G3 tour with Joe Satriani. Beats any guitarist on this list hands down.

The cleanest of them all when shredding no doubt

Guthrie Govan is an endless catalogue of technical expression. His command over the guitar is second to none. His speed is at a level that only decades of playing can supply. His precise attention to each note is remarkably revelational throughout his music. Wether it's a slow groove bend or a series of notes strung together at an alarming speed, he presents a measure of hair-splitting attention to each note that's unsurpassed by no one. Of course, these are all robotic characteristic and would be meaningless without a beautiful marriage to real, emotion-ladened, sound waves. The fact that Guthrie can be such a technical heavy weight and still maintain a focus on the emotional content of music is a testament to his preeminence.

V 4 Comments
12 Zakk Wylde 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.

This man is an Idiot. Besides being hilarious, he is an Exceptionally good blues player, and comes up with excellent riffs. Zakk is blindingly fast and you can't forget those Pinch Harmonics

Dude hasn't evolved much, but has rock star personality, and can still keep up with the shred kiddies.

Synyster is the 6th and Zakk is the 12th? what the heck is going on man. Zakk is way better than him

13 Michael Angelo Michael Angelo Michael Angelo Batio also known as Mike Batio or MAB, is an American heavy metal guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois.

MAB is way better than buckethead. Buckethead is overrated. Don't really like his music. YES I've listened to his songs like Electric Tears, Jordan, Nottingham Lace, LeBron, Lebron's Hammer, yoshimitsu's den, Braingate. I've listened to a lot of Buckethead Songs (I was a fan back then) But now I know that he is DEFINITELY not on top. Sure he can shred and lullaby a baby to sleep. That's nothing special. The other top 9 of this list can do that too (maybe except for Malmsteen). You think Buckethead is the only one who mastered every genre and technique there is? THINK AGAIN. Paul Gilbert, MAB, John Petrucci, Van Halen, even Synyster gates can do those. Don't think that buckethead is all that good. You haven't heard of Octavarium, Wither, Forsaken, Solitary Shell, Six Degrees of inner turbulence? Mab's Quad guitar solo? Van Halens Spanish Fly? Dragonforce's Starfire? Avenged Sevenfold's Dear God? Paul Gilberts Scarified? Malmsteens I am a viking? They're all masterpieces too and ...more

Definitely the fastest shredder, I mean come on he can wank the guitar from every direction at blistering speed but the guy needs some shampoo and hair conditioner - tastetickles

Michael Angelo Batio should be on the op of this list... He has got extreme shredding skills... Plus he can do it with both of his hands... An extremely rare trait that's only possessed by true legends... Others look like a joke against him...

I tell you why MAB Should be above those other 3.
1. Buckethead is fast but his shredding technique goes always over the same notes. Making it easier
2. John petrucci can't shred come on, he can play fast but not do an insane shredding
3. Synyster Gates is fast, but most of his faster solos have never been played live. Means he would probably make a lot of mistakes.

PD What are slash and kirk Hammett doing here, slash have never shred in any of his solos, and kirk is good but not one of the fastest.
Chris Broderick from megadeth should be added to the list as well.

V 38 Comments
14 Al Di Meola Al Di Meola Al Di Meola is an American jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist, composer, and record producer of Italian origin.

Undeniable speed, technical ability and creative talent.
This guy is one of the all time greats and is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. I've seen many of the guitarists on this list live and very few have anything on this guy.
Just ask them. A great shredder will tell you how legendary Di Meola is. Melodic, emotional, adventurous - with Malmsteen speed on both electric and acoustic. Ask Steve Morse who's one of the greatest and most versatile players of all time hands down - in all genres, and he will tell you all about Al and his influence and greatness.

Um... The fact that Al Di Meola isn't in the top TEN of this list gives the entire thing the smell of a popularity contest rather than a semi-objective appraisal of the genre.

Ask John Petrucci, Steve Vai, or Paul Gilbert and they'll tell you Al was a main inspiration for them to play FAST

#1 guitar world

V 1 Comment
15 Jason Becker Jason Becker Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American neoclassical metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up more.

Jason Becker is thw best Shredder ever, just listing to his early work. This guy has been playing guitar since age 5, and around the time he was 20 David Lee Roth himself asked Jason to tour with him.

Slash and Synyster before JASON BECKER! THAT'S STUPID!
This guy just shreds! I realize than many people haven't heard of his work and think Slash and Synyster Gates (the most overrated guitarists ever) are better than Jason playing guitar with one hand and playing yo-yo with the other hand (search 'Jason Becker yo-yo' in YouTube)! All his solos in his solo work, in Cacophony and with David Lee Roth are just made for blow your mind!
And you know why I think he is one of the best guitarists and composers?
Because he is doing awesome music even when he can only think and move his eyes, that's shows that he can do good music at any time - rock2metal

Come on I am so sick of these a7x fans I know that there is people who know guitar and play guitar I know how fast jason becker is please don't let synyster gates and slash abve him

He's the best shredder ever.

V 20 Comments
16 Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Joseph Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie more.

What is with these lists Joe is simply amazing. No one else even comes close. I think its his composition and ability to express emotion in his music that sets him far above any others. I have been a fan since the early days, Not of this Earth is still one of my all time favorite songs. This song live just is mind blowing. When Joe is on stage is when the magic really happens. There is no need for any type of list, there is Joe, then everyone else.

I can't believe satch is so low on this list.

In the words of Ingwei..."The man"

Satch combines shred and melody like no one else, he knows his theory and has the technical ability but always with much feeling and incredible melody which is why he is the king shredder.

V 9 Comments
17 Les Paul Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor.

Fastest guitarist. listen 2 sleepwalk

18 Vinnie Moore

Melodic, speed, feel, creative talent that fans and musicians can only dream of.

Amazing Melodic and accurate player - Very cool runs - Love all his solo and UFO work

Unbelievable Melody and control - A guitar wizard

He's in the top ten.

V 2 Comments
19 Alexi Wildchild Laiho Alexi Wildchild Laiho Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.

Why is he so low? Speed and an ability to sound very good while doing it should place him at least in the top 10

How the hell is Alexi not top 10! He may not be as good as Slash or Syn but he is faster than both. Listen to the We're Not Gunna Fall solo and you'll see.

Children of bodom's frontman, this guy can shred on the guitar. Faster than John Petrucci. - MASH

He may not be the fastest but damn can this guy play fast and he sings at the same time, I love alexi he's my god

V 6 Comments
20 Dave Mustaine 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 more.

I don't see how anyone can go faster than him. The demos on kill em all. The solo on hit the lights...that is so fast its crazy

Dave Mustaine isn't a shredder in general. Picking fast doesn't mean shredding. If he's a shredder then Johnny Ramone is also a shredder. He has shred-solos in his songs. But most of them weren't done by him. He has good lead guitar skills too. But that doesn't mean he is a shredder. - zxm

Great shredder listen to his solo on holy wars, devils island

MEGADETH! M/m/ Megadeth rules. Dave Mustaine for President. m/

V 8 Comments
21 Glenn Tipton Glenn Tipton Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. He is most commonly known as the lead guitarist for English heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Most evolved guitarist from 70s (with KK too), still compete with modern shredder today.

How is he not on this list PAINKILLER Glenn is Judas priest! - macrox16

Glenn's been shredding since the late 70s. He is one of the creators of the whole sub-genre, or whatever it is.

What has happened to people? Listen to All Guns Blazing solo where He literally out-shreds all these so called Modern Technical Axemen. :D

22 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck more.

chuck Schuldiner is a technical guitar god, also very emotional, it's not the conventional death metal guitarist

Guitarist of Death already died was a fast guitarist...

23 Kerry King Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

SLAYER - lilrocketman

Kerry doesn't solo in key. Has no idea how to properly solo over a chord progression. He uses his tremolo to make up for his limited lead techniques.

Exactly. Some people voting their favorite guitarists here thinking they are shredder. Some even vote for rhythm guitarists. - zxm

Old school badazz...

24 Tom Morello 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.

most creative with a simple setup

Very amazing style of playing the guitar

without a doubt better than buckethead, and all these garbage other guitarist, (with repect toward few). He is presently the best guitarist on the planet still making new music. I don't care what people say about speed and all that jazz, but tom takes the cake in today's world.

25 K. K. Downing K. K. Downing Kenneth "K. K." Downing, Jr. is an English semi-retired Grammy Award winning guitarist, songwriter and founding member of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Kk downing the original whammy bar player in metal. I found stupid that kk downing doesn't get attention from modern guitar players who use the whammy bar usually without knowing who is the guitarist who got influenced in that kind of guitar playing. kk and ritchie blackmore are one of the earliest metal whammy bar and shredders in metal before everybody started to bring some noise into their guitars.

I wish I could vote twice, I just voted for glenn! they both rock m/
the whole band rocks m/ - ShahryRKnoT

26 Slash 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.

"Should be higher on the list" - EliHbk

This guy got me into shred. And his music makes much sense and flow!

I like slash, but his not the best

Slash is my favorite guitarist!

V 5 Comments
27 Ilan Ashkenazi

A freak

Mr. Ashkenazi's technique is unmatched. His speed and clarity is insane. Malmsteen can't touch him. His songs are also very melodic and not just a bunch of notes which is rare for shred at that level. He should be much more famous. There are some monster videos of him on youtube. Truly a monster virtuoso! - 7stringshred

No clue how to say this name! Basically insane shred up a few notches and truly one of the fastest and cleanest shredders around. Songs to check out:

"Master" "Endurance" for pure shred. Ashkenazi has great melodic mind and combines shear speed and intense skill with great musical content.

28 Kirk Hammett Kirk Hammett Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.

Are you kidding
you're asking that kirk can shred tell me this after listening to the four horsemen's solo. He's probably the best and also one of the top guitarist in the world he has changed the metal genre and is indeed

Kirk didn't write the solos for kill em all album (including four horsemen). That was Dave Mustaine. Kirk didn't have enough time to rewrite them when he joined the band so he just played Dave's solos. - bren12310

I'm sick tired of people comparing kirk hammett to god, I mean he's pretty bad ass but by no means he is kirk "the ripper" hammett

Kirk hammett honestly sucks at guitar he plays blues over metal tracks and it sucks

Kirk has a HUGE influence on almost all metal guitars

V 2 Comments
29 Dave Murray Dave Murray David Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Just listen solo on Hallowed Be Thy Name or Sign Of The Cross, they are just brilliant, like and others Murray's solos. Iron Maiden rules /

30 Jeff Waters Jeff Waters Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator. He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos. Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band. Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, more.
31 Richie Sambora Richie Sambora Richard Stephen "Richie" Sambora is an American rock guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter who was the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi for 30 years. He is known for his work with Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013. He is a very praised guitarist who played solos for songs like Dry County, Stranger more.

Richie Sambora, the Musical Shredder with Feeling will make the other Shredders look like Just... Shredders...

However, the Following Shredders should also be Ranked much Higher:
Yngwie Malmsteen, Shawn Lane, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Randy Rhoads, Buckethead, Dimebag Darrell, Eddie Van Halen & Eric Johnson (All Great Musical Shredders). - Nirmal1991USA

Musical Shredding is the Secret, not just Shredding! Richie Sambora does exactly that! He Shreds with Feeling & Emotion!

Shredding = Richie Sambora
End of comment!

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

Herman Li should definitely be at least ahead of Yngwie Malmsteen, because if anyone should be at the top, it should be Herman or Slash. Although Yngwie is a good shredder, he has nothing to Slash and Herman. If you listen to Dragonforce, his solos are deserving of the top 3!

Fast and plays some cool unexpected stuff as well. Not sure what a synister gates is, but yngwie and Michael angelo batio definitely belong at the top of this list. They started this whole thing and Michael Angelo could pretty much destroy anyone on sheer speed and accuracy.

Should be number 1, he's as good or maybe even better than Michael Angelo Batio, way underrated

Relatively sloppy player, but definitely makes it up with the speed. One of the fastest players out there.

V 11 Comments
33 Chris Impelliterri

Really really fast at shredding shoul be in the top ten - MASH

34 Jim Root Jim Root James Donald "Jim" Root, also known by his number #4, is an American musician known for being the rhythm/lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Slipknot, and the former lead guitarist for alternative metal band Stone Sour.
35 Ritchie Blackmore 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 more.

He really should be higher on this list, Even though there's cause for argument when calling Ritchie Blackmore the "godfather of shred" I think it would be more appropriate to call him the "Godfather of Neoclasical Shred" after all, even though Yngwie Malmsteen gives more credit to Paganini, he is just saving face from Ritchies rath of criticism by saying Ritchie was not an influence even though he credits him earlier in his career as being so...oh, and if your wondering what Ritchie said to change Yngwie's mind, it was "just because your a fast guitar player doesn't make you good at it"...yup..that's Ritchie for ya..

Considered to be the godfather of shred.

Didn't he create shredding?

The originator of the art of shred, originator of the neoclassical rock genre, scorching the fretboard a decade before EVH. Bow down to the Godfather of shred.

V 3 Comments
36 Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore and death metal band Arch Enemy.

Jeff Loomis is ttruly very talented. If you slow down his playing, you can hear every note. He is incredibly clean. Plus, he is consistent live. Why is he only in spot 36? Are you nuts? Slash is ahead of him? That's just plain stupid. Slash isn't even good. Jeff actually has talent. His composition skills and creativity alone could put him in the top 5, never mind his flawless technical skill.

By far the best shredder in my opinion. I'm mortified that he is this low in the list when the guy that brought us miles of machines, the best shredding song of all time, isn't in the top ten you know that this isn't right. You know he means business the instant you see his schecter 7 string. Awesome playing.

1) Buckethead, 2) Jeff Loomis, 3) John Petrucci, 4) Paul Gilbert, 5) Jason Becker, 6) Shawn Lane, 7) Yngwie Malmsteen.
Most of the guys who voted for other guitarists on this list ought to know that speed isn't everything. To do what these guys do, you need precision, you have to understand the guitar, you need to know it like the back of your hand. That's when you can create the kind of MAGIC that these guys do. Period.

Versatile, insane speed, and emotion, I might like Alexi just as much, but the fact no one has added him yet destroys the credibility of this list. He should definitely be in the top 10 if you know shredding. - guitargirl_94

V 1 Comment
37 John 5

Most underrated guitarist out there.

J5 is top ten all day on the list.

Knew who this guy was, but hadn't heard any of his solo stuff. Was totally blown away. Guy is incredible. While it is a weird combo, I'm a Vai and Mustaine guy (Mustaine's writing ability, and hands down, best rhythm player (plus, while singing) ever... And there isn't much else, other than WOW to say about Vai. But yeah, John 5 is amazing. Skilled and great writer.

One of the best and fastest guitarists eveer!

V 1 Comment
38 Jimi Hendrix 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 more.

This guy is the original Guitar Shredder who completely changed the way people played guitar. I can't believe he wasn't on this list before now! What blasphemy! There were no shredders before him, period! Eric Clapton definitely influenced Jimi before he was famous, but Eric didn't shred. Even though he was no Buckethead or Satriani, he should still be on the top ten of this list because of his influence on today's music.

If it wasnt for this god, none of the others would know what to do with a guitar, He was a guitar genius and paved the way for others to follow

Top 10 at least. Come on guys, it's JIMI HENDRIX. Listen to him playing the national anthem, and all of the unrelated shredding he breaks down into. He over doubled the length of the national anthem by breaking down into the most famous shred in history. - ThatoneMetalhead

I honestly don't know how this man isn't first, he was the pioneer for rock and roll guitar styles.

V 1 Comment
39 Marty Friedman Marty Friedman Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s, as well as Cacophony alongside Jason Becker until 1989. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted more.

Maybe this's a joke...

TORNADO OF SOULS... Listen to the solo... Best solo of all time... Without a doubt better than most of the guitarists listed here... And what is Syn doing on top? And Slash? And you have Marty Friedman on 26? - alexitahmid

This list should be renamed to-most popular guitar players of all time, marty jason yngwie and so many great players after that kirk and slash, disgusting.

Dragon's kiss, the first Marty Friedman solo album, is THE masterpiece of shredding. It's even weird that people did try to make some guitar albums after that...

V 3 Comments
40 Billy Dolan

Guitar genius! From rockford, Illinois. So innovative and ahead of his time. Check out his bands 5ive Style, Heroic Doses, and Das Boton!


Go to Chicago, Illinois and see for yourself. - 910UROUT

41 Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

He just owns all of them. Listen for example to "Guitar suck", and if you think it's talentless because too fast, listen to "I can't play the blues", dedicated to you

At 86? Criminally wrong.

42 Michael Romeo Michael Romeo Michael James Romeo is an American guitarist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Symphony X.

Best player ever

Slash and Kirk Hammett are too slow compare to Michael Romeo... try listening to the band SYMPHONY X...

Michael Romeo should definitely be in the top 5! This list sucks 'cause its filled with average guitarists like Hammet, Van Halen, Dimebag and Syn etc.
Michael Romeo can make better solo than all of them while sleeping!

43 Rusty Colley

First off, it's Rusty COOLEY. Second, this dude should be way higher on the list. He's one of the fastest shredders in the world hands down.

Just go watch some of his vids on youtube and he'll be #1 in no time

44 Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal

Mostly uses sweep picking in this case. There are very few shredding videos of his on YouTube. But he is a regular shredder in his songs. - zxm

45 Criss Oliva Criss Oliva Christopher "Criss" Michael Oliva was an American musician who was the lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Savatage.

The innovative musician himself! He can play extremely fast while making it sound so melodical and great. Listen to Hounds and Gutter Ballet and you will know

46 Matthias Jabs

How come he so underrated? It's either no Scorpion's fans here or no one seen him playing it. To justify, how come in a list where Kirk and Slash is in, this guys did not top them? I have seen Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Satch - they exhibit very different nice qualities. How come Dave Murray left as well?

47 John Norum

Yes for me john norum is the best I am from greece and in greece no one listen europe but I do the difference hahaha and I am proud for this.

Norum is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and maybe the greatest shredder.

Few guiratist have such a feeling in their playing like mr Norum

48 Cipher - D'erlanger

he is incredibly fast. you don't believe me? check ROSE TAINTED VIEW TOUR of theirs - ronluna

49 Karl Logan

He can shred like no other! He made the shred essential to Manowar's sound and plays it so clean and fast.

His solos are outstanding! Just listen to Sleipnir, Hand of Doom, God or Man and Let the Gods's decide.

50 Steve Morse Steve Morse Steven J. "Steve" Morse is an American guitarist and composer, best known as the founder of the Dixie Dregs; and since 1994, the guitar player of Deep Purple.

Simply the Best

A god of the guitar...a man from whom everybody must learn how to play guitar

He has the greatest pinky on his right hand

Should be top 20- not number 55

PSearch List

Related Lists

Top Ten Fastest Guitar Shredders Best Forms of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles's Shredder Top 10 Most Underrated Guitar Shredders

List Stats

6,000 votes
129 listings
11 years, 308 days old

Top Remixes (11)

1. Dimebag Darrell
2. Eddie Van Halen
3. Chuck Schuldiner
1. Buckethead
2. John Petrucci
3. Synyster Gates
1. Eddie Van Halen
2. Zakk Wylde
3. Steve Vai

View All 11

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.