You are currently viewing Controversial, But Accurate? 10 Best Guitarists of All Time

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Displays Tyler Connaghan - guitar player and writer

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…).


There are so many guitarists that have made significant contributions to the world of music (more than we could possibly sum up in one article), leaving an undeniable mark on the generations after.

Alongside their musical prowess, many of these guitar greats are or were just as charismatic on the stage as they were playing their instruments, delivering awe-inspiring performances to match their artistry. 

Just about every guitarist learned to play the guitar because they heard someone play that changed their lives for the better. I know when I first picked up my cheap yard sale Martin guitar at 12 years old, it was these guitarists that I looked up to. 

Come dive in as we celebrate 10 legendary guitarists who have electrified the world with their talents and whose music remains timeless.

Our other Top 10 guitarist lists:

10 Best Blues 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

10 Best Guitar Solos of All Time

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

How Did We Choose The Best Guitarists

Of course, with so many great guitarists throughout history, the selection process was no walk in the park. There were plenty of factors and considerations to think about.

However, in trying to be as thorough as possible with my list, I based it on some common criteria, including:

  • Technical Skill: I looked at the guitarist’s technical proficiency, including how well they’ve mastered various playing styles, speed, accuracy, and more.
  • Innovation: Did they push the boundaries of music in one way or another? Maybe they introduced new techniques, styles, or sounds. Creativity is a major factor and contributes to their recognition as influential figures.
  • Influence: A guitarist’s impact and influence on other musicians was a big consideration, including whether or not they inspired future generations or created completely new genres or sub-genres.
  • Stage Presence: There are many people that can shred at home, though the ability to captivate an audience on stage requires charisma and showmanship. For that reason, I included their ability to connect with crowds and play memorable live shows.
  • Legacy: I also took into account their bodies of work and their discographies. What was the quality and impact of their recorded material? Did they receive any awards, chart success, or longevity in their careers?

As you probably know, making a list like this is a completely subjective process.

A list of “best guitarists” for anyone can heavily vary based on preferences or cultural context. There will likely be some great guitarists that I leave out or some guitarists that you think are not so great that I include. 

No matter, these are the players that have had a profound impact on my life, and I can only hope that you agree or discover something new!

Let’s dive in!


10 Best Guitar Players of All Time

1. Jimi Hendrix

displays Jimi Hendrix

Guitar of Choice: While Hendrix played Gibson SG and Flying Vs, he was best know for his white 1968 Fender Stratocaster

Upon his arrival in the UK in 1966, Jimi Hendrix, a Seattle-born left-handed Fender Strat guitarist, single-handedly transformed the landscape of rock ‘n’ roll with his virtuosic mastery of electric blues. 

Hendrix was different than most guitarists at the time. He had an explosive interpretation of R&B, coupled with his awe-inspiring ability to play solos using his teeth. In fact, there are many that say he overshadowed even the most revered guitar deity of the 1960s, Eric Clapton. 

Even Clapton himself later admitted, “He astounded everyone beyond belief. It’s an achievement that no one will ever surpass.” With monumental tracks like “Purple Haze,” “Castles Made of Sand,” and his unique rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” by the famed Bob Dylan, this iconic guitarist arguably accomplished for the world of rock ‘n’ roll what Mozarty achieved for classical music. 

And though he certainly could have plugged straight into an amp and wailed away for hours with his audience’s attention locked in, he wasn’t afraid to step outside the line. By fearlessly embracing effects pedals, from wah-wah to distortion, both of which can be heard n “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” Hendrix personified the essence of psychedelia and transformed the sonic landscape of the 1960s. 

Check “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” live performance:

As with many rock guitarists at the time, Hendrix was largely self-taught and had limited formal music theory training. While this allowed him to explore more unconventional approaches to playing, it also meant that he may have faced challenges in articulating his musical ideas from a traditional standpoint.

Nonetheless, with his talent and touch, he didn’t ever seem to need it.

There is no doubt that he has a rightful place among the greatest guitarists in the history of the craft.

Strengths 

  • Expressive Playing: Jimi had the ability to convey emotions like no other guitarist could
  • Versatile Player: He was proficient in multiple genres, from blues to rock to funk to psychedelia
  • Innovative Pioneer: He expanded on what was possible with guitar, using unusual tools and techniques like wah-wah pedals and feedback.

Weaknesses 

  • Performance Inconsistency: Though he was an incredible player, he didn’t have the best technical consistency in his live performances.

2. Jimmy Page

displays Jimmy Page playing on stage

Guitar of Choice: Page is most famously associated with his 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard. Another notable guitar is the double-neck Gibson EDS-1275.

Jimmy Page, the six-string visionary behind the iconic classic rock band Led Zeppelin, is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in history. With his distinctive style, he combined blues rock with intricate and off-the-wall riffage, essentially transforming Jimi Hendrix’s revolutionary spirit into something completely new.

Many could argue that Page is one of the reasons rock bands became so massively popular. His contributions laid the groundwork for the development of stadium rock and heavy metal.

While there’s no denying that “Stairway to Heaven” is one of Page’s most important songs, seamlessly incorporating elements of English folk music and heavy rock, all while demonstrating his songwriting prowess, there are so many other tracks I love to start people off with if they’ve never gotten into the world of Led Zeppelin.

Take a listen to tracks like “Whole Lotta Love,” where he channels the fervent intensity of blues music, infusing it with his own heavy-handed, electrifying spirit. You also have his exploration of more exotic sounds on tracks like “Kashmir,” which showcased his ability to blend diverse musical elements. It was an unusual take for rock n’ roll at the time, though it worked.

Check “Whole Lotta Love” life performance:

Of course, beyond his musical abilities was his larger-than-life persona. He and the boys from Zeppelin dominated the music world in the 1970s, and he quickly became one of the most recognizable rock stars on the planet.

And while Zeppelin’s aesthetic was filled with lore, Page seemed like an ancient mythical wizard, building an otherwordly mythos around himself, both on stage and off. His playing was an extension of his aura, and his ability to captivate audiences worldwide was undeniable. 

There’s no doubt that Jimmy Page’s powerhouse talent left an immortal impression on rock music that continues to resonate today.

Strengths 

  • Versatile: Page was known for his ability to blend numerous genres, such as blues, rock, and folk, seamlessly. 
  • Arrangement Skills: Page’s guitar-driven compositions were some of the most complex and intricate at the time.
  • Stage Presence: His presence on stage made Zeppelin one of the most commanding live acts throughout the 70s

Weaknesses 

  • Sloppiness: Though Page was undoubtedly a talented guitarist, there were many moments of inconsistency during Zeppelin’s live performances.

3. Brian May

Displays Brian May

Guitar of Choice: Custom “Red Special”

I’ll never forget my long drives to school in the morning with my mom blasting Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” record in the front seat. Alongside the Beatles, Queen was one of my first true explorations into music.

Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen, was an extraordinary talent, and though Freddie Mercury held it down as the face of the band and the greatest performer of all time, no one could match May’s innovative approach to playing. Of course, we can’t go without mentioning his gorgeous custom guitar, affectionately known as the Red Special

What’s unique about May is that to play guitar in Queen, he temporarily set aside his dreams of becoming an astrophysicist. 

Check “Another One Bites The Dust” -live performance:

Who knew that his musical aspirations would take him to the stars anyway?

He used a unique blend of masterful fretwork and hard-rock power chords, acting as the driving force behind Freddie Mercury’s extravagantly theatrical rock operas, such as the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His explosive solo still sends shivers down my spine today (yup, I went there).

Strengths 

  • Unique Tone: Brian May had a distinctive guitar tone, thanks to the use of his “Red Special” and AC-30 amplifiers
  • Melodic Playing: His playing wa characterized by his ability to create memorable, melodic guitar arrangements
  • Precision: May’s accuracy was out of this world, allowing him to play high-energy solos

Weaknesses 

  • Less Experimental: May’s playing style remained pretty consistent throughout his career, and he often didn’t explore outside the box like other great guitarists

4. Eric Clapton

Displays Eric Clapton

Guitar of Choice: Clapton was best-known for his use of vintage and signature edition Fender Strats, particularly his custom model named “Blackie.”

Before the rise of Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, the walls of London echoed with graffiti proclaiming, “Clapton Is God.” His blues mastery, rooted in his time with the supergroup Cream and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, was consistently impressive throughout his illustrious career (which, by the way, is STILL going strong today).

Whether it’s the heartfelt sincerity of “Tears in Heaven” or the euphoric road trip riffs of “Layla,” he has continuously amazed listeners with his virtuosic abilities. There are few players that can make their guitars sing quite like him.

Check “Wonderful Tonight”- live performance:

While his music speaks for itself, he has also been the recipient of numerous awards. Beyond his 18 Grammy Awards (the most Grammy wins by a male solo artist), he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on three separate occasions: once as a solo artist, another time for his work in Cream, and once more as a member of the Yardbirds.

Strengths 

  • Technical Ability: Clapton had total command over a wide range of playing techniques, from vibrato to bending to blues improvisation
  • Blues Mastery: Clapton is often considered one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time
  • Collaborative Nature: Whether in a band setting or as a session player, Clapton worked well with numerous musicians throughout his career

Weaknesses 

  • Heavy Reliance on Blues: Clapton’s playing style can feel a bit predictable at times

5. David Gilmour

Guitar of Choice: Iconic “Black Strat”

Drawing inspiration from Syd Barret’s psychedelic soundscapes, David Gilmour, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, used his iconic “Black Strat” to craft an unparalleled guitar tone.

To this day, his ability to create ethereal and otherwordly atmospheres is unmatched. He had an instinctive flair for soul-stirring improvisation, too, propelling Pink Floyd to the forefront of progressive rock. 

From the soaring, celestial riffs in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” to the blistering, blues-infused solo on “Money,” it was Gilmour’s musical prowess that cemented the band’s status as a prog-rock powerhouse.

Of course, it’s the legendary solo heard on “Comfortably Numb” that is widely recognized as one of the greatest of all time. He carefully bridged the realms of jazz-rock and psychedelic music, wandering into uncharted territories.

His groundbreaking contributions to Pink Floyd and innovative approach to playing rightly position him among the greatest guitarists ever.

Strengths 

  • Dynamic Mastery: Gilmour has exceptional control over the dynamics of his playing, which is evident in his solos
  • Unique Tone: His guitar tone is equally legendary
  • Layered Arrangements: Gilmour had a knack for creating multi-layered guitar arrangements, the pinnacle of the Pink Floyd sound

Weaknesses 

  • Not the Most Technical: Gilmour often prioritzed melody and expressiveness over technical complexity

6. Eddie Van Halen

Guitar of Choice: The “Frankenstrat,” which was a custom-made axe with a Strat-style body and Gibson-style humbucker pickups

Eddie Van Halen was a true trailblazer in the rock world. 

Like Hendrix, he defied conventions and reshaped the landscape of rock music. In fact, he once famously declared, “To hell with the rules.” His innovative style, characterized by lightning-fast finger-tapping, catapulted him to instant stardom.

Van Halen’s explosive solos epitomized heavy metal in the 80s. His iconic solo in “Eruption” was the perfect showcase for his virtuosity, becoming a defining sound of the era. I’ll never forget one of the sound engineers I worked with telling me that so impactful was Eddie’s presence that owning a Van Halen cassette became a badge of honor for any self-respecting teenager at the time.

Michael Jackson, the world’s biggest pop star at the time, recognized his exceptional talent and invited him to contribute his guitar skills to the iconic track “Beat It.” 

His fearless approach and technical brilliance solidify his position as one of the most revered guitarists in history.

Strengths 

  • Revolutionary Playing: Eddie introduced new techniques, such as intricate finger-tapping, that revolutionized guitar playing.
  • Instantly Recognizable Tone: Van Halen’s high-gain tone is one of the most iconic out there.
  • Showmanship: Eddie was one of the most energetic performers of his time

Weaknesses 

  • Limited Stylistic Range: Eddie Van Halen focused primarily on rock and metal, rarely stepping outside the lines.

7. Jeff Beck

Guitar of Choice: Though he played many guitars, he preferred his 1960s Stratocasters

Jeff Beck’s ultra-expressive style of playing alone rightfully earns him a place among the greatest guitarists of his generation. 

With a remarkable talent for bending genres and being somewhat of a stylistic chameleon, Beck’s talent is undeniable. During his 1960s tenure with The Yardbirds, he delved into the realm of psychedelic rock, pioneering a distinctive, fuzz-laden sound with his innovative use of the Tone Bender MK I pedal.

Upon forming the Jeff Beck Group, he returned to his blues roots, showcasing an edgier, more organic guitar style. When you listen to tracks like “I Ain’t Superstitious,” you can hear his signature blues touch. 

He was also known to explore more exotic styles, such as his Latin-inspired soloing in songs like “Beck’s Bolero.” Though he may have been overshadowed by contemporaries like Hendrix and Clapton, he deserves recognition for his adventurous approach to playing.

Strengths 

  • Experimental Approach: Jeff Beck was often known to push the boundaries of what was possible with the guitar
  • Expressive Style: Beck’s use of vibrato paired with his beautifully-crafted solos make him unmatched in terms of soulful playing.
  • Control: He also had extraordinary control over hs playing, from his tone to his dynamics

Weaknesses 

  • Limited Commercial Success: Though he was an excellent guitarists, he never achieved the same level of commercial success as the other greats on this list.

8. Slash

Guitar of Choice: Gibson Les Paul Standard

In the midst of the extravagant and grandiose 80s hard rock scene, Slash emerged as a breath of fresh air, revitalizing the spirit of classic rock ‘n’ roll with a distinct love for the blues.

While he is renowned for his show-stealing solos, such as that unforgettable performance on “November Rain,” Slash played a pivotal role in taking Guns N’ Roses from a mere Sunset Strip sensation to a powerhouse of stadium rock.

Beyond his unmatchable style, he is the creative force behind some of the most iconic guitar riffs in rock history. Walk into just about any major guitar shop, and you’ll hear someone riffing away on “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” And the solo in “Paradise City”? Unreal!

His contributions to rock and roll are endless, and with raw passion and technical brilliance, he solidified his status as a true guitar god.

Strengths 

  • Iconic Tone: Slash’s heavy overdrive and soaring solo tones are instantly recognizable
  • Memorable Riffs: Slash has written some of the most memorable riffs and solos of all time
  • Stage Presence: Slash is still one of the most captivating live performers on Earth, much of which is thanks to his signature look.

Weaknesses 

  • Lacks Technical Complexity: Slash’s playing style is more about delivering a show rather than showcasing technicality

9. Wes Montgomery

Guitar of Choice: Gibson L-5 CES

Though his career was tragically short, this esteemed jazz guitarist gained well-deserved acclaim for his mastery of the octave playing technique.

By playing phrases on two strings, precisely an octave apart, he achieved a distinctive tone that jazz musicians would go on to copy for decades after. When I was just getting into jazz playing, I remember trying to match his aggressive thumb strokes, those of which inspired the likes of Jeff Beck and other fingerstyle players. It was a true hallmark of his style. 

However, his octave technique wasn’t what truly set him apart. For me, it was his remarkable sense of swing and imaginative melodic playing. Listen to his late 1960s releases on Verve and you’ll hear exactly what I’m talking about. 

Wes Montgomery’s contributions to jazz guitar continue to resonate today, and without him, it’s hard to say if and when the guitar would have made it so far in the genre.

Strengths 

  • Influential Playing Style: Wes was a groundbreaking jazz guitarist, using his thumb to craft a distinguishable tone.
  • Improvisation Skills: His melodic improvisation skills were out of this world
  • Incredible Dynamic Control: Wes had otherworldly control over his touch

Weaknesses 

  • Limited Use of Effects: His natural, straightforward tone became fairly predictable after a while

10. Chuck Berry

Guitar of Choice: Cherry Red Gibson ES-355TD

Rock ‘n’ roll was born from the blues, and the electrifying guitar intro on Chuck Berry’s track “Maybelline” marked the pivotal moment of its inception. 

His guitar prowess was evident in his mastery of short yet impactful solos. He had the ability to deliver memorable musical phrases, even if they were only a second long. 

While you can find more drawn-out solos on 1960s albums like “Concerto in B Goode,” it was his unique essence and style that influenced countless rock guitarists. 

In fact, no worthy rock guitarist can escape the impact of Chuck Berry’s artistry, and his contributions to the genre continue to resonate and shape the sound of rock music to this day.

Strengths 

  • Pioneer of Rock n Roll: Many say Chuck Berry is the “founder” of rock n’ roll
  • Rhythmic Playing Style: Berry’s infectious playing style made heavy use of percussiveness, giving his music a danceable vibe
  • Incredible Showmanship: Berry was also know for his impactful showmanship, especially his signature “duck walk.”

Weaknesses 

  • Limited Exploration: Chuck Berry had a sound and he stuck to it, rarely experimenting with different sounds or techniques

Runner-Ups That Just Missed The List

Mark Knopfler

Guitar of Choice: Vintage and Modern Fender Stratocasters

Mark Knopfler traversed the smoky pubs of the underground UK rock scene all the way to the Wembley Stadium’s main stage during Live Aid. To me, he’s more of a guitarist’s guitarist, which is why I didn’t put him on the main list. 

His style, characterized by mellow, chugging rhythms and evocative riff repertoire, played a pivotal role in catapulting Dire Straits to stardom. “Sultans of Swing” was the perfect piece to showcase Knopfler’s mastery, and it was one of the reasons they went on to become one of the best-selling acts of the 1980s.

With his sweeping soft-rock sound, tip-toeing the line between easy listening, folk, and blues, his ability to blend numerous influences is what makes him one of my all-time favorites.


Carlos Santana

Guitar of Choice: PRS Santana Model

Carlos Santana is one of the most exceptional guitarists of the past half-century. From his groundbreaking Woodstock performance to his unmatched streak of success throughout the 1970s, his musical journey has been a wild one.

He put Latin rock on the mainstream Western map, fusing numerous styles and crafting a distinct and recognizable sound that is unmistakably his own. 

Even after releasing an impressive 26 studio albums, he still takes a fresh musical approach with each album. Even his most recent album, “Blessings and Miracles,” showcases his ongoing commitment to pushing boundaries.


Tony Iommi

Guitar of Choice: Gibson SG

While I wouldn’t put Tony Iommi at the top of any “best guitarist” list, his anti-shred approach was one of the things that put Black Sabbath on the map. As a young metalhead, I couldn’t get enough of Sabbath, and for that, I wanted to give him some love.

Iommi’s expertise lies in crafting iconic, bone-crunching riffs. While any young kid with a guitar may be able to play the recognizable riffs on tracks like “Sweet Leaf” and “Paranoid,” it takes a special kind of person to come up with them in the first place. 


Robert Johnson

Guitar of Choice: Gibson L-1

Even with a short career, Robert Johnson epitomized the essence that a generation of blues-rock musicians sought to capture. 

His repertoire of Delta blues tracks showcases it all, from the raw and aggressive slide playing in “Crossroads Blues” to the infectious swing in “Sweet Home Chicago.” 

While legends of a Faustian pact may surround his life, it is undeniable that he had one of the most influential contributions to the blues.


B.B. King

Guitar of Choice: Gibson ES-335 named “Lucille”

Though Robert Johnson dominated the early blues sound, it was B.B. King that carried the torch. He formed a remarkable vocal duo with his cherished Gibson ES-355 guitar, Lucille. 

Lucille’s soulful sound had the power to convey emotions that B.B. King noted words alone could not fully express. With his elegant and heartfelt playing, his guitar became an extension of his musical voice.

His unique vibrato alone could put him on this list.


Steve Vai

Guitar of Choice: Ibanez JEM Series

Though I’m not a huge fan of his music, Steve Vai is undeniably one of the most technically exceptional guitarists of all time, adeptly balancing between hard rock and serious composition. 

Before he went solo, he was the “stunt guitarist” in Frank Zappa’s band and eventually played in acts like David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. It was then that he showcased his shredding mastery. I highly recommend checking out “Weeping China Doll” if you want to hear his more artistic side.


Nile Rodgers

Guitar of Choice: Fender Stratocaster

Straight out of high school, I toured in a funk band, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the huge impact Nile Rodgers, the guitarist of Chic, had on me.

He defied gravity in the disco era, showcasing a sophisticated style of funk with a choppy, stripped-down approach. 

His visionary influence extended to new wave pop acts like Madonna and Duran Duran, and when David Bowie enlisted him to produce his groundbreaking album “Let’s Dance,” he seemingly predicted the future of pop music, playing with clean tones and precise electro rhythms. 

As one of the most sampled guitarists in hip-hop, his style influenced a generation far beyond his own.


Duane Allman

Guitar of Choice: Gibson Les Paul

Although Duane Allman’s catalog of music was relatively limited, his impact on slide-guitar artistry is immortal. His guest appearance on “Layla” by Derek And The Dominos is absolutely timeless.

Many say his secret weapon was his soulful touch, which he had meticulously developed during his years as an Atlantic Records session musician. When he had his tenure with his brother Greg in The Allman Brothers Band, he brought that secret weapon with him.

Though his life was cut short in 1971, his legacy has inspired and influenced several generations of slide players and country rock guitarists.


FAQ

Who Is Chosen to Be The Best Guitarist Most Often?

Though it’s subjective, guitarists who are consistently mentioned as the best of all time include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Eddie Van Halen.

Is Prince The Best Guitarist of All Time?

Though he doesn’t often get recognition as the “best guitarist of all time,” he was an epic guitar player with an even more incredible songwriting and performing career. 

Is Jimi Hendrix The Best Guitarist of All Time?

Jimi Hendrix is frequently said to be the best guitarist of all time. His remarkably innovative style captivated audiences throughout the 60s and beyond.

Is Jimmy Page The Best Guitarist of All Time?

Jimmy Page is widely considered to be one of the best guitarists of all time. His band, Led Zeppelin, is also one of the most recognizable names in rock n’ roll.


Conclusion

Well, there you have it — my top list of ten exceptional guitarists and a few runner-ups. 

If you’ve recently embarked on your guitar journey, I encourage you to explore their music and watch live performances on YouTube to get a firsthand look at their skillful playing.

Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll be on this same list!

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

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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Bruce Shulman

Guess you never heard of Chet Atkins or Django Reinhart. Nor is there any such thing as a list of the 10 best anything. It is always subjective, whether it be movies, ballplayers, pizza joints or anything else

Chris M

Or Tommy Emmanuel!

Mike Reed

Lists are subjective of course. Your criteria includes tone, experimentation, technical ability, stage presence etc. How can you not include Ritchie Blackmore?

Denizhan Baytug

Totally. Gates of Babylon, Stargazer, A Light in the Black, Maybe Next Time?, Eyes of the World, to name a few plus I do believe Blackmore is peerless when it comes to slide work. I mean Beethoven’s 9th using slide? What?

Robert Forbes

Have to say, doesn’t Keith Richard’s play the guitar, last time I checked

Teemu Suomala

I’m pretty sure he does…haha

Ivan

Yngwie malmsteen has written some great songs in his career. Especially in the beginning. He is an awesome player that started to put neoclassical music in rock/metal music. He inspired many guitarists. I think he deserves a mention here as well. Thanks.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ivan! Yngwie is an extremely skilled guitarist and has influenced many, that’s for sure. You can find him here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-metal-guitarists-of-all-time/

Wayne Rivera

It’s a good list but not having SRV on it is kind of mind blowing. Check yourself.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Wayne! I think you can found SRV easily from here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/

Victoria Krause

I agree. It’s so sad that Terry doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

Larry

Blackmore over Iommi. Also, Brian May was inspired by Blackmore! As was Eddie Van Halen!!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Larry. True, Blackmore inspired many, including me, haha!

Mark G

Ritchie Sambora, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, Nuno Bettencourt to name a few that should get honourable mentions at the very least.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Mark! Thanks for sharing some of your picks. Some of these great players can be found here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-metal-guitarists-of-all-time/

Matsukka

Steve Hackett is in my top ten list, absolutely.
And btw, my number two in my list (after Jimi Hedrix) Sir David Gilmour is not co-founder of Pink Floyd 🙂

Douglas L. Hall

Al DiMeola won Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Guitarist more times than Santana has riffs. And Prince? Please. Minor pentatonics and delay doesn’t make you an epic player.

Robert Forbes

Somehow Mr. Keith Richard’s got overlooked. He’s been my favorite guitar player for a long time. When gimme shelter comes on it still grabs me.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Robert! Thanks for sharing your perspective and thoughts…Gimme Shelter is a gem for sure!

Ant

Santana doesn’t need to enter GPMs best guitarist……he can outplay anybody at their own game every time! 👍

Teemu Suomala

Agreed, Santana is awesome!

Goran

Ritchie Blackmore is one of THE greatest guitarists of all time and not to include him makes this list one piece of shit..but yeah you put f****n Slash..like really?

Teemu Suomala

Hi Goran! Thanks for revealing your opinion! Keep Rocking!

Warren Elder

Please, please, please stop with the top 10s they just start arguments!! Lol there’s never a list that satisfies even 3 guitarists Nevermind enough to generate the need for another article justifying your choices. So just stop….

Teemu Suomala

Hi Warren! I don’t see arguments that much, just people sharing their opinions 🙂

Michael T. Poxon

How can you not put Terry Kath in the listing of too guitarists ?

Teemu Suomala

He is a little bit lesser known name…that’s why most top 10 lists don’t feature him…

Karl Parrish

None the less. Kath is toe to toe with anyone on that list.

Mickey White

There’s way too many great guitarists to come up with a definitive Top 10 list. I was disappointed that John McLaughlin (to name just one) didn’t even get a mention.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Mickey! Yes, forming top 10 list is incredible hard task. If we create best Jazz guitarist list, John McLaughlin could be on that one!

Tom Johnson

I agree Michael. Terry Kath was the greatest guitarist I ever saw

Teemu Suomala

Hi Tom! Terry Kath is a great one, that’s for sure!

Teemu Suomala

True Karl! Kath got some serious skills!

J Parsons

Clapton Hendrick’s page, Van Halen Santana truckberry, 3 Jeff back David Gilmore.
Brian May and/slash

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for sharing Jim! Great picks!

Dave S

Dave Gilmore, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix , Jonny Winter, Martin Lancelot Barre, Steve Marriot, Alvin Lee. Frank Zappa Rory Gallagher.

Stevie Gomez

Say Dave S.thank you × 1,000 times for having SRV my opinion he is GOAT he is so fast and smooth just an amazing player. Oh Alvin Lee, Roy Buchanan. Roy Clark is way underrated

Dennis W

One word – Amen!!!

Claude

Where are Andrew Latimer, Buckethead, Neal Schon…? a 10 best list is never enough…

Kelvin dallenger

Where was Peter green on your list…

Mario Cascarejo

Why is Joe Satriani not on top 10 list. Joe shredds better than half the list.🎸👍🏆

Teemu Suomala

Hi Mario! Agreed, Satriani is a true Shred-Monster-Grandmaster-Overlord. If we do top 10 shredders list, he most likely will be found there!

woodyj

Billy Gibbons
Steve Howe
Michael Schenker
Alex Lifeson

Ricky

Peter Frampton and also Mick Ronson

Victoria Krause

I agree. It’s so sad that Terry doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

Michael T. Poxon

Top guitarists

Pops

Ritchie Blackmore
David Gilmour
Trevor Rabin
Tony Iommi
Alan Holdsworth
Robert Fripp
Mick Box
Jimmy Page
SRV
Joe Satriani
Dodi Battaglia

Ricky Barrick

Absolutely Love that 📃 list! Thanks for sharing it, I’m very partial about Ritchie, but as big of a fanboy as I am of “Blackers”, I’m in total agreement that Clapton and Hendrix and Page,Jeff Beck were HUGELY influential for groundbreaking the category– but one cannot leave out SRV, E.Vanhalen, and Chuck Berry OR B.B., And even Robert Johnson belongs in the conversation Peace out from ETn ✌️

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ricky! You can find SRV and Robert Johnson here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/

Kevin

No SRV, Bonamassa, John Mayer, Eric Johnson? The list seems more about personal choice, Beck, Clapton, Page, Gilmour are ok but overrated.

EJ

Don’t agree at all…..sorry!!

Dennis Dreher

Shawn Lane, Buckethead and Paul Gilbert should be mentioned

Teemu Suomala

Hi Dennis and thanks for commenting! Great picks and awesome guitar players!

Silly

FRANK ZAPPA

Teemu Suomala

Great pick!

Karl Parrish

Dang right! Phenomenal guitarist. He’s always overlooked. Just a shame.

Vinny Amatucci

Wrong!! Hendrix is good, but he’s limited to playing his runs ina box. Robert Fripp should be number one because his speed is otherworldly and he plays the WHOLE NECK OF THE GUITAR!!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Vinny! Thanks for revealing your opinions on this! Robert Fripp is a great guitarist for sure.

Teemu Suomala

True Karl! Kath got some serious skills!

Frans Pelzers

Never heard (of) Joe Bonamassa? He is the best.
Eric Clapron, Mark Knopfler and Slash are highly overrated.

Segfreed

Gary Moore come on do your job man@

Teemu Suomala

Gary is a GOAT for sure!

Miles

Hi Teemu, didn’t see Django or Jan Ackerman in comments. Was going to say Terry Kath. Thanks

Teemu Suomala

Hi Miles! Those all 3 are excellent guitarists. Thanks for pointing them out. Django can be found here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-jazz-guitarists-of-all-time/

Teemu Suomala
Linda Scott

STEVIE RAY VAUGHN the best even Clapton was in awe

Teemu Suomala

Hi Linda! I think you can found SRV here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/

Stevie Gomez

You hit it right I agree with you SRV greatest all time. Thanks Linda you know your guitar guys

Luka

Hahahaha who put this list together without srv?

Robert Cline

No Stevie Ray Vaughn?

Kevin

Any top guitarist list without Rory Gallagher is a joke.

Teemu Suomala

Kevin…Rory Gallagher is an excellent guitarist. “What In The World” is an amazing slow blues song…love it!

William Beckham

KEITH RICHARDS is my favorite guitarist of all time. He should definitely be on the list because he wrote 2 and 3 note themes that were better than any great solo!!

Teemu Suomala

Hi William! I agree, he is an amazing player and showed us that you don’t have to use complex stuff in order to be amazing. Keep rocking!

Tom Balek

Tommy Emmanuel
Pete Frampton
Chet Atkins
Brad Paisley

Teemu Suomala

Great picks Tom! I have to check Tommy Emmanuel out ASAP!

Kylina

By g.

Layla

Here here!

Teemu Suomala

SRV is on my list too…but there are so many amazing players, I totally understand why Tyler left him out.

Ron Hayes

NO SRV?
NO BUDDY GUY?
I’LL JUST SADLY KEEP MY OPINION TO MYSELF, RESPECTIVELY 😔

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ron! Find SRV from this list: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/ We would love to hear your picks! 🙂

Kevin

I guess I’m gonna be the only one here who’s heard of and seen Eddie Hazel……

Teemu Suomala

Hi Kevin! I have heard, but not seen live. That would have been amazing…I missed that train. California Dreamin is awesome song!

Marie

Yeah.Where is he!!

Rex Jamerson

Where is James burton? Paco de Lucia? Stevie Ray vaughan? Tommy emmanuel?

Nigel McGill

And Dick Dale?, couldn’t agree more

Teemu Suomala

Hi Nigel! Dick Dale is another great pick!

Nigel Trafford

Alex Young of AC-DC is way above all the ones mentioned.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Nigel! He is a great guitarist, but doesn’t get a spot from top 10 in my books either. Keep rocking!

Bill Killen

H I can’t argue with any of these names, but omitting Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher is a little mind boggling.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Bill! Thanks for commenting, and I agree, Gallagher and Winter are true guitar greats!

Malta Shayka

Where in the world is Randy Rhoads?

David

Or ” Dimebag”??????

Teemu Suomala

Hi David! Dimebag is on my list. Floods is something spectacular. Keep rocking!

Chris D

Your list is not a real list without Stevie Ray Vaughn on it. Sorry, someone has to go to make room for SRV.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Chris! I think you can found him here: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/

Teemu Suomala

He is amazing. Mr.Crowley’s solo is something out of this world for example!

Charles

Yeah you have to mention Randy Rhoads and of course Jake E Lee Bark at the Moon what about Angus Young wrote perhaps the most memorable riff in History For Those About to Rock

Teemu Suomala

I work as an editor here at GND, Tyler’s list is really good in my opinion, but my top 10 looks like this
1. Randy Rhoads
2. Dimebag Darrel
3. Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. Jimmy Page
5. Steve Vai
6. David Gilmour
7. John Frusciante
8. Joe Satriani
9. Andy James
10. Jeff Beck

Rich

Um….Ok

Malta Shayka

This is a list that I can agree with!

JennyB

As much as I agree with many on your list, I have to say that any list of the 10 best that doesn’t include the masterful Stevie Ray Vaughn is a little off. He was much more talented than many on your list! And no mention of Neil Schon of Journey? Wow, missed the mark IMHO. Anyway, interesting article. Rock on, everyone!

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for commenting Jenny! True, SRV would be in most top 10 guitarist of all time lists. But you can find him here tho: https://guitaristnextdoor.com/best-blues-guitarists-of-all-time/

Teemu Suomala

Thank you Malta!

GM

How about Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac!! 😍

Paul F ONeal

I agree but there many more other great guitarists that should be on list.

Teemu Suomala

So many great guitarists, only 10 spots in top 10, haha! Impossible!

Kieron Balcombe

I am very surprised Mark King from Level 42 isn’t on the list,because he is an absolute genius on the bass guitar.

Al Ripley

Are you daff?

Shep

Beck should be much higher ahead of Page who himself said Beck was better. Ritchie Blackmore should be in the top 10. Alvin Lee also should be in there somewhere. Kenny Wayne Shepherd?

David

Where is stevie ray vaughn. He is one of the best. Even Hendrix thought so….

HP STEW

Unless Hendricks was talking from the grave. This is a non-truth. Stevie Ray Vaughan was 16 years old when Hendricks passed in 1970 at the age of 27

Teemu Suomala

True!

Teemu Suomala
Gerard Whyman

How about Richard Thompson? Not only a first rate guitarist but also a first rate songwriter, he makes Clapton look like a one note plodder!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Gerard! Thanks for pointing Richard Thompson out. He is an excellent player and has had an amazing career, that’s for sure. Take care!

P

Ever heard of Robin Trower ?

Steve Zastrow

Can’t leave out malmsteen,uli roth

Tim Bauman

Gary Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Eric Johnson, Michael Schenker, Vernon Reid, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Zappa, Rory Gallagher, Roy Buchanan, Pat Methany, Jerry Cantrell, Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie Montrose, Robin Trower, Al Dimeola, Phil Manzanera, and on and on. Commercial success and being recognizable seems to be the criteria.

Big Mal

Rory Gallagher not the best, but the greatest, could play any genre of guitar and his slide playing none but one. Could also play saxophone and harmonica, no wonder he was voted Ireland’s greatest musician.

Denizhan Baytug

This remit is too wide. It should be limited to ‘most influential heavy guitarists” to knock out the confusion. Of course Hendrix and Beck would be on the list. But several would come out. To which Blackmore and Schenker would have to be added.

If it is a wider net, then the greatest of all time in terms of overall showmanship and tremendous technique? Glen Campbell.

Ray

I agree! Glen Campbell was the most versatile guitarist and none of the top 10 has his range of voice, pop, classical, country and rock.

Buck

Well if you’re going to refer to Glen Campbell you have to throw in Roy Clark and Jerry Reed, those boys could really pick!

Teemu Suomala

Good point!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ray! Just listening Glen Campbell, he is amazing. But he just misses my top 10 too when it comes to guitar playing.

Lee

Glad You included Tony Iommi as Jimmy Page gets ALL the credit for everything that Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore pioneered.
Oh, wait. No Ritchie Blackmore! You’re not serious. He scores a 10 on every category. Go ask a real guitarist.
Led Zeppelin is the 2nd most overrated phenomenon in the history of humanity, next to the superbowl.

Michael Gallagher

Jimmy Page was playing studio stuff with the Stones, Beatles,Who Yardbirds. You’re so friggin WRONG

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for commenting Michael! How your list looks likes?

Teemu Suomala

Hi Lee! Thanks for revealing your thoughts. I like Led Zeppelin a lot tho…

Joseph Grace

I feel you did Eddie Van Halen somewhat of a disservice. You don’t mention his genius when it comes to building guitars and amplification, as well as his holding many patents in this area. More so than any other guitarist mentioned, he pioneered the actual instrument. He also never invented tapping he just perfected it. For me his influence was greater than Hendrix and he was a far more accomplished player. And in his weaknesses you mentioned him having a limited stylistic range but he performed in pop, electro (Thomas Dolby) not to mention his qualities as a pianist. He, more than any other Guitarist mentioned, is a real Genius. Sure, Hendrix changed things forever but once that was done how could anyone change things forever again? But Eddie managed it. Greatest ever for me and by some margin. P.s. a shout out to Tom Morello who has also managed to reinvent guitaring with his unique style, though I’ll grant you he’s not the best player I ever saw.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Joseph! Thanks for sharing all these insights, we should make a separate article about EVH. Also thanks for pointing out Morello, he is super creative for sure!

Aidan Mc Call

Have you ever listened to Gary Moore nobody can get his guitar to send out such emotion watch his live performances both blues and his rock performances why he is never mentioned is a mystery

Teemu Suomala

Hi Aidan! I’am. Gary is amazing!

Karl Parrish

Why is Terry Kath continually left out of the greatest guitarists of all time lists? Its ridiculous. Some of his riffs were unbelievable. Even Hendrix once said Kath was better than him. He’s the primary reason Hendrix asked Chicago to go on the road with him. Kath is the most underrated guitarist of all time.

Teemu Suomala

Terry Kath was maybe not as impactful as guitarist as many mentioned on this list, that’s probably the reason Tyler left him out. Kath is amazing player still!

Karl Parrish

None the less. Kath is toe to toe with anyone on that list.

Buck

Nobody knows a Terry Kath. Been playing rock guitar for 45 years and kept up with the best bands and rock/guitar media…never heard of him.

Teemu Suomala

True Karl! Kath got some serious skills!

Bill

Billy gibbons has got to be on the list

Rob

Been waiting for someone to mention Billy gibbons, also Albert King was a better guitar player than BB

Teemu Suomala

Thanks for visiting and revealing your opinion Rob!

Teemu Suomala

Hi Bill! Gibbons is behind some really amazing & catchy songs, but doesn’t quite make into my top 10 either.

Alex Henson

Um how àbout
Steve Howe
Really not even mentioned…

Teemu Suomala

Steve Howe is super skilled, that’s for sure!

Keith jones

Gary moore was better than over 90% of what you reviewed there… he was the best of all time.
Just watch what he does..
Live versions of anything he does

Teemu Suomala

Hi Keith! True, Gary is an amazing guitarist!

Benny Parries

One of my favorites is the late great Terry Kath of Chicago

Teemu Suomala

He is a hidden gem!

Robert Forbes