Best Guitarist Of All Time (iconic players you need to listen to)
This has to be the hardest list to compile because music is subjective. Plus with so many genres of music and so many top level guitarists in each genre, it would be an impossibility to choose one. So here are our top 15 guitarists of all time, if you’re into guitarists, you’ll probably know them all.
We’re not going to rank them in any order, except for the first one and we’ll explain why later on. As for the rest you need to give each one a serious listen and then tell us which order they should be in. If you haven’t heard of any of these, then let us introduce you to 15 of the best guitarists ever.
The Best Guitarist Of All Time: Jimi Hendrix
For sheer technical ability and passion for playing, Jimi Hendrix is the best guitarist of all time. He played the guitar upside down and turned the world of popular music upside down too. A member of the club 27 (musicians that died at the age of 27) and only playing the guitar for 12 years, imagine what he could have been doing now!
No best guitarist list would be complete without Eric Clapton. He’s been in the spotlight for more than 50 years and still manages to keep his sound fresh. Eric has 2 nicknames, “Slowhand “- from his early days because of the time it took him to change a string, the audiences started to slow clap him, and his manager called him … Slowhand. The second is “God” given to him by his fans.
Eddie Van Halen
With the well earned nickname of “Superman” nobody can dispute Eddie Van Halen’s place in a list of best guitarists of all time. Eruption changed the way the guitar was ever thought of. A track of less than 2 minutes literally changed the way the guitar’s played worldwide.
Brian May’s familiar red guitar was built by Brian and his dad from wood from an old mantle shelf surrounding a fireplace. Some of Brian’s early solos and guitar work leave us speechless. He has to be up there as one of the all time greats.
Not quite so well known among the masses, Jeff Beck is a guitarist’s, guitarist. Technically brilliant and always enjoying himself, Jeff has been around for over half a century and produced some of the greatest guitar work ever heard. His incredible use of the whammy bar shows how comfortable and skillful he really is.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
By the time SRV came to fame, music was going through a weird patch, synthesisers and studio effects were changing the course of musical history. And it seemed like there was no room for the true blues guitar sound anymore. Then Stevie hit the centre stage with his own unique style and the rest is history.
Jimmy Page started his guitar career playing for the same bands as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and then went on to become a legend in his own lifetime as the guitarist and founder member of Led Zeppelin. His skill with the electric guitar is undisputed as is his acoustic guitar work. He took the blues guitar and made it heavy but with his own unique light touch.
Known as the “Human Riff” Keith has been one of the most influential guitarists for over 50 years. Many of the Rolling Stones hits would never have happened without Keith’s guitar work. Jumpin Jack Flash, Paint it black and Satisfaction were all Keith’s compositions. Famous for his 5-string open G tuning that he picked up from Ry Cooder.
Buddy influenced such guitar greats as Hendrix, Clapton and SRV, and played with the likes of BB King and Howlin’ Wolf. A blues guitarist through and through with a style that’s instantly recognisable Buddy was one of the best.
Not known for his fast hand speed, David plays slow rock guitar at its finest. A master of the bend and vibrato, and often achieving two step bends, David was the mainstay of Pink Floyd for many years.
A blend of blues, rock and roll and finger picking, that’s the Mark Knopfler sound. But it’s so much more than that, the man is a master guitarist. Whether it’s acoustic or electric, Mark makes it sing.
The almost instantly recognisable guitar sound of George Harrison was crafted over his many years with the Beatles. He wasn’t a flash guitarist by any means but what he lacked in showmanship he made up for in his depth of feeling which is evident in his guitar playing.
Another Rolling Stones guitarist, Mick’s guitar style reeks of simplicity but played so skillfully as to be masterful. No fancy tricks, just a pure guitar solo at its best.
Not as well known as some of the other guitarists on this list, but we feel she deserves her place. Carolyn is often called “the hardest working guitarist in show business”, Bob Dylan said of her, “She’s something else, She should be nationwide.” We’re doing our best to make her worldwide because her guitar playing deserves worldwide recognition.
Saul Hudson – Slash is a top guitarist and one of the best of his generation and responsible for some of the best guitar solos in the history of popular music. Guitarist with Guns n Roses and also the guitar sound on such tracks as Beat It, Give In To Me and Black Or White (Michael Jackson), Slash does his own thing in his own way. The result is some of the greatest guitar memories ever.
That’s our top 15 best guitarists of all time, but there are plenty of others that could just as easily made our list artists like;
- BB King
- Robert Johnson
- Gary Clark Jr.
- Pete Townsend
- Angus Young
- Albert Collins
- And Many More
Who Do You Think Is The Best Guitarist Of All Time?
Did we get it right? Who would be your best guitarist of all time? Who’s in your top 5? And why? Let us know in the comments.