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Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

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Author: Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster.

Expertise: music industry, producing, acoustic & electric guitars, songwriting

Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, Music Industry

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


The blues has a long and expressive history, originating in the late 19th century from the African American community, who, at the time, were facing social and economic challenges, including slavery, segregation, and discrimination. 

Not only was the blues the perfect tool to convey their experiences and struggles, but it also played a crucial role in the development of popular music that followed, including jazz, rock and roll, R&B, and soul.

Of course, no instrument better conveys the blues than the guitar, and pioneering guitarists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf, shaped the genre into what it is today, crafting unique 12-bar blues structures, call and response patterns, and sultry improv styles.

Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the 10 best blues guitarists of all time and see what it is that made them such important figures in musical history. 

Note! Reveal your top 10 list in the comments down below, we would love to hear it!

Our other Top 10 guitarist lists:

10 Best Guitarists of All Time

10 Best Rock Guitarists of All Time

10 Best Metal Guitarists of All Time

10 Best Jazz Guitarists of All Time

How Did We Choose The Best Blues Guitarists

With so many amazing blues guitarists, trying to choose the best ones of all time was not an easy task. There are a few qualifying factors I took into consideration when making this list, including:

  • Influence and Innovation – How did a particular guitarist impact or influence the blues and other musicians that followed? Did they introduce new techniques or approaches to playing the blues?
  • Technical Proficiency – I also looked at how they mastered the guitar. Could they play complex solos, make use of intricate fingerpicking, or take command over their style?
  • Emotional Expression – In my book, any great blues guitarist should have the ability to play with emotion.
  • Songwriting – Did they craft memorable or impactful songs? There are certain timeless blues tracks that exist, and, in my opinion, each guitarist on this list has at least one.

Check our full 27 Easy Blues Songs on Guitar For Beginners list here.


10 Best Blues Guitar players of All Time

1. Stevie Ray Vaughan

displays stevie ray vaughan

Guitar of Choice – Fender Stratocaster

Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the most passionate and physical players of all time. When you watch his old live shows, it almost looks as if he was in a constant arm wrestling match with his trusty Strat.

What was unique about Vaughan’s style was that he seemed to incorporate styles of old while delivering a fresh approach to the instrument. His playing had elements of Jimi Hendrix’s intensity,  Freddie King’s aggressive attack, and Albert King’s powerful bends. 

Even so, his distinctive and powerful guitar tone was instantly recognizable, thanks to his favored Fender Stratocaster and a combination of amps and effects. Beyond his sound, he was known for his electrifying live performances and a supernatural ability to connect with any crowd he played in front of.

If you don’t believe me, check out his “Live at the El Mocambo” video. Unlike many great blues guitarists, Stevie Ray Vaughan received critical acclaim both during his lifetime and posthumously, winning multiple Grammys and getting a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Though he tragically died in 1990, he’s been solidified as a legendary player, and his influence continues to inspire guitarists today.

Check one of the most popular SRV performances:

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Exceptional Skill: Vaughan was a legendary player
  • Musical Creativity: He pushed the boundaries of blues and rock, incorporating diverse elements into his sound. 
  • Showmanship: To this day, he is one of the most electrifying performers to grace the blues genre.

Weaknesses

  • Limited Vocal Range: Many say Vaughan’s vocal range was somewhat limited, which is why he primarily relied on his guitar to express himself.

2. B.B. King

Displays B. B. King

Guitar of Choice – Gibson Semi-Hollowbody ES-355

The moment you hear B.B. King’s precise vibrato and unique bends, you know who you’re listening to. To this day, he’s one of the most expressive blues players that ever lived. 

What was unique about King is that his guitar, famously named Lucille, became just as much of an iconic symbol as he did. He developed a close bond with his Lucille, which he referred to as his “woman,” and it was clear in his playing.

His style was nothing short of influential, blending traditional blues with elements of jazz, R&B, and gospel. If you watch some of his live performances, you can catch a glimpse of his single-string soloing approach and the unique way he utilized vibrato.

Of course, it wasn’t just his guitar skills that made him a powerhouse. King was also a talented singer. He possessed a rich, warm, and powerful voice, filled to the brim with soul, so much so that just about any line he uttered felt poignant and heartfelt. He wrote many of his own songs, often drawing from personal experiences. Some of his most famous works include “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Every Day I Have the Blues,” both of which have become timeless classics.

In many ways, B.B. King was a cultural ambassador for the blues, bringing the genre to the mainstream and introducing it to new generations.

Check this amazing B. B. King “The Thrill Is Gone” performance:

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Technique: King was renowned for his distinctive style and phrasing
  • Soul: Beyond his powerful playing technique, he was able to captivate audiences with the raw soul from his voice.
  • Legacy: It’s hard to overstate his legacy and impact on the blues, especially with the impact he left on so many guitarists after him

Weaknesses

  • Predictability: His style was pretty consistent throughout his career, and many critics would argue that he became somewhat predictable. 

3. Freddie King

Guitar of Choice – Gibson ES-345

Freddie King’s guitar skills were nothing short of extraordinary. Every mesmerizing solo, lick, and riff was all thanks to his exceptional technical ability, using a combination of high-speed playing and tasteful restraint.

Many critics say he played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between traditional blues and rock music, creating blues fusion as we know it today. His distinct tone was instantly recognizable. 

Beyond that, his versatile approach to the blues covered a wide range of styles, blending elements of Chicago, Texas, and Delta blues. Through this, he was able to connect with a broader audience.

Like B.B. King, he utilized a unique vibrato style that not many other guitarists could match and used open tunings to get a grittier tone. Many iconic guitarists were often quick to note that King’s style had an influence on them, including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Duane Allman, among others. 

His massive discography can be a bit overwhelming, so I recommend starting with albums like “Freddie King Is a Blues Master” or “Getting Ready…” if you’ve never listened to him before.

Check this Freddie King performance:

Strengths

  • Technical Prowess: With speed and soul, Freddie had an exceptional command over his instrument.
  • Innovative Style: King played a pivotal role in shaping the blues-rock genre with different elements of rock, R&B, and jazz.
  • Discography: Freddie King’s discography is larger than life, featuring classics like “Hide Away” and “Have You Ever Loved a Woman.” 

Weaknesses

  • Limited Commercial Success: Even with his undeniable talent and influence, he never quite broke the commercial success barrier. 

4. Robert Johnson

stamp portraying Robert Johnson
Stamp portraying Robert Johnson.

Guitar of Choice – Gibson L-1

Robert Johnson’s legendary pact with the devil at the crossroads became an integral part of his story, and songs like “Highway To Hell” or “Sympathy For the Devil” may not have existed without the tales of his alleged soul-selling.

However, beyond his mythology, it was his musical diversity that truly set him apart from many modern blues artists. He ventured into different territories by incorporating elements of country and jazz and country into his songs, deviating from the traditional 12-bar format. Listen to “They’re Red Hot,” and you can hear it.

Beyond his immortal style, his exceptional songwriting, with tracks like “Dust My Broom” and “Sweet Home Chicago,” made him a timeless blues artist. Countless players, ranging from Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones to Steve Miller, have covered his songs, and guitarists like Chuck Berry and Ike Turner built upon Johnson’s template to shape the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll.

Check one of the best blues songs from Robert Johnson, “Crossroads”:

Strengths

  • Musical Innovation: His intricate fingerpicking patterns, powerful slide-playing, and unique tone set him apart from his Martin-playing contemporaries. 
  • Expressive Songwriting: Johnson’s lyrics were deeply introspective and emotionally charged, delving into themes of love, loss, and the human experience.
  • Lasting Influence: Despite his short recording career and untimely death at a young age, his impact on the music world has endured. 

Weaknesses

  • Small Discography: His recorded output was relatively small, comprising only 29 songs. 

5. Lightning Hopkins

Guitar of Choice – Gibson J-50 with a DeArmond Pickup

Lightnin’ Hopkins had the remarkable ability to simultaneously play rhythm, lead, bass, and percussion on the guitar like no other, setting his guitar playing apart from his contemporaries and showcasing his exceptional musical skills.

His prolific career led him to record more albums than any other musician in blues music, and he also served as Houston’s poet-in-residence for an impressive span of over 35 years.

Not only did Hopkins’s mastery of the guitar have a profound impact on blues music, but it also influenced the development of jazz and rock guitarists, laying the groundwork for future generations and expanding the possibilities of what guitarists could do.

Rolling Stone included him in their 2010 list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time, ranking him at number 71, and in 1980, he was rightfully inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Lightning Hopkins “It’s A Sin To Be Rich, It’s A Low-Down Shame To Be Poor” is 1 song you must listen if you like blues:

Strengths

  • Unique Playing Style: Hopkins had a distinctive guitar-playing style that set him apart from his peers. 
  • Prolific Recording Career: He still holds the record for the most recorded albums by any blues musician. 
  • Wide Influence: Not only did he influence blues music, but he also laid the groundwork for many jazz and rock guitarists. 

Weaknesses

  • Predictable Style: Some people say he took a repetitive approach to his songwriting.

6. Buddy Guy

displays Buddy Guy

Guitar of Choice – ’89 Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop

Buddy Guy originally made a name for himself in Chicago, where he became one of the biggest and most influential figures in the city’s blues scene. 

Back when he played with Otis Rush, he’d often walk through the crowd and interact with people in the audience before hopping on the bar and leaping off, all while shredding. His showmanship tricks eventually gave him the nickname “Little Wild Man from Louisiana.”

Little did people know his super-juicy tone would eventually leave a profound impact on musicians like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix. 

To this day, his performances remain unmatched.

Check Buddy Guys one of the most popular songs “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues”:

Strengths

  • Undeniable Skill: Buddy Guy is renowned for his dynamic playing style.
  • Showmanship: Guy is one of the most energetic and electrifying showmen in the blues world.
  • Influential Tone: His signature distorted tone has had a profound influence on countless musicians. 

Weaknesses

  • Studio Output: Some critics have noted that the consistency of Buddy Guy’s studio albums can vary. 

7. T. Bone Walker

Guitar of Choice – Gibson ES-250

T-Bone Walker’s influential song “Stormy Monday” was said to have played a significant role in inspiring musicians like B.B. King to pick up the electric guitar. 

He moved through the blues world with mesmerizing showmanship, playing the guitar behind his back and picking strings with his teeth. Many note that Walker transformed the electric guitar into a solo instrument before anyone else.

Today, he can be seen in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.

Check “Dont Throw Your Love On Me So Strong” live performance:

Strengths

  • Innovation: T-Bone Walker is renowned for his innovative playing style. 
  • Showmanship: He was an incredibly captivating performer known for his charismatic stage presence and energetic shows. 
  • Musical Influence: He no doubt laid the groundwork for future artists like B.B. King and Chuck Berry, who went on to shape the sounds of blues and rock.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Mainstream Recognition: While T-Bone Walker’s contributions to electric blues are widely acknowledged, his name may not be as familiar to casual music listeners.

8. Joe Bonamassa

displays Joe Bonamassa

Guitar of Choice – Gibson Les Paul

Joe Bonamassa takes the cake as the highest-grossing blues artist of all time. And though he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, his achievements are a resounding affirmation of his talent.

The beauty of Bonamassa is that he seemingly made it his life’s mission to broaden the appeal of the blues.

Beyond his musical endeavors, such as Nerdville, his label, his production work, and the KTBA blues cruise, his advocacy for the blues shines through his playing style, which is both fiery and aggressive.

Many would say he draws inspiration from various sources, though I feel like he mostly pays homage to the ’60s British blues scene, incorporating elements of classic rock and progressive rock.

Joe Bonamassa is the true modern day electric guitar blues hero. Check our picks for the best electric guitars for blues here.

Check Joe Bonamassa ripping through “I’ll Play The Blues For You”:

Strengths

  • Undeniable Skill: Bonamassa is widely recognized for having mastered various styles, including blues, rock, and fusion.
  • Versatility: He beautifully incorporates different musical genres into his blues-based style with seamless effort.
  • Passionate Performance: Bonamassa’s performances are full of energy and emotion.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Breakthrough Original Material: Some critics argue that he has not produced any breakthrough original material that matches the impact of his technical abilities.

9. Howlin’ Wolf

stamp portraying Howlin’ Wolf

Guitar of Choice – Harmony Steel-String Acoustic

Howlin’ Wolf enjoyed a successful four-decade-long career and played a vital role in merging the styles of Delta and Chicago blues, solidifying his position as one of the most renowned Chicago blues artists. 

Notably, Wolf’s exceptional musical prowess earned him inductions into five distinguished Halls of Fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and two inductions in the Blues Hall of Fame. 

Known for his powerful, distinctive voice, poignant songwriting abilities, and passionate playing style, he embarked on tours alongside legendary musicians such as Robert Johnson and Sonny Williams throughout his career. 

His psychedelic blues album, The Howlin’ Wolf Album, remains one of my absolute favorite blues albums of all time. 

Howlin’ Wolf was exellent at playing acoustic blues, check our picks for the best acoustic guitars for blues here.

Check “Smokestack Lightning” Live performance from 1964:

Strengths

  • Dynamic Stage Presence: Wolf was known for his captivating stage presence and energetic performances. 
  • Songwriting Ability: He was also a talented songwriter, crafting songs that resonated with his audience on a deep level.
  • Musical Versatility: While primarily associated with the blues, he skillfully blended elements of R&B, gospel, and rock to create a unique and influential sound.

Weaknesses

  • Health Issues: Throughout his life, Howlin’ Wolf battled various health issues, which often affected his ability to perform and tour consistently.

10. John Lee Hooker

displays John Lee Hooker on book cover
You can see John Lee Hooker on the right.

Guitar of Choice – Epiphone Sheraton

John Lee Hooker developed what we now call the boogie blues, incorporating elements of talking blues, Delta blues, and boogie-woogie. His unique fusion allowed him to make an impact not only on the US music charts but also in the UK.

Despite being illiterate, he demonstrated exceptional talent as a songwriter, penning many of his own songs and earning recognition as a celebrated lyricist. 

His contributions to music were duly acknowledged, and he was eventually inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. One of his notable tracks, “Boogie Chillen,” was even honored as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.

This John Lee Hooker video you will surely enjoy:

Strengths

  • Unique and Influential Style: John Lee Hooker’s innovative approach to blues music, created a distinctive and influential sound that stood out from his contemporaries.
  • Expressive Delivery: Hooker possessed a deep, resonant voice with a rich tone that perfectly complemented his rhythmic playing style.
  • Charisma: Hooker had a commanding stage presence and a captivating personality.

Weaknesses

  • Technical Proficiency: His playing style was often characterized by its simplicity and rawness, which, while distinctive, wasn’t the most technically proficient.

Runner-Ups That Just Missed The List

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Guitar of Choice – Gibson Les Paul Custom

While less known than some of her contemporaries, Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s impactful gospel recordings left a profound influence on early blues, rock and roll, and jazz. Her debut record is widely regarded as either the first rock and roll record or a significant precursor to the genre, depending on how you see it.

One distinguishing factor that set her apart was her innovative use of heavy distortion in her guitar playing, a groundbreaking technique that would later be embraced by iconic musicians like Jimi Hendrix. She can now be found in both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Why She Missed the List – Even with her immense talent and influence, Tharpe experienced limited mainstream success and recognition.


Muddy Waters

Guitar of Choice – Red Fender Telecaster

Muddy Waters was a legendary figure in the Chicago blues scene, dominating the genre from the mid-1940s onward. 

In live performances, he and his band were a force to be reckoned with. Even Jimi Hendrix, who was inspired by Muddy’s music, admitted to being terrified upon first hearing it as a child. In fact, Hendrix famously incorporated one of Muddy’s blues licks into his own composition, “Voodoo Child.” 

He had a unique ability to always select the right notes, keeping things profound and deep, yet simple. Check out songs like “Rolling Stone” (which inspired both the band and the magazine) and “Got My Mojo Working.” 

Why He Missed the List – Although Muddy Waters wrote original songs, he gained more recognition for his covers of traditional blues tunes, overshadowing his own songwriting contributions.


Eric Clapton

Displays Eric Clapton

Guitar of Choice – Fender Stratocaster

Eric Clapton is widely regarded as one of the most exceptional guitarists in history and holds the distinction of being a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Clapton’s musical journey began with a strong foundation in blues rock as his primary inspiration, and throughout his career, he has amassed an extensive collection of accolades and awards, including an impressive 18 Grammy wins, multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards, and a staggering 280 million worldwide record sales. 

His contributions to music are unparalleled. While you’ll notice that I put him on our list of the “Top 10 Guitarists of All Time,” much of the reasoning behind that is his legacy and influence. He is no doubt one of the best guitarists that ever lived, though I felt that for this particular list, the predecessors that influenced him deserved the top spots.

Why He Missed the List – Many critics would argue that though Clapton was a huge success with immense talent, he never did anything necessarily innovative on the guitar.


Albert Collins

Guitar of Choice – Fender Telecaster

Albert Collins, otherwise known as the Iceman, is widely recognized as one of the most skilled Fender Telecaster players in history. One thing he was best known for was using a capo to create unique tunings and a distinctive electric guitar style. 

His live performances were equally groundbreaking, as he was one of the first artists to venture into the audience while continuing to play. 

Collins exerted a significant influence on Texas musicians, including the renowned Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Why He Missed the List – While Collins had a unique and distinctive style, he rarely experimented as a player.


Gary Clark Jr.

Guitar of Choice – Gibson ES-330 & Gibson SG

Gary Clark Jr.’s playing is very reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King. He has masterfully combined blues, soul, and rock, and soul, as well as elements of jazz and hip hop for a modern flavor. 

He has even collaborated and shared the stage with esteemed artists like Eric Clapton, Ten N9ne, and ZZ Top.

Even with his short career, he’s earned significant recognition, having secured four Grammy Awards and received two additional nominations. 

Why He Missed the List – Though he’s an excellent overall player, I think he still has some years to go until he makes the main greats list.


Rory Gallagher

Guitar of Choice – Worn out Fender Stratocaster

Rory Gallagher, a prominent name in the annals of blues music, is a celebrated Irish guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose impact on the genre is truly undeniable.

The inception of Gallagher’s musical odyssey was deeply rooted in the blues tradition, drawing inspiration from the raw and unfiltered expression of human emotion. His prodigious talent was not limited to his phenomenal guitar skills but was equally evident in his soulful vocals and profound songwriting.

Over the course of his career, Gallagher received widespread acclaim for his dedication to his craft and his electrifying performances, becoming a beacon of the blues genre. Although he did not seek out awards or chart-topping hits, his influence reverberates through generations of musicians who view him as a cornerstone of rock and blues music.

Gallagher’s contribution to music is unique and profound, marked by his passion and unwavering commitment to authenticity. His body of work, characterized by its raw emotion and technical prowess, continues to resonate with blues enthusiasts worldwide.

Why He Missed the List – While Rory Gallagher is undoubtedly respected for his raw talent and contribution to the blues genre, he regrettably did not make our top 10. Many critics contend that although Gallagher was a master of his craft and a passionate performer, his influence didn’t reach as broad an audience or incite the same level of mainstream commercial success as some others on our list.


FAQ

Who Is Chosen to Be The Best Blues Guitarist Most Often?

B.B. King is often regarded as the best blues guitarist of all time.

Who is The King of Blues Rock?

B.B. King was named the “King of Blues” for his immeasurable impact on the genre.

Who is The Most Underrated Blues Guitarist?

Rory Gallagher, who was an Irish blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter from the 1960s, never quite achieved the same level of commercial success and widespread recognition as some of his contemporaries.

Who is Technically The Best Guitarist Ever?

Jimi Hendrix is often considered the best guitarist ever for his groundbreaking techniques, innovative use of effects, and unparalleled stage presence.

Who Were The Three Kings of Blues Guitar?

B.B. King, Albert King, and Freddie King were known as the “three kings of blues guitar.”

Who Was The 6 Finger Blues Guitarist?

Hound Dog Taylor was a Mississippi guitarist often referred to as the six-fingered guitarist, as he was born with six fingers on each hand.


Conclusion

There you have it — a list of the best blues guitarists of all time. Obviously, there are many more great guitarists out there, and many that should have been part of a longer list, though I hope this lineup gives you better insight into those who shaped a lifetime of musicians.

If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment down below. Keep rocking!


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Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster. You can connect with Tyler on LinkedIn or just email him.
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Stev

Hubert Sumlin was the iconic guitar sound that matched Wolf’s iconic voice.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Stev! Just listening to Hubert Sumlin. Loving every second of it!

Rick

Stevie Ray Vaughan gets the #1 spot over BB King and everyone else you named? What a joke. Is this article AI generated?

David

Muddy Waters wrote and performed many great original songs. He should be included near the top of any list of great Blues guitarists.
Johnny Winter, Duane Allman and Elmore James should be there as well.

D'Arcy Dundas

ALVIN LEE how about a mention I think he’s 1 of the best

Joey Hudoklin

Johnny Winter is undeniably the greatest blues player. Not even close. Not even mentioning him makes this list uncredible.

Brian Momberg

Worthless list with leaving Jeff Beck off of it.

Craig

A couple of good choices on the list but you forgot Walter Trout

Douglas Campbell

Like most of the comments, there are serious omissions to this list. From someone who has listened and studied blues guitarists for almost 60 years, how can you not mention Michael Bloomfield? He hated the spotlight and died young, but if you listen to his short body of work you can’t deny his greatness. I always wonder why other great guitar players and musicians aren’t polled. If you ask Clapton, or ask Carlos Santana (who took some lessons from Bloomfield), or ask Bob Dylan who has heard or played with many of the great ones. The answer from these three greats would would be Bloomfield.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge and passion for blues guitarists Douglas! We appreciate your insights and understand your perspective regarding the omission of Michael Bloomfield from the list.

Michael Bloomfield was indeed a tremendously talented guitarist who made significant contributions to the blues genre.

You raise an interesting point about seeking input from other renowned musicians like Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Bob Dylan, who have witnessed and played alongside numerous great guitarists. Their perspectives and personal experiences offer valuable insights into the guitar world.

While it’s impossible to include every deserving guitarist in a single list, we appreciate your suggestion and will continue to explore and celebrate the legacies of exceptional musicians like Michael Bloomfield.

If you have any specific Michael Bloomfield songs or albums you’d like to recommend, we’d love to hear your favorites. That would help us explore this little bit lesser-known guitarist material! Thank you for commenting 🎸🎵

Teemu Suomala

Hi Graig! Thank you for pointing Walter Trout out!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Brian! You can found Beck from here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-guitarists-of-all-time/

Phil

How you can leave out Duane Allman and Derek Trucks from this list is beyond me. Duane Allman not only pretty much was the first to play slide on electric guitar, at least that anyone noticed at the time. He, to this day, is regarded by most as the greatest slide guitar player that ever lived. Playing slide is probably THE most blues thing that you can do on a guitar. Duane Allman revolutionized what the boundaries were as far as using a slide on an electric guitar. Listen to Allman Brothers: Live at Fillmore East ’71 and tell me that isn’t some of the greatest blues guitar that you ever heard. The Allmans were considered a rock band but pretty much all of their early stuff was straight blues. Also, the fact that you put Bonamassa on the list shows that you are including modern, contemporary musicians and Derek Trucks of Allman Brothers and Tedeschi Trucks Band is light-years ahead of Bonamossa or any other guitarist living and playing blues music today. He picked up where Duane Allman left off and took it to another level in the stratosphere. He plays everything from blues, jazz, funk and soul. He is the ONLY guitar player that I ever heard play John Coltrane’s “Afro-Blue” (See Derek Trucks Band Songlines Album) while he was playing slide on a Gibson SG and sounds better than Coltrane did on Sax in the original. There is also a clip of Derek Trucks and John Mayer sitting in with BB King on YouTube and BB has his mind completely blown when Derek solos. It’s amazing! Hopefully you’ll check these two amazing, ground breaking blues guitarists out and give them a fair shake on the next list. BTW, I believe most blues guitarists and blues aficionados would agree with what I’ve just said.

Gary Collins

Why writers choose to make these ridiculous lists, is beyond me. One man’s opinion will always cause disagreements. I can remember when Rolling Stone magazine voted Karen Carpenter higher than John Bonham in a drummers poll. We all have our favourites, let’s keep them private.

Bill Winkler

Totally agree. Johnny was the best
R. Gallagher frank marino

Teemu Suomala

Great picks Bill!

Marabotti

Et Hendrix même pas nomme quelle honte à vous
Comment ne peut ont pas nomme Hendrix comme si Clapton est meilleur q u Hendrix franchement et SRV n a t il pas été influencé par Hendrix .enfin bref ,

Serge Rouillon

Perfect reply my friend Hendrix could have stuck in the boring “everybody else is doing it blues” but like Mozart and Beethoven he moved to higher plains.

Teemu Suomala

Guys, thanks for your insightful replies and opinions! We really value them. Find Hendrix here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-guitarists-of-all-time/

Joseph Guzman

Totally agree with you ! The most underrated blues guitarist ever . Was going to write this till I saw your comment .

Teemu Suomala

Yes, he is amazing! Thank you for reminding us Joey!

Whisper

I totally agree Johnny is my blues guitar hero.
I get sick of him never getting a look in on these lists

Teemu Suomala

Johnny is amazing, that’s for sure.

Brian Griffin

I totally agree he was one of great white blues players. There is plenty of proof. His bootleg series is incredible.

Phil

Also I’d like to point out that you said that you would include Duane Allman on best rock guitarist list to another commentor. Duane Allman was as much a rock guitarist as Stevie Ray Vaughn was. Tightrope was not a blues song, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance was not a blues song and SRV did both of those. My point is, Duane Allman was in a blues rock band but he was a straight up blues guitarist and considered the best to ever play slide, which is primarily, blues guitar. I see you taking a lot of flac on here and I don’t think thats very fair. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that you call people names, belittle or marginalize them. People need to be more respectful to the person who made this list. It’s cool that we have this platform to read cool stuff and teach each other and talk to each other about stuff that we love. Lets continue to bring up good points and discuss all the greats in a respectful manner.

Rexster

I 2nd that! Huge influence on my playing style.

Muddy

I couldn’t agree more. Albert King and T Bone built rock and roll from the blues.

Larry mcCArty

No Gary Moore? This list is invalid!!!

Teemu Suomala

Hi D’Arcy! Alvin Lees is surely one of the blues greats. But he just missed this article, sorry about that. Take care!

Bobby Nova

How can you not include Roy Buchanan?

Teemu Suomala

Hi Bobby! He is indeed a great guitarist. But there are so many different amazing guitarists and almost even more opinions. Unfortunately this time Roy didn’t fit our list.

Mac

I just cannot believe Peter Green is not top 3 in this list

Gary Olsen

Absolutely

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for revealing your opinion Mac!

Malcolm

Absolutely agree!
Unique sound, great composer, and influenced so many great guitarists who followed in his footsteps.

Phil

Peter Green was amazing and should definitely be on this list!!!! Couldn’t agree more!

Chris Coughlin

If Greeny himself didn’t make the cut, why would the guy whose career was s built around idolizing him in no small measure.

Gary was technically virtuosic.

Greeny was a gut punch.

Chris Coughlin

No kidding.

Or Ry.

Or Bloomfield.

But the author had room for – wait for it – Joe Bonnamssa???

Bill "Hound Dog" Unger

Johnny Winter – Wow, not even an honorable mention. Shame on you.

Chris

To suggest the greats all have a weakness is wrong.
Like stepping on someone’s grave. Criticizing SRV for vocal range when the title of the article is about guitarists? SMH. Omitting Albert King from the top 10? How did you get this job?

Teemu Suomala

Hi Chris! We are sorry if this list offended you. We believe that the way we learn to most from past is to talk things about good and not-so-good, when it comes to people too. But of course always in respective way! Thank you for commenting, keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Bill! Well Shamed! He indeed deserves a runner-up spot!

Richard Taylor

These writers are kids. They started playing guitar this century and have little if any in depth knowledge of blues music and it’s history

Teemu Suomala

Hi Richard! The kid editor here! I understand your perspective. The depth of knowledge and experience can vary among different writers, including their understanding of blues music and its history. But especially, opinions, no matter if you are a bit older, or just a kid, vary a lot. I respect them even if I don’t agree with them. Take care Richard!

Bluesrod Marty

Buddy Guys guitar of choice is a strat.Freddie Kings guitar of choice a Gibson es355.all kinds of miststakes

Shane

A million criticisms of this unfortunately, but I’ll just say Bonnamasa is on the list and Eric Clapton isn’t? And you cite a lack of innovation? Clapton isn’t innovative but he is what Bonnamasa is basically based on.
This makes sense in no universe.

Also, a lot about signing and as a weakness. The heading is great blues guitarists, not singers. I think you need to redo to be honest, but perhaps you wanted people to comment?

Cheers anyway.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for revealing your perspective and opinion Shane. Of course we love that people discuss the things we create, it’s awesome. One key purpose for releasing article was to express writers own opinion!

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for commenting! Or was Freddie Kings guitar of choice Gibson ES-345?

Aidan Mc Call

No Gary Moore say no Moore

Teemu Suomala

Haha, we should inluce him to the runner-ups (he would be on my personal list btw., in top 5 probably). Thanks for stopping by Aidan!

Joey Hudoklin

Johnny Winter. Unparalleled. He should be #1

Teemu Suomala

Hi Joey! Yes, he is amazing. I think we’ll feature him to the runner-ups section soon!

Michael Sabol

How can Gary Moore and Kim Simmonds not be on the list and instead, you have relative newcomers like Bonnamassa & Clark on? Those dudes are still paying their dues. By the way, Hendrix and Rory Gallagher are the two best blues guitarists of all time.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Michael! You can find Hendrix from here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-guitarists-of-all-time/ and he’ll most likely be featured in our upcoming top 10 rock guitarists of all time list. I think we’ll add Gary Moore to the runner-up section of this article soon!

Odis

Where is Johnny Winter? He actually played and feature many of the Data Blues artist on his albums example, Muddy Waters and Shakey Horton. His bassist went on to accompany Stevie Ray, jammed with Hendrix.

Teemu Suomala

Hi! Johnny Winter is one of the greatest for sure. I think we’ll feature him to the runner-ups section soon!

Brien Biggs

Where’s Robert Cray, Coco Montoya, Lonnie Mack

Teemu Suomala

Hi Brien! Thanks for revealing some of your favorites. All those are amazing players for sure!

Russell

This list is a joke.

Teemu Suomala

Hopefully a funny one, haha! Thanks for commenting Russell!

E.S.Brown

Like Richard T. Said…
These writers are so young…
They know Very little of what they speak…but whenever there’s a “best” of anything… it’s just a (beauty contest) what I think is Great, other’s think is So-So…
So, these (Best ) contest are just B.S.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your viewpoint ES. We understand that personal opinions on what is considered “best” can vary greatly. It’s true that assessing and ranking something as subjective as musical talent can be challenging. While these “best of” lists are subjective in nature, they aim to showcase a range of exceptional talent and spark conversations among music enthusiasts.

We appreciate your perspective and respect your opinion. It’s the diversity of thoughts and preferences that makes the world of music so vibrant and exciting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
Teemu “The Kid Editor” Suomala

Steve

Luther Allison, Pat Hare, Elmore James, JB Hutto…..no mention of Albert King this is more of a blues rock list Mike Bloomfield is one of a few true blues guitarist

DaveK

Why does everyone leave Duane Allman off their list 😒 Stormy Monday, Statesboro, etc not just the greatest slide player but an all around guitar virtuoso

Teemu Suomala

Hi Dave! Thanks for pointing out Duane Allman! He might get a spot from our top 10 rock guitarist of all time list…

JCR

Johnny “Clyde” Copeland!!!!

Teemu Suomala

Amazing guitarist indeed! Thank you for commenting

Dave Beck

I followed all these guitarist and have seen many, I simply can’t believe that The Green God Peter Green is not on the list. BB King said he was the best of the British blues guitarists . John Mayall played with most and said that Green had no equal . Seeing him live separates him from the rest .

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your perspective! Peter Green was indeed an exceptional guitarist, often referred to as the “Green God.” Experiencing Peter Green live was undoubtedly a unique and memorable experience. While it’s challenging to include every deserving guitarist in a single list, we appreciate your input and the insights you’ve shared!

David John Phillips

Elmore James?

Teemu Suomala

Hi David! Elmore James was an amazing blues guitarist, he just missed the list and runner-ups. Thank you for reminding us about him!

Ron P in Texas

Where is Albert King..SRV lifted every lick he ever played from him.Hubert Sumiin not Wolf and Johnny Winters..and Joe Bonamasso should not even be 0n this list. He is of course is a Great guitariist and entertainer..yes he can play the blues ..but top 10 of all time. Cmon Man

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Ron! Albert King was undoubtedly a phenomenal blues guitarist who influenced many musicians, including Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Winter, and many others have made significant contributions to the blues genre as well. Creating a top 10 list is a subjective task, and there are many deserving guitarists to consider. We appreciate your perspective and the valuable insights you’ve shared. Keep rocking!

Bill Loden

a lot of great bluesmen are mentioned in the comments, two i didn’t notice are Kingfish and Eric Gale.

Bill Winkler

1. J. Hendrix.
2. Srv
3. R. Gallagher
4. Johnny winter
5. Duane Allman
6. Albert King.
7. BB king.
8. Hubert sumlin
9. Peter Greene
10. Albert collins

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing this Bill! I have to check Hubert Sumlin’s material (other than “smokestack lightning”) out right now!

Andy Klein

Can you spell Mike Bloomfield?

Teemu Suomala

Most likely…haha

John

No offense but where is Elmore james I don’t agree with your list but that is a matter of opinion and I greatly respect yours but you left off someone who greatly influenced a lot of slide guitarist after him. You could have also thrown in Peter Green.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and expressing your respect for different opinions John! Elmore James was indeed a highly influential guitarist who has had a significant impact on the genre. We acknowledge his contributions and understand your viewpoint. Additionally, Peter Green is another remarkable guitarist who has left an indelible mark on the guitar world. There are countless exceptional guitarists deserving of recognition, and it’s challenging to include everyone in a single list. We appreciate your input and will consider your suggestions. Keep rocking! 🎸🎵

دامون

شما با نادیده گرفتن بزرگانی مثل جانی کش و مارک نافلر به شعور همه توهین کردید…..

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for commenting and revealing your thoughts!

Jim Burbank

Johnny Winter yes , Joe Bonamassa no, Albert Collins no, Rory Gallagher yes best tone! BB maybe lame in later years

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for your input Jim! We appreciate your perspective on Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Rory Gallagher, and BB King. Each of these guitarists has made a significant impact in their own unique way. Musical preferences can vary, and it’s interesting to hear different opinions on their performances. Keep rocking! 🎸🎵

Schanzi

You forgot the Dutch Eelco Gelling. Maybe you don’t even know him.
He was part of Cuby and the Blizzards in the 60ies and 70ies and for a while with Golden Earring. Still playing occasionally…

Judhi Pohan

1. Rory Gallagher
2. Mick Taylor
3. SRV
4. Mike Bloomfield
5. Alvin Lee
6. Walter Trout
7. Joe Bonamassa
8. Johnny Winter
9. Coco Montoya
10. Gary Glark Jr

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing this Judhi! Amazing guitarists. I’m going to listen some Coco Montoya’s stuff now! Keep rocking!

Judhi Pohan

Thats true!

Gerry Dudra

We all know these lists are about as pertinent as hall of fames. You might as well list them by who was or is the best looking. I put it down to whoever you’re in the mood to listening to. My question is however why those in the know don’t bring up Earl Hooker more often ,just ask Buddy Guy.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your perspective Gerry! You bring up an interesting point about the subjective nature of “best of” lists. Indeed, personal preferences and even individual moods play a significant role in how we connect with and appreciate music. It’s fascinating to see how different artists resonate with different people.

Earl Hooker is an exceptional guitarist who made significant contributions to the blues genre. His unique style and influence are highly regarded among fellow musicians and blues enthusiasts. It’s always interesting to explore the lesser-known or underrated guitarists who may not receive as much mainstream recognition.

Thank you for visiting and commenting!🎸🎵

Jimmie

Admittedly difficult to hone down to ten. Having said that, the omission of Albert King, Hendrix, Peter Green, and Johnny Winter pretty much invalidates the list.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Jimmie! Yes, narrowing down a list of top guitarists to just ten is a challenging task. The guitar world is filled with an abundance of incredible talent, and it’s inevitable that some notable names will be left out.

Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, and Johnny Winter are all outstanding guitarists who have made significant contributions to the instrument and have rightfully earned their place in guitar history. Their unique styles and influential playing have left a lasting impact on countless musicians.

While our list may not have included these specific guitarists, it doesn’t diminish their importance or talent in any way. We appreciate your perspective and value your input. Thank you for commenting and sharing your valuable insights! 🎵🎸

Daniel K.

Ridiculous list ,leaving Rosetta Tharpe behind Joe Bonomasa. So many omissions besides that I won’t even attempt to mention. Please no more “Greatest Ever” lists. So dreadful.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for expressing your viewpoint Daniel! We understand that creating a “Greatest Ever” list can be subjective and challenging, as personal preferences differ. We apologize if the list didn’t align with your expectations.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an extraordinary guitarist and an influential figure in rock and roll and blues history. Her contributions to music are certainly noteworthy.

We acknowledge that there are countless remarkable guitarists deserving of recognition, and it’s impossible to include everyone in a single list. We appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration for future content.

We value your input and thank you for sharing your perspective! 🎸

Harry

Anybody ever hear of JEFF BECK?

Teemu Suomala

Absolutely Harry! Thank you so much for commenting! Jeff Beck is an incredible guitarist who has made significant contributions to the world of music. He is featured in our top 10 guitar players of all time list. He also most likely gets a spot from our future 10 best rock guitar players of all time list!

We apologize if his omission from the list may have been disappointing. The challenge with creating a top 10 list is that there are so many outstanding guitarists to choose from, and it’s impossible to include everyone. Jeff Beck’s talent and influence are widely recognized, and he has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the guitar landscape.

If you have any favorite Jeff Beck songs or albums that you’d like to recommend, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Keep on rocking! 🎸

Dwayne Hendricks

Well, take a look at the authors and think,”gee, do they really have that much experience with the blues”!

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for your comment Dwayne! We understand your concern and deeply value your input. I assure you that our team consists of passionate guitar enthusiasts with extensive knowledge and experience across various genres, including the blues. We have not been around as long as many of our visitors, who most likely know far more than we, but we try to do our best with what we have!

Our aim is to celebrate the rich history and diverse styles of guitar playing, including the blues and reveal our humble opinion. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from our readers, like yourself, who bring valuable perspectives and expertise to the discussion.

If you have any specific blues guitarists or songs you’d like to recommend or discuss, we’d be more than happy to engage in a conversation about them. Your insights are important to us as we continue to explore and appreciate the beauty of the blues. Keep the blues alive and keep sharing your thoughts! 🎵

JOHN SOCIA

I don’t know how old you are but Johnny Winters was the greatest white blues player ever, much better than SRV. I am 75 and saw many of the great old blue men live, and a lot of the modern players. I saw SRV twice and Johnny Wintet many times. Nobody could play the slide and sing like him. Your list is just another slap in the face for Johnny,since he is still not in the so called Rock and Roll hall of fame. Watch him shred the guitar on highway 61. These lists are all bullshit because who is anyone to say who is better, each person has ther own opinion. I suggest you liston to some Johnny, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green, Roy Gallager and 2 of the most overlooked guitarists, Otis Rush and Luther Allison.

Teemu Suomala

Hi John and thank you for sharing your perspective! It’s great to hear from someone with firsthand experience and a deep appreciation for the blues. Johnny Winter was indeed an exceptional guitarist with incredible slide guitar skills and soulful vocals. His contributions to the blues genre are highly regarded.

You’ve mentioned some other amazing guitarists as well, such as Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green, Roy Gallagher, Otis Rush, and Luther Allison. They all possess unique styles and have left a lasting impact on the world of guitar playing.

Our intention with the list was to highlight a diverse range of influential guitarists considering various factors, and also express writers opinion. However, you’re absolutely right that these rankings are subjective, and each person has their own personal favorites.

We appreciate your feedback and thank you for sharing your valuable insights. Keep the love for guitar alive! Blues on! 🎸

Chuck

No Gary Moore? Unbelievable.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Chuck! Thanks for pointing Gary out!

Chris

Robert Cray. Hello?

Robert James

Hendrix, Eric Gales (Bonamassa bows to), Matt Schofield, Robben Ford (playing with Miles Davis before you were born), Eric Clapton, a major innovative force also before you were born, Johnny Winter, Mike Bloomfield.
You’re listing technique as criteria which most of the early black musicians were severely lacking in, but who cares there was so much emotion in what they played.
With all due respect you need to widen your horizons, and come back after doing your homework.
All the best.

Marc Davies

No Paul Kossoff (Shooting Star) is truly one of the greats

Teemu Suomala

Hi Marc! Sadly his career was really short 🙁

Marten

I am missing some greats in this list: Chuck berry had some blues and rock’n roll songs ahead of it’s time.

Just from a technical point of view i would have mentioned Gary Moore and Roy Buchanan. Esp. Gary was technically superior to Jimi Hendrix
0

Teemu Suomala

Hi Marten! Find Berry here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-guitarists-of-all-time/ Thanks for revealing some of your other picks too. All the best to you!

Steve

Roy Buchanan, Ray Gomez, and Walter trout deserve mentions

Teemu Suomala

Hi Steve! Thanks for pointing these greats out!

Phil

I need to make a correction on my comment about Derek Trucks. When I said that you should look up his cover of John Coltrane’s “Afro Blue” it’s actually a live version on the Derek Trucks Band album Roadsongs. Not Songlines. And yes, I am aware that Coltrane was jazz but Derek does a uniquely funky blues cover of it. Its on youtube music. Everyone should hear that song. It will blow your mind and melt your face its so good!

Tomas

Thanks for the work on the list but I am missing Peter Green, Albert King, Danny Kirwain, Robert Nighthawk

Clem Diddle

Roy “frickin “Buchanan, he is number 1 and 1a and 1aa,his was on a totally different level than all of your choices. Buddy Guy distance second,he taught Hendrix. Roy Buchanan, innovator, the only master of the telecaster, Amen