The Axe Men Cometh

November 29, 2014
754 72280

Welcome to controversy central here at uDiscover. We’ve taken on some tasks in the past when it comes to creating lists of the best this, or the best that, but fewer subjects cause more controversy than who are the best guitarists in the world.

We’ve come up with a list, and it is not just a list that we have dreamed up; we’ve tried the appliance of science, or at least some heavy research. We’ve trawled though magazines, searched the web and checked out numerous lists of the greatest guitarists ever, to come up with this list of 50.

Now we fully expect that some of you will say we’ve completely lost the plot by leaving out so-and-so, or not including others, but trust us this really is as scientific as we can make it. Believe us when we say, if we had asked all of you to come up with a list, for everyone we pleased there would be thousands of others that would disagree. Believe us to when we say, women guitar players are in short supply on these lists, and much as we love Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt and Chantel McGregor, to name just three, they just did not make the grade.

Other favourites that would have probably been on our list include, Clem Clempson, Grant Green, Larry Carlton, Peter Frampton, Gary Moore, Joe Walsh, Stephen Stills, Lee Ritenour, John Fogerty, Paul Kossoff, Roy Buchanan and Cliff Gallup…to name just a few… we nearly forgot, what about Charlie Christian?

We’ve put together a playlist of signature tracks and before anyone starts saying that there are better tracks out there, let us stress that this is not a 'best of' list. It’s a list that demonstrates the skill of each of the players. – and their trademark sound.

As always love to hear your comments as to your favourite players and classic tracks that you might have included. And remember, this is just a bit of fun, no one died in the creation of this list…

There are no Robert Fripp solo or King Crimson tracks on Spotify and neither are the Beatles or George Harrison available on Spotify, which is why Robert is not among the tracks and George’s track is with Alvin Lee (how come he didn’t make the list? – Ed)

And in reverse order, the 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever…

50. Bo Diddley
49. Joe Perry
48. Mick Taylor
47. Johnny Winter
46. Slash
45. Dickey Betts
44. Rory Gallagher
43. Wes Montgomery
42. James Burton
41. Freddy King

40. Thurston Moore
39. Steve Cropper
38. Peter Green
37. Albert King
36. Jerry Garcia
35. Johnny Ramone
34. Mike Bloomfield
33. Jack White
32. George Harrison
31. The Edge

30. Buddy Guy
29. Ritchie Blackmore
28. Les Paul
27. Brian May
26. Django Reinhardt
25. Richard Thompson
24. John Fahey
23. Eddie Hazel
22. Chet Atkins
21. Dave Gilmour

20. Tony Iommi
19. T-Bone Walker
18. Pete Townshend
17. Mark Knopfler
16. Carlos Santana
15. Robert Fripp
14. Frank Zappa
13. Ry Cooder
12. John McLaughlin
11. Robert Johnson

10. Jeff Beck
9. Chuck Berry
8. B.B. King
7. Duane Allman
6. Stevie Ray Vaughan
5. Keith Richards
4. Eddie Van Halen
3. Eric Clapton
2. Jimmy Page
1. Jimi Hendrix

Listen on Spotify.

Can You Name These Guitarists uQuiz

Share this story

News
Artists
uDiscover Playlists
Videos
Stories
Music Quizzes
Competitions
uSort

Follow us on Twitter for the latest music news, stories, new uQuizzes, the best playlists and our legendary big prize music competitions!!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

754 comments

      1. Andrew

        How about Gary Moore from Thin Lizzy, Joe Bonamassa, Larry Carlton, Jon Herrington, Dean Parks, Skunk Baxter? Too many people left off this list. Hendrix is not number one, that’s a definite. He was good, but I can name a dozen others that were better!

        1. Woody87

          Better? Ha, you tosser. Learn something about guitar playing and the history and then come back, all his contemporaries were blown away by his virtuosity- he sparked the careers of many great guitarists and was one of the greatest showmen ever to grace this planet.

          1. Bill

            Know need to for that just cos you don’t agree with someone’s point of view I think you are the tosser merry christmas

          2. Cooky Mann

            This list is NOT about “showmen”.
            It’s about guitarists.
            Hendrix couldn’t hold a candle to thousands of teenage guitarists of today.
            Allan Holdsworth SMOKES EVERYONE on this list and you and the other assholes who made this list never heard of him.
            Try using the Internet before you spew your bullshit.

        2. James

          Agreed, Andrew. I’ve met Joe, Larry, Jon, & Lee Ritenour and speaking as a guitar player for 50 years, the versatility that the players you list have as well as their articulation, it is a sham that they’re not on the list. But let’s face it, this is all subjective.

        3. Tony Besgrove

          No you can’t! Hendrix died 41 years ago and in those 41 years there has NEVER been anyone who got close to the inventiveness, excitement and stage presence of that man. Just watch his full Woodstock performance. 😎

          1. stoney bruce

            I agree wholeheartedly Tony. Though, I would put Duane Allman a close second. I hate how Jimmy Page is always in the top two on every list. He was Mister Slop and a big time blues ripoff artist. Nothing original about his playing. If you hear Hendrix, you know who it is. Same with Allman. But if you listen to Page, away from Zep, you wouldn’t be able to tell who that was. Tone, technique, and style is everything. Hendrix and Allman had ton’s of it. Sorry if you’re a big fan of his, but this has always bugged me.

    1. Kevin

      It’s another popularity contest. Jimi has his place. He made electronics the way to turn heads. Steve Morse is not on the list, either. Santana and Zappa are down the list,they are more accomplished than many of the top 10. As mush of a fan of Keith as I am, he isn’t the guitarist people way down the list are. He may be one hell of a songwriter, but his playing isn’t all that…where is Ronnie Wood on this list? Popularity is all this is.

      1. James Young

        Keith is exactly where he is supposed to be on the list. This is about rock and roll. This is not about technical ability and perfection which are the last things I want when listening to rock and roll. With this music you want dirtiness and true raw emotion of which Keith provides an infinite amount. After all, he is a guitarist in ‘the greatest rock and roll band in the world.’

        1. Michael R. Wilder

          This is NOT about Rock n Roll. It says list of 50 greatest guitarists. Not of any one style or genre. Your comment is purely your opinion, to which you are absolutely entitled, though I would suggest, as I’m sure would many others, that you are incorrect in your assertion that the Stones are the best rock band in the world, and that Keith Richards should be above SRV in any way other than perhaps longevity, is more than arguable.

      2. Jon Vanderheyden

        Jimi’s entire recording career is four years long. Four! Nobody is even in that dudes zip code for creativity and showmanship. Try tackling the solo to axis bold as love and machine gun and then get back to me.

    2. Josephine

      David Gilmour should be number 1 ,to put a guitarist of his calibre at number 21 is a disgrace, he is far better than Hendrix-who I believe-compared to Gilmour-is over-rated, and Clapton is not as good as Gilmour, Brian May should be number 2, Slash should be in the top 10, and so should Mark Knopler, and where is Hank Marvin, what a lousy list.

          1. Chris

            EC also has a neurological condition now, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him play again, nor as well. Thats probably why he hasn’t put out much new material lately. But, if you look at his career, 50+ years, and the number of other artists on that list who cite him as an influence, I’d say his place on the list is well deserved.

        1. Simon

          Do you think Hendrix would have stopped developing given what he had achieved to that point, I doubt it. Everyone who saw him said he was Eons ahead of all other players in the area of electric rock ,funk & soul. Hendrix highly admired and stated so publicly, the 3 Kings, Clapton, Beck, Clarence White, Phil Keaggy, Buddy Guy, Ernie Isley, Miles Davis, Rory Gallagher and Stephen Stills among others. He was no hermit, but studied other great players of his time with great care and fascination. He was like Bruce Lee, absorbing what was useful and rejecting what was not to him, at the time.

      1. Martin

        I totally agree with the top three, but believe that David Gilmour and Eddie van Halen should be swapped around. There is just NO WAY that David cannot be in the top four!!

      2. Daimauwr

        Agree Josephine – where is Hank Marvin. Brian May, Knofler and many others bow at his door and he has influenced many others. And one of the greatest of all was Nokie Edwards – played with the Ventures. If you haven’t heard his version of “by the time I get to Phoenix” then you haven’t heard a guitar “talk”.

          1. Greg

            I agree about Gabor Szabo. Excellent guitarist but an unknown. Also, how about Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Walter Trout. This list is limited by being more a popularity contest. And yes I agree, Peter Green and Gary Moore lesser knowns are well deserving.

    3. Juan

      Where is derek trucks ? How do you name Susan tedesci in the intro and think he is not even worth mentioning? The guy has a unique sound, a prodigy at age 11 and miles ahead of most of the players on this list! How is Wes Montgomery so low on this list and have jack white, Keith Richards, buddy guy and Santana ahead of him? This is simply a popularity contest and not a list of greats. The only science this might apply is how many of these guitar players appeared in guitar magazines or are more pop icons. Very dissapointed.

      1. Ace Duncan

        My first thought, find where Derek Trucks is ranked. Not finding him invalidated the list for me. Very safe group. You cannot have this list without Trucks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Toy Caldwell and Terry Kath.

    4. dirk Jirky

      Yes, why forget Charlie Christian? He only indirectly and directly influenced every guitar player ever. Same with Django – another guy way too low that directly and indirectly influenced everyone. Why make a list like this if you’re only going to include a few Jazz guitarists? So you’re telling me Pat Metheny is not one of the 50 greatest guitarist ever? Give me a break. I will give you credit for your top 10 though. Based on each players influence as a guitarist, very legit.

    5. John

      This is a pretty bad list! Any list that has Keith Richards as a top five guitarist of all time loses all credibility! He’s not even the lead guitarist in the Stones! List is missing many much more talented folks; Al Dimeola is a huge miss, Steve Howe, Robin Trower, Steve Hackett, Steve Morse to name a few! Bad, Bad list!

      1. Richard Gearon

        Willie, for sure, should be on the list, and NO ONE has mentioned Albert Lee, who could play masterfully in ANY genre. LES PAUL at #28? T-Bone at #19? T-Bone was a major influence on every other guitarist who followed him. EVERY OTHER GUITARIST. This list was brought to us from former inmates at the Rolling Stone (magazine) Insane Asylum. If left completely to their own devices, they would have declared Bruce Springsteen, #1.

        1. Adam

          I was hoping someone would mention Roy. I knew he was good, but I didn’t realize how good until couple of years just how good. Look up the episode of ” The Odd Couple” that he was on. Fantastic!

    6. Bruce Remington

      The bullshit is that Robin Trower is not in the top ten (top 5 actually-maybe top 2…)….have a different order, but at least alot of the greats are in there – better than many of these lists that SOMEBODY comes up with…….Mick Box???

    7. Woodenhead

      Theres so many left out and who would put Jerry Garcia and Johnny Ramone as hot guitarists? They wrote some great songs but really come on people. this is a list of something not sure what.

      1. Jbing

        Absolutely. Alvin should have been in the top 10 and Keith Richards couldn’t carry SRV’s guitar. Steve Howe and David Gilmour didn’t even make the list? Someone pulled this list out of their A$$.

    8. Python

      The only reason these lists are ever compiled I would suggest is to create controversy/discussion. I’ve seen many of these Greatest Guitarist lists over the years with some truly laughable additions such as Kurt Cobain for example and as in this list Bo Diddley. I’m not sure exactly what motivated the compiler to add rhythm guitarists not remotely known for their ‘prowess’ amongst others known for their lead work even though a good rhythm guitar is worth their weight in gold but it sure does bring out the animal in people.
      Personally were I given the job of making a list I would clarify why people are included. I’d make it the Best Lead Guitar or Best Bassist or Rhythm. It’s not right to mix them up because they do a specific job within a band.
      Giving Hendrix such regular peak position is in my humble opinion probably not fair to him either as he was era specific and therefore was hailed because of his prowess and individuality but was he the best even then? Probably not. Even he admitted there were some he thought better than him. It’s all media hype after all. Since Jimi there have been many many superb guitarists and to pick one above another is after all personal opinion. If I were to add just one guitarist left out of this list I’d like to submit Jow Bonamassa, or Keith Urban or Phil Keaggy or, or, or……

      1. Robert Allen Bailey

        Who ever made this list, first of all, has no taste!!! And is probably not a guitarist!!! At least not one very knowledgeable about music theory!!! (Chord structure,chord relativity,substitutions,extensions,alterations,scales, or knowledge of the fingerboard!!! etc.) “Enough to be a judge in the first place!!!”

        1. Jim BaneDog

          Alternatively, you could actually read the post and you will see in the second paragraph it says it is a poll of polls…. it’s called words. That you failed to read.

    9. Dave Arden

      A true farce if ever there was one. No Neil Young, Alex Lifeson, Joe Walsh etc. but they include Chuck Berry! My my, what on earth was this based on? If anyone ever saw the guitar showdown in Spain hosted by Brian May you would wonder how he made the list at all, and putting Jimmy Page at #2 really does take the biscuit.

    10. Bob Shekerko

      You’re right, the top ten is all out of whack! Hendrix should not be #1. Unless I missed it, Les Paul and Brian May aren’t on the list. I can think of tons of people that should be on the list before a few of these! Everybody knows Segovia is the best there ever was!

      1. Don Nichols

        Thank you Bob……Segovia IS without a doubt the absolute best on acoustics. I once heard Eric Clapton remark that Mark Knopfler was by far the best electric guitarist ever. I agree. The list is one mans opinion……just not mine!

    11. woodstock135

      You could never put a list together that would please anyone. I will always feel that Hendrix at #1 and Page at #2 is a given for me, after that my list changes drastically. I would rearrange, eliminate and substitute throughout this list and no one would agree. It is a pointless exercise in futility.

    12. Janice

      This has some great people, BUT, you didn’t include Duane Eddy, Johnny Cash’e Tennessee Three,and most of all, Prince. James Burton deserved to be higher on the list too. he has played back up for so many people.

    13. bobby Cotner

      Every guitar player alive has a different idea of who is the best guitar player. . It is all a matter of taste, like your taste in food. A list like this is moronic and is a liberals idea of what everyone should think, and that one size fits all. The liberal mind is screwed up.

    14. Patrick Longworth

      I don’t know who made the list but I am sure they are happy you read the story, came to the site and commented, though perhaps they would appreciate less insulting remarks from people. If many of us are unhappy with how they write or choose their criteria and artists, why do we continue paying attention? If we all stopped coming to the site then maybe they would try and improve or stop altogether?

      1. Allan

        Manie I agree. Any list without Gary Moore is a joke. No Gary Moore but they put Keith Richards in at 5. Pleeeeeeease! Richards should not even be in the top 50. If there is any doubt about Gary Moore do yourself a favour and watch the Blue Ray version of “Blues for Jimi” and if the compilers of this list are not sure maybe they should speak to Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox about how good Gary Moore was.

      1. T. R. Smith

        Or Mick Abrahams.. Tony Mcphee of the Groundhogs, he is credited with helping to inspire both punk rock AND metal/hard rock. There is a live version of “Split Part 2” where he does very incredible work and creates totally unique sounds and acoustically his tribute to John Lee Hooker (“Mr. Hooker, Sir John”), who he played with is remarkable.
        .. And Elmore James? To this day I have never heard anyone carry a slide up the neck of a guitar with the tone and power of Elmore. If Duane Allman were alive today I think he would agree.

  1. Tom

    it is usual, a popularity contest with no basis in who may actually be the best….which for anyone who has ever played guitar knows, a list that does not, and cannot exist…..

  2. Rick Boone

    Some other worthies (certainly more so than some who made your list): Steve Howe, Todd Rundgren, Pat Metheny (!!!), Terry Kath, Steve Hackett, and Neil Young.

  3. Jose

    [sigh] Another predictable list of popular guitarists.

    “Hi, I’m Jimi Hendrix. I’ve been watching you guys and I think your guitarist is better than me.”
    – at Whisky a Go Go, 1968, speaking of Terry Kath of CHICAGO

  4. Rob

    No Angus Young? Who wrote this thing? While “some may not agree” applies with any list of this sort, there are too many glaring omissions for this to have any sort of credibility.

    1. bryan williams

      Beat me to it…Angus rock god….. what jokers made this list?

      George Formby is better than half of these , and what about Bolan and Dave Hill,defining power chord rock of the seventies?

      And the guy that maybe started it all Robert Johnson.

      Poor this.

    1. DLW

      Richards is right where he belongs. No one gets more different sounds from a guitar than Keith. Mick makes sure that he is the focal point of the Stones so they don’t have any long guitar solos like Zeppelin. Focus on the guitar instead of the vocals when you listen to the Stones & you will understand.

  5. Bluzking

    Hendrix I totally agree,Keith Richards ? NOT !!! Clapton and Page should change places, but for #4 ? Listen to CTA, or Chicago 2…Terry Kath was beyond outstanding,and so said Jimi

  6. Mike Steuber

    For the 50 named here, there are 450 more that could be named. The only way to get an absolute “Top” list, is to have all guitarist play the same “Sheet” music in their own style and then have a panel vote. Since that can’t and will never happen, lets just argue forever… (Where’s mention of Lindsey Buckingham)

    1. Jakob

      I’m surprised it took me this far down the list of comments to find mention of Lindsey, lol. Like the list makers said, everyone has their favorites and this is just theirs (obviously). That being said, the 2 names that popped into my head first that were missing were Lindsey Buckingham and Prince. Not my list though.

    1. Rob

      Anyone who has ever listened to the masterful guitar work that Eric Clapton and Duane Allman did on the album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” would know who the more talented of the two is. Duane should be in top 2 and always ahead of Clapton on any list.

    1. Stuart

      I remember seeing Nils Lofgren in the early 70s in Grin. I don’t remember him so much for his great guitar playing, although he was really good. I remember he did a front flip off the top of his amplifier, guitar in hand wires and all. He played all the instruments on the stage and was really good at all of them. He was pretty amazing. These “top 50” lists can never make everyone happy. I personally would have put Jeff Beck number one, but who am I? One of these lists had Prince in the top 5. Can he even play? I remember him as a singer and an actor in a really stupid movie.

  7. Eugenio Garbin

    Right list’s (my list):1° J.M. Hendrix , 2° J.Page, 3° E.Clapton, 4° J.Beck, 5° P.Green, 6° D.Allman, 7°M.K.Taylor. 8°S:Stills 9°J.Garcia 10°J.Winter.

    1. Skipper

      Listen to there guitar play and you will know why. G3 have made a live album with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and John petrucci. This album should convince you who is the best guitar players in the world. Rank 1, rank 1 and rank 1, if they could.

  8. elisdad44

    I have glanced at these top 50 guitarist lists for well over three decades and no mater how objective (scientific?) or insightful any list maker claims to be, they pretty much always boil down to popularity/ trend factors and name recognition. I’ve seen over dozen of these guys live, most in there heyday, and some of my most memorable live guitar moments are by artists not even listed here. Certainly you can’t include everybody deserving, but I feel most could be much better at weeding out the fray. I almost never see Nil Lofgren or Glen Campbell on these lists even though they seem like rather incredible omissions to me. I know most contemporary lists thankfully no longer omit Richard Thompson or Eddie Hazel or even Peter Green, and would it would probably be impossible to try and include other truly deserving artists like Randy California, Andy Powell, Edgar Broughton, Peter Tolson, etc. Luckily though for us with advent of YouTube any one can go back and judge for themselves.

    1. bren kelly

      Glen campbell is never mentioned in these lists..yet kieth richards always makes the top 5…dear god..HOW.??..rory gallagher down at number 40 something..u gotta be kidding.!!,,gilmore and knopfler should be in any top 10 list..along with Rory…these guys created something special in the way they played…so did Les paul and Djando reinhardt…..I once seen 1 of these lists in a rock magazine that had Noel Gallagher in the top 5..i shit you not.!!!

  9. Declan

    Am I completely ignorant on the subject or why does Marc Ribot’s name NEVER even come up when discussing these lists?? I think he is one of the most spectacularly distinctive & original guitarists I have ever heard? Maybe that’s the problem?

  10. Pike

    Dickey Betts in 45 !!!, Rory Gallagher in 44!!!!!!!!, Peter Green in 38!!!!!!!!!.

    No Paul Kossoff, No Derek Trucks, No John Cipollina, No Gary Duncan. No Jeremy Spencer, No Gary Moore. What kind of list is this?

  11. Roger Peek

    Keith Richards quoted relatively recently (talking to Mick Taylor) “it used to piss me off you could play like that”. Keith Richards no.5 and Mick Taylor no. 48? Go figure. And if you’re using “Flash” as representative of Keef’s prowess, let’s not forget that the riff is a bass one and Bill’s inspiration

  12. Eddy

    How on earth can you have a top guitarist list without Peter Frampton, who has with ‘Frampton comes Alive’ probably the most played radio tracks ever because his guitar skills. Should be on the top ten!!. with Carlos Santana, and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath). Dave Gilmore not in the top ten – yeah right! What an absolute rubbish list.
    Jimi Hendrick’s guitar noise is rubbish, no rhythm and hard to listen to, only ever had to good tracks (purple haze, all along the watchtower). It is just very ‘trendy’ to call him the best. I would rank him in the middle of your list.

  13. phil s

    Scientific like, Steve Morse won the guitar player poll 5 years running, one of the few who pulled that off

    In short, no shortage of phenominal players out there. I would add steve tibbetts for sheer originality. But if i tried to list my top 5, the list would have 20 names.

  14. Mike Whitson

    James Burton only at number 42!!!!What a joke.He should of been in the top 10 if not the top 5!!!!
    Played with some of the greats of rock n roll and of course the greatest of them all:The king Elvis Presley

  15. Mark Arouh

    Where are Al Dimeola? Rick Derringer? Martin Barre? Adrian Belew? Steve Morse? I understand why people like Richard Johnson didn’t make the popularity list even though he is probably the best acoustic guitarist out there (Look him up). I left off names that appeared on other people’s lists. Women: what about April Lawton of Ramatam, possibly Lita Ford, A few years ago, Jeff Beck had a woman playing with him, I forget her name but she was excellent. No Harvey Mandel? Thanks for your lists out there. It gives me a few names to look up!

    1. Terry Tuckerman

      Jennifer Batten was the woman touring with JB and she traded lick got with him all night when I saw them. She was the guitarist on Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
      Also watch the Clapton crossroads DVDs and see J.J. CALE make Clapton grin and shke his head in disbelief.

  16. Neale Billett

    Whoever compiled this list is in need of some serious music education! Many of the artists on this list should never have been on in the first place!
    Among the many that should have made the cut,to name a few are,Glen Campbell(for whom the Ovation guitar was created),Steve Vai,Linsay Buckingham,Neil Schon,Chris Rea,Joe Satriani,Joe Walsh,Alvin Lee,Gary Moore……..come on!! If you try to put together such a list please do the homework. Here’s to the deserving axemen!!!!

  17. Rick

    These lists are never really worth a crap…no Frank Marino…no Steve Hackett…no Robin Trower…no Gary Moore…putting George Harrison at 32 (what a joke…#1 is more like it)…no Jan Akkerman…no Steve Howe…no Satriani…no Steve Morse. Putting the Edge, Jack White and Johnny Ramone in proves this is a worthless piece of garbage…as usual.

  18. Shawn Geabhart

    I would make the argument that Wes Montgomery should be much higher on this list…he is one of the 3 most influential Jazz guitarists along with Django Reihardt and Charlie Christian.

  19. Lynne

    Ive seen a lot of players, and I don’t agree with this as well. One wrong entry is Johnny Winter at #47? I lived in Austin for 40 years from 1972 to 2012. You needed to have a call to all in your readership to list their faves, and then compare before making the final list. Jimi has a rep for being awesome, but it’s a lot of hype cuz he wasn’t #1. I agree that Robben Ford should be on there, and Stevie Winwood, Neil Young and what about Tony Hicks of The Hollies? And Doyle Bramhall ll?( I know him), also Shawn Pittman, and George Harrison IS one of the greats… Derek Trucks and Ry Cooder, Eric Johnson, and Eric Clapton should all be in the top 10, with Stevie Ray Vaughan (whom I saw hundreds of times) and Jack White really IS an awesome guitar player. Jimmy Page is in the top 5…actually I think Stevie is #1 and Page #2 followed by #5 Eric Clapton, #4 Ry Cooder, and #5 Duane Allman. Of course there are millions more, but these 5 are the tops. Also, I have to mention Bonnie Raitt, excellent slide guitarist as is Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall Jr. Doyle has been on tour with Eric, and he also did a stint with Bob Dylan as did Charlie Sexton. Jimmie Vaughan is also and excellent guitar player, just more understated as is his blues style. Thank you for reading, from AUSTIN TEXAS…Lynae ♪

  20. Lynae

    a lot of players, and I don’t agree with this as well. One wrong entry is Johnny Winter at #47? I lived in Austin for 40 years from 1972 to 2012. You needed to have a call to all in your readership to list their faves, and then compare before making the final list. Jimi has a rep for being awesome, but it’s a lot of hype cuz he wasn’t #1. I agree that Robben Ford should be on there, and Stevie Winwood, Neil Young and what about Tony Hicks of The Hollies? And Doyle Bramhall ll?( I know him), also Shawn Pittman, and George Harrison IS one of the greats… Derek Trucks and Ry Cooder, Eric Johnson, and Eric Clapton should all be in the top 10, with Stevie Ray Vaughan (whom I saw hundreds of times) and Jack White really IS an awesome guitar player. Jimmy Page is in the top 5…actually I think Stevie is #1 and Page #2 followed by #5 Eric Clapton, #4 Ry Cooder, and #5 Duane Allman. Of course there are millions more, but these 5 are the tops. Also, I have to mention Bonnie Raitt, excellent slide guitarist as is Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall Jr. Doyle has been on tour with Eric, and he also did a stint with Bob Dylan as did Charlie Sexton. Jimmie Vaughan is also and excellent guitar player, just more understated as is his blues style. Thank you for reading, from AUSTIN TEXAS…Lynae ♪

  21. Duncan Greaves

    Why I still get sucked into reading crap like this I’ll never know. If any of your favourites do not appear here don’t get overly upset. It’s just one persons misguided attempt to impress his own opinions on us. Now in my mid 60’s I’ve seen an awful lot of these people and some of them wouldn’t get into my top 50. One mans poison and all that.Gary Moore? Joe Walsh? or Joe Bonamassa? I could even argue a case for Albert Lee but what’s the point!

    1. gary wiencek

      I believe the list is one mans opinion only. You can add Peter White smooth jazz guitarist to the list and Tommy Emmanuel who has has much overall talent on a guitar of anyone living today.

    2. David Hatch Snr

      I agree with Mr Greaves comments. Most of the best GUITARISTS are now dead and came largely from the jazz world. They were artists with a wealth of experience and talent behind them who didn’t need to yell into a mic. or distort every note they played. I have had the opinion for years that if your turned off the amplifiers of most rock musicians? they would be hard put to pick out a decent standard tune. Eric Clapton did somewhat restore my faith however in a BBC TV programme on the ‘Londonderry Air’ (Danny Boy) tune/song when he played a very agreeable acoustic version

    1. Mike

      My worthless opinion. Stevie should be top three, ahead of Clapton. Keith Richards? I would slide Keith of not only the oldest rock and roll band but also the hands down most overrated down to 50 on a good day and that’s only if I am in a good mood. Jimmy Page down a few. Hendrix works. Trower would be way up there and Gary Moore too.

  22. Walter

    Wes Montgomery should be #1, not #43. No offense, but most of the people on the list, including Jimi Hendrix, are/were rock guitarists and don’t have any idea on how to improvise using diatonic scales. They’re playing blues ideas in Bb and E. It’s like the difference between swimming in a pool and the ocean.

  23. Hugh Janus

    Some really silly choices… Isn’t this supposed to be about true guitar playing prowess, innovation, and musical chops? You just made this into a subjective popularity test.. Counter points: Chuck Berry was a monster in rock n’ roll but his repetitive simplistic riffing does not make him a great guitar player.. Carlos Santana has been playing the same riffs and latin infused notes forever, but he is hardly a master at anything other than his sound.. Tommy Iommi…a great master of Black Sabbath rock sounds, but hardly a major master of the instrument.. I could go on and on about the silliness of these choices, but this is not a very good list.

  24. Simon

    Can’t take this serious as it’s all subjective. But when you don’t have people as Al Di Meola, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Roben Ford, John Scofield Frank Gambale, or Scott Henderson on your list you can’t have listen much music. Maby you like Keith Richards but objecive there are thousends better then him.

    1. Dirk Jirky

      You mentioned very, very worthy guitarist. All incredible in their own right. Al Di Meola is one of my personal favorites. However, I’m going to have to disagree about Keith Richards. Aside from the fact that he plays in one of the greatest bands in history, his influence as a guitarist is greater than all of those guys combined. Sorry, but no Keith Richards, no some of the greatest songs and music in rock history.

    1. Rich

      You man anyone who lists him period. Love the Ramones, but it’s simple fun music to the point of them being a parody when it comes to only using 3 chords. Sure they had songs that broke the mold, but nothing that would make him a guitar god.

  25. Kim Tanner

    No Alex Lifeson on the Top 50? Are you fFFFFFn’ kidding me?
    He was number #3 in Guitar Player’s Poll and there was half a million voters.
    And Jimmy Page ahead of Eddie Van Halen? I’m a Zep fan since 1970’s but there’s no way Jimmy should be ahead of Eddie. This list is a complete joke.

  26. Kev

    I know it’s always hard to make a list to include every possible genre, but it’s clear that classical guitarists like John Williams didn’t get a look in, probably due to the choice of resources. Then there’s flamenco… and I’m surprised that crossover maestros like Paco de Lucia aren’t mentioned.
    Oh, and Pat Metheny, anyone?
    There’s my personal favourite, Andrew Latimer.

  27. Cesar

    Where’s Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Petrucci, Al di Meola, this list of 50 great guitarist is incomplete without them!

  28. Rune S

    A list made by people who like old school rock and blues. Its a joke. Johnny Ramone the 35. best guitarist in the world? Ha-ha. Where is Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon, Marty Friedman, Paul Gilbert, Tommy Emanuel, Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa, John Scofield, Steve Vai etc. This is just silly.

  29. Gordon

    The list is not too bad. Yes there are many that didn’t make the cut. But their are many that should have. First two I expected on this list ere Atkins and Less Paul, and was happy to see them there. Was extremely surprised not to see a man who influenced more modern guitarists then any other and deemed deemed a guitar legend in the 70’s and 80’s, Michael Schenker. Hell, he was the guy Eddie Van Halen copied and picked up up a guitar because of. This list it good though because while some listed are not great guitarists, yo seemed to list guys that also changed the way it was played as well. While Trower, Hendrix, Marino, and Vaughan, all played ands similiar style, it was hendrix that made the style, others were clones as good and so they may have been. That to me is where Hendrix makes the list over them. Surprised no Steve Vai, Roy Clark, Paul Kossoff, to name to name a few who change guitar playing as we know it, made the cut.

    1. Gladys Brierley

      YES TO PHIL KEAGGY!!!! Jimi Hendrix even said when asked who was the best guitarist in the world? “Some Christian cat upstate NY.” I will always love Hendrix the best because he was like in a league all of his own, served his country, so deep in perception and joy and so misunderstood I think, sort of like Elvis, in a league of his own.

    1. Bill B

      Yes, Andres Segovia HAS to be on the list and near the top. I saw him in 1970 at age 80. Seven encores at the Masonic Auditorium in SF. I cried like a baby when he played. But I will always go with Jimi Hendrix #1. Saw him 3 times in SF – mind blowing to say the least. Guitar playing was never the same after him. And Robert Johnson needs to be somewhere on this list. Another revolutionary player. I wouldn’t put Clapton third, but he’s in the top 20. I think he peaked with the Bluesbreakers. I’d rank Mike Bloomfield a lot higher. Lots of other favorites were left off too, like Joe Pass. Oh, well. Such is the nature of these lists.

  30. Josephine

    When David Gilmour is playing his guitar, it is like watching poetry in motion, especially when he does his guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb” nobody comes remotely close to him-and where is Gary Moore, as I said in a reply further up, Gilmour should be number 1.

    1. Jason

      Agreed – Gilmour is the greatest. He’s not the fastest, but can certainly work the strings as quickly and complex as called for. BUT … when you hear & feel the notes he plays, it is truly like being transported to an otherworldly place. Lead, Slide, Acoustic – as well as Bass, keyboards, sax, etc. NOBODY can replicate his sound. I would put Beck at #2 – he’s the only other player who can move mountains with a single note and a whammy bar. After that, there’s really a jumble of greats grouped together – Trower, Anastasio, Vai, Vaughn, Page, Hendrix, Malmsteen, Metheny, Dimeola, West, Howe, Hackett, Benson, etc.

      I’ve NEVER thought that much of Clapton …

  31. Manolito

    I doesn’t make any sense to mix jazz and rock guitarists. Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt were outstanding, innovative and style-shaping musicians which belong on top of any list. But then you would have to consider JoePass, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow etc. etc. as well – so better separate jazz, rock, flamenco and classic. Otherwise Paco de Lucia would be n°1.

  32. Arthur Sprinczeles

    Hey I have no clue who makes up these lists but why isn’t Jeff Beck in the top five. He is always been one of the best. I have seen many of the people on this list and feel like you put a bunch of names in a hat and pulled them out. Where do you get off not putting Beck in the top 5. There is no one on the whole list except for Zappa that is more creative then Beck.

    1. Keat

      Very good point about the creativity of Beck and Zappa . . . Very few players can do what Jeff Beck does in multiple styles (the man is still doing it!) Page, Clapton, and a host of others on the list are accomplished within a narrow range of styles (and don’t venture far beyond that limited scope). Lists like these are just as narrow. Jerry Garcia was supremely creative on stage–what an imagination he had. I Also don’t recall seeing Bill Frisell on the list, and Wes Montgomery is–to my taste–deserving of a much higher rating. So many others are–in my view–missing or misplaced. Oh well, we shouldn’t be surprised that a list is a matter of taste.

      1. Dano

        just my 2 cents: Top 10:
        10. David Gilmour
        9. Pete Townsend
        8. Joe Walsh
        7. Jack White
        6. Keith Richards
        5. Jeff Beck
        4. Duane Allman
        3. Eric Clapton
        2. Joe Bonamassa
        1. Stevie Ray Vaughn

  33. Lonesome Dave

    Just on a whim, my top ten would be Duane Allman, Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher, Chet Atkins, Michael Burks, Johnny Winter, Jimi, Freddy King, Jimmy Page, and Roy Buchanan. I could argue with myself on at least a dozen more that belong in top ten.

  34. G@ry

    This list is just someone’s opinion. If any of you made a top 50 list, I’m sure there would be many people disagree with you. Even if you made it a top 100 list. There would always be someone to ask why they left off whomever. Probably the hardest thing to do here is rank the top 50.

  35. RDF

    Anyone who knows how to play guitar or who even has an ear for guitar playing knows full well that Keith Richards sucks as a guitar player. He has been playing warmed over Chuck Berry riffs his entire career, and he doesn’t know how to play lead guitar worth a damn. To place him in the Top 50 and leave out true guitar wizards like Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa is the height of stupidity and the perfect example of tone-deafness.

  36. sultans

    My top 10 :

    10-Mark knopfler
    9-Mark knopfler
    8-Mark knopfler
    7-Mark knopfler
    6-Mark knopfler
    5-Mark knopfler
    4-Mark knopfler
    3-Mark knopfler
    2-Mark knopfler
    1-Mark knopfler

  37. Ty

    Man, what is this??? A hookup for “Spotify”? There may be some good guitar solos on this list, but most of these noted guitarists are not the greatest in rank order. The selected recordings are just some ok cuts played one time only. A musician’s playing across his/her body of work is what should be considered…What list does not even rank George Benson? Sad. This is “Bull”! By the way, for your insight or hearing…Wes Montgomery outplays everybody on your list.

  38. Larry Masterson

    Three of the top fifty aren’t even listed, and all three are at the top of their game and in the midst of remarkable careers. I’m talking about Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, and Derek Trucks. And as far as greatest ever, it has to be Clapton. Hendrix just didn’t live long enough.

    1. Shane

      Clapton the greatest ever?
      He was an ok blues player, but nothing more. Hendrix wasn’t great either, just relied on his party tricks to impress people.
      Neither would make my top 50.

    1. bludognz

      I was wondering when someone would put Mike Oldfield in he’s a true stylist increadable player highly under rated imho . Maybe BB king, definitely Tommy Emanuel he’s incredible fancy putting Keith Richards above him as a guitarist? Yes as a popular musician but skill wise ? Nope.

  39. Robert

    since everyone is throwing out there favorites, here’s mine Nokie Edwards and Hank Marvin, with out these guys, rock and roll may have died,,,, just saying… my 2 cents

  40. Mike

    Read the heading and thought to myself if Django Reinhardt and Robbie Robertson aren’t in the top 10 then the list is crap. Django made 26th but Robbie didn’t even rate a mention!

  41. dori

    My Rock Guitarists List (not Jazz/fusion list):
    1.Jimi Hendrix
    2.Mark Knopfler
    3.Carlos Santana
    4.Eric Clapton
    5.Duane Allman
    6.Stevie Ray Vaughan
    7.Ry Cooder
    8.Jeff Beck

  42. Tom R

    WOW! I know these things are all subjective, but there is a serious lack of guitar knowledge here. Keith Richards #5? Maybe put a “1” in front of that “5”. No Billy Gibbons, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa, Randy Rhoads, Angus Young, etc.?

  43. John Tennison

    READ THE PIECE IDIOTS!!!

    It’s amazing how many people have obviously not even bothered to read the OPENING PARAGRAPHS ABOVE and decided that this is one person’s opinion. Or that of this website.

    It’s an amalgamation of other lists. Get it??

    If your favourite guitarist isn’t here, it’s because he wasn’t on the other lists!!

    1. Jack

      Good call! Both of them should have be in the Top 50. I remember Sting calling Vlatko Stefanovski the best guitarist in the world (obviously that’s a huge stretch) and David Knopfler once said he was better than Mark. Radomir Mihajlovic is even better. He should easily be in the Top 5.

  44. Mauro

    Where is Tommy Emmanuel ? Richard Bennett? Tony Rice? Marty Stuart? Randy Scrugg? And Chet Atkins should be Number 1. Wonder why Jimmy Hendrix is always the first (he shouldn’t)

  45. John Sims

    Chris Spheeris, Colin Linden, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, Lindsey Buckingham & Al di Meola. Chuck Berry & Keith Richards as 2 of the 10 best guitarists?? Man, what have you been smoking?

  46. John Sims

    Chris Spheeris, Colin Linden, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, Al Di Meola & Lindsey Buckingham should be considered. Chuck Berry & Keith Richards as two of the ten best guitarists?? No way! Not even in the top fifty!

  47. Marco

    Seriously? Frank Zappa is supposed to be a BETTER guitarist than Mark Knopfler?
    Whoever made this poor list, has obviosly never played a single note on a guitar.

  48. WolfordsDen

    What?? No Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lindsey Buckingham, BonnieRaitt?? I’m sure if it wasn’t pre-coffee hour I could think of 50 more that are NOT on the list!!

  49. Paul

    These greatest guitarist things are always complete and total horse shit, popularity is just one aspect of being a great guitarist, there are guys that are not on this list that destroy everyone on the list.

  50. Meh

    So many great guitarists get overlooked in lists like this.

    For some unknown reason, Hendrix always seems to make the top spot, which gets rather dull after a while. He was ok, but not THAT good. Stevie Ray Vaughan could play everything Hendrix could and more, but even he shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Many of the people complaining want blues players added, which is fair enough, but there are other genres out there which seem to take a backseat all too often for blues players in these sorts of lists.

    Glaring omissions from this list in my opinion are as follows: Roy Buchanan; Danny Gatton; Albert Lee; Brian Setzer; Malcolm Young (why do they all need to be lead guitarists?); Mick Green; Jimmie Vaughan; Sonny Landreth; Arlen Roth; Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly.

  51. Dja

    I know better than to care about any “top list”. But a self-proclaimed scientific list implies the so called list is inarguably true, based on “proven” facts and is preserved from the bias of subjective preferences.
    Please, teach me this science by which you could leave out Satriani ?! Is he less of a virtuoso than Zappa ? Is he less technical than B.B. King ?
    I just can’t seem to figure out at what level these 50 guitarits are best at ?!

  52. Jacob Tarring

    As an avid lover of guitar music, this makes me angry. I’m not going to reel off a list of better guitarists as I everyone has their favourites, the only one I agree with is Jimi Hendrix at No 1. The rest are all over rated. I could re-right this list with over 100 better guitarists even before and of this top 50 even got a look in. It’s a list clearly made up to piss real music lovers off, and to get people to visit their website.

  53. Jacob Tarring

    As an avid lover of guitar music, this makes me angry. I’m not going to reel off a list of better guitarists as I everyone has their favourites, the only one I agree with is Jimi Hendrix at No 1. The rest are all over rated. I could re-right this list with over 100 better guitarists even before and of this top 50 even got a look in. It’s a list clearly made up to piss real music lovers off, and to get people to visit their website.

  54. Jimi

    Johnny Ramone? Seriously…? But no Alvin Lee or Gary Moore? Or Joe Bonnamassa, Eric Johnson, Robin Trower, Jow Walsh, Roy Buchanan… The list goes on, but Johnny Ramone?

  55. Larry Dunn

    Admittedly there are some top axemen on the list, but many better players are missing, as all of the correspondents have mentioned
    One of the top rock groups in the world is AC/DC, so where is Angus Young?

  56. steve

    Another dumb ass list. Did Rolling Stone do this? Thurston Moore on ANY top guitarist list is a joke, especially when you leave off Gary Moore and put Thurston in Gary’s spot.

  57. Aussie

    Mark Knopfler : the right note at the right place. Precision and incredible capacity to get whatever sound he needs (roaring car, mewing cat…). One who could really show off but never does, cause music and songs come first for him. Great talent, no doubt.

    But all guitarists have their own things to bring to the guitar story, and each one has his/her favorites. So nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong. We’re all guitar lovers. Full stop.

    1. emilio

      Spot on
      Knopfler is the one who deserves top of the list. Cos it’s not about fast playing, is it?
      Melody, feeling, technique… he has that and more and on top of that.. he nerver shows off.. less is more but his quality is undeniable

  58. Bikerbonnie

    Didn’t say it had to be rock or electric so one of my votes would be for Willie Nelson who didn’t make the list, as neither did Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd! Agree with some, but to put Slash on this list and not Gary…. not cool and just plain wrong!

  59. Rick

    The giveaway that this was a list made up by a 3rd grader was when I saw the name Keith Richards on the list at all. The man who just stands there all his life and strums the damn thing so his boyfriend, Mick Jaggar can sing. And Mark Knopfler is in the top 10 at least. Sonny Landreth can do things n one on this list can do. Screw this list. Or better yet, use it for toilet paper. that’s all it’s good for. What a dope. And Hendrix wasn’t that good either. No way he’s ever #1. I think you need longevity to make the list. AND LASTLY: Joe Walsh.

  60. John Bernhard

    Hard to make such a list-because I think even the most informed music fan will only be really familiar with the complete works of just a small percentage of any of the the guitarists you could put on the list.

  61. Cesar

    The best guitarists will depend on the viewpoint and taste of the spectator / listener. Right now, I am listening to Pink Floyd (my favorite band) and as a consequence, Dave Gilmour is quite high on my list. It does not mean he has to be the best for everyone else. Variety of options are all out there, for each person to choose from. Any argument in favor or against this one or that one, will not do any justice to any particular player or group of players. Music is one of the few forms of communication, that is unified globally. Lets make it a peaceful one. Enjoy and support your favorite ones by buying their work of art, whichever they are!!!
    Take care…

  62. Chuck

    The master of the strat: There has been nobody before or after Jimi Hendrix who made the guitar “sing”… he was the best to ever strap on an axe.
    “But that all right I still have my guitar”

  63. Chuck

    The master of the strat: There has been nobody before or after Jimi Hendrix who made the guitar “sing”… he was the best to ever strap on an axe.
    “But that all right I still have my guitar”

  64. Chris P

    Nobody can say…….no virtuoso classical players on the list.???(Segovia, Tarrega)……how can you compare Keith Richards and EVH???…..each play in a totally different manner…..”best” – to most people – usually means “fastest”……..but there’s more to playing than just speed (Richards and Harrison are amongst the “slowest” players on the whole list…..they fired off some pretty tasty licks, though)……..I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn “live” and Eric Clapton “live”…….I preferred SRV……but, does that mean he was / is “better” than Clapton???….it’s a matter of personal taste…..

  65. Robbo

    These lists are fun but they will never please everyone…so there is alot of bandwagoning here. Jimi Hendrix has the yearbook answer for the last several years, no way he is number 1. Same thing with Clapton, everyone on that band wagon but he is way overrated. Keith Richards at 5 is a joke….Peter Frampton needs to be on this list and in the top 10. Michael Schenker, Ace Frehley, Alex Lifeson also have a place in the top 25. Richie Blackmore should be higher. Jimmy Page is #1.

  66. Guitar God

    Any list that does not have Duane Allman as the number one rock guitarist of all time is simply wrong. These lists are so subjective, but fun. I would have put Larry Carlton on the list somewhere.

    That is all.

  67. Crashman !~

    I can’t believe You don’t have ” Tommy Bolin ” In there, It’s sad that you don’t have one of the most talented guitarists that ever played an Axe,, 🙁 !~

  68. robertm2000

    WHERE is J. J. Cale?! Eric Clapton cites his as one of his main influences! Just because Cale is deliberately not a publicity hound, he has had a huge influence on most guitarists – especially blues and roots music players.

  69. klaus 1

    My standing ovation is always for Andrew Latimer (Camel), a fine composer, amazing musician…his guitar playing reaches the heart…shame he’s so underrated guitarist…he’s my number one

  70. Langston Hough

    I’m glad you included a few jazz guitarists like Django and Wes but (yeah there’s always a but) the man who influenced almost all modern guitarists was Charlie Christian. We all look to him as our inspiration. Even the great George Benson. Did I miss his name on the list? Oh, well. Obviously you haven’t pleased everyone. No one can.

  71. Greg

    I too get suckered into reading these bogus lists. Why does everyone who does these feel obligated to put Hendrix at #1? No Trower, Schenker, Lifeson? I gotta stop reading these.

  72. Carlos Ruz

    According to what I saw, we need one Top 100 list just to include the forgotten ones. And then, we could start punching each other to install our favorites up the rank. This will never end.

  73. Bob Ross

    I know it’s impossible to please everyone, but I had to note the absence of Clarence White. I suggest anything on The Byrds’ “Ballad of Easy Rider” album…like “Oil In My Lamp” or “Tulsa County”

  74. yves boudot

    Where are Derek Trucks , Ben Harper , Nick Drake Albbert Collins Bonnie Raits Lowell Georges , Robert Johnson Lonnie Johnson Robert Cray i stop thère , not enough room ….you re too ridiculous !!

  75. Gerg

    Van Halen.? His all sounds the same . Where is Nikki Six and Angus Young ? Could do allot better.
    Posts like this get you into bickering trouble.. Lol, i read that you did your scientific research. however its rather ridiculous .

  76. smith

    What about Alex Lifeson. And why isn’t Frank Zappa number one. Have you even listened to any of his solos (note: all of his live solos are completely improvised)

  77. Shane

    What a load of shit.
    The Edge?????????????
    He’s not a guitarists arsehole. Wouldn’t be able to play anything without his pedals, and yet he’s ranked higher than Slash, Joe Perry, Frampton, Gary Moore etc.
    Whoever came up with this list must be on some bloody good drugs.

  78. HanniLP

    What is with Angus Young , why is Slash only on 46 he is in my eyes under the top 10 in the World today.
    What is with Zack Wilde?
    And manny more are not in this list this Sucks !!!!!

  79. mark

    Sorry. Eddie Van Halen (#4) shouldn’t even be on the list. He is all ‘flash’, no passion. Yes, he has technique, but EVERYTHING I’ve heard him play is just showing off.

    And I agree with many of the comments on here: Where the heck is Alvin Lee?

  80. Chuck Rios

    Wow….grand funk railroad can’t get any kind of recognition at any time, can they? Mark Farner should rank among rocks best guitarists EVER, period, end of story….dumbasses

  81. Terry Carlson

    … they trolled all the teen magazines and came up with the “Top Pop 50.” I’m surprised that Bobby Sherman or Davy Jones aren’t listed there — I mean, I think they actually held a guitar in their hands at least once.

    Waste of time.

    1. Eddiek

      I was wondering if anyone would mention Kotke. These lists are always going to be hugely controversial. The guitarists mentioned here and their rankings are culled from other lists. The value is in the discussion that emanates from the posting of the list. When I read Rolling Stone’s top 100, deep in the discussion the name of Sister Rosetta Tharpe popped up. After researching her work, my only thought was she probably taught Chuck Berry a thing or to. My personal favorite is Jerry Garcia, who was not only technically adept, but imaginative and creative in a live setting like no one else.

  82. Tony Meyer

    This list is totally bogus…. get serious…. David Gilmour #21…. Joe Bonamassa isn’t even on the list. Obviously the people who picked this list know nothing about music.

  83. Lewis Ashman

    Hendrix should be Number 1 because what else are you going to do with him? He was as proficient as most of the others that are on the list or have been mentioned, but like it or not he had a musical creativity and imagination that was uniquely his own. To take three from the top ten, Allman and Page and Clapton were all recognizably playing the same instrument under similar influences. Hendrix had another agenda all his own. “Band Of Gypsys” was a huge leap into something better than “Are You Experienced?” and I’m sure he could have gone on into more and different music if the drugs hadn’t taken effect in a horrible way. In interviews he complained about the limitations of the guitar for what he wanted to do and he often sounded more like he was fighting with the guitar to get somewhere only he could imagine, rather than just playing it. I suspect that if he’d lived into improved synthesizers he would have dropped playing the guitar and made records of just himself playing synthesizers. And in that case, we would remember him as that great guitarist who got all weird and made thirty years of very strange records. For better or worse, he was different from all the others.

  84. Jeffrey Fenko

    I don’t know what science you can apply to this list, or any other subjective rating, but, as usual, this is deeply flawed. First, and most important to me, is that anyone other than Hendrix could be listed ahead of Clapton, and I can make a credible case for an inversion even there. Considering the fact that only at his very peak years could Page be in the conversation with Hendrix, Clapton, and Beck, and the fact that he has done next to nothing for thirty years, it’s hard to see him breaking the top five. Add to that, he is no longer capable of delivering a virtuoso performance, and has never been able to deliver a satisfying solo live on Stairway To Heaven. Beck definitely belongs in the top five, and much as I love Keith Richards, both Stevie Ray and Duane Allman should be ahead of him. The exclusion on all the lists I’ve ever read on all time guitarists of Alvin Lee is baffling. I can’t tell you how many names out of the fifty listed that I would have put him ahead of, but it’s numerous. This is all opinion, and I’m sure that this list is a collaborative endeavor, but I do have to say that I’ve lived long enough to have seen many of these performers, including Hendrix and Allman, so I have a little grounding here. Nice try, but no prize from me.

  85. Greg Main

    Have you never seen or heard Buck Owens play a guitar? Hendrix, like the Rolling Stones, has always been overrated. He copied his style from predecessors.

  86. BorkoZeBorko

    Who routinely changed guitar tuning set-ups and produced hit after hit before anyone knew what was happening? Who pulled a string off a telecaster to make it a 5 string. Who has quietly held together both lead and rythym positions without taking credit. Keith isnt number 5, he is number 1 in creativity, style and play. What? Cause he doesn’t shred and was a junkie?

  87. Ken Ricardo

    There are some names that don’t even belong on the list especially Keith Richards, you left out two important names 1. Lindsay Buckingham awesome guitarist, 2. Alex Lifeson he should be in the top 10 this man has had one hell of a career and he don’t need a rhythm guitar to fill in the holes, it says a lot to be in a three man band and have such a full sound and have 40 years of Great music !!

  88. Larry Masterson

    The Edge at 31? Maybe 131! And Clapton is #1. The deepest catalog of music and he continues to record and release new material. Hendrix died too young, didn’t accomplish enough to be #1.

  89. Clive

    Very strange – no Robin Trower? That’s just bizarre. Slash? Bloody hell, that’s stupid. What about Ian Moss? People obviously have different likes and dislikes but come on!!!

  90. Axe Hack

    Hahaha, the thing about list like these is they always spark debate, the guys that missed are all great too, everyone anyone has mentioned are all super players. Even the editor mentions the guys who missed out. Thurston Moore, the Edge bit rubbish and Django Reinhardt played acoustic guitar in a French gypsy fashion, if you go down that path you’ve missed plenty of classical geniuses. Ahh totality of the musical list. Clapton made a record called ‘There’s one in every crowd’ the original title was ,’The greatest guitarist in the world…there’s one in every crowd’.

  91. Johan

    Killing Joke this list. What about the 3 Joe’s: Satriani, Walsh, Bonamassa? Never heard of Leslie West, Jan Akkerman? How about the females Ana Popovic, Joanne Shaw Tayler? Ansun Funderburgh, Mike morgan? Rory Gallagher on position 44??? Asked Jimi Hendrickx in an inteview “how does it feel to be greatest guitar player in the world?” Answer by Jimi “In don’t know. You should ask Rory Gallagher”.

  92. Ricardo Guimarães

    Minha lista:

    1. Allan Holdsworth
    2. John MacLaughlin
    3. George Benson
    4. Jimi Hendrix
    5. Al DiMeola
    6. Jimmy Page
    7. Paco de Lucia
    8. Wes Montgomery
    9. Frank Zappa
    10. Steve Vai
    11. Joe Satriani
    12. Jeff Beck
    13. Yngwie Malmsteen
    14. Pat Metheny
    15. Jan Akkerman
    16. Guthrie Govan
    17. Ritchie Blackmore
    18. Steve Howe
    19. Alex Lifeson
    20. John Petrucci
    21. Martin Barre
    22. Steve Rothery
    23. Robert Fripp
    24. Andrew Latimer
    25. Gary Green
    26. Eddie Van Halen
    27. Pete Townshend
    28. Steve Ray Vaugham
    29. Mick Ronson
    30. Jeff Schroeder
    31. Larry Carlton
    32. Dimebag Darrell
    33. Steve Hackett
    34. John Scofield
    35. Frank Gambale
    36. John Abercrombie
    37. Stanley Jordan
    38. Greg Howe
    39. Scotty Anderson
    40. Wayne Krantz
    41. Kurt Rosenwinkel
    42. Joe Bonamassa
    43. Adrian Belew
    44. Kiko Ferreira
    45. Joe Perry
    46. Johnny Ramone
    47. Adrian Smith
    48. Zakk Wylde
    49. Pepeu Gomes
    50. Noca Tourino

    1. Isaac Mizrahi

      i like your list muuuuuuch better…
      but how is it i haven’t seen the name danny gatton yet? i know he’s been dead a while, but… another great guitar player was terry kath from chicago. those first few albums COOKED. esPECIALly the first…i would hope you’re familiar with the al dimeola, stanley clarke and jean luc ponty work, ‘rites of strings’. as good as the paco delucia/mclaughlin et al collaborations… nice list.

  93. Rick Cody

    The most amazing thing about this list is that somewhere, somehow and on some distant galaxy far far away, someone on your staff actually expects to be taken seriously. Do you even know what a guitar looks like?

  94. ken bell

    Your list is not even close to right , Hendrix shouldn’t be in the top 20 , volume is not talent , a chimp can make noise with a guitar , Clapton , Page , Vaughn , that’s the real axe men ……….

    1. Isaac Mizrahi

      if stevie ray vaughn, who covered ‘little wing’, page or whoever that third person you named heard what you said…i don’t know if they’d laugh or cry. i’m not saying that the people you named aren’t good. but someone has to know VERY little…and i mean VERY little about the art of playing guitar to even beGIN to criticize hendrix…i’ve played 3 instruments(one of them guitar) professionally starting in 1966…i’ve taught music. i’m just looking at the suggestions below by ken…yes. steve howe. ; – ) GREAT guitar player…anyways…i don’t usually stop to respond to people who don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about…but hendrix inspired i don’t know HOW many guitar players on any list of ‘top whatever’. it would be great if you understood the difference between innovation and gimmick.

    1. Michael R. Wilder

      Dude, are you blind man? They have Keith Richards at #5! One step above SRV, which is absolute madness, if not outright stupidity! BTW, sorry, I this was not intended to be an attack against you, just pointing out your mistake a little forcefully…lol!

  95. Glenn

    OK, let’s all agree that it should have been a TOP 200 Guitarists and we all have our own opinion. BUT those mentioned by everyone are all awesome names!

  96. mike

    No Tommy Bolin, or Paul Kossoff. Popularity among the masses, does not equate to guitar greatness,….if you ask many of the still living greats, many would put these two in the mix….

  97. Mike B

    The problem is not enough spaces for @ least 200 of the best !! Personally, I really ENJOY……..”JOE WALSH”, there are better/worse, so it’s a matter of TASTE ! PEACE

  98. Galad Elflandsson

    Jerry at #36 could have played rings around everyone but Jimi…but you totaly spaced Alvin Lee & THAT is unforgivable….just because nobody wanted him to play anything but fast…

  99. Robbie

    A guitar genius nobody mentioned is Mike Oldfield ! British maybe ? And he CAN do it live ! The Edge live is always missing keys and notes . Not even top 200 for me . Hendrix overrated .

  100. Beatle Steve

    There are a lot of fan favorites listed that while play well don’t really belong on a best list. What makes a great guitarist? Body of work, creativity, longevity and constant improvement and maturity. The one big name not on this list is Steve Howe. Anyone who has followed YES and the progressive maturity of his playing gets why he belongs on this list. Steve Howe is not a slash and burn headbanging player nor just plays repetitive riffs. Steve Howe is spiritual magic on the guitar. Anyone who doubts it go see him play or get a live cd/dvd and experience the emotion he brings out. the guys is all over the frets.

  101. Michael

    So predictable Hendrix, Page & Clapton top the list. Are you kidding. So many mediocre players on that list like Johhny Ramone & Jack White. Top of the list is easily Dave Gilmour. And where are Nils Lofgren & Elliot Easton

  102. Mark

    Plain and Simple!
    You people truly missed the mark by placing George Harrison “well” out to the Top 10! You need to go back and listen to his music again!!

  103. arnfinn bratseth

    This is many of them,but,Sonny Landreth,is on of them,many is forgotten,Albert Lee,jimmy thackery,hank marvin,eddie meduza,øystein sunde,roy clark,marty stuart,jerry reed,waylon jennings,hank c burnette,bill kirchen,and the guitaist for tom petty,j.j.cale,++.

  104. Michael R. Wilder

    I realize this list is very subjective, as everyone would draw it up differently if asked to do so, and I appreciate that, but I am quite dubious to the notion that any type of science was used in the making of this list. To say that it was structured like his simply because certain tracks were no available on Spotify, or any other site individually, puts this list as suspect at a minimum in my mind. Now, here is a bit of subjectiveness on my part, though I would venture to say that I will be supported in my comment by a great many others, and that is that Keith Richards could carry Stevie Ray’s jock! When was the last time in the past 25 years that you even saw Keith Richards ugly mug on a music magazine, much less heard anybody say something like “man that Keith Richards is (add superlative here.)”? Is there a Keith Richards statue ANYWHERE in the world like Stevie Ray has? I have been playing guitar literally all my life. I started when I was about 4, and am now 45, and NEVER in all that time have I ever heard anyone say that Keith Richards was inspirational to them, but couldn’t tell you how many that say SRV has. The others in the top 5 are arguable, but it would be totally subjective. I don’t think having SRV above Keith Richards is. I would be very interested to see this so called science that was applied in making this list. I think you guys were drinking and or smoking weed when you made this up, and or did it just to get a rise out of people.

  105. Jeff Oliver

    Ok, I knew Jeff Beck would make it and he did. I’m glad Dickie Betts made it but what about Duane Allman?
    Kim Simmonds should be there and so should Al Di Meola.

  106. Alan Webber

    Chuck Berry! – who are you jiving? The fact that Rory Gallagher, David Gilmour, and Carlos Santana are not top 10 makes this list suspect…at best. Clapton and Vaughn are the only guitarists in the top 10 that even belong there. And then not to even mention Alvin Lee in 50 guitarists??? Come on dudes, it is like you just threw that list up there to see how much dissension you could create.

  107. AJ

    It is hard to rank anyone on this list. It is especially hard to rank anyone who was also a good singer and composer. It is a matter of your taste.
    The best guitar player I have even seen perform live was Jeff Beck back it in the days when Rod Stewart was his lead singer. The warm up group was the predecessor to ZZ Top. Billy Gibbons can hold his own with the best of them. I don’t know why they even list 1 to 100. It riles everyone up.

  108. Roy Joy Abraham

    Alvin Lee, Gary Moore and Peter Frampton should’ve been on the list …you should probably come up with a 100 greatest guitarists and everyone should be happy

  109. Mark Lynn

    I have to say I disagree with the choices and placement of this so claimed TOP 50…..
    There are so many more deserving guitarist as well as the placement on the order……….

  110. rrb710

    Yeah, April Lawton of Zephyr & Ramatam fame might have made it, had she lived long enough. The guy in Stone The Crows ( forget his name) that got zapped onstage – he was pretty good too. No Arthur Lee? Or Steve Hillage (#1, imo)?

  111. Mr. T

    OK, you only included rock and blues guitarists. I get that. But you didn’t call this a rock list, you called it “50 Greatest Guitarists” so you missed the mark completely. Missing is: Phil Keaggy (he’s recorded rock and blues, but he’s a Christian so he’s not good enough?), then any number of jazz guitarists. Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny – could play circles around anyone on this list. And go ahead and laugh when I say “George Benson.” He can cut loose. Check out his duet with B.B. King on King’s KBFH release.

  112. Anthony

    The list is a joke!
    Jimmy Page was always over-rated, Clapton hasn’t done anything decent for years!
    This sort of thing is always contentious and will never please anybody! I’d have had Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo) on my list, and what about Innes Sibun as one of the new guitarists? Wayne Perkins deserves a mention. It would be so easy to do an alternative list of 50 guitar players.
    It’s best to have a quiet chuckle at the list and take it with a pinch of salt!

  113. Andreas Hess

    I agree to a lot of the great musicians listed.
    Since this is always a very personal thing to rank certain musicians, I would just like to add two, that should belong here, at least from my perspective:
    Martin Barre from Jethro Tull and
    Steve Lukather from Toto

  114. Claude Rioux

    In my humble opinion and, for the record, according to MY tastes (those being not really subject to discussions unless you refresh my memories, not so difficult a task lol), Hendrix is where he should be, all-time best. Behind him, a small select group including Neil Young (so underated as a guitarist), Pat Metheny (outofworldish), Jeff Beck (his guitar’s part of his body, him playing it so smooth and clean), Frank the genius Zappa, Stevie Ray you know who, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Hackett (unforgettable), Frank Marino (remember him?) and yes I believe Keith Richards ( a genuine rock’n’roller). Many more are as goog or better but once again my list is a subjective one according to my tastes. Thanks for your time. Oh! I forgot. I luv the way Buddy Guy plays the guitare. Quite unusual! Ask Keith!

  115. Framus jack

    Loved the Beatles but George Harrison a better guitarist than for example Billy Gibbons, Gary Rossington, Paul Kossoff, I think not, if this list was done following extensive research I wonder what sources they used, the intro from “Freebird” was one of the most innovative pieces of guitar playing ever and features in many polls as being so, but Rossington does not get in the top 50, “All Right Now” the most played trap on rock radio ever due to Kossoff’s classic rock riff. Could go on all day but rubbish like this “survey” ain’t worth the bother. Jan Akkerman should be here as well, “Sylvia” was brilliant and as mentioned earlier he was voted world’s best guitarist and was such a major player that he was one of very few guitarists at that time to actually have a guitar named after him. Don’t know why I even follow the link to this site, it is always full of c**p.

  116. Keith Docherty

    Most of this this list appears to be about guitarists that did something once, in a spell.
    A great guitarist is someone that changed music, the way it was played and others followed.
    Mostly the great blues legends.
    Hendrix was a legend who took sounds and styles from Clapton and Clapton took styles and sounds from Hendrix.

    Hendrix played great guitar but Clapton was a great guitar player.
    Both changed the way we play and the sound of guitar today.
    Even the great BB king said Clapton took blues to another level it hadn’t been before.

    Keith is a fantastic player with an original sound but doesn’t have the natural ability of Hendrix and Clapton.
    And he shouldn’t be in the top5.
    Page was great and had his sound but was very one sided. Never did anything different.

    What should make the top 5 is the guys that all other great guitarists followed and wanted to play with.
    This had to start with Clapton and Hendrix at joint number one for pure natural soul and ability, they reinvented and changed the guitar sound we all love today.

    And where is Jeff Healey, Gary Moore, Bonamassa?
    And an underrated Nuno?

  117. Ziggy Cannonball

    I’m a bit insulted that I didn’t make the list. But there’s always next year. I am always skeptical of these kinds of lists because the order of the list somehow connotes importance. And the omission of guitarists always leads to some blowback from readers.

    I would have liked to see Robin Trower, Steve Howe, Joe Bonnamassa, Terry Kath, Dweezil Zappa (hey, the guy shreds!! Just like his dad, if not better than…), Buddy Holly, Steve Cropper, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Brian Setzer,… and some others.

    And wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!! No women on the list?? What about Joni Mitchell & Bonnie Raitt??

  118. YianniD

    Steve Howe is a glaring omission here. Also, Mark Farner should be here. So many of his guitar tricks were influential to later bands. And Todd Rundgren was extremely versatile as a guitarist. Keith Richards is great, but no way, top five! And out of the mainstream there is Glass Harp’s Phil Keaggy, who can trump most of these guitarists being able to play in multiple styles all incredibly.

  119. Gary Pfalzbot

    No John Petrucci, Dream Theater? I guess you have to either be dead or bought and paid for to be on this list. In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll. There are a number of others whose omission from the list I question as well.

  120. Theo Roberts

    George Harrison #32 and Keith Richards #5? Ridiculous. And how can Santana not be in the top 10? This is just a random list of people who have held a guitar at one point in their lives.

  121. Frankly

    Come on where is Hank Marvin. He was the most influential guitarist in the early sixties and hundreds of young lads ( some of them listed in your top 100 ) picked up a guitar to try and play like Hank. George Harrison should be higher on the last and possibly in the top 10 for his amazing contribution to The Beatles. Rory Gallagher would definitely be in anybody’s 20 best and Hendrix is not No 1 as his time was too short.

  122. ethan

    there’s so much wrong with this list, it is barely worth commenting on. but *someone* needs to put you straight. mick taylor, peter green and george harrison are way too deep on the list (george should be in the top 5, the other 2 in at least the top 10). and players like the edge, thurtson moore and jack white aren’t in the top 10,000…maybe you like them, sure…but honestly…they are merely average players. jeff beck at #10??? there’s a record called “blow by blow”, it came out in ’75…long before you guys were born, i am sure…but you ought to check it out. keith richards is way, way too high on the list. and no duane eddy??? any panel who makes these kinds of assessment needs to be at least 50 years old…and should be guitar players themselves…so they have some idea what they are talking about.

  123. Skinny

    They must have put this list together playing darts. Keith Richards & Eddie Van Halen ahead of SRV and no sign of Robben Ford or Trower, not to mention Gilmour at 21?

  124. James Whelan

    Rory Gallagher @ 44…… Farce!!!! The man was God.. Even Jimi Hendrix said he was the greatest.. Bit like saying Rooney is better than Messi!! Some load of horseshite if you ask me!!!!!!!! Ye certainly dont know yer music!!!

  125. biff

    Let’s see, this list is all back assward and forgot to mention some guys that make most of these clowns look like weenies … Larry Coryell, Al DiMeola, Paco DeLucia, Steve Hackett, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Pat Martino, Segovia, Julian Bream, Carlos Montoya, Yngvey Malsteem, basically every Jazz guitarist and progressive rock who ever lived with a few exceptions, every Flamenco guitarist, every Classical guitarist, etc, but included a whole bunch of wankers who made crap contribution to rock music, in other words, the shallow end of the gene pool … and even in the rock world, it fails to mention guys like Dave Mustaine and most metal heads that make most rock and blues players look like pussies … only some idiot working for the Rolling Stone could come up with this list.

  126. Darren England

    It doesn’t surprise me that only mainstream guitarists are on this list. Rex Carroll of Whitecross I’d for sure have on this list. I’d also have to include up & coming guitarist Zac Tiessen, check out his original material on YouTube.

  127. Allan

    Any list without Gary Moore featuring in it is a joke. Had the pleasure of watching “Blues for Jimi’ by Gary Moore on the weekend which featured Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox. Outstanding guitarist who died too soon. To even dream that Keith Richards is a better guitarist than Gary Moore is the joke of the millenium. A list with Keith Richards at #5, Pleeeeeeeease! Get real.

  128. Bluntz

    Many great guitarists missing on this list.

    Best technique no order:
    Guthrie Govan, Bumblefoot, Holdsworth, and many young guns around

    Most inspirational in no order except for Hendrix:
    Hands down Hendrix #1 followed by chuck berry, west Montgomery, Eddie Van halen, Kurt Cobain

    Most original in no specific order:
    Alan Holdsworth, Steve vai, Hendrix, paco de Lucia, Greg Howe, Stanley Jordan, django Reinhardt, Kurt Cobain

    Best Use of a guitar in a song again
    David Gilmore so many amazing pink Floyd songs
    Hendrix (voodoo child, all along the watchtower, little wing, castles made of sand etc), Eagles (hotel California ), page, iommi, brian May, slash, Kirk Hammett, the guy in rage against the machine, etc

    My favorites: all of the above incl. tal farlow, pat martino and many more

    Bottom line best guitarist is a myth it’s all about preference. If you want technique there are so many young and unheard kids that can play the shirt of every single one of the above mentioned with the exception of Guthrie

    If you are looking for best feel then there’s an ocean of wonderful songs and solos in any genre

    If you’re looking for most influential then
    Hendrix, Berry & EVH and Christian and wes and and and and…

  129. harold hatch

    that list sucks all wrong heres your real and very best guitarist roy clark duane eddy chet atkins the ventures I could go on and on way to many so how do u pick the best u don’t they are all very good

  130. Robert Grant

    what?? no Danny Gatton? Malmsteen,Vai,Satriani,Bonamassa,Marvin et al…Chuck Berry practically invented rock & roll…Keith Richards ? no offence..but really? no you guys are way off on some warped National Inquirer version of a popularity contest..I digress..sorry 4 the vent..!

  131. Sandra

    Knopfler and SRV should be ahead of over-rated Clapton, imo. And no Fleetwood Mac musician made any of your lists – crazy! McVie on bass, Fleetwood on drums and no Lindsey Buckingham on this list. Too many others missing from this list and too many who should not be included to mention. At least someone was smart enough to include Robert Johnson here who probably, even if indirectly, influenced all of the guitarists.

  132. Marko

    Keef & Clapton ridiculously high, Les Paul and Steve Cropper ridiculously low, gaping holes in the shape of Hubert Sunlin, Scotty Moore, if Robert Johnson is there so should be Reverend Gary Davis and Blind Willie Johnson, at least no boring shredders like Vai and Malmstreen (tho Satriani should have made it at least into the lower forty), and no Gary Moore who would have been great id some kond soul explained to him it’s not necessary to solo after EACH verse. Duane Eddy, Angus Young, Hank Marvin and many others aside, I would have included Brian Setzer and the Turner brothers from Wishbone Ash

  133. woodstock135

    You could never put a list together that would please anyone. I will always feel that Hendrix at #1 and Page at #2 is a given for me, after that my list changes drastically. I would rearrange, eliminate and substitute throughout this list and no one would agree. It is a pointless exercise in futility.

  134. Matt Davis

    Joe Walsh. He has such a natural relation with the guitar and plays with such variety and feeling. Lindsey Buckingham is often overlooked but a brilliant player. No list is complete they are fun to make and read.

  135. Gus Castaneda

    ………one day the best guitarists reunited to establish once and for all who was Guitarist Number One: …….at the meeting, Eric Clapton said: “I am number one because I initiated the movement that created this debate in the first place”, ….then Jimmy Page said, …”no I am number one because I expanded the guitar prescence into every music style there is”; ……no…!!!, ….said Keith Richards, ….”I’m number one because I represent the free spirit of rock and roll and my guitar was the marching voice”. ……After more than a hundred candidates expressed their position, Jimi Hendrix took the floor: ….”sorry guys but I am number one because God himself told me I was the best”, ……at that point Jeff Beck stood up and said, ….”you are a liar Jimi, ….I did not tell you anything”.

  136. Kent

    Billy Gibbons
    Dick Dale
    Patrick Simmons
    Ted Nugent
    Hard to compare different styles to actually rank these guys as one to whatever but they would definitely be on my list!

  137. Mongol Fred

    I note you place BB King at Number 8.
    I have no problem with that.
    Yet the guitarist that BB King himself said “raised the hairs on the back of his neck” you place at Number 38. Where is the logic in that?
    Peter Green is better than Number 38.
    When Clapton left John Mayall’s Blues Breakers to go to Cream.
    John Mayall told the others, “Don’t worry, I’ve got somebody better”
    You have Eric Clapton at Number 3. I have no problem with that.
    Peter Green is better than that.

  138. Scott Lutz

    The entire problem here is that this is a list. It’s a subjective click-baity incomplete summary of the history of guitar players. Music is an art and should not be subjected to ranking.

    Nobody would take a list of great painters and say that Picasso is better than Van Gogh and Renoir should be up two positions over Matisse and Dali. And don’t forget Monet, Bateman, Seurat and Da Vinci.

    There should just be a box that says in this box are great guitarists, some you will be familiar with and some you may not. In that box attached to the artist should be their influences, who they influenced, some of their best works and a link to their allmusic.com page.

    They should not be rated and fought over, they should be shared, discovered and cherished.

  139. Brendan

    Seriously people this list is bogus! IMO Eddie Van Halen is clearly the best guitarist of ALL times! Not even open for discussion. Has anyone ever heard Eruption? Has anyone in history ever had a guitar solo that even came close to that? NO! This dude builds guitars not just plays them! The others are all amazing players in their own right and no one can take that away from them but when it comes to mastering and i mean mastering the guitar no one has done it the way Eddie has….

  140. Jack Neal

    Where’s Brian Setzer on the list. He’s an amazing guitarist and sometimes he’s not on the list. Chuck berry is way to high on the list. Love Chuck Berry but he’s too high. James Burdon is low but he’s great too.

  141. buck

    James Burton and Steve Cropper should be moved way up. Hendrix should be moved way down. You also missed Roy Buchanan and Joe Bonamassa, not to mention Les Paul and Chet Adkins.

    Rubes.

  142. Brian Mac

    See, these lists are ALWAYS subjective to whomever is making out the list. Now, I may not agree with the order, or I may have added one or two different guitarists, BUT IT’S NOT MY LIST PEOPLE!!!!!!!! So, get over yourselves…if you don’t like the list, MAKE OUT YOUR OWN LIST AND QUIT WHINING, you bunch of crybaby a**holes.

  143. colin

    hi you lot just to remind you all that it is just 1 persons opinion that these people are the best we know who the best are but unles we say it in the polls our voice will never be heard

  144. Rick

    Maybe they should make an underrated and under appreciated list. Start it off with Alvin Lee, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Robin Trower, Robert Cray, Don Felder, Joe Satriani and Bonamassa.

  145. Bjorn

    I’m really glad that Mike Bloomfield is on the list. He did some really great playing during the late sixties and is nowadays often forgoten on other ‘greatest guitarist’ lists.

  146. Hey... I like Keith Richards

    Christ people…its just a “best of” list. If you want to support the musicians who didn’t make this list or didn’t make it as high as you think they should’ve…GO BUY THEIR RECORDS OR LISTEN TO THEIR MUSIC!!! And let’s not forget music is not a competition. Keith…Jimi…sure not technical wizards but highly influential and innovative in their own right. Now to move on with the rest of my life….

  147. Bob

    Joe Pass, Scott Henderson, Robert Fripp, Eric Gales, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Paco de Lucia, Charlie Christian, Derek Bailey, Buckethead,….. just to spontaneously name a few

  148. Pete Kuhlmann

    I agree that Joe Bonomassa and Derek Truck should be there – and Robbie Robertson as well (the Band). And what about Hubie Sumlin. Furthernore, I bet Eric Clapton would be saying that Robert Johnson and Elmore James belong on the list – well up the ladder to the top.

  149. Pete

    I was going to comment on missing guitarists but when I saw Keith Richards at #5 it became obvious to me that the criteria used to compile this list didn’t include talent or skill. Pretty funny actually.

  150. dennis schipper

    wowww,,,,,,,,,how about david gilmour,,,,,,any album he has ever played upon.,,,,,,,,,,,,neil young,,,,,mirror ball .,,,,,,,,,zuma,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…..

  151. Father Ted

    Utter Crap. What about Hank Marvin? One of the main influences of the many of the ‘axe men’ you have cited. Not worth the bandwidth it takes up. This pile of rubbish needs taking down. Bunch of amatuers.

  152. Liz Hoover

    One of my personal favorites is Rik Emmett of Triumph. I still followed him after he left the band. He can play rock, blues, jazz and classical guitar. Not many can play it all.

  153. Seagull

    I miss Dave Edmunds either on the basis of his life’s work, or his musical ability.
    See the name of Alvin Lee above among the comments, very rightfully – how could he be missed out?
    Maybe Dave Davies Could have find a place among the best 50 (even I think Andy Powell and some other fortyany either :D).

  154. Glenn Lee

    How about Don Felder from the Eagles? He and Joe Walsh do one of the great guitar rifts in history at the end Hotel California. But Bonamassa most definitely should be on the list. HOWEVER, Ted Nugent is disqualified (and not deserving) because he is without doubt the dumbest biggest asshole in America.

  155. Kimi

    One of the most brilliant guitarists I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and I say experience because he was absolutely amazing, is Ingvay Monstein. I have seen a lot of guitarists perform live, many of the greats listed here, and I believe Ingvay deserves at least honorable mention.

  156. Jon

    This list is close but missing a lot of great guitarist.
    There are a lot of Acoustic Guitar players that are not on the list that should be.
    My first thought was that it should have specified “electric guitar” as that’s all that’s shown.

  157. Jim

    Chet Atkins, although a jazz/country guitarist paved the road for most guitar players. Modern players without their fancy pedals, effects and amps couldn’t come close to being in the same class as Mr. Guitar – Chet Atkins

  158. Vince

    The list isn’t too bad IMO. The order is what I would question as some names are way too high and some not high enough (Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher). There are some names that definitely should be added and most have already been mentioned but I’d add:
    Paul Kossoff
    Robin Trower
    Joe Bonamassa
    Mick Box
    Michael Shenker
    Rick Derringer

  159. GESmith

    Its a bullshit list .. I mean whats the criteria
    If you are going to set about questioning who is the BEST..
    Lets start with some criteria;
    1. Style
    2. Impact in the industry
    3. Longevity over time
    4. Achievement
    5. Longer term
    6. Re-invention

    Sorry Hendrix was a great player but the best ever.. bullshit.. its a myth that players want to believe in. Every time a young kid goes and buys a guitar today,, is it because of Hendrix.. no.. what makes you great isn’t a couple of albums,…. its the whole picture

    You want to see the best ever… watch clapton play stormy monday at the Cream re union concerts… wake up and smell the roses because he ticks all the boxes.. not the one thats 6 ft under and a myth

  160. Arnie

    Erik Brann child prodigy violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra before becoming lead guitarist with Iron Butterfly and Flintwhistle probably has more talent than most on the list but died young.

  161. Taltos1667

    1 – Roy Buchanan
    2 – Ronnie Montrose
    3 – Martin Barre
    4 – Jeff Healy
    5 – Robert Cray

    These type of lists are, at best subjective and at worst useless. Everybody has their own favourite guitar player(s) and they consider them the best. There is some consensus on some players, though comparing Jimi to E.C. today is irrelevant at best as we don’t know where Jimi might have gone with his music were he still alive today. That goes for any musicians who have passed on, with the exception of some who have already been acknowledged as innovators, Django Reinhart and Robert Johnson being examples of this. It’s like art or writers or actors – it all comes down to personal preference.

  162. dick

    Alvin Lee nowhere on that list……… Buddy Guy at # 30……Hendrix was very good but not around long enough to be anywhere near number 1 ……… oh well subjective to the writers tastes

  163. Tom Evans

    I’m in the business and I’ve personally seen most of the best guitarists of all time, Hendrix, Page, Townsend, Van Halen, etc. Tommy Bolin should definitely be on the list of the top 50 of all time.

  164. Adrian Persaud

    The person or persons who compiled this list might have some mental problem.It shows clearly that they know very little about the subject of the best “Axe men”…

  165. John Weise

    Warren f”ing Haynes – plays blues, rock, R&B, jazz, country, and some genres that haven’t even been defined. Other than that, every player has their own style so “better” may not play into it, I think it’s a preference of styles that people look at. I’ve only been playing for a year (started at age 53) and am just happy to have that “moment” now and then!!! Not my personal preference on a lot of these, but they are all accomplished players who deserve to be recognized.

  166. Tom Bush

    I can’t believe Michael S. of UFO fame and MSG in not on that list. No Ted Nugent. No Mike Campbell, no Steve Morse, No Ulie Jon Roth, to name a few. There are a few kick ass chick guitar slinger’s too. And the order of the 50 that are on there sucks big time. Get somebody that knows better to make these list. Like Eddie Trunk from That Metal Show.

  167. Tom Bush

    Hey Russel Banker…Alvin Lee was in Ten Years After, one of the great bands of the late 60’s and half of the 70’s. If you listen to classic rock radio, then you may have heard, ” I’d Love To Change The World “..that is Alvin Lee and Ten Years After.

  168. Nick

    The heading says axe men ..so this refers to electric guitars. Subjective list all good players, but some greats missing. The science of it obviously refers to “how many times mentioned in the press”, in that case this list would be accurate, but not a true reflection of the best. Cheers

  169. Prince By-Tor

    Just a side Note, there has been nobody before him or that came after “the Master of the Strat” that could make the guitar “sing” like a song bird, and how about all those great songs he wrote… that is why James M. Hendrix is the best person to have ever played a GUITAR!!!
    “Remember the mocking bird, Baby /He use to sing for the Sunshine…”

  170. Bytor and the Snowdon

    All good points – its a subjective list. But to leave out Morgan Mckinleyfield is a major disappointment to me. Jimi is number one true that, even over Andres Segovia, but numbers 2-50 are purely how you

  171. G-J van der Vis

    Where is Jan Akkerman in your list??? He was chosen to be the best guitarplayer in front of Eric Clapton
    In 1973 by the British music Magazine Melody Maker chosen to be the best gitarist of the world.
    And still going strong.
    And Stevie Ray Vaughn should be next after Jimi Hendrix not behind Keith Richards What is so special about Keith Richards?

  172. Jim Krugh

    I don’t know why I even look at these lists.

    The best guitarist is like every best……whatever….. is highly subjective. Lots of these people and others that were omitted appear on lists all the time

    I have my favorites as everyone else does. I am happy to enjoy enjoy great music by anyone who plays it.

  173. John Henley

    No Mark Knopfler, Prince, Mike Oldfield, Eric Johnson, Michael Hedges … And David Gilmour is #21 … How did they put this list together, draw names out of a hat?!

  174. Jim

    Stupid list. Where is Joe Bonnamassa or Sonny Landreth just to mention two. Also some listed are laughable when talking about guitar playing ability.

  175. Jim

    Stupid list. Where is Joe Bonnamassa or Sonny Landreth just to mention two. Also some listed are laughable when talking about guitar playing ability.

  176. Glenn Smith

    I have had my say about this before…
    Please whats the criteria… lets get some criteria other than who is the greatest ?/
    I mean what a load of balony. Choose five parameters and let people vote because if you have “longevity” as even one it will change everything, what makes someone the best isn’t one or two records. Really the Hendrix thing is a myth.. great guitarist in his own style but really…

    Please lets vote with some criteria, live performances, longevity, what they ghave done for the industry, recording, and whatever..

  177. Greg Thackray

    That’s just it. Guitar playing isn’t really scientific at all unless you do a list purely based on technical ability in which case the list would look totally different to one based on creativity or influence. It’s purely subjective and it’s about the great sounds that are made from the player’s guitar. What about Kurt Cobain or John McGeogh from Magazine, S n the Banshees n Pil as just two examples. There may be much better technical guitar players out there but how many could come up with as many memorable riffs and tunes as those two did?

  178. jim

    My Top5 …
    (artists that can play many different styles – capable of both solo and rhythm – high influential to others – blues, flamenco, classical or jazz artists not included)
    1. EC
    2. Duane
    3. Hendrix
    4. Pete Townshend
    5. Burton
    Chuck Berry also for what he created

    No heavy metal shredders included (make me sick and i’ m a guitar player myself)

  179. NANAKULI JACKSON808

    Any list that does not include FRANK MARINO. ULI JOHN ROTH. MICHEAL SCHENKER ELLIOTT EASTON PAUL KOSSOFF N TOMMY BOLIN is crap what is the big deal with Eric Clapton and jimmy page they are so overrated Ritchie Blackmore is the much better guitar player oh also NEAL SCHON and JOE PERRY they need to be included also

  180. Mark McKeown

    Who made this list up? No Satriani, no Vai, no Malmsteen, and no Guthrie Govan!!!!!!!! I mean seriously?
    There’s also a rake of Gypsy Jazz players who would piss all over mos of these guys, such as, Jimmy Rosenberg, Tchavollo Schmitt, Birelli Lagrenne, and Frank Vignola yet the only one we have in here is Django!!!!
    And Guthrie Govan is just the best guitarist I’ve ever heard in any genre, the guy is a genius but doesn’t make the list. I think whoever made this up needs to go away and actually learn a wee bit about guitar before just writing a bunch of names up

  181. Rodrigo Fernandez

    This list is a list of pop guitarists, there is a higher level of guitarists that have done so much more than this!
    Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Steve Vai, Pat Martino etc.

    1. Rodrigo Fernandez

      So many Jazz guitarists like George Benson, Birelli Lagrenne, Wes Montgomery… The list goes on and on and on… What about more modern guys like Tosin Abasi, a total innovator on 8 string guitar…
      You guys are a bunch of amateurs…

  182. Cooky Mann

    This list isn’t EVEN CLOSE to accurate. This is a list of popular guitarists. If you really want an ACCURATE list of actual greatest guitarists you have to list them by genre, musicianship, dexterity, speed, musicality, etc.
    Not just by the ones who played your favorite song or blew you away when you were high.

  183. G String

    Imagine having a list of 50 greatest composers of all time and not including Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.
    That is like not including Andres Segovia in this list of greatest guitarists.
    Segovia made the guitar an accepted instrument and was the greatest guitar virtuoso of all time.

  184. Simon

    Tommy Emmanuel, Robben Ford, Jan Akkerman, Lenny Breau, Pat Metheny, Tony Rice, Clarence White, Robin Trower, Ralph Towner, Steve Morse, Julian Bream, Segovia, John Williams, Pat Martino, Grant Green, Zakk Wylde, Ritchie Kotzen, Joe Walsh, Ted Greene, George Van Eps, Derek Bailey, ,Derek Trucks, Guthrie Govan,Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai,Buckethead……..

    I could go on but you get the point.WHAT IS THE POINT OF “BEST EVER” LISTS APART FROM STOKING CONTROVERSY

  185. Adam Smith

    What happened to Country guitar pickers……Should at least mention : Glen Campbell,..Travis Tritt,..Marty Stuart,..Duane Eddy….Merle Travis,..Merle Haggard,…Waylon Jennings,…
    All were great in my book……

  186. Ocando Mora

    Bullshit that list!! I think Number One: Jimmy Hendrck, number two: Joe Satriani, number three: Ritchie Blackmore, number four: Seve Vai and number five: Mark Farner.

  187. Skytalker

    I am very curious what criteria were used to set up this ranking. It is very obvious to me the author never played the guitar let alone his skill in music. Maybe it was their height or weight or popularity.

    1. Dave

      Totally agree about Joe Bonamassa – whoever drew up this list obviously hasn’t seen or heard him – unbelievable he’s not in there near the top – the man is awesome!

  188. Rick

    Johnny ‘Three Cord’ Ramone at #35 ??? I like the Ramones but at # 35??? Robin Trower not listed is wrong. We could argue all day but each of us has are own taste.

  189. jamie

    LOOK AT ALL THE CRY BABIES HAVING A CRY CAUSE THERE GUITAR PLAYER DIDNT MAKE THE LIST YOU CAN NAME ALL HE GUITAR PLAYERS YOU WANT BUT HENDRIX AND JIMMY ARE THE BEST, BAND OF GYPSIES AND LED ZEPPELIN BEST BANDS EVER KEEP ON CRYING YOU SAD FOCKERS