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!

People who compare him to slash are idiots... Slash is a washed up drunk that can't play guitar. He shouldn't even be on this list, and neither should kirk hammett. The solos in Soothsayer, Binge and Grab, Jordan, Baseball Furies, lebron's hammer, etc. Are way better than any slash and kirk could ever write or play.

Excels and creates within each and every genre. The patterns and dynamics are hypnotic and alluring. BH speaks with an accent that I covet/attach/follow while maintaining the meaning of the language.

V 56 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.

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.

What! Buckethad's before John!? THAT'S TOTAL INJUSTICE. One of the most iconic and influential guitar players ever to be born. John's playing takes one through an entire emotional spectrum. Highly expressive and dramatic is the music that he plays. Without a doubt, all of the Petrucci fans like me would be 'Lost Without You'!

V 18 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.

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!

Areal wizard in economical picking. Playing Arpeggio different from any guitarist. Ive never seen a man who excecute much melodies in full speed phrases. Believe me! thers no Yngwie recod solo which you can say thats easy. all of them are finger twister.

Well the man who started it all. All these years there are no doubts that Yngwie had sucessfully inspired modern guitarist to elevate the standards of guitar playing. He play for speed but never traded it for melodies unlike some other players who play all speed without soul and melodies or too melodical without sense of speed.

the best

V 9 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.

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.

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.

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

I remember the first time I heard Eruption. I got goose bumps. I still do.

V 10 Comments
5 Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert

-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.

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.


Sorry, but Buckethead is not the fastest known player. Buckethead is great, but unfortunately he suffers from stupid licks syndrome. Much more interesting guitarists out there that are faster. Slash should be down in the 100's. Batio is faster than Buckethead, but is kind of lick repetitive. Not a well rounded player as far as different styles. Herman Li is fast, but not in a good way. He is way overrated. Petrucci's solo work aside from Glassgow kiss is not appealing, and he can play fast though. Surprised not to see Guthrie Govan on here, or Shawn Lane. Really ashamed at the voters here to be honest. Probably a bunch of 15 year old boys.

When it comes to SHRED, I think about this guy. His notes are clear beyond human at that extreme speed

V 14 Comments
6 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.

SG js off the scale with his mouth dropping licks. Joe satriani was my go to guy for learning new fresh licks until SG came to the surface. Sorry joe your still a god bro but only now a lesser god than Synyster. Keep up the awesome mouth dropping licks my brother you rock. Your brother in rock n roll, david DeSpain. Whidby island Washington

Synyster Gates is like a god of lead guitarists. His shredding are also special and he is not a man like others. During he playing his guitar he will never hear all the things surrounding him like exploding the world...

Synyster Gates is my guitar hero. His riffs are clean, catchy, and one of a kind. He shreds like a beast and his solos are fast yet very smooth and rhythmic. He may not be number one but I daresay he'll be there soon. Eternal Rest is his absolute shred masterpiece, but all the other songs, I can't even begin to describe how great they are. SYBNYSTER GATES IS PURE EPIC MATERIAL. - zurgtazer

Check out andy james I love his stuff. In my personal opinion he deserves to be on this list

I hope he doesn't get hate for this. Not bearing a title of "poser shredder". - zxm

V 17 Comments
7 Shawn Lane

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.

"There will never be another Shawn Lane" - Guthrie Govan

V 2 Comments
8 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.

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 2 Comments
9 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

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.

Why is he in the 9 position I think he is the guy who has taken a lot of practise he can play speed even in left handed guitars and even plays 4 neck guitars and double guitar he should be in the 1st pace

V 33 Comments
10 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.

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

He is the best Metal guitarist of all time why not the fastest shredder?

V 7 Comments

The Newcomers

? Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal

The Contenders

11 Guthrie Govan Guthrie Govan

Guthrie is an amazing fusion guitarist, he wouldn't be so popular with those guitarists who think that speed is everything.

I don't believe guthrie govan not in top ten and he should be #1
He's the unique shredder, he combine jazz and shred and make cool licks.
Just listen his songs fives, wonderful slippery, waves, etc...

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 Al Di Meola

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

V 1 Comment
14 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.

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

Dime obviously paved the way for the rest of the greats. Especially Synyster Gates. I am a die hard A7X fan foREVer so I know what I'm talking about when I say Dime was the best guitarist ever. Syn is the best alive right now. But Dime is a legend and if it wasn't for him, none of these other bands around now would even be playing this kind of music. And Kirk Hammett shouldn't be taken lightly, but Dime would've out shredded him any day. Pantera for the win!

His solos are unmatched by any human, he had the tone, he had the speed, the accuracy & the originality that I miss in today's music. The stuff he could pull off... Emotion like nothing else and no one comes close to him. He should be AT LEAST in the top 3.

You don't even have to like his music to be a fan of his skills, he was and always will be untouchable. Nobody can match him. He pulls inspiration from every guitarist before him and then feeds inspiration to every modern guitarist today. Synyster Gates owes a lot to Dime.

V 8 Comments
15 Jason Becker

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

This is interesting because he is is one of the greatest shredders, and he was in his early 20's! He was playing Yngwie Flawlessly at age 17. He is also a Musical Genius and continues to write music even with ALS. He is unable to move, yet he still manages to create really beautiful music note by note, using only his eyes. A true inspiration to all guitarists and musicians over the world.

The best of the best. Seriously. He makes Paul Gilbert look like a pushover. He was one of the best guitarist of his time SINCE HE WAS A TEENAGER. - ror":{ "message":"(#803)someof

Listen to altitudes and perpetual burn, he recorded them when he was only 19

V 14 Comments
16 Joe Satriani Joe Satriani

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.

Excellent guitarist. Started the G3 tour which includes Satch, as well as 2 other Shredders in a show that will melt you're face off.

satch is the most technically skilled guitarist to ever walk on this planet.

Satriani has the ability to balance his amazing legato skills with meaningful songs and melodies - Something few shredders can do

V 6 Comments
17 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.

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

I like slash, but his not the best

He have the capacity to play like jimi, like bb king, he is amazing without changing parts of a guitar.

My inspiration

V 2 Comments
18 Alexi Wildchild Laiho Alexi Wildchild Laiho

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 might be a little bit unclean but he can write one of the heaviest licks and manage to make a melodic solo, he is far far better than slash and many more of the list, just listen to his Sinergy Project.

V 6 Comments
19 Les Paul Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. V 1 Comment
20 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

V 2 Comments
PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Best Rappers of All Time Best Singers of All Time Best Songs of All Time Best Rock Bands of All Time Best Female Singers of All Time

List StatsUpdated 19 Feb 2017

5,000 votes
123 listings
9 years, 216 days old

Top Remixes (8)

1. Shawn Lane
2. Guthrie Govan
3. Al Di Meola
1. Paul Gilbert
2. Michael Angelo
3. Zakk Wylde
1. Randy Rhoads
2. Eddie Van Halen
3. Buckethead

View All 8


Add Post

Error Reporting

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