Top 10 Greatest Guitar Players (Famous Guitarists)


From guitar faces to the different kinds of axes, here is the Top 10 Greatest Guitar Players. Squeezing the talent that’s blessed our ears for all these years into a list of 10 is just as difficult as choosing which limbs to lose or keep. The list is by no means definitive, but it’s an accurate representation for the uniqueness of the music the guitarist has made. In short, these famous guitar players have played the melodies that have made grown men cry, and probably gave you a taste of how your guitar face would look like pretending to play that solo. Of course many great guitarists may not have made this top 10 list, but feel free to add your own favorites in the comments.

10. Tom Morello

The guitar player who makes his guitar sound anything but a guitar. Helicopter rudders, disc scratching, and his use of the kill switch for staccato like guitar riffs has made him probably the most innovative guitar player of our time. He is a guitarist who can take feedback, and ground hum from his own body into coherent music. Be it Rage Against The Machine, or Audioslave you can always see Morello’s signature licks shining through.

9. John Mayer

Whoa whoa wait, what? This pop artist? A guitar player? If all you’ve ever heard from Mayer is Your Body Is Wonderland, or Daughters, then you’ve got to give his album Continuum a listen to. He is no Shakespeare

, but his guitar playing speaks to your soul. His songs will make most glorified tough guys miss their old girlfriend, and the rest just go to a corner and cry. If you think that his songs are all too depressing, then watch some videos of him playing. His guitar face is priceless.

8. Jack White


Mr. White is an incredibly underrated guitarist. His singles (From the White Stripes) always span with just three to four chords and his simplistic blues rhythm and picking styles have him overlooked most of the time. However, his masterful use of the Digitech Whammy and is erratic playing make for some of the most memorable guitar solos ever. Check out Ball and a Biscuit and try not to like that solo. One of my favorite Jack White moments was during the 2004 Grammys, where he took 7 Nation Army and went into a cover of Son House’s Death Letter (another artist who I had to unwillingly cut out of the list). In an awards show celebrating Justin Timberlake and Missy Eliot, Jack White took time to give a salute to where things got started, to an artist born a century ago.

7. Jimmy Page

Admit it. You’ve slow danced to Stairway To Heaven before. Page’s playing have influenced so many guitar players of today, and Led Zeppelin revolutionized Rock and Roll blending acoustic guitars, banjos, and mandolins while still staying with the same gritty rock image. His guitar riffs are forever etched into Rock and Roll’s hall of fame. How influential was he? Step into a guitar store, and you’ll see. Thousands of 12 year old kids across the globe are playing the intro to Stairway. Now that’s how you know you’ve made it.

6. BB King

Yeah. He may have to sit down when he plays, but he’ll have you on your feet when he does. BB’s creamy yet piercing tone, his unique vibrato and his absolute flawless ability to express his emotions through the guitar earn him a spot in the top ten. King’s years of fame haven’t gone to his head. He is still as humble as ever giving front row seat tickets to fans waiting in a cold parking lot just to have a glimpse of him. BB King can’t play chords. Nor does he sing and play at the same time. But he has worldwide recognition of his accomplishments as an artist. That’s a mark of a truly great guitarist.

5. David Gilmour

Gilmour was made famous by his haunting guitar scores in Pink Floyd. This “replacement” guitarist surpassed expectations and helped shape Pink Floyd’s unique sound. You can always expect hairs at the back of your neck to stand whenever you hear one of his solos – be it for the first or hundredth time you’re listening to it. All the emotion that Gilmour’s poured into his guitar work lives on in the music and is channeled through anyone who’s ever wanted to cover a Pink Floyd song. I know several guitar players (myself included) who whenever playing the Comfortably Numb solo – whether they are alone in their bedrooms or on stage – have always been unwillingly brought to tears, near the point of crying. How could you not expect things to get esoteric and mystical when it comes to music?

4. John Frusciante

Let’s get it straight. Froo – Shawn – Tey. If you don’t know him, he’s the lead guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Frusciante is the author of the brilliant chord progression on Under the Bridge, the haunting intro to Californication and the simplistic solo and riff on Otherside. If you’re the casual listener of the Chili Peppers, then you may wonder why John has made it so far up this list. But a tad of a closer look will reveal that his simple catchy riffs are the tip of the ice berg. One can catch a glimpse at his technical skill in the Dani California solo. A bit deeper and you’ll run into Lyon 06.06.06 in one of the B Sides. John takes his influences (Page, Hendrix) and mixes his own nuances into a sound that’s pleasantly different, but melodically having the same effects on you. A track to look out for on his solo work – Ramparts – showcasing four or so guitars layered upon each other in an introspective orchestra.

3. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Now if this house is rocking, don’t bother knockin. Famous words by Stevie. Many people perhaps know him for Hendrix covers, but where Jimi left off Stevie continued, and continued he did. The elements of Hendrix were alive and plain to see in SRV, but with it, he also mixed in his own influences such as Albert King and his own soul to make it his sound a trademark spot on his songs. I vaguely remember a car commercial where I spotted Stevie’s playing (Pride and Joy) in a Nissan ad. That was much before I really got into Vaughan’s work. SRV was an artist who could play while absolutely stoned face. And when he did sober up, he actually played better. His newfound health and love for life and music are showcased on In Step his last album before his death a year later. Stevie’s footprints will always be in the air and in our hearts.

2. Jimi Hendrix


Hendrix was known for a lot of things.The beautiful chord embellishments on Little Wing, the grit of the solo in Voodoo Child screaming off of his strat pickups, his cover of the Dylan song All Along The Watchtower, and the backwards solo in Castles Made of Sand, but known as a great innovative guitar player over and over again. His short but explosive career influenced numerous artists for many years past his death and continues to influence musicians today. To make such a difference in such a short amount of time truly earns Jimi a spot as number two. But…then you may ask, “Who is deserving of number one?!”

1. Robert Johnson

Bobby Jo is number one on this list. Every artist has unknowingly been influenced by him. Starting in the Mississippi Delta, Johnson’s life is rife with myths, and allegory. His deal with the devil and death are full of folklore and mysticism, and it only adds to his haunting voice and groundbreaking guitar playing. His songs are just a pure expression of emotion with no bars held. He led the groundwork for early blues to be filled in and worked upon by all the artists on this list. He also worked on breaking down social barriers. A black man in the early 20th century was not exactly the best place to be. But his music was to add interest by white musicians and help the civil movements of the sixties. Politically or musically, Robert Johnson is deserving of number one on this list.

Robert Johnson
written by Clarence F.

Other Articles you Might Like
Liked it? Take a second to support on Patreon!


  1. John Mayer is overrated af. Go and listen to Eric Clapton lol bruh you have a sad lyf if you never heard him lul.

  2. shawn collins on

    No Tony Iomi? Have you never heard Black Sabbath? Listen to Volume 4 or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Also Prince, not a big fan of his genre, but he could shred a guitar.

  3. Phoenix Hung on

    A lot of flotsam and jetsam on this list….no Joe Satriani….Steve Vai….Eric Clapton…Billy Gibbons….Wow….

  4. It’s very odvious you have never heard of Eric Clapton or he would top this absurd list ,actually very amusing,even laughable list you dug up from some unknown source

  5. Ed Davenport on

    Obviously listing something as subjective as musical greatness is tough and inevitably going to cause disagreement, but this is another level. Including John Frusciante and Jack White was a little absurd. Excluding players like Yngvie Malmstein, Dave Mustaine, and Slash was questionable. Excluding Eric Clapton was shocking, offensive, but almost admirable. Very little genre diversity, too. By my count, half of these players are blues or heavily blues-based. The complete absence of heavy metal is glaring. This list is ambitious, but golly, this is pretty darn bad.

  6. John Mayer? Really? And I love Jack White but top ten? No. I’d easily take Eric Clapton (whom I don’t really even care for) or Neal Schon over half these guys any day,

  7. As a long time player conveying the skill, craft and passion of this art, which is as much as a science, players of ANY and every instrument can unanimously agree that there are no “best” players. Some have great moments that were captured and regurgitated in the media time and a get which put them in a permanent vista. This is greatness? Hardly. I’ve seen A LOT of players, some included in the article and the majority chanted by the readers on this board screw things up beyond repair–some during the opening of their first song of the performance. OUCH that hurts…but it happens. Some completely lost track with what they were doing during a show casing of their solo work…oops. Yep it happens, like sometimes happens to singers who forget their lines–it doesn’t matter that they have written the song they were performing. Yea, we hear about this stuff every now and then, however at the end of the day, this doesn’t matter. The truth is, people hear only what they want to hear and will by their very disposition, ignore the negatives and embrace the positives of their work–alas this is why this supportive listeners are called FANS.

    BTW, what you heard on Jimi’s video on this article is not what was being played out one the video. (ANY guitar player worthy of his salt would have caught on to that in one or two bars…OK, I’ll be accommodating…10 bars.

    In truth, there are far too many outstanding players working behind the scenes of modern day music or session players that nobody knows about but have definitely heard and someone else is being recognized for it.

    Case in point: Google/YouTube these names:

    1.) Brent Mason
    2.) Eric Johnson
    3.) Steve Wariner
    4.) Larry Coryell
    5.) Reggie Young
    6.) Ronnie Montrose (RIP…miss you bro)
    7.) Les Dudek
    8.) Jan Akerman
    9.) Sharon Isbin (What did she do with Steve Vai) 😉
    10.) Tatyana Ryzhkova

    This list goes on and on for country miles!

    Let this video be a discovery vista and a symbiotic revelation to what guitar and player is all about in giving their instrument a voice for YOU to hear.

    It goes to show…there is no “best” guitar players…it’s all a matter of perspective, taste, interpretation, etc….. Above all, much of it has to do with the players in question being at the right place , at the right time, playing what the audience wanted to hear from that performance at that point in time. It’s a big world full of talent undiscovered and sadly, it will remain just that: undiscovered.

  8. sohrab saghafi on

    Ritchi Blackmore is the biggest guitarist in the world after Jimmi H
    endrix ,of course.I want to know what you say.come on…..

  9. In all these comments I have seen no mention of Derek Trucks. I hear you on all the big name rock guitarists. Whatever. I see no Brian Setzer either. Older country greats like Merle Travis, Jody Maphis and Hank “Sugarfoot” Garland should be on an all time greats list. Chet Atkins, the one and ONLY Mr. Guitar. Les Paul, Django Reinhardt. Andres Segovia,
    How about acoustic rock/pop guys like Paul Simon and James Taylor?
    Tommy Emmanuel, and the Alabama Wild Man, Jerry Reed. Go look up Lighting Rod and try to keep up. Redd Volkaert, hell even Willie Nelson plays a mean lead guitar.
    No top ten list can be real without the name Jack Pearson. Former Allman Brothers guitarist, Nobody on your list can hold a candle to him.

  10. The best is in the ears of the beholder.
    The guitar exists hundreds if not a thousand years.
    Addressing mostly recent electrical guitar players and disregard most famous classical and flamenco players is lying to history.
    Not to mention Goya or Pacco de Lucia even with one word is a crime against guitar playing.
    Shame on all of you spring chicks.

  11. Anyone without the skills and ability to shred well technically should not be on a top list ever. Any top list without Buckethead is incomplete since he has the highest ability. Anyone that says Buckethead can not play with soul/feel/emotion/blah blah blah are misinformed and have not listened to enough of him them self. Buckethead has over 50 albums so it is hard to find the good stuff since a lot of his work is experimental, but his good stuff is the best stuff. Oh wow just before pushing post I just found yet another awesome older Buckethead song… Brazos.

  12. just the notes on

    If your voting on pure guitarist and no particular style then jose felicano is Number one.The worlds greatest living guitarist. also The worlds greatest blind guitarist.
    I always say that Jose Feliciano? is indeed one of the greatest guitarists that’s ever lived. Flamenco, latin, bolero, classical, rock ect ect…. You name it and Jose can play it. Why he’s not on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarist of all time, is beyond anyone’s guess. dont believe me look up on youtube purple haze, the thrill is gone, flight of the bumble bee, Malagueña under Jose Feliciano. the guy can play anything and make it his own.

  13. 10. Rusty Cooley
    9.Javier Reyes
    8. Chris Broderick
    7. Jimmy Page
    6. John Petrucci
    5. Jeff Loomis
    4. Paul Waggoner/Dusty Baker
    3. Joe Satriani (Hes a musical computer, knows EVERYTHING)
    2. Steve Vai
    1. Tosin Abasi (No Doubt)

  14. What a shame….all of these “experts” boasting of “knowing the biggest member” !
    Please – get serious !
    Paco de Lucia, Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Gomm, Mike Dawes….and a thousand more !!
    Music / Guitar is NOT about competing you idiots !!!!!!
    It is about creating and experiencing ART !!!
    ART for those that doesnt know is another dimension than “I can throw a stone much longer than you ”
    So PLEASE – grow up – no more silly BS about “the best ” guitarist !!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. So where’s Carlos Santana? Richie Sambora? Eric Johnson? Eric Clapton? Jimi Hendrix? Slash?

  16. someonestudied on

    Jimi Hendix to Robert Johnson… Big gap there. Every single person on this list is a celebrity besides him(Robert Johnson). AND 90 percent of them play electric guitar. CHAIRLIE CHRISTIAN is the person you should be worshiping. Comment if you are a guitarist and have actually done your homework.

  17. Pat Metheny can play with speed, complexity and emotion that is beyond just about everyone on that list. (Dont be fooled by the ‘smooth jazz’ if thats all you’ve heard by him.)

    But this is obviously a rock/blues list. Otherwise Wes Montgomery or other jazz greats would be included. Not to mention country pickers like Merle Travis that are incredible…

  18. Leaving aside guitarists whose relative fame is debatable (such as Steve Hillage or Terje Rypdal), how can you have a wannabe like John Mayer on your list, but not Dr. Brian May, Jerry Garcia or Jeff Beck? And I’d have also swapped out Tom Morello in favor of Adrian Belew. Belew was making his guitar sound like “everything but a guitar” more than a decade before anyone had heard of Morello. Adrian played with Talking Heads, Joan Armatrading, David Bowie (that’s him playing the crazy solos on DJ and Boys Keep Swinging), and King Crimson back in thee late 70’s and early 80’s. And his song Oooh Daddy at least grants him one hit wonder status, as far as “fame” goes.

  19. Jimi is really the best, but how a man who died 80 years ago, when no real music recording existed was the BEST?. Because my grandpa said so? It’s not serious.

  20. I disagree with your selection of “Marooned” as the definitive showcase for Gilmour’s talents….try the latter portion of “Comfortably Numb”……….”live” from the Pulse concert, Earls Court……

    (fast forward to 04:50)


    Don Laird

  21. This list is a disgrace, including no mention of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or John Petrucci.

  22. Steve Vai? Yngwei Malmsteen? John Petrucci? All WAYYYYYY better then the above mentioned…

  23. John guitarist 2000 on

    Ahhhhhh john frusciante!!!!!! 4 th ooommmmgggg!!!!! Whooop whooppp. He deserved that!!!!!!!! He inspired me like you will never think! He is epikkk

  24. This is the worst top 10 guitarists list ever. Jeff Loomis, Tosin Abasi, Paul Waggoner, Andres Segovia…. Jimmy page needs to be top 3 on THIS list. Jack White? Red hot chilli peppers? what???? i hate when people pick them… what did they do thats the GREATEST EVER. NOTHING

  25. Malmsteem, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, M/A Batio, George Lynch, Zakk Wylde, Ritchie Blackmore and many more… I think some of them at least, should’ve been among the top 10. It is supposed to be a list with the greatest guitar players after all.


    • Both Satriani and Morello are masters when it comes to “electronic sound effects”, but i think Satriani is a better guitar player generally speaking. He can do much more stuff with the guitar, he’s like a magician and his technique is also superior. Also you shouldn’t forget that Satriani helped Morello in the past to reach his full potential.

  27. music is an expression with a variety of feelings involved.there is no such individual as the greatest guitarist.there are however a great number of highly talented,highly skilled and original guitar players.they encompass many genres of style ,technique,they should not be compared with each other.rather they should be appreciated for their individuality and that magnetism that makes them all unique.

  28. If we’re talking top 10 Rock guitarists, I don’t get any list that doesn’t include Clapton.

  29. PAUL GILBERT is the best, very useful licks and style! One of the best modern guitarist in the whole world! rOCK n Roll!!!

  30. So frustrating!!!! That guy Dino!!!! Guitar exists in other type of music beside rock you meatheads!! Turn off Vh1′ top 100 countdown and try exploring some other types of music. If you play guitar and you think rock is the only style to be played…then I’m very sorry but you probably are absolutely terrible at the guitar. Hate to break it to you but compared to people like Django Rheinhardt and Chet Atkins….Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai bloooooowwwwwww!!!!!!

  31. Ryan and Jfauser obviously play guitar and have decent taste in music. The rest of these people are clearly retarded.

  32. Anyone who commented that this was a good list needs to reconsider what makes up a great guitar player. It’s about being multi-faceted musician. Creativity, technicality and musicality all come in to play when your talking about the highest quality players. When I listen to a “shredder” like Steve Vai, I think..yes he is fast but his music makes me feel absolutley nothing emotionally. Truth be told…SRV and David Gilmour are probably the only players on this list that deserve to be there.

  33. You have to be kidding with this list right? This list would be fine if it was titled “most popular” or “best rock guitarists”. John Mayer one of the best guitarist ever, are you f’ing kidding?!!? Here are some of the best guitarists in my opinion.

    -Chet Atkins
    -Pat Martino
    -Al Di meola
    -Jeff Beck
    -Tommy Emmanuel
    -Paco De Luccia
    -Adres Segovia
    -Eric Clapton
    -Robert Fripp
    -John Mclaughlin
    -Trey Anastasio
    -Djengo Rheinhardt
    -Bill Frisell
    -Steve Howe
    -Adam Jones
    -Dimebag Darrel
    -David Gilmour
    -Stevie Ray Vaughn
    -Robert Cray

  34. Any top list should at least consist of these guitarists:

    Andreas Segovia
    (Truly the first guitar hero. Took the guitar from a peasant instrument to being respected and popular.)

    Django Reinhardt
    (Two fingers and still played more beautifull than just about everybody else)

    Chet Atkins
    (It’s Chet freakin’ Atkins, need I say more)

    Jimi Hendrix
    (Even a non-hendrix fan like me cannot deny his influence on rock and how much it spreads throughout many genres)

    Paco de Lucia
    (The flamenco master)

    Robert Johnson
    (The man paved the way for Rock and was just an overall amazing player)

  35. Talk about caving to political correctnes!!!. Not a single thought of your own in your head,huh? God, what a pathetic list.

  36. Anjel Dg THEE BEST of all time>>>> Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell ? Rest In Peace ?

  37. This list kind of blows. There are no greatest guitarists. And I hate how people think guitar is sickly limited to rock guys who in the whole scheme of things are pretty amateur. How about Eric clapton? Heck if Charlie Christian or django rhinehardt had never started playing solos guitar would still be a strict rhythm instrument playing crotchets to emphasise the beat. He had 2 fingers and did more for the guitar than anyone on this list? Especially Tom Morello? How about pat methany, wes Montgomery, pat martino, tal farlow, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, george benson? Listen to any of those guys and it will completely redefine your thoughts on the guitar. It can so easily be intelligent and soulful simultaneously…

  38. Where is Dimebag Darrell and Eddie Van Halen?

    Synyster Gates should also be on this list cause he brings such thoughtful lead progressions to modern metal.


    • Look what you just said, MODERN. The only way any modern guitar player would ever be on a greatest guitarist list is if they somehow completely change everything which is extremely unlikely. Emos can’t play music anyway.

  39. Where the necks Eddie van halen? And chuck berry? This list has some good guitar players on here but it’s missing some extremely important ones

  40. Here is the list of true talent

    1) Mark Knoffler
    2) Brian May (Brian May and Mark Knoffler Must be two of the most virtuous guitarists ever – true guitar geniuses). Their musical sense and ability to compose and play the full thing without making any noise or unnecessary tones is unprecedented.
    3) Gary Moore (A Very underrated but exceptional Guitarist)
    4) Angus Young
    5) Jimmy Page
    6) Eric Clapton
    7) Jimmy Hendrix
    8) Tonino Baliardo (Well acoustic but never the less)
    9) John Frusciante
    10) Tom Morello

    More or less in that order

    • Well I had a hard time making the list because there are a lot out there and there is a tendency that the most known ones are getting rated as the top ones. We should not be proud and force some false truth from pride. We should honor every person including guitarists and thereby honour the creation of god. Amen

      • What I am saying that we should look at the first three or four on each persons list and discard the rest. Then we’ll have a better estimate. Of course we always forget some fabulous guitarists and often some that deserve number two even number one on the list. Thats what statistics is good for. HOwever that said statistics is often a pillow for people. Faith and loyalty to true values is what brings success and fucks statistics. THings untoched statistics works but its the respect of god that changes things.

    • Finally someone who gets Brian May.IMO he’s in a league of his own.Instantly recognizable,no one sounds like him;He can play any genre and beautifully.When it was just Brian playing with Freddie singing I had to remember to breathe.

  41. Perhaps you have deemed putting more video clips for your blog articles and keep readers extra entertained? I mean I just read over the article of yours and it was quite very good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I discovered that to get more helpful. Just my my idea, Good luck

  42. Your list rocks!!! Thanks for voting Jack White in! This list is a great selection, good taste!

  43. hey people i want to buy my boyfriend a cd of the best guitarist… but im clueless can any1 help me? he doesn’t have a favourite but loves good music… any sugestions

    • I’m assuming rock guitar players so i’d say Jimi Hendrix, (I don’t personally like him but just about everyone else does) a good album of his would be “Are You Experienced?” or “Electric Ladyland”. Eric Clapton’s good stuff would be his records with Cream, mainly “Wheels Of Fire”. Van Halen’s first album (Just titled” Van Halen”.) Then Led Zeppelin 1, Led Zeppelin 2, and Led Zeppelin 4. A good Rush album would be nice too, either “Moving Pictures” or “Permanent Waves”. You might not see this but you should make sure he doesn’t have any of these yet and that he’ll like them.

  44. Hendrix is the most overrated guitarist of all time. He was ok, but he shouldn’t even be in the top ten.

  45. Those of you asking why John Mayer is on the list, are you out of your mind!!?? I mean seriously!!!

  46. jason baker
    jimy page
    van helen
    steve vai
    dumbag darrell
    eric clapton
    mark knofler
    joe satriney
    eric jonson
    david gilmour
    …………………………….shud be like dat i suppose

  47. Here is my top 10 list of the best, Fastest and greatest guitar players in the World….

    1. Yngwe Malmnsten
    2. Joe Satriani
    3. Eric Johnson
    4. John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
    5. Steve Vai
    6. Nuno Betengcourt (Extreme)
    7. Paul Gilbert (Mr.Big)
    8. Jimmy Hendrix
    9. Kirk Hammet (Mettallica)
    10. Slash (GnR)

  48. Where the hell is Dave mustaine, John petrucci, alexi laiho, Mikael Akerfeldt, dimebag, eddie van halen, Steve via, Kirk Hammett , randy Rhodes, les Paul, Kerry king, Marty friedman, Chris Broderick, scott Ian, chris Poland, eric Clapton, cobain, Zappa, …. And who the hell is John Mayer??

  49. how many people here would rather see blackmore , gary moore instead of jack white and frusciante

  50. PLEASE , you can’t compare all guitarist in the past and present into topten list. everyone have their own favourites. my favourite is Lee Ritenour, but no one mentioned him

  51. Frank Zappa is the greatest. Listen to Hot Rats, Guitar, and Shut Up and Play Your Guitar. Those albums completely eclipse everything else that has ever been recorded.

    What about Trey Anatasio? I cannot stand the hippie commune nonsense that follows Phish but that guy is amazing. That man can play anything; literally anything. He has been playing stuff like Peaches En Regalia to perfection live for literally decades. Go out to Grooveshark and find this song and list to it. He is playing sax and xylophone solos to perfection on the guitar. And that is just one example. There are literally hundreds of examples that you can find if you willing to look. Listen to the solo on Chalk Dust Torture off of A Live One. There is no better example of building tension in a solo then that right there.

    And leaving Chuck Berry of the list is absurd.

  52. Lastly – inspiring many that they could earn a living playing in a rock and roll band no mention shame on you of – Scotty Moore.

  53. Jeff Beck really ought to be over the sloppy Mr Page surely?

    Hardly any mention of female players, why is that? I’m a bloke, not a chick, yet this is like the UK 2011 sports personality of the year awards based on press coverage – not performance or results but drunk journo’s who only like watching blokes – but not Pat Metheny LOL – SO… No Jennifer Batten then? Rightly tho’ someone thought slide player Bonnie Raitt should get a mention – Derek Trucks got a look in (what a slide player) – had to look hard to find Larry Carlton – and Lee Ritenour – and John Scofield! Yet no Nile Rogers? And Keith Richards should be up there but why not Ronnie Woods? Nice to see Tom Scholtz remembered yet no Steve Miller who learned at the feet of Les Paul and yet no Les Paul either? Such a narrow list limited by populism not necessarily ability, tone or compositon. Not really much of list was it?

  54. Glad John Frusciante got some love on this list. a lot of people sleep on him and either haven’t heard him cause they aren’t chili peppers fans or because he doesn’t have a big name but purely skill wise number 4 is probably the right spot

  55. Joseph Ross Mayhew on

    Interesting list – but the absence of Chet Atkins and Lenie Breau is simply criminal. Those two were incomparably greater than most of the folks on this list – no argument possible.

    • With all the guitarists out there, the top ten are so subjective that it’s ridiculous to say leaving any guitarist off is criminal…. Except for Paco De Lucia.

  56. itsallsubjective on

    everyone has a different list, but i agree on jimi

    1. Jimi Hendrix
    2. SRV
    3. Eric Clapton
    4. Jeff Beck
    5. Pete Townshend
    6. Angus Young
    7. Eddie Van Halen
    8. Jimmy Page
    9. David Gilmour
    10. Buddy Guy

  57. Not A Squirrel on

    This is worse than the Rolling Stones magazine’s list. Paco De Lucia, Django Reinhardt, Andres Segovia, Sabicas, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, John Williams (no, not the movie score composer) IMO the top ten. It’s much harder to play jazz, flamenco, and sometimes classical, than it is to play blues or rock. These guitarists are all infinitely greater than Jack White, John Frusciante, Tom Morello, or John Mayor.

  58. Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) Watch the 20 minute video of I Can’t Keep From Crying on you tube NUFF SAID

  59. This is one of the most disappointing list of all time i can say. None of the guitarist i expect were included in the list. Here’s a good example.

    10. Steve Vai
    9. Al di Meola,
    8. Frank Gambale,
    7. Eric Johnson
    6. Paul Gilbert
    5. John Petrucci
    4. Andreas Oberg
    3. Yngwie Malmsteen
    2. Chris Impelliteri

    …Not to mention…

    1. Michael Angelo Batio. though i don’t like him very much because he is less melodic than the others. But most of the guys you mentioned are not even close to these guys. More over, the top ten list. So it’s really dissapointing.

    Compared to these guys on my list, Santana would look like a cannon fodder. They basically have everything under their belt.

  60. john mayer? jack white? lol. john fruciante? hahaha.
    you can add a hundred others in their place. Eric Johnson? Tommy Emmanual? Shawn Lane? Al Di Meola to name a few.

  61. Here’s my top 10 list (in no particular order):
    -Jerry Garcia
    -Trey Anastasio
    -Pat Metheny
    -John Scofield
    -Derek Trucks
    -Warren Haynes
    -Jimi Hendrix
    -Jimmy Page
    -Eric Clapton
    -Stevie Ray Vaughan

  62. jimi hendrix is a beast! he can make a guitar literally sing! and has played with his guitar on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he should me number 1!!!!!!!

  63. Mattenizer3000 on

    This list is insanely bad! First of all, John Mayer is only as good as your typical high school amateur. And before anyone starts spouting off, I’ve tried to find some obscure videos of him to prove myself wrong. But I can’t, it’s all Minor Pentatonic stuff with nothing innovative added to it. Secondly, how about some finger pickers on the list: Doyle Dykes, Scotty Anderson, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Tommy Emmanuel. Let’s not forget DANNY GATTON the greatest guitar player you’ve never heard. Also, if we’re talking about the best of the best, BRENT MASON should ALWAYS be in a Top Ten list, although he never is. But, you’ve heard him on all sorts of Nashville recordings. Acoustic guitar players like Andy McKee, Ewan Dobson, Don Ross, (I wish I knew more than that but I only recently discovered their Chuck Norris like awesomeness). Never limit yourself to the mainstream! There are many guitar players that are mentioned only because they are famous and have influence because of that. They may come up with a catchy riff or played in a well known band. But, that doesn’t make them a truly great guitar player.

  64. as cool as it sounds to say that robert johnson has influenced everyone since him, directly or indirectly, is just nonsense. sure he was a legend in his own right; but a lot of that has to do with his life being shrouded in mystery. yes, he has influenced some players, way back when, but there were so many more players influenced by electric blues; chicago and texas blues, not delta blues. i understand he was somewhat of an innovator, and that is very important, but i think so called ‘music critics’ have over-blown it a bit in the reverence department for fear of being labeled un-hip. dave marsh, the ‘rolling stone’ critic is a perfect example. he claims johnson as one of the most gifted players of all time. but he dislikes david lee roth, singer in ‘van halen’, so right away edward van halen, guitarist in that group is marginalized with: “the basic 12 bar-blues on the louie-louie thump theme” to describe his playing. lol. to sum it up, whenever a critic uses the phrase ’12 bar blues’, you can pretty much assume he has no clue about what he talking about….best wishes.

  65. search rock and roll hall of fame prince my guitar gently weeps and then tell me the little purple midget shouldnt get mentioned in this thread geez guys

  66. There is not one mention of Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush. Frank Marino is incredible !!!!

  67. Where is Django Reihardt, Tony MacAlpine, Alex Masi, Greg Howe, Jeff Watson, Joey Taffola, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Andres Segovia, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rik Emmett, Jake E. Lee, George Lynch, Carlos Santana, Angus Young, Allan Holdsworth, Buckethead,

  68. I recognize that these lists are really the preference of the writer and that in itself makes the list valid. However……Robert Johnson at #1? I realize that many people studied him and he was a great guitarist for his era, but he wasn’t even the best guitarist of his era. That title goes to Son House, who taught Robert Johnson. The fact is that you could have had a Clapton without a Robert Johnson. Johnson wasn’t the only player whom Clapton was inspired by.

    There is little doubt in the word that Clapton and Hendrix are #1 and #2 and those spots are interchangeable between the two of them. These guys took the playing of some of the old timers – Johnson included – to another level. I can live with Page, Gilmour, and several others, but some of the guys I’ve never heard of.

    Tell me this – to be a great guitarist don’t you have to have played music people want to hear? Alvin Lee may not have known the difference between the phrygian mode and refrigerator mold but he could play circles around most of these guys. So while some folks may be technically better than, say, David Gilmour who would you rather hear?

  69. I think this is a pretty good list. Robert Johnson deserves #1. My favorite guitarists are all underrated like Neal Schon and Alex Lifeson. But no Frank Zappa.

    • I have seen Steve Howe 7 times. I would have to say. The Reason ? He can play any type of music that you can put in front of him. He is amazing !!! Kudos to Keaton who mentioned this.

  70. Wow, just wow. So many guitarists nominated, but so many great guitar guitarists not even mentioned. Now I’m just an ever-so-‘umble keyboard player with a couple of those twangy things in the corner of the studio, but here are a few outstanding players that come to my mind and are missing …

    Several of you like Nick Drake – I’m ancient enough to remember him wandering around Cambridge with his guitar and his sulky face. Check out the guys he was listening to – Dav(e)y Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, or his mates John Martyn and Richard Thompson. John M is one I would certainly consider for a place in my own top ten guitarists.

    Speaking of Cambridge in the late sixties, of course Dave Gilmour was another who came out of that scene, but he and Nick were far from alone. For example, there was (and is) Fred Frith. I’ve never warmed to his music but it’s certainly different and he and his group have changed people’s ideas of what music is. You deserve it to yourself to check him out before you dismiss him. Then there’s Derek Bailey, who ploughs a parallel furrow, but for sure knows how to play a guitar. Personally, in that vein, I find Billy Jenkins much more fun – fans of Tom Morelli’s style should be checking all these guys out.

    Then there is Allan Holdsworth – not just a superb technician but a master of long melodic lines. His name usually comes up in these debates. John Etheridge is pretty good, too. And whilst I’m in that space, you guys have forgotten Frank Gambale.

    Jazz – Does no-one listen to Eddie Lang’s recordings? Or that master of comping, Freddie Green? To Charlie Christian? MarleyIII gets special credit as the only one naming the marvellous Jim Hall, who really should be up there in one of those ten spots. Like Marley, I really like the work of John Abercrombie, although I can’t put hand on heart and suggest him for the top ten. If you like John A, let me put in a plug for the work of London session-man John Parricelli. (Which reminds me that the very different “Johnny A” is no slouch either!)

    Speaking of session guys, we have Joe Messina, but where are his partners Robert White and Eddie Willis? Or Dennis Coffey? There’s a whole slew of great musicians whose names get forgotten but whose playing we all instantly recognise – alongside the Funk Brothers, there are the likes of Buddy Emmons and Grady Martin from the A Team, and then there’s the Wrecking Crew and the whole LA scene. Someone has already remembered Glen Campbell but how about Howard Roberts and Ted Greene? Whoa! How can you guys have neglected Barney Kessel, truly a top ten contender?

    But alongside Davy Graham and Jim Hall, the other musician I really wanted to remind you about was Martin Taylor. Astonishing technique – enough to make the shredders weep with envy, coupled with an exquisite feel for melodic line. Martin is one of the few guys (or gals) whose playing brings tears to my eyes regularly. When one of his albums gets into my CD player it stays there for weeks. In many ways, a natural successor to Django Reinhardt, truly a master of music as well as the guitar art and DR’s principal competitor for a top ten place in my list.

    I just noticed that no-one has mentioned Robben Ford – another master of both technique and taste and a certain contender for my top ten list, fighting for a place in the same space as Larry Carlton and John Scofield. (John Mayer can certainly play, but for me, any of those three offers at least as much technique, and a wider range of accomplishments, than JM – check out their various versions of “I don’t need no doctor”).

    I’m running on, so I’ll just throw out a few more names that are desperately missing from this discussion as highly skilled guitar players who might not quite make it to the top ten but have influenced plenty of others and deserve consideration alongside (and in at least some cases ahead of) those already listed:

    Big Bill Broonzy, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Ernest Ranglin, Jah Jerry Haynes, Pat Martino, Paco Pena, Manolo Sanlucar, Emily Remler, Rory Block, Bonnie Raitt, Bireli Lagrene,

    .. and an up-and-coming shredder that has caught my ear named Jeff Kollman.

    But what do I know? After all, I’m just the keys guy.

  71. What’s the point in having these lists anyway? There’s always going to be anger over people who were left out/included on the list when they didn’t deserve to be… And to say that any of the musicians mentioned so far aren’t talented is ridiculous, there’s no limit in the world on how much talent there is, so why does this list have to be limited to 10? Just saying…
    Oh, and for the record, never used to be a John Mayer fan, but then I saw him and man, he is amazing… Also, more Matt Bellamy!

  72. Some of the greatest guitarist ever: Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Greg Howe, Randy Rhoads, Tony MacAlpine, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Julian Bream, Andreas Sergovia.

  73. This list was clearly written by someone who doesn’t have a clue what “great” means. Tom Morello? John Frusciante? John Mayer? If this were titled “over-rated guitar players who should stop playing and get back to washing my car”, then they’d fit.

  74. MiserableOldFart on

    If you’re not going to call it the “10 greatest ROCK guitarists of all time,” Number ONE is Segovia and TWO is Chet Atkins and the rest is just fluff.

  75. Please tell me what insane man Didn’t put Paul Gilbert in this list.. Paul Gilbert is better than any other guitarist on this planet hands down I can promise u that. Covering from every genre and musical style, Paul is the best!

  76. Vlatko Stefanovski. Top 5 ever. A legned says that he enterd into the steve vai’s guitar shop and started to play. Steve said “Vlatko, take all of giutar, take my shir and my pants!”

    • alexandre QC 94 on

      1. Jimi Hendrix
      2. Eric Clapton
      3. Jimmy Page
      4. Saul Hudson (Slash)
      5. Van Halen

  77. For all I care, whoever started this list has got nothing better to do with his life, everyone has his own preference, so no one will truly agree with the other on who or what he thinks is the greatest, it’s like mixing politics with religion.

  78. 5.Dimebag darrel .R.I.P.
    4.Dave Mustain
    3.Jimi Hendrix
    2.Jimmy Page (not so good)
    1. The great battle
    Eric clapton vs Kirk Hammet
    So: Eric is simple not so powerfull he is from the old music from : rock n roll and rock….Kirk is powerfull he have so good solos : seek and destroy solo master of puppets solo and other but Kirk Hammet is member from Metallica ,Metallica are trash metal and its not so easy to find out who is better metal or rock guitaris


  79. Top TEN lists are not serious.
    We know who is the best , even though (for various reasons) a loy of people dont even know him.
    Rory Gallagher is the best, by far.
    Jimi admitted Rory’s superiority.
    Ranking starts after Rory Gallagher.

  80. Wow!!! No Eric Clapton No Vernon Reid whom ever did this needs to go back and do some more research fosho

    No Mr. Guitar himself Edward Van Halen

  81. Santana so deserves to b on this list, and HOW THE HELL did u not include Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler?????

  82. Matt Solfisburg on

    first off, Im tired of every other guy misquoting Hendrix…On the Dick Cavet show, he was asked what it felt like to be the best guitarist in the world and his response was, ” I don’t know, ask Jerry Reed..” Thats the quote..

    • Actually it was a rolling stone interview, I don’t remember the exact issue but the reply was Rory Gallagher. I’ve also heard it was Phil Keaggy which is unlikely because he was relatively unknown when Hendrix was alive. I’ve also heard it was Terry Kath, Billy Gibbons, and Eric Clapton. I do know that Hendrix said his favorite guitar player was Gibbons, because he just couldn’t get that sound that Billy gets. As for the Quote……. maybe it’s just folklore… The most likely correct answer is Rory Gallagher though…. it’s even referred to in Rory Gallaghers biography and the actual issue of the rolling stone interview is listed in there. I’ve never heard anyone say that the quote was with Jerry Reed though. But, Jerry Reed is an AMAZING guitar player. He actually wrote alot of Chet Atkins material. As for misquoting Hendrix you may not want to be so quick to point fingers…. I’m pretty sure yours is wrong. 😉

  83. i think its time to replace jimi hendix and co…its too much now come to your sense and put all those satriani,steve vai,santana etc on the new list.

  84. Where the hell is dimebag darrell? he could shred harder than the bottom three for sure, he was a dam idol of metal

  85. I think duane allman should be on here. my list is in no order just guys i like.
    Duane Allman
    .Jimmy Page.
    Andy Summers
    Kirk Hammet
    Tom Morello
    Just 10 guys I really like

  86. is this a joke ? some baby boys like mayer and … between top 10s ? you must be kidding ! and where is Eric Clapton ??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THERE WERE ; THERE ARE ; and THERE WILL be 3 guitar players ( only 3 real ones !!! ) :

    B.B. KING

    • Are YOU joking? only 3 real real ones? I’m gonna go ahead and assume your young and don’t have much musical exploring under your belt yet. Clapton, Hendrix, King…. 3 very good choices but also pretty narrow minded buddy. Jimmy Page? Django Reinhardt, David Gilmour, Steve Gaines, LES PAUL, Chet Atkins, Gary Morse, John Petrucci, Yngwei Malmsteen, the dudes from Dragon Force!, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn for god sake!, Robert Johnson, Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Kirk Hammett, Dimebag Darrell, Jeff “skunk” Baxter, Jerry Reed, Andre Segovia, and YES John Mayer can really play!, I could go on and on……. ONLY 3 REAL ONES? WTF? Broaden your horizons my friend. only 3 real ones…. face palm…… failboat.

  87. What about Esteban?….lol. There’s no way to make a top ten list, as there are so many extremely talented players. Glenn Campbell is an outstanding guitar player. Lee Roy Parnell is second only to Duane Allman as far as that style of slide playing. Although Willie Nelson doesn’t shred, he is an incredible talent. Duke Robillard, Danny Gatton, Robbie Robertson, Steven Stills, Alvin Lee, Tony Rice, Bryon Sutton, Brian Setzer… there are so many wonderful incredibly talented musicains….thank God! It would suck if everyone played the same. Variety is the key…learn to truly love the art of music. Just like blonds, brunettes and redheads they are all wonderful! If you even try to list the top ten of anything, you are only shortchanging yourself.

  88. Where’s Gallagher?!

    Any list without Gallagher is not valid.
    But well i hate lists about whos the better musician.
    These i some i like, then you sort out the list, if its a big deal to you.

    Rory Gallagher
    Jimi Hendrix
    Eric Clapton
    Buddy Guy
    Dave Mustaine
    B.B. King
    Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Robert Johnson
    Duane Allman
    Roy Rogers
    Kirk Hammett
    Albert King
    Pete Townshend
    Angus Young
    John Fogerty
    Jack White
    Ritchie Blackmore
    Eddie Van Halen
    Steffen Schackinger(Danish guitarist
    Tim Christensen(Guitarist and singer of Dizzy Mizz Lizzy)

  89. What about rory gallagher? not a mention that i can see anywhere.

    Interviewer: So Jimi, what’s it like to be the best guitarist in the world?
    Jimi: I dunno, ask Rory Gallagher.

    even jimi knew the truth!

  90. Jimi Hendrix
    Ry Cooder
    Stevie Ray vaughaun
    Steve Vai
    Joe Satriani
    Eric Clapton
    Carlos Santana
    BB King
    Mark knopfler
    Jimmy Page

  91. you’re list is really nice; I think that paul gilbert and steve morse can could should or must be in this list


  93. Intresting list, but very limited to electric players and only rock/blues genre. Robert johnson as #1, really??hummm I would add:

    duane allman/dickie betts/derek trucks
    Paco De lucia
    chet atkins
    john scofield
    trey anastasio
    jerry garcia
    Les paul
    john mclaughlin
    al dimeola
    wes montgomery
    django reinhardt
    omar rodriguez-lopez
    and alot of fast ass metal guys that i dont know cuz i hate metal but see on all these damn lists like Yingve malmstien or how ever the hell you spell it.

    it is my opinion that most classical and jazz guitar instructors at local colleges and music stores are better than tom morello and jack white. I like both of them and they are definitly innovators and very popular but my college classical/flamenco instructors were doing things incredibly more complex and emotional than anything ive ever heard tom or jack do. ask tom morello to play a segovia piece and see what happens. this list seems like it was made by a 17 year old kid who thinks he’s smart because he knows who robert johnson is, like putting him at #1 instead of hendrix is his “ace in the hole” of guitar knowledge. there is no real answer to the question “whos the best” but we guitarists will never tire of discussing it.

    • AMEN AMEN AMEN! though i think trying to name THE best guitarist let alone the 10 best is pointless, impossible and stupid your list is by far the best i’ve seen. no Pat Metheny though? easily forgiven as you are the ONLY person to have mentioned John Scofield who is easily my favourite guitarist.

      when it comes to music which is ART, and art is SUBJECTIVE. i don’t even know how people can define best. if you wanna go off technical skills alone quit spitting out metal guitarists as most classical guitarists would BURY them any day.

      and if you think any metal/rock/blues guitarists could play anything more melodically complex that metheny you have problems.

      also tommy emmanuel other people have mentioned but he is absolutely phenomenal! and that is an undeniable fact. you may not like him but you cannot deny skill.

      also andy timmons is a wonderful melodic player if your that way inclined.

      also though he plays BASS guitar i’m gonna put my vote in for victor wooten as he can probably slap bass faster than any metal guy you mention can shred

  94. I remember a long time ago a man asked Jimmy hendrix how it is to be the best guitarplayer in the world: aske Gary Moore said Hendrix

    • Actually Hendrix replied – “I don’t know go ask Rory Gallagher.” Not Gary Moore…. although Mr. Moore is a phenomenal, world class guitarist.

  95. Good list – not so sure about Page being number 7…should be more in the 3-4 range, in my opinion.

  96. I hate lists like this because it’s a never ending and non-winnable arguement for guitar players. For my humble tastes the breakdown is below.

    Blues – Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King

    Purely Technical – Joe Satriani (he taught Steve Vai, He taught Kirk Hammet) , John Pettrucci, yngwia malmsteen (sp?)

    Most emotional and spine tingling – David Gilmour ( my favorite guitarist) , nobody touches his solos. NOBODY not even snowy white.

    innovative – Tom Morrello,Erik mongrain. Jeff Beck.

    Pure Rock n Roll – Jimi Hendrix – Jimmy Page – Van Halen – angus young. – well this one could go on and on.

    Jazz – Django Reinhardt ( can’t believe nobody mentioned him yet, that I saw) The guy had 3 usable fingers people!!!! amazing. Also John McClaughlin.

    Fingerstyle – Tommy Emmanuel, no contest…. Hands down. best ever.

    Acoustic flatpicking – Tony Rice, John Randall.

    Jammy bands – Trey Anastasio, and that dude for Umphreys Mcgee… (crazy good)

    ok I’m gonna stop I could go on …. and on …. and on …. and on …. and on …. and on much like a list of top ten guitarists… it’s impossible to answer…

    honorable mentions
    Clapton… old slow hand… of course.
    Al DiMiola
    Son House
    Bucket Head
    Andre Segovia (classical)
    Chet Atkins
    Doc Watson
    Steve Vai
    Phil Keaggy
    Duane Allman
    Warren Haynes
    Joe Messina
    John Mayer (seriously dude can play)
    Damn… I said I was gonna stop… so this is me stopping… Good Topic though…


    you forgot to mention one of the mos underrated guitar player around the world, his name is Gary Moore and his picking hand and freeting hand technics are incredible, in every performance he shows up wild chords touching our souls..there is a lot fo songs that you check it in you tube like a still got the blues, the end of the world,

  98. what about steven van zydt of the legendary estreet band?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! he could play thunder road!!!! f am Bflat Csus f fsus ect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and dont even get me started on him being able to play born to run

  99. I’m shocked, no mention of Randy Bachman or his brother Tim. C. F. “Fred” Turner! God, folks, the music world only got louder and faster AFTER the influence of BTO! Bachman-Turner Overdrive

  100. Are you kidding me? Where’s Clapton? Slash? Ted Nugent? Kirk Hammet?


    1st – Jimmy Hendrix
    2nd – Eric Clapton (Clapton is God!)
    3rd – Ted Nugent (How the hell as nobody spoken of him yet?)
    4rd – Jimmy Page
    5th – John Frusciante (I know that most of people doesn’t know him, but you should try to listen some RHCP jams, because I bet you’ll get the same opinion that I have. He is the best “new school” guitarrist is the business)
    6th – Robert Johnson (the teacher)
    7th – Slash
    8th – Angus Young
    9th – Kirk Hammet
    10th – Steve Vai
    11th – Joe Satriani
    12th – Neil Young
    13th – Eddie Van Halen
    14th – Stevie Ray Vaughan
    15th – Allen Collins (“Free Bird” is something from outerspace…)

  101. 1. Matt Tuck….OMG Why isn’t he on here?
    2.Dave Gilmour

    3. Jimi Hendrix

    4. Eric Clapton

    5. Eddie Van Halen

    6. Stevie Ray Vaughan

    7. Ritchie Blackmore

    8. Duane Allman

    9. Steve Luthakar

    10. Marty Freidman (Megadeth)

  102. alexander the great140 on

    has everybody forgot about Kirk Hammet and Slash???
    My list goes like this:
    1. Jimi Hendrix
    2. Jimmy Page
    3. Kirk Hammet
    4. Stevie Vaughn Ray
    5. James Hetfield

    Thats my list, so deal with it

  103. mike brown here-sorry the 2 albums any player should listen too are mister guitar and guitar workshop from late 50,s or early 60,s—oh yeah-he could classical with anyone also-he was truly mister guitar

  104. you poor idiots only mostly rock lovers-have ya,ll ever heard of chet atkins-he was not called mister guitar for nothing-he played it all

    • Chet was THE best guitarist to ever reach popular standings. That doesn’t include the classical guitarists and jazz guitarists who could play him under the table though. Which gets me thinking, this list would be a lot different if it included people that were in the background, but were easily better than anyone popular. For me chet would still make top 100 even on that list though. That’s gotta mean something…

      For me though, the problem with this list, being a “top 100 popular guitarists ever” is that it trades in great guitarists like chet, ritchie blackmore, eric clapton, for their lamer modern day counterparts…john mayer, tom morello, etc. This is just not a top 10 list, its a random list of guitarists that someone thought would be controversial.

  105. Rory Gallagher at number 1. . . . .obviously !

    2 Hendrix
    3 Mark knopfler
    4 Brian may
    5 Eric clapton
    6 Van Halen
    7 Muddy waters
    8 Gary Moore
    9 Beck
    10 Duane allman

    If your list has no Rory Gallagher, well then on behalf of the music world. . . . i Claim it bogus!!!

  106. Five guys that have to be on every top ten list.
    1. Jimi Hendrix
    2. Chuck Berry
    3. Duane Allman
    4. Eric Clapton
    5. Stevie Ray Vaughan

  107. this list is BS… no muddy waters…for a start!! no chuck berry??

    ..and by the way, when hendrix was asked what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist in the world, he said “I dunno, go ask Rory Gallagher”…

  108. 1. Hendrix
    2. Buchanan
    3. Beck
    4. Allman
    5. Guy
    6. Clapton
    7. Page
    9. King
    10. Vaughan
    Honorable mention: Trower, Kim Simmonds, Van Halen, Alvin Lee, Townsend, DerikTrucks, guy from radiohead, Santana, Peter green, Monte Mongomery

  109. I think this list is confusing singers and entertainers with guitarists – Robert Johnson was a great Blues singer of the 1930’s he just used guitar to accompany, he is by no means a great guitar player, love the guy as I do BB King, but he is not a great guitarist either.

    John Mayer – don’t rate him at all.
    Jimi Hendrix is the only guitarist that should be included.

    Where are: John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, Segovia, Manitas de Plata, Al di Meola, Chris Dair, Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Paul Kossoff, Joe Satriani, Peter Green, Eric Johnson, Buddy Guy…???

    • Agreed with the absence of Trower and Alvin Lee, and many others.. John Mayer on this list is a joke! I agree with what you say about King but when Clapton and Beck cite him as influences its hard to keep him off. Yours is ne of the more sensible list I’ve seen .

  110. alright dude, i think this an awesome list. i hate looking things like this and seeing people put crap like slash at number 1 or something. this shows u obviously have great taste in music, but theres just a few things that struck me as odd. 1, no chuck berry. 2, really? john mayer? i admit he has technical skill, but saying hes one of the 10 best guitarists thats ever lived? thats just false. i mean what happened to jeff beck, santana, , eric clapton, harvey mandel, kurt cobain, and even trey anastasio(if that is how its spelled lol). they are all much much better then mayer could hope to be, both musically and technically,.

  111. I liked this list, I dont 100% agree with it but it was great to see/hear a different viewpoint and not have a list full of shredheads and roots guitarists. In my circles Robert Johnson, David Gilmour, Jack White and Tom Morello are hugely under rated!

  112. No way can this list be accurate simply for the fact that there are so many styles out there with such important players, having a list of greatest guitar players with BB King and Tom Morello on it is ridiculous. Both are great in their own right but it’s like comparing apples and oranges. There should probably be separate lists for separate genres. Having said that, I think a good start for a top 10 ROCK list, in no particular order, would be: Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kirk Hammett, Dimebag Darrell, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Slash, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Perry, and Angus Young.

  113. but who remenber slash
    is one of the guitar gods for me
    i dont like of tom morello. slash need be there.

  114. Now, out the icons, the best rock guitar player of world is a young Pedro Castilho.
    Very emotional, the guitar is your trird hand. Fantastic……….

  115. What is the musical schooling of whoever made up this top 10 list. What is a guitar player top 10 without Django Reinhardt? Undefendable.

    Also, more than one if not most of the players mentioned in this top 10 will be played their socks of by Jimmy Rosenberg.

    And John Mayer is in, but Eric Clapton is out? Seems like a joke.

    Finally, about the other top 10s, objectively, anyone presenting a list list with Jimy Hendrix lower than place 3 has to be more influenced by his music than his superb technique.

  116. 1. Jimmy Page

    2.Dave Gilmour

    3. Jimi Hendrix

    4. Eric Clapton

    5. Eddie Van Halen

    6. Stevie Ray Vaughan

    7. Ritchie Blackmore

    8. Duane Allman

    9. Steve Luthakar

    10. Marty Freidman (Megadeth)

    Honorable mentions:

    Tony Iommi

    Dave Mustaine (better than Kirk)

    Mark Knopfler

    Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult- surprised he has not been mentioned here- great player)

    Carlos Santana

    Dimebag Daryl

    • nice. not exactly my choices, but still fantastic. just shows you’ve got awesome taste. i just think that van halen should be an honorable mention, and that santana should take his place.

  117. 1. Frank Zappa

    2. John Mclaughlin

    3. Jeff Beck

    4. Tony Iommi

    5. Jimmy Page

    6. Les Paul

    7. David Gilmour

    8. Jimi Hendrix

    9. Johnny Winter

    10. Duane Allman

    Honorable Mentions-

    Richie Blackmore

    Eric Clapton

    Brian May

    Mike Bloomfield

    Robby Krieger

    Chet atkins

    Jerry Garcia

    Jim Hall

    Pat Methany

    Joe Pass

    John Abercrombie

    Larry Coryell

    Larry Lalonde

  118. 1. Rory Gallagher

    2.Jimi Hendrix

    3.Eric Clapton

    4.Richie Sambora

    5. Eddie van halen

    6.Brian may

    7.Roy Buchannan

    8.B.B king

    9.Duane Allman


  119. Why don't you call it "a bunch of random guitarists that play well".

    That's the worst list I've seen. Jack White is on that list? That's a complete joke. I could play Jack White under a table. The guy can barely hit a note let alone stay on pitch. John Frusciante again, decent, but not even in the top 50. John Mayer? I'm not hearing much going on there to be honest. No Originality, same old, same old. Tom Morello? No! Sure it's cool to show off your little switches and digital effects but whatever, play something without a hip hop influence for God's sake. Michael Angelo Batio>Morello. Mentor beats student this time round.

    It's all well and good picking the pioneers of Solo guitar but no way are they at the standard of the guitarists out these days. I do think though that Hendrix definitely should be there. The man's got the best flow I've ever heard. David Gilmour is a must. He knows how to make a solo sound good. Clapton isn't even there? You put Jack White there and Clapton isn't there? Who the hell compiled this thing????

    Eddie Van Halen (whether he's your favourite or not, he is the greatest guitar player….ever. The man's insane.).
    Yngwie Malmsteen (He's to the guitar what Mozart was to music itself!).
    Dave Mustaine (possibly the greatest Metal guitarist. Perfect amount of atonality : playing style, aswell as his complex rhythm patterns (while being able to sing along with them). And enough of this Kirk Hammett business, please… The man came from Exodus and based his style off of Dave Mustaine's guitar work in Metallica.)
    As I've said Clapton!
    Rory Gallagher (Ireland's only!;) The Man is a blues perfectionist).
    Dimebag is good one for the list. Dimebag was the man! Genius!

    Can't really think of others who really deserve the other spots though. I can think of a lot of other guitarist with immense talent but none of them really stand out as number 1's to me.

  120. Why has noone made a fuss that rory gallagher hasnt been mentioned guys this man was a hero

    he single handedly invented the electric blues genre almost

    Hendrix was asked after wood stock "what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist in the world?"

    Hendrix replied: " I dont know,go ask rory gallagher"

    Look up gallagher on youtube.


    too much alcohol

    Bullfrog blues


    Cradle rock

    Shadow Play.

    His list of followers and fans included eric claptan, Brain may, the edge and hendrix!!

    • Slash loved him as well! Best musician ever to come out of Ireland bar none, and that says a lot. His live stuff is unreal, check out ‘live in Europe’ and ‘irish tour 74’

  121. come on kids…..they are all best guitarist from different corner of view,with different taste and different styles…whats so big deal to mix them up!!!all of them are great…..but slash and kirk,i wont say they are as best as others…rest of them are just fine….

  122. 1. david gilmour ( he is number one for ever, nobady can play like him neverrr!! he takes your heart your mind your soal by his art, i always crying when he play)

    2.mark knopfler

    3. kirck hammet

    4. hank marvin

    5. avlin lee

    6. joe satriani

    7. stieve ray voughan

    8. slash

    9. jimmy page

    10. van helen

  123. This list belongs in the Top 10 Worst Lists of All Time.

    Eric Clapton invented rock guitar as we know it. Eddie Van Halen took it to another level. Tony Iommi defined heavy metal, despite losing his fingertips in an accident. Duane Allman showed us how to play rock and roll slide guitar. Yngwie Malmsteen combined blinding speed and classical theory for a potent combination.

    None of them made the list. Don't get me started on the absurd choices that are on the list.

    • Yes and he lost the finger tips on his left hand and attached makeshift fingers out of thimbles but managed to play some of the greatest evil licks ever. I love Eddie but he screwed up Van Halen terribly by getting rid of Dave and turning it into a girl band. Duane was awesome and highly skilled and a sought after studio musician. Clapton is the master.

  124. Not a bad list but leaving Clapton out is a travesty. But I respect your opinion. My list is







    Van Halen



    Tommy Emmanuel If you don't know who he is check him out on Utube titled guitar boogie and may you never be the same.

    Notables. Roy Clark, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reid.

  125. Firstly, I really appreciate the effort of the writer to actually go across genres to get this list sorted. For the purists out there who only listen to loud music, just accept the fact that you only stick to loud ones, you can never appreciate the soul of REAL guitar players…

    And yeah, before you judge me, I've listened to almost all of em; from yeah, the Shakespearean John Mayer to the outrageously ambidextrous Michael Angelo Batio…

    I think the list makes sense and after 2 years it still does… And it will stay that way until another Hendrix shows up…

  126. Lukather RULES. Hands down. Has and can play every genre. And has speed, style, amd emotion. HANDS DOWN

  127. Okay first of all yes, John Mayer deserves to be on this list. I would've probably put him even higher. I understand if you don't agree but go listen to his Where The Light is album and get back to me on that. I think Eric Clapton should've made the list though. And, although I'm not a big fan of metal I can say as a guitarist anybody can go up and down scales and embelish notes and sound like a metal genius. The artists above put real soul into their music. I think you have an amazing list though. Many people probably would've have thought of some of the people on here… but what about Derek Trucks?

  128. Mr. Guitar (Yes I kn on

    Honestly a terrible list. Here's mine i think alot of people will agree.

    10) Carlos Santana

    9) Kirk Hammet

    8) Jimi Hendrix

    7) Eric Clapton

    6) Eric Johnson

    5) Buckethead

    4) Yngwie Malmsteen

    3) Jeff Beck

    2) Joe Satriani

    1) Steve Vai (For the Love of God is the most emotional guitar song I've ever heard.)

    • how can you dont say about great gilmour!!!!! if you listen of his solos carfully i sure you choose him as a number one

  129. Yea um John Mayers way misunderunstood and under rated, watch the 'where the light is live in LA' DVD(and actually watch it before you think of posting a reply) and tell me he aint an amazing guitarist, im not saying hes a god but hes definetly an amzing guitarist n i rekon he deserves a spot just for the fact that hes one of the few guitarists of this generation with some talent.

    10. John Mayer

    9.Chet Atkins

    8.Mark Knopfler

    7. Buddy Guy

    6. Jimmy Page

    5. B.B King

    4.Robert Johnson

    3. Eric Clapton

    2. Stevie Ray Vaughan

    1. Jimi Hendrix

    i know putting Hendrix at one is a somewhat guitar cliche but the reason its a cliche is cause its a fact otherwise it wouldnt be a cliche.

    And to the guy that said Stevie Ray Vaughan sucks and shouldnt be on there,WTF ! thats probably thee most ridiculous statement ive ever heard in my life.

    And personally no metal guitarists deserves a spot on the list, i appreciate the skill they have, but they dont fit the criteria for best guitarists cause it would look like this for metal guitarists:

    Tone: worst out of any genre , i mean come on it sounds tinny high pitched and whiney.

    Inovation: different progressions of power chords and one string at a time notes arent innovative

    Skill: they do have skill but it's a skill that most people could master with alot of practice.

    Feel: None really, they try too hard at showmanship

    Soul: same as above

    Impact on the evolution of guitar playing: not much cause metal is one of the more recent genres that branched out from blues, rock…

    Worthyness: not much cause somewhere a long the way the guitar stopped being a part of the player and became an accessory to the player.

  130. This is a crazy list but most of these lists are. It's about who is fashionable rather than who is good or influential.

    Having Robert Johnson at the top is a joke. All the kids now think it's cool to like him because he was so "influential" but it's a complete myth. He was virtually unknown until the mid sixties and even then the whole "Robert Johnson is cool" thing didn't get going until around 1970, by which time most of the real pioneers were already well on their way.

    Hendrix et. al. – the people who really were genuinely influential- were unlikely to have ever heard of him.

    • Umm, no. Jimmy Page and Hendrix have both alluded to the fact that without Robert Johnson, they would never have existed. His albums were released before the 50's and 60's. To think that most of these guitarists (and by effect the people influenced those artists as well) didn't have their hands on Robert Johnson or Mississippi John Hurt albums which they learned from is preposterous. Please stop typing.

  131. here's the GREATEST guitarist of all time– anyone who plays guitar will watch this and find that they can't play FIVE CONSECUTIVE SECONDS of this song….. and if you say you can, you're either lying or you must be Mark Knopfler.

    watch this whole video folks–

  132. ok ok… switch out john mayer for eric clapton, throw in eric johnson and buckethead, lose bb king (he isnt really THAT great to be in the top 10)

    john mayer, ive heard his crap, he doesnt belong in the top 50.

  133. Hi Guys!

    Why not to split nominations?

    More we have nominations more we have #1's!!!!


    Carisma: Jimi Hendrix (ask me why?)

    Melody: David Guilmor (any concerns?)

    Flamenko: Paco

    Jazz: John McLaughlin

    Let's find apropriate nominations for such a great players like

    BB King, Jimmy Page, Steve Ray, Mark Knopfler, Bryan May, Django, Kirk Hammet etc.

    They are so different to compare…

    And we will not be fighting for the best one, but find right place for all of them…

    But being honest I agree with Rostropovich who said that you can learn to play even a monkey… I am not in favour of quick fingers. And therefore David Guilmor is anyway #1 worldwide for me…

  134. this is a joke eric clapton is not on here and neither is eddie van halen?

    my top ten

    10. b.b. king-king of blues

    9. eric clapton

    8. eddie van halen- invented tapping

    7. Jorma Kaukonen- he was ok with JA and hot tuna but his new blue grass shit is insane

    6.t bone walker- best blues guitarist of all time

    5.jimmy page-

    4. robert johnson- most influential blues guitarist

    3. duane allman- best slide guitarist ever

    2. stevie ray- just insane

    1. jimi hendrix-……

  135. Listen to "Where the Light is" and tell me John Mayer is not an amazing guitarist…. although I'm afraid for his future direction after his latest album, but I haven't given that a good listen. And I've only really been listening to Mayer for about a week and a half now. But he is awesome.

  136. 10. Pete Townsend

    9. John Mayer

    8. B.B. King

    7. Jeff Beck

    6. Jimmy Paige

    5. Eric Clapton

    4. Robert Johnson

    3. Mark Knofler

    2. Stevie Ray

    1. Jimi Hendrix

    • FINALLY someone put MK on there— i mean, there's NOONE who's jaw doesn't drop to his playing.even Randy Rhoads said he's out of this world.

  137. Eric Clapton is probably the only one who needs to be in there. I love how he understands the importance of Robert Johnson. I love John Mayer, but you should really pick Clapton instead of him. For all you Mayer haters, go bone your palm.

    Also, John Mayer IS a Shakespeare.

  138. Woody Woodward on

    John Mayer, get real. Where's Fripp and Carlos. Tom Morello should be higher than 10. Not even Steven Wilson. Did everyone forget Shawn Lane? Derek Trucks? Just my opinion.

  139. were is kirk hammit is what i wanna kno he is the all time greatest hes in his 40s n he still sreds the guitars

  140. here is my list with randy rhoads being number one all time and the rest in no particular order..randy rhoads…joe satriani..steve vai..yngwie malmsteen….eddie van helen….stanley jordan……michael angelo batio

    ….dimebag darrell…..jimmy page,,stevie ray..jimi hendrix. everybody may not agree,,but i think if any list dosnt at least have five of these guys,the list is a joke

  141. Where´s Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson…
    Fruciante??? There are many guitar players who are better than him; Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Skyes, Darrel Dimebag, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, John Petrucci, Jani Liimatainen, Vito Bratta, Michael Romeo, Gary Moore…
    I can say many more…

  142. Zakk wylde, slash, eddie van halen and joe satriani should be in that list. Zakk Wylde can even play with his tongue

    • joe satriani, yes. slash + zakk, meh. theyre close but def in the top 20. not bad… just not top 10 status

  143. to be one of the greatest guitar players ever you need to bring something to the music…

    emotion, ingenuity, inspiration…

    i cant believe this guy didnt get a HM

    lots of the people on here that everyone says is a "great" just isnt…

    at this lvl technical skill means nothing

    all these people have amazing skill at the guitar so forget that

    you can play fast so what…

    the people who play guitar and bring you to tears those are the top 10 iMHO

    1. jimi hendrix (he did more in the blink of an eye then anyone else for the guitar)

    2. david gilmour (if you havnt cried during one of his solos you dont love music)

    3. robert johnson (he is an influence on almost all these guys)

    4. SRV…

    5. eric clapton (there is so much of him he needs to be top 5)

    6. mick taylor (personal preference) anyone in the rolling stones here really))

    7. Jimmy Page (so many great riffs)

    8. John Frusciante

    9. Kirk Hammett

    10. Tom Morello

    (11) les paul… he made the guitar what is today

    there are so many other great players

    many who deserve to be top 10

    but theres no doubt that all of the 10 players listed here are some of the greatest players ever…

  144. 1 randy rhoads
    2yngvei malmshteen
    3 michael romeo
    4 michael angelo batio
    5 tony Iommi
    6 stevi ray vaughn
    7 aleks skolnik
    8 gary holt
    9 dave mustane
    10 chris broderick

  145. I bet John mayer is really a good musician he feeds my soul, regardless. why dont you guy's try to listen Tuck Andress music? music is not a competition, not even a race so dont make your music fast or you'll die faster. LOL ^_^

  146. This is ridiculous…"Best guitarists" any and all of them are all a matter of opinion.

    It's like saying what is the best FOOD in the world. Think about it for a second.

    All a matter of preference…but that being said where in the hell is Gary Moore? :p

  147. I'm going to throw in some not so mainstream guitarists I hold in high esteme:

    1. John Maclaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra)

    2. Snakefinger

    3. Chris Haskett (Rollins Band)

    4. Frank Zappa

    5. John Williams (Classical Guitar)

    6. Tony Iommi

    7. Bill Steer (Carcass)

    8. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)

    9. Eddie Clark (Motorhead)

    10. Ron Ashton (The Stooges)

    Most top classical and flemenco players blow all those in the lists above away, but because they are not 'rock 'n' rollers', people forget about them.

    By the way, i believe it's not how fast you are but what melody is played and what surprises you can produce

  148. john mayer is on here???? what a poor excuse for a blues player. he mocks everything that the blues is about. just another souless white guy who has some licks he learned when he put down the acoustic. at least john fruciante didnt try to act like he was something he wasnt.

  149. alright i think we all need to stop hating on john mayer. I don't think that he really would even call himself one of the best guitarists of all time, he's obviously not far enough into his career to be criticized about this stuff. But i love him, and he eventually will make it on this list. Oh, and for all you who say he sucks and whatever, if he is so bad then why has he played with so many of the people who actually should deserve to be on this list?

  150. 1.randy rhoads

    2.michael angelo batio

    3.john petrucci

    4.van halen


    6.jimmy page

    7.david gilmour


    9.stevie ray

    10.kirk hammett

    my taste of music and i really think randy was THE best guitarest of all time too bad he died so young *cries*

    also i think you made a list of inflluencial guitarists not top 10 best guitarest

  151. wheres michael angelo batio and randy rhoads these guys are fkn amazing hendrix isnt quite my taste but i wont hate i could say hes been influencial to many guitarests and blew there minds so there must be something special that i dont see about him but where r these 2 amazing guitarists!!

    this list has some good guitarest but not top 10 guitarest in my perspective it must be changed

  152. Obviously there are going to be different lists depending on genre and tastes in music and many wont agree with me but I have to put Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth out there… amazing guitarist and overall musician.

  153. guyfromloudstacey on

    Start with top 10 “rock or blues” guitar players. Or maybe all those jazz and classical guys can't play.

    With the exceptions of people named “Jimmy” and probably STV you could make a top 10 list that didn’t overlap with this at all, publisher it in Guitar Player and nobody would bat an eye.

  154. Seriously have any of you ever listened to John Mayer play the guitar? Do me a favor and look up Jih Mayer Trio live on Conan and tell me that he isn't a good guitarist.

    Great List by the way

  155. A little correction: Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is a really excellent guitar player, but I did a little more checking and Elliott Randall was the solo guitarist for "Reelin' in the Years" — apparently he did it in one take….

  156. How about Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan (Reelin' in the Years) and Doobie Brothers fame?

  157. ittlepigeon926 on

    If uniqueness = greatness, then THE EDGE of U2 is the best. Why did nobody mention him? I love that guy's style.

    • You should see the film "It Might Get Loud." Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge get together, talk about guitar playing and play some together, as well as clips from their own shows.

      The Edge shows how he produced the sounds he gets, and admits he plays very simple stuff, it's all his computerized production techniques. A guitar player of quality? – not even.

  158. Kirk Hammett truly is #1!!!!!!

    He's a beast at guitar!!!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE HE DIDN'T MAKE THIS STINKIN LIST!!!!!

    no matter what anybody says about him, he's still #1

  159. Not to bring down the sausage fest (seriously, she just deserves to be in the top ten, I mean Jack White?) KAKI KING!!! Pink Noise? I'm a straight girl, and watching that video made me want to jump her.

  160. It is definitely an opinion based list, ask 100 people, and get 100 different answers. But please, 99 out of those100 would have Clapton on it, the list loses credibility without him. Pictures of “Clapton is God” tags around England stick in my mind. Even among his peers he is revered, he just has to be here! Page should be higher, but of course, that’s just my “opinion”.

  161. NO BRIAN MAY?? The guy built his OWN guitar. He sometimes added piano wire behind the guitar strings, he was technical and had soul, and is an innovator. I personally find East Bay Ray from the Dead Kennedy's marvelous. I know he doesn't belong in this list, but any musician that has their own sound like these two deserves a mention……but yes, taste is subjective anyway.

  162. Yo Man,

    your list was good,and I'ma let you finish.

    But Hendrix was the geratist of all time.


  163. Hendrix's career didn't last 8 years?? Hello?? It was only 4 years and then he was murdered. Where did you get 8 years??? If it was 8 years long, he would have died in 1974.

    • Sean McDonnell on

      Zactly!!!!!!!! Terry Kath, hands down the greatest ever! Hendrix is on everybodies list as the best, well Jimi said Terry was the best and if Jimi said it it's good enough for the rest of us. I just can't believe it took until Sept. 24th 2009 for someone to put his name down! To bad he valued the band concept more than his ego or he would be more well respected.


  165. John Mayer and Frusciante are very talented guitarists, but to include them at the expense of legends like Clapton, Duane Allman, Neil Young, The Edge, Brian May, George Harrison…that's unforgivable. I'll admit that Jack White needs more time to prove himself too, but of all the recent guitarists listed, he is the one with the most vision and confidence in his ideas. He is his generation's Jimmy Page.

    I've recently seen Mayer, the Chili Peppers, Clapton, and Neil in concert and had an amazing time at three of those shows. Mayer was just bad, I like his blues tracks but the show was not worth it. The Chili Peppers on the other hand were outstanding – but they just didn't compare to watching Clapton and Neil burn the house down. That's one of the reasons I always feel like Tom Petty gets missed out – he might not play the fastest or most intricate tunes, but damned if he hasn't written a ton of iconic songs.

    Technique is maybe only a third of being a great guitarist. The true greats need to have the skills to write a great song, and play it with the emotion it deserves.

  166. are you people serious have you never heard of JOHN 5 used to be a guitarist for marilyn manson is currently the guitarist for rob zombie has 4 solo albums of just guitar music…….helllo……..JOHN frickin 5

  167. buckethead


    keith richards

    joe perry



    brian may

    zakk wylde

    kurt cobain

    the list goes on…..

    not one of the legendary names i've just mentioned are on there. not one!!! but yet fags like john mayer are on there this does not make sense

    P.S good call on a few though like BB King, Morello, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and SRV

  168. I think should put Angus Young, Jeff Beck, Mark Knofler and Ace Frehley somewhere on this list!

  169. Hey guys John mayer is easliy one of the greatest guitar players out there. listen to his live solos i agree that eddie van halen should be on the list but john mayer belongs on that list! Who ever made the list should be able to put john there nice job!!

  170. what about Ernest Isley – he is easily in the top 3 of all times – no one can match this guy’s riffs in songs like summer breeze – who’s that lady – who loves better – hope you feel better – voyage to atlantis, and liquid love just to name a few of many powerful guitar riffs – you guys are missing a treat is you haven’t heard Erney Isley get down

  171. KARMA.TWN.T.1 on

    John mayer lmfao!!!!

    How are you not gonna include KIRK HAMMET?!?!?

    He can top the list!

    I know people have different opinions but john mayer come on…

    What is this guitarist for elevator music?

  172. Im so glad u put frusciante on this list u r rite he puts the music together like a music magicion but this is reall. i dont think he better than Hendrix but he deserves to be high on the list.

  173. Everyone listens to music for different reasons. The transition of 'acknowledgment' to 'love' of an artist or song is an entirely unique experience, starting from smell, location, time of day, time of year, repetitions over time etc., that triggers interest. Obviously, anyone who bashes John Mayer is stuck on radio feeds and needs to explore his music before judging on pop tunes, and almost all Hendrix aficionados are late adopters that buy trends (a marketer's dream).

    Everyone here should list their guitarist along with a moment that turned them on to that artist.

  174. WTF??? Theres I don't KNOW how many replies on here & NOT ONE MENTION of the BEST GUITAR BAND **EVER**.





    Not to mention Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Toy Caldwell & ELVIN BISHOP!!!

    WTF is WRONG with you people????????

  175. Zappa – would have liked to hear him play with Hendrix – as a compliment not competition. Zappa, a classically trained musician, playing in a rock and roll world,had such depth of experience from without – as much as Hendrix had from within – too bad the intensity killed him; Zappa tamed it and had fun with it. Hendrix was driven by it. Great guitarist? Who cares! My picks are artists, something a machine, human or otherwise can not approach let alone touch, and that is what it is all about, touching the soul through music. One trick ponies are a dime a dozen – some of them are at the right place at the right time and their ego does the rest. Who will be remembered a hundred years from now – it will not be the "best".

  176. No No No you are all wrong!!

    Where is Matthew Bellamy (from muse)?!
    He is one of the best i tell you THE BEST!!
    He should be on this list's over top 10 becuase thats where he belongs!!

    • YES, I was gonna comment about matt bellamy! but he missed a lot of guitar legends like brian may angus young, etc

  177. How can Sambora be legendary when he still plays?

    Some folks get too worked up over top 10 lists.

    You could make 50 top 10 lists and make a good arguement for each of them. One poster mentioned Jon Butcher. I saw him as the opening act for Rush back in 1983 and he was excellent.

    A couple years ago, I saw a poll of guitar players taken as to who they thought were the best ever. Two names that showed up that really suprised me were (Don't laugh) Glen Campbell and Christopher Cross. The musicians commented that you had to look at Cross' work before his wimpy music days.

    Several also said people forget that for years, Campbell was a studio musician and had to be able to adapt to many different styles of music and that popular on the charts didn't mean best. Several stated that Campbell was one of the best they had ever heard play.

    The opinion of Van Halen as one of the 10 best I don't get. He is skilled but his music strikes me as lifeless.

    • Warren would be in my top ten as well. Seen him and the Mule live many times, Warren is as good or better than half of the guitar players mentioned here. No studio wizardry like Page needed to sound his best, Warren sounds better live than recorded.

  178. Where on earth is Richie Sambora? He is legendary! Although I have to agree that Jimi Hendrix is amazing

  179. Where's Dave Murray of Iron Maiden? He's got the smoothest legato style anybody will ever hear.

  180. ok guys whats up my top ten is no where near alot of yours however it is strictly opinion and thats what makes this so fun so here it is!!

    10.) chet atkins

    9.) eddie van halen

    8.) "dimebag" darrell abbott

    7.) joe satriani

    6.) B.B. king

    5.) randy rhoades

    4.) eric clapton

    3.) ace frehley ( for his work on solos and originallity )

    2.) les paul

    1.) stevie ray vaughn

    I know I will catch alot of crap on the ace frehley pick but thats ok he is still awesome! and in the seventies ahead of his time! dont forget he was a bluesy guitarist!!

    I hope the list is somewhat correct on peoples lists although it is just an opinion! and just a small thought and insight on angus young he might not make the top 50 for me he plays just a few chords and everything sounds the same, he is with a unique voice and a band who was made by bon scot that put ac/dc on the map!! I know of no really good guitar player that names angus young as their inspiration or was influenced by angus young it is just that his work was too simple!!

    • your right brian i been a acdc freak since u all been out in the early n mid 70s the greast band of all time. and i seen acdc 37 times through out the united states. i love my memories with the band and still watch and listen to the cds and dvds of the band. brian johnson is the best thing that happen to acdc since bond scott death. keep rockin guys i love u with a passion. mark

  181. This list is ridiculous… Jack White?? and a guy named John Mayer is on the list? What were you thinking! Do you have a man-crush on John Mayer??? With all the great guitarists like Clapton, Jeff Beck, Page, SRV, Tom Scholz, Slash, you don't put a guy named John Mayer on that list…

  182. Excuse me for interrupting but I think that it's not properly to complain about who Clarence didn't added and who he didn't..if you search another site the top 10 will be different..i bet there are no sites who have exactly the same top 10 artists… I found this site because i just wanted to know names of great guitarists.Since you already know some you can create your personal Top 10 for yourself or for a blog or anything. I don't think it's right to influence others with your own opinion. I'm not really that expertised but I thought it would be nice to react. Thank you and no flames intended ^^

  183. Some personal favorites not on the list… and I stress personal…

    Brian May

    Gary Moore.. my favorite

    Richie Blackmore

    Eric Clapton

    Kenny Wayne Sheppard

    Tom Morello

    Jeff Beck

    Alvin Lee… has everyone forgot about Woodstock?

  184. Dude– Ace Frehley. He took some great guitar work and amped it up to 11 billion 🙂

    Not only that, but he writes real songs 🙂

  185. Crystaldream on

    Jimi Hendrix the best

    Malmsteen speed

    Slash feeling and improvisation

    Buckethead improvisation and shred

  186. What about Rick Derringer Johnny Winter Wes Montgomery. No Pete Townshend? The list is great I am not a Clapton Fan or a BB King guy but the list is a good accounting of the top guitarists over the last 30 years…..

  187. jimmy page

    there are highschool bands who play zepplin songs…

    where the hell are joe satriani and eddie van halen and get some metal guitarists in there

  188. Where is Kirk Hammet or Eddie Van Halen? They always added something unique to thier albums. You won't find anything unique about John Mayor.

  189. Guitar Fan... xD on

    OMG! John Mayer??? are you serious!?…Dude, I think you should have explored more on the guitar world before making the list…

    The absence of Joe Satriani makes this list, in my opinion, ridiculous. And how about, Steve Vai, John Petrucci and maybe throw in Michael Angelo Batio, I'm pretty sure they're better than John Mayer..

  190. what about Ernest Isley – he is easily in the top 3 of all times – no one can match this guy's riffs in songs like summer breese – who';s that lady – who loves better – hope you feel better – voyage to atlantis, and liquid love just to name a few of many powerful guitar riffs – y99u guys are missing a treat is you haven't heard Erney Isley get down

  191. why is it only guitrists that are pre 2000 getting a mention. i love music from every decade but one of the best i have ever seen is matt bellamy from muse he has took guitar playing to a completly different level. and i feel this guy deserves a mention..

    people like like jack white are good guitarists but not really at that level but he is the only recent guy mentioned in that top 10..

  192. I recently discovered Tommy Emmanuel's work.

    I'm totally addicted…

    When i saw this top10 list, The first guitar player that I thought about, was Tommy Emmanuel =P

    Although I don't think he should be considered "the greatest of all" (whatever that means) Tommy can play some outstanding sounds out of a single acoustic guitar!

    Listen to his work and judge for yourselves…

  193. How about a guy who can make one guitar sound like a whole band….Tommy Emmanuel.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

  194. For all of you who say " people who say John Mayer shouldn’t be on the list should wake up and get in your music" (from JSL) or something similar…

    You, sir, is a joke, and an ignorant fool. Stop trying to be cool.

    Look at the title again.


    Do you understand the meaning of 'GREATEST' ?

    Yeah, John Mayer is good, but he is NOT the greatest. Not even one of them. Maybe later in his career, that would happen. But not now.

    The Greatest of all the guitar player (mind you there are millions of guitar player out there) , is the one that inspire thousands and make records that last through time. Well we sure don't know about John Mayer yet.

    Want a good example ? Eric Clapton.

    • Hell yeah! Any list of the top ten LIVE players would have to have Rory at the top. Look up guitar hero in the dictionary and there is a picture of Rory.

  195. Sometimes people forget that the greatest musician is not the one who can plays faster. I play guitar and I admire who plays fast, but i admire more the ones who can make beatiful music, even if it's simple. Frusciante is one of the few guys who can do so (beside Hendrix). And Frusciante could play all of Jimi's songs when he was 12 years old, and I guess he still can. So for those who compare them to Steve Vai, you should listen to music and not watch to the speed of their fingers.

  196. some great guitarists here are my top 10

    1 ritchie blackmore

    2 paul kossoff

    3 gary moore

    4 jimmy page

    5 dave gilmour

    6 randy rhodes

    7 jimmy hendrix

    8 peter green

    9 jeff beck

    10 angus young

    • Sorry, but the flaw is in believing the best guitarists are all rock ‘n rollers… SPARE ME! These two run rings around most on that list and are absolutely magical behind a guitar… in Roy’s case… No one plays a classical guitar better than he does…IMO, that is 🙂

      1. Chet Atkins
      2. Roy Clark

  197. hey i am a guitarist and i know who is better than none and only unique guitar player is kirk buckethead is the flash and slash is the monster hendrix is the father guitarist

  198. where the hell on this list is eric clapton or Beck or Duane come on as a guitar player and berkley graduate for 30 years they should always be on the list. they were so of the most mentioned and taught in class.

  199. Alan Thompson on

    A top ten list without Randy Rhodes or Andre Segovia, what a joke. Segovia is considered the ultimate master of guitar and Randy Rhodes in the few short years he had, proved, without a doubt, that he was the ultimate Rock guitarist. Wake up people and smell the music.

  200. You think those guys are good? They are, but you should hear my uncle- Chris Lambert- and my cousin -Brent Lambert-. My uncle works at the Shadow Box in Columbus (or is it Cincinnati?) Ohio. He plays in a whole bunch of the music shows as a guitarist, and he rocks. Sometimes my cousin works there, too. Brent is just as good as my uncle, and they're both as good as the people you put on here.

    • Cowbilly Jack on

      Yeah, I’ve seen Chris Lambert play “Eruption” and he smoked it. Too bad all the talented people get overlooked when they work/live in crappy places like Columbus/Cincinnati:(

  201. AT LAST!! some gd stuf about john frusciante, hes the best living guitarist in my opinion. i don't get people who think those random metal shredders should belong in the top 10 list…. bein insanely good just on technical stuff means nothing… its kinda like shredding as fast as possible on a pentatonic scale, people will respect the skills, but wheres the soul? this is the exact reason why hendrix and jimmy page always get on these lists but not guitarists like buckethead, i mean seriously he has less tone then any of the GnR guitarists.. if slash is not on the list, theres no way the kfc man can get any close. to all the haters, tom morello is a very innovative guitarist and by far more creative then buckethead. I swear the world is no longer a place for good music.


    • Emotional songs from “kfc” man.
      Golden Eyes
      Handprint Ornament
      Melting Man
      Three Headed Guardian
      Sail on Soothsayer
      Blind Cyclops
      Fractal Shadows
      Look up There
      Nottingham Lace
      Praxis Endtime
      Star Chasing
      The Patrol Man
      track 12 pike 15
      The Rising Sun
      A real Diamond in the Rough

  202. Gage Henning on

    Okay this list is not at all accurate if you ask me. It doesn't include Buckethead – a remarkable guitarist(Soothsayer is my favorite of his) or KIRK HAMMETT!! How can you not put Kirk Hammett, one of if not THE GREATEST guitarist of all time!?

  203. come on man, no eric clapton or Eddie van halen, they are better than most of these yokels on here, alternative rock cant stand up against classic rock when it comes to guitar players and hendrix is #1 and always will be, none can touch him high or sober lol

  204. Lol… john mayer?hehe and where's clapton…robert johnson > Jimi hendirx ?? -.- come on man…

    This is my opinion:

    1. Jimi Hendrix

    2. Eric Clapton

    3. Jimmy Page

    4. Stevie Ray Vaughn

    5. Eddie Van Halen

    6. David Gilmour

    7. Ritchie Blackmore

    8. Randy Rhoads

    9. Steve Vai

    10.Tony Iommi

  205. How about Kenny Wayne Sheppard?

    What about Jon Butcher? He's not even mentioned?

    John Mayer may be mentioned due to the large amount of Anniston fans on the panel….

    But as was said before…everyone has their own lists of "favourites"….

  206. Kirk Hammett should seriously be on everyones list as a top 5 guitar player of all time. I saw monsters of rock in the mid 80s eddie van halen introduced Kirk as the greatest guitar player ever.

  207. joe perry. if you can make your guitar sing sweet emotion you should be in top ten. The first notes of sweet child of mine puts slash up there as well

  208. lol………….delete Stevie Ray…this must be a joke.He is like 10 times better than slash and that is a fact…

  209. It's an ok list, but you are definitely missing some Guitarists


    – Joe Satriani

    -Kirk Hammett

    -Randy Rhodes


    -Eddie Van Halen

    Another thing. Some of the guitarists aren't any good. you should delete:

    -John Mayer

    -John White

    -BB. King

    -Stevie Ray Vaughn

    -Robert Johnson

  210. I just read all of the comments and couldn't believe how long it too for someone (John Corcoran) to mention Les Paul. As for the 'tard who "knows" better players than Robert Johnson, just remember that Johnson INVENTED the sound and everyone else is just copying him or building upon his foundation. This list might work better split up by genre. Segovia may be one of the best guitarists ever, but he doesn't work with the others on the list. Stanley Jordan is incredible, but he'd be out of place on this list. What about Charo – yes, the Coochie Coochie girl from Hollywood Squares plays a mean classical and flamenco guitar! TopTenzMaster – let's see a bunch of subcategory lists…

  211. Who made this list? on

    No BucketHead? Slash? Van Halen? Paige? Hammet? Les Paul? Satriani? and don't even get me started about Clapton not being on here.. -.-

  212. I really respect this list, but here is my humble suggestion for a list. I'm glad we can all debate this and not be insulting. <–Edited from original comment.

    1.Jimmy Hendrix

    2.Eric Clapton

    3.Jimmy Paige king

    5.buddy guy


    7.Eddie Van Hallen

    8.Bucket Head

    9.Stevie Ray Vaughan

    10.LES PAUL

  213. This list is OK, but i would put it this way:

    1.Stevie Ray Vaughan

    2.Jimi Hendrix

    3.Buddy Guy

    4.Eric Clapton

    Anyway that is only my choice but i like your list to…There are many people commenting the list who don't have a clue about guitar playing…Buddy Guy is the best alive guitarist…not only to me…go ask Clapton 🙂

    • About time someone mentioned these guys! I couldn't believe I was going this far down, without anyone bringing up the brilliant masters of the instrument from various music styles. Each individually is one of the greatest, but this list seems limited to the Blues – Rock progression only, a very limited view.

      It is some of my favorite music, and I would agree with some of the names, expecially Stevie Ray Vaughn, but other styles of music have produced some fantastic players. In jazz, Pat Metheny is the first one that comes to mind,

      Anyone that likes something other than Metal, or distorted amped electrics only, should listen to the Live album in San Francisco that those three did together.

      There is a band that plays locally here sometimes called Incendio that will blow your mind with absolutely beautiful guitar work as well.

  214. I'm speechless… a top guitarist list that does not include Eric Clapton, Marty Friedman or Eddie Van Halen…

    …seriously speechless…

    I give you props for some of your choices though, solid stuff!

  215. Sean’s list is pretty much dead on, though I’d probably add Dean Ween on to it.

    If he added pre-Beatles the list would need Django and there’s like 90 billion other amazing jazz guitarists through the 60’s and 70’s.

    For classical guitarists the biggest name has to be John Williams, who is pretty much just a robot with no feeling – yeah I went there. I’d go with Segovia over him, though I’m not even well versed when it comes to classical guitarists.

    So I guess my list would be something like

    8. Frank Zappa
    7. Dean Ween
    6. David Gilmour
    5. Nick Drake
    4. Elliott Smith
    3. Jimmy Page
    2. George Harrison
    2. Django Reinhardt
    1. Jimi Hendrix.

    Also thanks for introducing me to Doug Martsch and Danny Gatton.

  216. there are to many to list just 10 and everyone would disagree on any list. With some of the names mentioned could never hold a string to Johnny Winter or Ronnie Montrose.

  217. I'm bias to shred

    10 Guthrie Govan

    9 Dime bag Darrel

    8 Ty Tabor

    7 Steve Vai

    6 Steve Morse

    5 Greg Howe

    4 Joe Satriani

    3 Paul Gilbert

    2 Eddie Van Halen

    1 John Petrucci

  218. What about Derek Trucks? Mark Knopfler? Trey Anastacio? Chuck Berry? Even Eddie Van Halen deserves some credit–more than John Mayer does for guitar playing. John Mayer's fame as a guitarist piggybacks on his commercial success, which is a result of targeting a demographic of 13 year old girls. He's no doubt a skilled guitar player, but over-rated as a guitarist relative to guys like Van Halen, Knopfler, etc.

  219. wtf?!?!?!?!

    jimmy page should be higher…no clapton…dude ur screwd up….no curt cobain?….tom way!

  220. John Corcoran, Jr on

    Amazing… A top Ten list and all these responses and no one comes up with Les Paul?

    Who in the Hades do you think invented and developed the most famous R&R electric guitar? And overdubbing? But he's not just an inventor. Listen to the music he recorded on 1950s technology. It will blow you away.

    Django Rhinehart…Only had two working fingers and could outplay most if not all your list.

    Anyone who ever heard Danny Gatton play–few have–would list him, too.

    No one knows his way around a 12 string Rickenbacher like The Byrds Roger McGuinn.

    Call this list what it really is. One man's top ten FAVORITE guitarists.

  221. I see a couple of ommissions in these lists, one is Randy Rhodes and the other is so glaring that I can only assume that the list had no imput from anyone over 25 years of age. Has anyone ever heard of a man named Andres Segovia, the original guitar master!

  222. 10 Joe Walsh

    9 Carlos Santana

    8 Alexi Laiho

    7 Jimmy Page

    6 Eddie Van Halen

    5 Joe Satriani

    4 Stevie Ray Vaughn

    3 Eric Clapton

    T1 Dave Mustaine( created the genre of thrash metal with out his work he started with metallica and carries on in megadeth there would not be 3/4 of the metal bands there are today) and Jimi Hendrix(who is clearly great he brought a whole to idea about how to play a guitar and created techniques never used before)

  223. not even close. No offense but John Mayer is trash absolute trash. Jack White is decent but not a guitar god at all. This is my list, and I'm going to leave out every guitar player that came before the Beatles, not saying Chuck Berry or B.B. King couldn't shred, but I'm trying to relate to the modern idea of Rock and Roll. I'm also judging on a lot more than just ability to "shred". And to the one goon…Jimmy Page SHINED live, that was Led Zeppelins appeal, you felt like you were at the biggest show on Earth…you probably just watched a few videos on youtube from the end of the band's career when he was a herion addict.

    10.Joe Satriani

    9. Elliott Smith

    8. Doug Martsch

    7. Eric Clapton

    6. Nick Drake

    5. Neil Young

    4. David Gilmour

    3. Jimmy Page

    2. George Harrison

    1. Jimi Hendrix. no question

    • this guy knows what he’s talking about (nick drake needs to be pushed up… get elliot smith outta there and put in TREY

  224. I am absolutely stunned that no previous commenter has mentioned John McLaughlin. He's more creative AND way faster than any on the list and yet plays with intense emotion even when "shredding". Frusciante is a tasteful player and comes up with nice tunes, but plenty of bar-band guitarists can hit the same riff over and over at high speed.

  225. Where the heck is Brian May (Queen)?! No-one's mentioned him already, that's a shame… And Robby Krieger of The Doors should also be on the list. He's one of the most underrated musicians.

    • I recently read that Jimmy Paige said he could play any guitarist except Brian May.That’s some tribute.Brian makes that guitar(Which he made himself) sing.Fabulous musician!!!!!

  226. More than significant, each of these guys were/are influential monsters in their own right, yet still unmentioned here:

    John Fahey

    Rory Gallagher

    Peter Green

    Wes Montgomery

    Larry Carlton

    Jeff Healey

  227. Ehm perhaps this has been said before but … where's Slash ? from Guns 'n' Roses?

    I know he would be in my list …

    But great list nevertheless!

  228. I know everyone may cringe at this one, but Billy Corgan can play the hell out of a guitar. he makes his guitar soar like a blend of tom morrello-meets-david gilmore. I know he hasn't put out much worth listening to in a while, but the guy is a virtuoso. more so than nearly everyone on the list. how about Doug Martsch? absolute genious.

    • absolutely agree…this list for me should be about influential style, originality. Billy definitely had a style but to include him you would have to include Kevin Shields (my bloody valentine) william reid, Sterling Morrison…how about Robbie Kreiger???

  229. OK, OK, kids!

    Probably one of the greatest is Glenn Schwartz, formerly of the James Gang and Pacific Gas & Electric. Considered to be a "white" Jimi Hendrix, he was asked by Jimi to play at what was to be his last birthday party. Glenn played behind his back and with his teeth (now with his gums) before Jimi ever did. Now out of the limelight (and out of his mind) Glenn plays (and preaches) on Thursdays at a blue collar bar in Cleveland. ONE F*CKING INCREDIBLE PLAYER. Should be on any list.

  230. Tom Morello?! Jack White?! This list needs guys like Andy Latimer, Robert Fripp, Alex Lifeson, Mikael Akerfeldt, Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. The only credible entry is David Gilmour.

  231. Speaking of Slop. Jimmy Page wrote the book on sloppy guitar playing. His studio work is amazing, but his live stuff is slop at it's finest.

  232. theres no way that wannabe from the red hot chili peppers is better than jimmy page just no damn way

  233. Dude, you're missing some of the greats. Frank Zappa, Mick Ronson, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton…

    John Mayer? Seriously? If you wanted to do a current pop guitarist at least do Hugh Harris from The Kooks. Considering they recorded their first album when he was like 17/18.

    • “I was astonished at how well he played live. I had no idea he was that good.”

      That was Clapton’s quote on Mayer in 2004. Anyone who bashes Mayer is ignorant. Go watch his live performances before you start running your mouth off.

    • John Mayer is not only a pop guitarist but always plays blues better than ever in this generation…! U gotta listen to his live work in “where the light is concert” live in L.A…. apart from that he plays industrial rock, progressive rock etc.. John does it all..!!! u should surely listen before u say something that isn’t right..!

  234. Mayer is about the sloppiest guitar player I've ever seen. Pure slop. Shades of Neil Young……

    • You obviously haven’t seen John Mayer play guitar …. at all then. Slop? that’s the stupidest comment I’ve seen on here yet. Sloppy… Ha!

      • Sorry, but he is pretty damn sloppy. Even in his studio performances… If you don’t think he’s sloppy that’s your opinion, but when you hear a guitarist who can play cleaner, you’ll fully understand…

        • See I wouldn’t put buckethead in a top 10 list myself either…but to put in mayer is an insult to a lot of great guitarists that were ommitted. Particularly clapton, who has a similar style, but leagues more talent. Or even the more versatile guitarists who don’t stick to any one genre.

    • saw Segovia paly in Manchester – refused to start until there was complete silence!
      Shame not to see Hank Marvin or Jet Harris on any lists when so many claim they owe them debts of gratitude – certainly for hisory or electric guitar in Uk – also noting Hanks Spanish gypsy playing now

  235. Unbelievable…. Not one mention of Zappa. Zappa was the best. I suggest his 3 album "Shut up and Play Yer Guitar" for those who think Frank was just the 'Yellow Snow' guy. Frank was an absolute genius. There isn't any band anywhere that could play his music short of a symphony orchestra and it would be hard for them. Genius…

    • You have to understand music theory and the complexity of symphonic composition to truly appreciate how good Zappa is as a guitar musician/composer.

      This is why it is so rare to see his name on these sorts of lists. The people expressing opinions here do not listen to music per se, they listen to ‘sound’ as in how good someone’s guitar riff “sounds”.

      If you listen to “music” you wind up listening to Frank with your mouth open, with goosebumps and tears in your eyes.

  236. No Joe Satriani? strange list…. i wont say Santana is great or Glen Fray are the greatest… but they are not ranked lower then John Mayer… Mayer is good, but not one of the world top 10…

  237. Agree with JSL and Tony Completely, all of you ignorant people who say john mayer is not a good guitarist should take a listen to some of his acoustic stuff or JMT (John Mayer Trio) and be prepared to be blown out of the water. This guy is ridiculous.

  238. Heres a few no one has brought up … very under rated or possibly not well enough known …. Jeff Beck , Steve Vai , BucketHead , Ry Cooder , Eric Johnson ,Gary Moore , Ritchie Blackmore , Andy Summers ,John Petrucci ,Vivian Campbell , Paul Gilbert , Uli John Roth ,Robert Fripp ,Akira Takasaki ,Steve Howe ,MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO ,CHRIS IMPELLITTERI ,ZAKK WYLDE , Vinnie Vincent , Stevie Stevens , and my choice for best overall would definetely be Randy Rhoads…

    • my god….

      you missed wingelvai mamerrysteen.haha.. Paul Gilbert???why not nuno bettencourt

      bro, Jeff Beck probably isn’t underrated or not well enough known, he is much lauded. but he definitely should be on any list of guitarists

    • tellme about it man…where’s buckethead????


    • cagedinsanity on

      Paul Gilbert is the most versatile guitarist that has EVER picked up an ax! He and Chet Atkins are the best two guitarists ever, period.

  239. Where's Santana, Grant Green, and, (of course) Eddie Hazel?

    My top 10 would indeed also include Buddy Guy, B.B King and Joe Satriani.

    Some of the best guitar ever recorder is of course "Maggotbrain". Play it, LOUD, then come back here and say something nice about Eddie Hazel. 🙂

    • Dude I totally agree with you,Eddie Hazel was awsome.And Add Ernie Isley (he learned from Jimi Hendrix when he played with the Isley Brothers),And Carlos Santana(his oloder stuff,check out the Borboletta album from 1975),and if you like Hendrix and stevie Ray why isn't Robin Trower (Robin Trower Live) on this list ?Also the guitarist from the band Slave(he was17 when they cut the album with "Slide"on it).Most of these are Metal guitarists,I prefer a guitarist that can make the hair on the back of my neck stand up when they play.Someone that makes you feel different emotions when they play.Just because you can play super fast doesn't make you great.

  240. JSL, I agree with you on the Mayer comment. Any one who is bashing him needs to listen to his latest live album. kid rips plain and simple. I have to disagree with you on the Van Halen comment, not that he isn't a great player, but to me his playing always lacked substance, no soul to it. Now, I can't stand Clapton, (I won't get into why), but he should definitely be on the list.

  241. The list is leaving off some HUGE names. You absolutely cannot leave out Clapton and Van Halen. However, you apparent uninformed people saying that John Mayer shouldn't be on the list should wake up and get in your music. He is on track to waxing this whole list by the end of his career. Clapton is practically handing him the torch. But then again, I guess that Tiger Woods will never be as good as Jack to some.

  242. John Frusciante is a great guitarist. try To Record Only Water for 10 Days or The Will To Death. Very good albums, and he plays a majority of the instruments. He is deserving of that spot. I think George Harrison should be on this list. He was one of the most influential guitar players of all time.

  243. I was shocked when Jack White and John Frusciante were on the list.

    They are absolutely amazing…Yet "Top Lists" seem to think only the greatest players are those from the past.

    They're making way for a whole new style…

  244. A list that's bound to be disagreed with, and I do. Although I love Hendrix, Clapton, etc. I'm still most impressed with Mississippi Fred McDowell. Bass line, rhythm, lead slide, and singing simultaneously and effortlessly. Several video performance on DVD are available, in case you listen to just an audio recording and wondered "who are the other guitarists playing, they're really good together?" nope, just Fred.

    • Thank YOU!!! Tony Rice!!! Django!!! Bluegrass and metal have some of the most amazing and overlooked musicians in the UNIVERSE.

  245. Umm…

    Duane Allman?

    Eric Clapton?

    and I'm still in disbelief that John Mayer is on that list. DEREK TRUCKS deserves the spot of modern guitarist on that list.

      • metal is good but personally I don't think you can say that honestly randy is the best. There's WAY better stuff out there. Mr. Crowley and crazy train are good but really now,

        • dont pick out the only 2 randy rhoads songs you know,have you ever really listend to all of the first 2 ozzy albums,,the guitar work and sound is un matchable,,randy created his own scales and sound ,how about listening to quiet riot 1 and 2 hes on there as well

        • Definitely, Diary of a Madman is like…the groundwork for so many great songs out there today. And if you listen to that live solo after Suicide Solution, which is only done live, it's just crazy what he could do that you didn't think he could do. If he was still alive, even if he left Ozzy, we would have seen even better stuff from him. Crowley and Crazy Train were actually more watered down marketable songs. That's more or less why Randy was GOING to leave Oz in the first place.

  246. I never understood the 'top 10' thing applied to music…I understand if we are talking about record sales as it is a tangible measurement, but there are no real parameters here…

    • dude! jimi’s little wing is pretty much all rhythm guitar! I’ve played for 20 years, I teach! believe it’s harded than any satch esq ‘legarto’ lick!

  247. Dude, John Mayer? unbelievable. Angus young, Gary moore I agree Eric Clapton you bet. but, it is an opinion. I think Michael Schenker is badass, and what about Steve Morse. I just saw Rush in Rio, and I forgot just how good Alex lifeson is. What about George Lynch? Tony MacAlpine. so I will let you have John Mayer, because he makes you feel something, for me, it's nausea…..Oh, and I forgot Brian May. Doyle Bramhall, I could go on.

    • finally somebody mentioned brian may..i was browsing through the comments if anyone would mention him…he’s a very talented guitarist…what’s with all the success of Queen?i know its largely due to freddie mercury but brian’s guitar playing played a significant role in it…i also strongly believe joe satrianni and steve vai should be in this list

  248. This is a rather biased listing of guitarists, and when you say "best guitarists" you can't just say that… there's no best, you need to break it to technical abilities, style, influence…etc…

    Either way, I'd only agree with this list on one maybe two guitarists, but like stated before, music isn't a competition, it's supposed to be an expression….John Mayer is a horrid guitarist…

  249. Afan, I think I am going to agree with you to a point. This list was NOT created to elicit arguments but to elicit new thoughts and introduce different guitarists to our readers.

    But I'm wondering if we shouldn't have split this into music genre. I personally don't like heavy metal guitar but enjoy classical and folk guitar. Lesson learned. But still I am happy with the list and the comments made. Everyone has their own favorites and shouldn't take offense to anyone else having a different opinion.

  250. Let's go to a different genre: chet adkins, roy clark, brad paisley, ricky skaggs, just to name a few. purely subjective list like this serve no purpose except to elicit arguments.

  251. Expand your musical tastes. AT LEAST HALF of this list would be heavy metal guitarists. and I personally know guitarists who could BURY Robert Johnson.

    • omg guitar playing isnt just about speed and technically skill. its about style and uniqueness of sound, as shown by tom morello and jack white. most of those metal guitarist, with quite a few exceptions ill admit (tony iommi, john petrucci, randy rhoads & van halen, and joe satriani & steve vai), sound EXACTLY THE SAME. i think you need to expand YOUR musical taste.

    • You know a guitarist that influenced Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. Let me say that again. Bob Dylan. Did this supposed guitar player play a part in the creation of rock n’ roll? Does this guy sound like two different players at once (Sometimes even three?)

  252. I am surprised that none of you have mentioned John Petrucci on your list. He definitely be in my "top 10."

  253. Music is NOT a competition. Why do guitar players (like me) have such a hard time with this? Just enjoy the great ones.

    Besides, what about Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Lenny Breau, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Chet Atkins, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Van Halen, Wes Montgomery, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Tal Farlow, or Joe Pass? I dare any guitarist to consider shredding "hard" after attempting to learn even a slowly paced Joe Pass tune.

    Music is not a competition.

  254. Making a comprehensive list of the top 10 guitarists , I had to cut out some of my own favorites as an artist.

    If I could have added more, I would've and I most likely would've added the artists you all have mentioned (Save Malmsteem. Yuck. Mayer's soul is ages beyond him), but limiting it to 10 is the whole point of this site.

    Rolling Stones top 100 guitarists named Angus Young at a tepid 96. Mr Cobain was 12. It's all opinion my friends, don't get offended :).

    Besides, I hope to NEVER stop growing musically. To stop growing is to die, and I hope you never do either.



  255. uninformed list by a youngster.

    no angus young?

    no eric clapton? holy crap.

    no gary moore?

    stevie is not number 1?

    wtf no buddy guy?

    got a lot of growing up to do musically…

    but it is a good highly opinionated list

    • Uninformed? What are you talking about? You didn’t include Leo Kottke, Elliot Smith, T-Bone Walker, and a plethora of others worthy of top ten. John Mayer is definitely worthy of top ten. His work for personal satisfaction and reward is 1000x different than, “your body is a wonderland”. Look for yourself.

  256. Hey, Topher.

    Like all the lists, there will always be a difference of opinion. Thanks for submitting additional guitarists. I look forward to watching the videos you added. Rock on!

    • Ok, so lists are generally subjective. But the fact you left out Steve Vai, Satriani, Van Halen AND Kirk Hammett in favour of John Mayer and Jack White suggests you aren't qualified to make this list. Sorry dude.

  257. The fact that you would list John Mayer in the top 10 guitarists of all time is ludicrous!

    You can't seriously say he's better than…

    Angus Young (AC/DC)

    Eric Clapton

    Jeff Beck

    Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)

    Pete Townshend (The Who)

    Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)

    Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers Band)

    Joe Satriani

    Eddie Van Halen

    Stevie Vai

    I'd even put Yngwie Malmsteen, who's not top-ten worthy, before Mayer.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    And you left off Chuck Berry, that's downright inexcusable.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    • John Myer is SURPRISINGLY worthy…a yr ago i wuddn'v thot so,but listen carefully to wat he's doing…an early great

      • I’m sure people have heard his blues stuff but he still doesn’t belong anywhere near a top 200 list

    • Watch “Neon” by John Mayer. Nobody Could come up with that besides him. He is the most unique guitarist ever.

    • I think youve done a nice job distributing it throughout the genres, Mine ,and again,just my preference would be:

      1.Jimi Hendrix

      2.David GIlmour

      3Jimmy Page

      4.Steve Vai


      6.Eric Clapton

      7.Hughie Thomason(the outlaws)

      8.John Fogarty

      9.Django Reinhardt

      10.Buck darma (from BOC)



      • Wow, Nice taste. especially someone who listens to Buck Darma. Anyway, Your list is great, But i would put Mark Knopfler in the list 🙂

      • i think you are all f'n dilluted eric clapton should be #1 hands down. #2 carlos santana #3 mark knopfler #4 robert cray #5 robert johnson

        • That is true, but without the many fine guitarists of today, who will inspire the gifted musicians of tomorrow. Musicians are artists and it would be quite dull if they all copied each other and sounded the same wouldn’t it? Whether we like it or not the world keeps on spinning regardless of what we want, think or do. Enjoy the gifts that are shared today, because we’re not guaranteed a minute more.

        • Clapton is good… not gonna argue that he is an amazing guitarist… but no where near the best guitarist of all time…. Satriani can play ANY clapton riff, solo, song, chord progression, whatever.. Clapton can’t come close to playing any of Joe’s stuff. And most of Claptons best songs are JJ Cale tunes. Cocaine, Layla, After Midnight, etc,…. etc…. Oh and Clapton put out a whole album dedicated to Robert Johnson and admitted that most of the songs are redone and reworked because “the man” Clapton couldn’t play em anywhere near as well as Mr. Johnson.

          But it is all opinion… thats why these lists go on forever.

      • -have any of you ever heard of chet atkins. he could play anything the guys you mention but, they could not or can,t play any thing he played-hell non-finger style players you have to go with nokie edwards from the ventures. you guys are obviously rock only players and listen to only them only -do yourselves a favor and get his albums-mister guitar and workshop-they show just how good he was and then make a comment here

        • Well said.. Chet’s the man. He’s the only one I know that comes close to Tommy Emmanuel. They actually did an album together called Fingerpickers take over the world.

        • Any list that doesn’t include Chet Atkins as one of the top 10 guitarists of all time simply isn’t credible.

      • Without some stupid barbarian discovering some tooting whistle thing that makes noise, there would be no Robert Johnson. Stupid to say something like that. Of course there wouldn't be any of those guitarists.

  258. How could you miss Buddy Guy who influenced and taught so many .. including Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jonny Lang and more. The man is a master!

    • you all need to check out tommy emmanuel before ever commenting on a best guitar player list i see all these top ten guitarists and no one has mentioned him by far best person to ever pick up a guitar check it out and btw john mayer? cmon

      • I've got him at number 10 on my list at the bottom of this thread. He is a fantastic guitarist. I think part of the problem is he has no original material but he is definitely awesome.

        • Laughingcruiser on

          Hey Planes! you claim Tommy Emmanuel hasn’t any original material….what about “Initiation”

        • Tommy Emmanuel use to write for stevie ray vaughan sooooooo……….. Pretty original

        • TRUE. Tommy can be good but I find he has a lot of filler and some overly fluffy tunes sometimes. It makes it sound like he’s trying too hard to play it with as many different chords as possible before finally landing the first note. (which is usually late). and for clapton below me I could agree but I think Jimmy Page’s playing is just as good but he’s more reckless. he’s reckless for good reason though, it’s like he’s transfering his feeling to it like Jimi Hendrix would but Page’s guitar sounds like your heart wanting to rip out of your chest to claim your biggest desire once and for all. The kind of vibe when you finally realize your in love after a LONG time of dullness. Jimi is groovy, and Clapton likes to serenade seeming like an old gentle man from any age.

      • Im glad he gave Mayer props. The most underrated player of this generation. The guy rips.


      • Yes, Eric Johnson. Better than Andreas Segovia, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Joe Maphis, Chet Atkins, Freddie King, Albert King, and Paco De Lucia. The man whose influence is just EVERYWHERE.

    • the top five in no certain order are…….. JIMI HENDRIX .NIO EXPLANATION NEEDED……..RICHIE BLACKMORE he broght the strat into metal and he led his leads perfectly back into the song ……… .EDWARD VAN HALEN he was the next innovater after hendrix…………DIME BAG DARRELL….he was just plain the baddast ass of them all…………..AND ENGWIE MALMSTIEN he did everything else……..there are lots of great guitar players . but .these five guys set the bar for everyone else

    • Hey dude I’m a guitar a pro guitar player and that list is not what my colleagues would say in my opinion
      BLUES : John Mayer ,Stevie ray Vaughan ,Hendrix ,BB king,Muddy waters,Eric Clapton , Buddy Guy ,Robert Johnson ,Kenny Wayne Shepherd ,Albert king ,and i have 10 more players that their solos,riffs and licks are full of feeling and an amazing power on the accentuation is just my favorite blues is the best
      SPEED :
      ROCK &ROLL ,METAL:Joe Satriani ,Eddie Van Halen ,Steve Vai,Dime bag Darrel ,Tom Morello,Randy Rhodes ,Jimmy Page,John Petrucci,Ingwie Malnsteen,Michael Angelo Batio,and again I’m leaving like 10 or more guitar players on this style of super fast guitar players and full of techniques and mind blowing solos

      JAZZ :Al Di Meola , John McLaughlin ,Wes Montgomery ,Pat Metheny ,John Scofield,Django Reinhardt ,Larry carlton ,Joe Pass,Herb Ellis ,Eddie Lang , and again I still have in mind at least 10 more jazz guitar players that jazz is the hardest and more complex guitar composition and it is an awesome style or kind of music to play just because not everybody play can play jazz.

      Slash,Santana,Jack White , John Frusciante ,the edge , and many more have popularity and more media but they are far away from been in any of these lists

      • Man, there are so many that are so, so good…It’s a real tough choice who you’re putting in the top 10…and then who did you leave out…whew…and what about Tal Farlow & Jim Hall…and that’s what I mean…and I heard/saw Bonamasso on public television the other night…a monster on guitar…Pat Metheny is no slouch, etc.

        Best of luck,

        Phil Simon…still listening

        • How could you say John Frusciante doesn’t deserve to be on this list you have obviously not heard any of his solo stuff or seen any of his live stuff.
          And to be honest you being a pro guitarist doesn’t make that much of a difference in judging him cause his music is so passionate and emotional, listen to his solo in his song Look on and try not to be moved by it then come back to me.

      • Not having David Gilmour as the first guitarist listed after the word feeling (let alone not having him on your list at all) makes the rest of your list invalid. He is the epitome of the word feeling as far as guitarists are concerned. That is all.

      • Let me shoot you some names Mr Pro Guitar player. When those you mention can play with the likes of Jack Pearson you can put them on a list. You didn’t even touch on country or bluegrass so I have to assume you know nothing about them. So let me throw this out there. There is only ONE called Mr. Guitar. Chet Atkins. His protege, Jerry Reed is another great. Let’s try Merle Travis, Jody Maphis and in recent years Redd Volkaert. I think you need to expand your listening radius. Let’s not forget the man who likely has his name on your guitar, Mr. Les Paul. Then I would ask you listen to bluegrass flatpicking. You want speed? These guys can play with Ygnwgie and do it on a Martin D28.
        While you’re at it, I know a well known fiddle player who plays well enough that Bob Dylan wanted him to play guitar on his albums. Charlie Daniels. While on Southern Rock, lets list Billy Gibbons, Toy Caldwell, Duane Allman, Allen Collins and Steve Gaines.
        But like I started this post with, go and look up Jack Pearson. I’m sure you don’t know him or he’d be on your list.

    • this guy that wrote this is clueless i bet he dont even know how to play a note on the guitar, how could eddie van halen not be on this list.he should be number one, there will never be another guitar player that set the world on fire like the first van halen album, john mayer the guy from the chilli peppers you have to be joking or you are deaf

      • Go listen to the song “Neon” by John Mayer, watch the video, realize his talent, and then please rephrase your statement.

    • Hey mjoe! I think you are out of your mind. Santana is the best of the best. He goes wth the sound and wind. He creates emotions that dont exist..Wowoo you hear him properly when its silence.

    • John Mayer…lol…good player but derivative…I could show you tons of other guitar players that can do the same clone job better.

      Jack White…just because you use cheap lo fi gear and wank on it like any student of the guitar can after a couple of years doesn’t make you great.

      10 is a tough list to compile to begin with, but including every genre makes it impossible.

      If you remove genres I can name better guitar players than everyone on this list.

      Music isn’t a competition.