Other than guitar players worldwide, every rock fan fights on “who are the best guitarists of all time?” The trouble is everybody has their preferences and various definitions as to whose skills are the best.
Some like shredding, while others like slower and more melodic playing. Some people want to see the fundamentals mastered while others think if you aren’t using jazz music theory, you aren’t even in the same playing field as the greats.
Let’s jump into the list of the best ten guitarists of all time.
- Guthrie Govan: Guthrie Govan is the best guitarist. As amazing as others are, he edges them out by having the topmost technical ability and can use it in any genre. There are no limits to Govan’s abilities. He spreads the love, spending much of his time as a guitar clinician and teaching in masterclasses.
- Pat Metheny: Only a few young listeners recognize Pat Metheny, but if you’re looking at a world-class musician working in the jazz fusion genre, then it’s him touring the globe consistently.
- Tommy Emmanuel: Tommy Emmanuel is the emperor of a fingerstyle solo guitar. He’s genuinely a one-person band, even beating his guitar to create percussive effects.
- Steve Vai: Steve Vai’s illustrious career with Frank Zappa, Alcatraz, and the David Lee Roth band led to his mastery, growing even more profound in his current solo work with has matured immensely.
- Derek Trucks: You must have heard of Derek Trucks from The Derek Trucks Band and now The Allman Brothers Band and touring with Eric Clapton. His style is a combination of genres like a jam band, jazz, Southern rock, and even qawwali and other world music genres.
- Jimi Hendrix: In just four years of mainstream success before his sudden death, Jimi Hendrix transformed the guitar world entirely. He was one of the first who brought effects and the whammy bar into the guitar world, like fuzz distortion and wah-wah.
- Eddie Van Halen: Eddie Van Halen often lands at number one in these lists. He’s that good. He claims Eric Clapton as his primary influence but says he’s closer to Jimmy Page in style.
- David Gilmour: David Gilmour is the voice and guitar of the rock kings Pink Floyd. He’s known for his simple but huge riffs and ambient chords, full of blues phrasing, note bends, and a lot of sustain.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan: Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the best guitarists in blues music, leading the revival of blues-rock in the 1980s. He claims much of his style came from Lonnie Mack.
- Brent Mason: Brent Mason has played over 1,000 albums for all top country stars and other genres. He has won countless “guitarist of the year” awards and “musician of the year”.
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