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March 16, 2005

Top 5 Rock and Roll Guitarists

Today I will be ranking the top 5 rock and roll guitarists of all time. My list is composed of guitarists that I find to be really freakin' good, guitarists who weren't afraid to experiment and push the envelope, and guitarists that actually sold a few albums. For example, your cousin Fred could be really good, but has he ever written anything that spoke to the masses? Probably not. Again, you can try to argue, but my list is really the last word on the subject. Enjoy!

  1. Jimmy Page -- Led Zeppelin -- By far the greatest song writing guitarist that ever lived. "Over the Hills and Far Away" is his crowning achievement (then again it is hard to pick just one).
  2. Eric Clapton -- A close second. Clapton's guitar work on the live version of "Crossroads" leaves my jaw hanging.
  3. Jimi Hendrix -- The complete package. Excellent song writing, guitar work, and showmanship. A little sloppy, though. "Voodoo Chile" is by far his best work.
  4. Tom Scholz -- Boston -- The perfectionist of the bunch. Listen to "Foreplay/Longtime" while you are in a plane that is landing. It will blow your mind.
  5. The Edge -- U2 -- The king of experimentation. The sounds he gets to come out of his "axe" are phenomenal. His best work is "Until the End of the World."

So, there you have it. Other guitarists that didn't quite make the cut are Stevie Ray Vaughan, Alex Lifeson (Rush), and Eddie Van Halen. You could probably think of more.

Anyway, that is the way I see it.

Posted by snackeru at March 16, 2005 12:28 PM | Lists


Keith Richards -- the king of the killer riff. May not be technically the greatest, but the guy oozes cool. Satisfaction, JJ Flash, Brown Sugar. Unforgettable stuff.

Posted by: SBG at March 16, 2005 12:51 PM

Oh-oh-oh! Tom Scholz does not belong here. One album does not a legend make. Consider Mick Jones (Clash), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Carlos Santana, and Peter Frampton (on my list for sure).

Posted by: Brian Maas at March 16, 2005 2:18 PM

To further explain my picks, Clapton, Page, and Hendrix are easy. Who wouldn't include all three of them on their list? So, the last two are really freebies where a person can explore a couple of guitarists that may be usually overlooked. Have you ever really listened to the work of Tom Scholz? It is guitar-picking perfection. Not a note is misplaced. It is really a wonder to listen to. It probably took Boston years to complete their first album because Tom was such a perfectionist. It took them 8 years to complete their third. That is amazing to me and for that I give Tom the nod.

Posted by: Shane at March 16, 2005 4:20 PM

Sorry Shane, Boston sucks, all their stuff sounds the same and to me, that shows lack of creativity by the guitarist. Putting him above Eddie Van Halen is a joke. Also, where is Prince? I seem to recall he did a certain rendition of a song that blew you away.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at March 16, 2005 7:41 PM

What th HELL are u thinking ? Do u even know what things Eddie Van Halen brought to the world of guitar? He is by far the best ever . He's the fastest! He envented a new way of guitar with the finger tapping the neck. Have u ever heard ERUPTION on the first Van Halen cd that is a mind blowing song. Also weres Ozzy's great guitar player Randy Rhoads. He didn't even live that long and he is already considered a legend.

Posted by: Anthony Aragon at May 29, 2005 1:35 PM

These are my top 13 greatest guitarists of all time.
1)Eddie Van Halen
2)Jimi Hendrix
3)Jimmy Page
4)Randy Rhoads
5)Eric Clapton
6)Steve Vai
7)Stevie Ray Vaughn
9)Joe Perry
10)Zakk Wylde
11)Angus Young
12)The Edge

Posted by: Anthony Aragon at May 29, 2005 1:42 PM

Tom Scholz....far and away the best. Melody, timing and guitar solos that actually stay in muscial connection to the rest of the song - who needs fast as lightning playing? You just run off and leave the rest of the song bare assed naked. Listen closely to Scholz's solo on Boston's 'Hitch A Ride"..... untouchable.

Posted by: Les at September 8, 2005 8:30 PM

Thanks for the comment, Les. I agree, Tom Scholz is an excellent and highly underrated guitarist.

Posted by: Shane at September 9, 2005 9:03 AM

Piling on

Mark Knopfler. The work on telgraph road is awesome.

Tommy Bolin. Would have cracked anyone's top 3 had he lived past the age of 23

Posted by: stiff at September 9, 2005 10:45 AM

I must admit, I don't even know who Tommy Bolin is. Can someone enlighten me?

Posted by: Shane at September 9, 2005 2:10 PM

How about James Hetfield, Dave Mustane, Kerry King, Dimebag Darrell - they would rip all of the guitarists listed above to shreds. No pun intended

Posted by: kw at October 5, 2005 2:24 PM

All these guitarists, and not one mention of Brian May?

The heck is wrong with you people? (-:

Posted by: Gonzo at October 29, 2005 2:04 PM

Thatt's exactly what I was thinking. Brian May is awesome. I love Queen.

But your list is my list for the most part :-)

Posted by: Nick at November 9, 2005 11:39 PM

1)Joe Fuckin Perry
2)Brad Whitford
4)Jimmy Page
5)Brian May
6)Jimi Hendrix
7)Randy Rhoades
8)Eddie Van Halen
9)Eric Clapton
10)Jeff Beck
11)Zakk Wylde
12)Curt Cobain
13)Kieth Richards
Joe Perry is the best guitarist ever!!!!!!!

Posted by: Travis at November 12, 2005 12:12 AM

dude, kerry king isnt even in the top 100. first off, hannenman is better than him, and second i could prob name like 15 guitarists right now better then him too.

Posted by: Fartnag at January 21, 2006 10:49 PM

Eddie Van Halen is da best guitarist ever !!!

Posted by: Rolandas G. The Second at January 25, 2006 12:31 PM

Robert Fripp
Dave Gilmour
Brian May
Jimi Hendrix
Johnny Marr

Posted by: Eric at March 13, 2006 10:12 PM

Joe Perry? Are you kidding me? Overrated as hell. That guy is nowhere near even the top 20. Zakk Wylde, Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell are my top 3, no certain order. Randy Rhodes is fourth, if he would of lived, number 1. He was a living legend. Everyone failed to mention Yngwie Malmsteen, he's a definate top 5, I would say he is number 5. Jimmy Page was good, but sloppy, little overrated, but he is definately in top 10. Eric Clapton was an amazing songwriter, technicallity is what he lacked, but he would definately make top 15. And let us not forget Mr. David Gilmour or Kirk Hammett. Steve Vai should be up there as well. There's too many to even think about the top 5, 10, or 13. Let's just all agree that Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day isn't on here.

Posted by: fdsarawr at March 28, 2006 6:06 PM

5 most egregious guitar wank-masters

1. Yngwie Malmsteen
2. Steve Vai
3. Eddie Van Halen
4. Randy Rhoads
5. Angus Young

Technical skill doesn't make a good musician. If your list contains dudes who do "two hand tapping" or whatever its called, or you can imagine your idol doing series of hammeron-pulloffs while sticking his tongue out and throwing up devil horns with his other hand, then you need to take the Taz stickers off your "ride," put the bong down and listen to some John Fahey.

Posted by: anti-wank at March 28, 2006 8:56 PM

what the hell list is this, its all based on opinion. now if we are talking technical skill, speed, and variance, no guitarist can beat the work of one man by the name of John Petrucci of DREAM THEATER. Probably the greatest rock/prog metal guitarist of all time. Sure, Hendrix is fucking sweet, but he is from a different time. you have to think of who the best is now, and that would have to be John Petrucci.

Posted by: alex t at May 7, 2006 3:32 PM

i think you could included in your list metallica's guitar wizard kirk hammett...he is extremely good...one of the bests in the world...those solos and the beautiful songs...just the best

Posted by: c glez at May 13, 2006 5:58 PM

Without a doubt, the best ever, and the best that will ever be is Jerry Garcia. His unique style cannot be duplicated. He brought hundreds of thousands of fans back again and again to see him perform. There is no eulogy tahat can be written for him. There simply will never be another one like him. Period!

Posted by: jesse snyder at May 16, 2006 10:54 PM

Without a doubt, the best ever, and the best that will ever be is Jerry Garcia. His unique style cannot be duplicated. He brought hundreds of thousands of fans back again and again to see him perform. There is no eulogy tahat can be written for him. There simply will never be another one like him. Period!

Posted by: jesse snyder at May 16, 2006 10:55 PM

In the words of ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons when asked who the five best guitar players were in the last fifty years. He said "Eddie Van Halen" would be numbers one through five and then the rest of the list would open up.

As a guitar player for 25 years and a teacher for 11, this is how I would score the top ten Rock players of all time:

2) Jimmy Page
3) Jimi Hendrix
4) Eric Clapton
5) Jeff Beck
6) Randy Rhoads
7) Steve Vai
8) Joe Satriani
9) Brian May
10)David Gilmour

Posted by: Villi at May 17, 2006 2:28 PM

Edward Van Halen is the best player ever. No one living or dead is even in his league.

Posted by: Roy W. at May 17, 2006 2:31 PM

Edward Van Halen is the best player ever. No one living or dead is even in his league.

Posted by: Roy W. at May 17, 2006 2:32 PM

Eddie Van Halen and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd.

Posted by: Nick at May 18, 2006 11:38 AM

This is the list for the five best guitarists of all time:
1:Angus Young
3:Van Halen
4:James Hetfield
And this is the list of my favourite guitarists:
1:Mick Thomson
2:Angus Young
3:Jimi Hendrix
4:James Hetfield

Posted by: Jeremi at May 18, 2006 1:54 PM

Here they are......

2.Eric Clapton

you get the picture.......:)

Posted by: Clinton Tebbs at May 22, 2006 12:54 PM

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