The Best Guitarists

guitarist-on-stageI really enjoy “Best of…” lists. And I never shy away from the chance to do one for my blog. This one is rather difficult to pull off though. I mean, how do you compare Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison? They’re both great guitarists, but it’s like comparing your favorite burger to your favorite doughnut.

I’m going to try anyway.

I do realize I could just call this “My Personal Favorite Guitar Players,” but I worry that would take away all the controversy and I really enjoy when people comment about how I forget someone. Just rest assured that I did a lot of research into my personal preferences to compile this list. It was very scientific.


Johnny Ramone (The Ramones) – He may not have been the most skilled palyer, but not many musicians have had the impact he did. Before Johnny no one played guitar solely with fast down picking. After him, an entire genre of music that did nothing else was born.

Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Solo) – He’s definitely not a traditional soloist, but he stands out in a crowd.

Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains, Solo) – I’m sure being the primary songwriter for his band forces him to look at the guitar in a different manner than someone who composes as part of a group. His solos always feel like they belong in the song and were written to make it just a little better.

Dimebag Darrell (Pantera, Damageplan) – One of the best guitar solos of all time starts at 3:50


Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) – A Randy Rhoads solo disc would have been awesome wouldn’t it? He was amazing at writing these great instrumental songs – but within the songs that he was playing with Ozzy.

Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman (Megadeth 1990-99) I’m not sure who was doing what in the band at the time. I’m not that interested really, but I know they made one helluva team.

John 5 (Solo, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Two) – So far there’s only been one guitarist able to maintain my interest throughout an album and/or live show by just playing his guitar. I should probably check out Vai or Satriani sometime to see how they compare, but I’m pretty sure Mr. 5 will always be my favorite shredder.

George Harrison (The Beatles, Solo) – He’s definitely not the flashiest or speediest musician on this list, but he always seemed to know the right notes to play. Come on, could you imagine Mick Mars doing a solo on “Helter Skelter”? Or Steve Vai doing “Hey Bulldog”? Or Type O Negative doing a Beatles melody. (You don’t have to here)

Photo Courtesy of Aces High Photography LLC

Photo Courtesy of Aces High Photography LLC

Jimi Hendrix (Solo, Band of Gypsys) – It really doesn’t seem right to include Hendrix on this list. He doesn’t come off as a guitar player to me. He really just sang through the instrument and like it was a part of his body. His voice and gyrating hips were his instrument, the guitar was just an extension of his body.

Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd, Solo) – “Dave Gilmore can do more with one note than most guitar players can do with the entire fret board” (That’s a quote I read from Dave Mustaine in an old issue of guitar world. Never have truer words been spoken.



For more of these lists check out:

The Best Bassists

The Best Drummers


25 thoughts on “The Best Guitarists

  1. Pingback: The Best Band? | The Audible Stew

  2. Pingback: The Best Singers | The Audible Stew

  3. Great list of guitarists, there. Few notable omissions, though. Mike mentioned Eddie Van Halen (I’m new to the Van Halen game, but there’s no mistaking that man’s talent and importance to everything that came after 1978) and I see Neil Young got a mention, too – I could list a bunch of others, but I’d definitely have to have Dean DeLeo and Dave Navarro in there up at the top. And probably Mike McCready, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t even consider Dean DeLeo, how’d I miss him? It may be because he’s not much of a lead player, but he does write some interesting and unusual riffs. Especially considering he did it in the grunge era.


      • That’s what I was thinking as I read through the list! 🙂

        I don’t know that I’d agree that he’s not much of a lead player. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but his lead playing is pretty special. Loads of energetic bursts and melodic lines. Dare say he’s more creative than the likes of Cantrell or McCready (who do have a very blues based approach).

        I should also have mentioned Marc Ford and Rick McCollum. And Izzy Stradlin. Man, you’ve got me in a ‘favourite guitar player’ mood!

        Liked by 1 person

        • The only DeLeo lead that I can think of is “Where the River Goes,” which was good, but relied a bit too much on the wah pedal to be groundbreaking. I want to argue with you about whether he’d be more creative than Cantrell, but you do make a good point. McCready is a great player, but he’s more of a continuation of Hendrix and SRV. He’s great at what he does, but what he does is not very original.
          I have no idea who Marc Ford or Rick McMollum are. I need to google some stuff now.


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