Time Magazine Picks the 10 Best Electric Guitar Players (including Yngwie)


top-tenIn connection with the release of the new documentary It Might Get Loud, Time Magazine music critic Josh Tyrangiel has published a list of the 10 best electric guitar players.  From our standpoint, the only thing this list stands out for is its lack of originality.  Still, we’re darn excited about seeing It Might Get Loud so we’re still going to go ahead and publish the list.  Read on for the entire list.

1.  Jimi Hendrix

2.  Slash

3.  B.B. King

4.  Keith Richards

5.  Eric Clapton

6.  Jimmy Page

7.  Chuck Berry

8.  Les Paul

9. Yngwie Malmsteen (OK, this one is a surprise)

10. Prince

11. Johnny Ramone (for the last 20 years these types of lists always go to 11)

What do you think of this list?  Please let us know in the comments.

The 10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players (Time)

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  1. Emon

    This list is an example of a double whammy knee-slapper. It makes me sweat to do a list based on a tighter category as ‘Jazz Electric Guitar Player in the 80s’ and this guy managed to pull one out of his ass in the whole of electric guitar category and put together a slideshow. He must be really good.

  2. Brian

    Nicely put Emon :)

  3. Dave

    Nicely put Brian.

  4. buccanears

    Where is SRV and Buddy? Prince?

  5. butch

    prince is 3 spots from Yngwie??? WTF, obviously the creators of this list has never even picked up a guitar, Yngwie is certainly #1, but where’s Van Halen, Steve Vai, Tony Macalpine, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Lindsey Buckingham, Al di Meola, Stevie Ray Vaughn, how soon people forget.

    screw you, prince #10 for shame

  6. the REAL tc

    SLASH? no
    BB KING? no

    the rest of these are fine with me. Yngwie belongs on top though.
    Did any of you ever try to do what Johnny Ramone did? Those constant downstrokes are difficult to maintain. And EDDIE VAN HALEN belongs here too.

  7. Smoggieboon

    Prince????? You’re having a laff aren’t you, and Slash at #2 you kill me . . .
    This list is obviously written by a non-guitarist . . .

    Malmsteen should be #1. period.
    Wheres Van Halen, Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman,. . . . I could go on. . . . .

    Butch knows his onions, it’s just a shame that Josh Tyrangiel clearly does not. . His article isnt worth the paper its written on, and I’m sure 99% of Guitar afficionados hold it in the contempt it deserves. . If he had simply made it a list of his favourite ten guitarists it would be palatable. . but to say 10 best is a total joke

  8. Steve

    I agree that these lists should be based more on soul and style than actual technique, but prince? *head-desk* I bet even prince would find this stupid. You know who should be put here? Paul Waggoner. I know, you probably haven’t even heard his name, and his band (Between the Buried and Me) is way too heavy to be considered in a magazine like Time. If you heard him solo however, you would know where I’m coming from. His solos are melodic oasis’s in the sea of chaos that is BTBAM’s music. They have the perfect balance of feeling and technicality, With heavy influences from classical and jazz.

  9. Steve

    *desert. I get my analogies mixed up sometimes.

  10. Gabriele Palermo

    Nice to see Yngwie Malmsteen get the reconition he deserves but what about the godfather of Neoclassical, Ritchie Blackmore, a true inovator who was light years ahead of the times.

  11. fallen_angel

    Whoever did this list doesn’t know what he is saying, damn Slash as # 2? Jimmy Hendrix is in the past of course he is a legend but is all past, Yngwie should be # 1 at least down to # 3 if you put Michael Angelo Batio and Chris Impellitteri them with Malmsteen should be the top 3, other than yea where the hell is Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Petruci, Vai, well there are other that really deserve to be in the top 10 instead of the old guys on the top.

  12. VaughnS

    Don’t you think David Gilmour deserves some credit? He should be at LEAST in the #9 spot of this list. I still can’t believe that in the Rolling Stone list, he ranks 82nd, below Joni Mitchell…

  13. B.B. King: 84 anos, live and well | Everyday Blues Blog

    [...] posição, ficando atrás apenas de Jimi Hendrix e Duane Allman. A Time Magazine o colocou como o terceiro melhor guitarrista. King foi incluído no Blues Hall Of Fame, em 1980, e no Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, em 1987, e [...]

  14. Jon

    slash, prince, and johnny have no place on this list. i’m on the fence about malmsteen. would’ve liked to see stevie ray and muddy waters.

  15. Josh

    Finalle Slash gets some solid recognition!

  16. Brandon

    This list needs some serious reworking. Really? Slash and Prince? What about SRV? He needs to be somewhere on this list, as well as some more of the original blues artists!

  17. Roy

    Seriously, Page is after Richards?

  18. Special Ed

    Certainly eric clapton and prince out do Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Grant Green, SRV, etc. WTF?

  19. joe

    Duane Allman, Buddy Guy, John McLaughlin, SRV, Johnny Winter, Pat Methany, Elmore James, Albert King Freddie King, and albert collins are all great guitarist the only people I like on this list are Jimi BB and Eric All the other people are pretty good.

  20. Dylan Rexrode

    First off the #1 spot is a two way tie between metal guitarist and inventor of the Heavy E Phrygian Yngwie Malmsteen and classical guitarist Al Di Meola spot #2 goes to Kirk Hammet followed closely by Steve Vai who’s followed even more closely by Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson in the #6 spot there’s Buckethead, the greatest effects player of all time (sorry Tom Morello but it’s true), #7 is Jimi Hendrix on his tail Eddie Van Halen, He should always be on the list of great guitarists because he invented the Hammer-on/Hammer-off technique which is now used by almost every modern gutarist, #9 good ol’ Frank Zappa and finally #10 Dave Mustain. This list is of course is my perspective but I’m sure I’d have a few people agree with me out there, the TIME mag. list looks like it based it’s guitarists on record sales and not skill. And of course Neil Pert is still #1 Drummer and Cliff Burton is still #1 Bassist.

  21. Greedysoul

    Let’s not even mention a flamenco guitarist who can outplay 99% of these kind of lists while blindfolded and handcuffed.

  22. phals

    oh! what a mistake! i agree with the others bout their comments but still they didn’t got the best guitarist..maybe they got the number three..but the number goes like this…#1.herman li of dragon force,#2.John petrucci of dream theater,#3.joe satriani,#4.Azagtoth,#5.buckethead,#6.paul gilbert,#7.Sam totman of dragonforce,#8.Steve vai,#9.eric johnson,#10.yngwie malmsteen..etc.
    too many to mention….maybe you should check it again….so that you will not be put to shame…my God!sorry to say this but i was shocked when i saw slash at #2… re-arrange it please….and add other best lead guitarist…

  23. Eric

    Personally, putting any list into a meaningful order is like trying to compare a great brew with a great weed, but I’m happy to name my all-time greats. Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mike Bloomfield, Frank Zappa, Eddie Van Halen, Pete Townsend, Jimi Page, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmour, Alvin Lee, Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Ted Nugent, Jorma Kaukonen, Robin Trower, Doug Pettibone, and Steve Winwood, which leaves out many other deserving names, but you’ve got to stop somewhere. And please don’t anyone do what Playboy did for so many years and name Jerry Garcia. Nice guy, but show some discipline.

  24. Al Schuls

    Simply put, everyone has an opinion…..everyone does. I was surprised that the original list didn’t have alot different names than it had. I was at Stevie Ray’s last concert down the road in Wisconsin and since then he has been a favorite of mine, as well as Eddie. But I remember when I was 20 or so and the first time I watched Mason Williams perform “Classical Gas” I was astounded. There are, as spoken above, so many guitarists that were better than most “famous” players. I laughed at the re[lies thinking about opinions and then thought about the source of the original list…..Time magazine. They may be great with “news,” but as I first read the column, the first thought that went through my head was,”Well, I won’t ever look to Time to give me any advice on music.”

  25. Tinman

    Wasted my time reading this list, seriously.

  26. Jimi420

    alright i gotta say this list kind of sucks. 1st of all why is Prince on here? He is a talented musician but he defiantly isn’t known for his guitar playing. Also where is Jeff Beck? He was influential to Rock N’ Roll. I think Angus Young also deserves a spot on this list. Also Slash is my favorite guitarist but I think Keith Richard’s and Jimmy Page deserve higher spots on the list. And all you dumb ass listing all these shredders to be put on this list are retarded. Their just a bunch of show offs who aren’t good at writing music so they shred for 4 minutes and call it a song. Also I know he would never make this list but Izzy Stradlin is a great guitar player and even better song writer…

  27. Joe TCS

    Lou Reed and Muddy Waters. That’s all I’m going to say.

  28. austin personal trainers

    Roy Buchanan, Duane Allman, SRV, John McLaughlin, Winwood, and Clapton with Roy being #1

  29. Ferrit

    No SRV? That’s a joke.

  30. Ken

    there’s lot of guitarist better than in the list.. yngwie still in no.1 :P

  31. Andres

    i dont agree with slash being so high up, im still wondering where the hell is BRIAN MAY, its like making a list of best vocalsists and not putting freddie mercury…

  32. Alan

    what about RORY GALLAGHER

  33. Floyd

    Mmhmm why not just list good guitarists???

    What about John Frusciante??

  34. cronos

    i believe this is a list of some of the most famous guitar players, but certainly not the best.
    for example, some of my favorite guitar players such as, jeff loomis, michael romeo and so on still may not be considered the “top” or “best” guitar players in the world or of all time, but they are definitely better than the majority of this list.

  35. Lyle Hines

    Steve Vai, (who is certainly one of the best guitarists in the world today – and remarkably not on the list), has said on more than one occasion that he feels “TONY MACALPINE” is one of the best guitarists IN THE WORLD.

    So, How On Earth could MacAlpine NOT be on this list.
    MacAlpine is a hundred million miles beyond Yngwie Malmsteen.

    Whoever made this list is a Total Complete Moron.

    Nuff said.

  36. NATE

    James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett are better than everyone on that list combined

  37. Krizz

    this list is definitly dumb. Slash at #2 !!?!?!?! wtf….
    This is how it should be:
    1-Jimi Hendrix
    2-BB King
    3-Duane Allman
    4-Eric Clapton
    5-Jimmy Page
    6-Chuck Berry
    7-Robert johnson
    8-Jeff Beck
    9-Stevie Ray Vaughn
    10-(This spot could go for a lot of great guitarists…)

    Anyway… These are the REAl guitar legends.

  38. Hirsch

    JOKE LIST…..nobody will ever agree on a list, but im sure anyone whos ever touched a guitar can disagree about this one haha… I read someones comment about this list being about record sales? good call. for the love of god, where’s Rhoads, Van Halen, Vai, Satriani, Petrucci,Friedman, Becker,Gilbert,Blackmore, and yeah guys i know i know, im leaving about 20 others out haha, but gimme a break I gotta go to bed sometime!! before i do though….

    Slash = great guitarist, top 10? JOKE and a half!!!

    prince//johnny ramone.. thats just there to piss me off…

    and last but not least, why is Les Paul so dangerously close to JIMMY…(great guitarist obviously, BUT) on that list page is either 1,2, or 3.

  39. John

    Shredders should have their own list, blues their own, rock their own, fusion/jazz their own, bluegrass their own, classical their own. All-around their own. This is not an all-around list though it portends to be. Personal taste leads my ears to SRV first. I like guitarists whose music has corners. But I was listening to Malmsteen for an hour last night. He is awesomely fast and I understand his compositions. But give me firsts, give me mojo hands, just originals… Hendrix, Vaughan, Van Halen, Malmsteen, Vai, Atkins, Gatton, Williams, Johnson, Howe.

  40. Yehudi

    No SRV?

    Hahahahaha it isn’t April 1st is it?

  41. ryan

    no dimebag or alex lifeson. what a joke.

  42. ryan

    has any one here heard of billy gibbons?

  43. Joe

    Where the hell is Steve Cropper on this list…..?

  44. Edgar

    nah this list suck … they should watch some great guitarrist/composers like, Jeff Loomis, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Guthrie Govan, Yngwie malmsteen, Michael Angelo Batio, Michael Romeo, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Francisco Meza.. the people in this list ok they were like nice guitarrists, but come on today they don’t even reach top 200 And I’m not talking about just technique, I’m talking about music, feeling and genius playing!

  45. Chris

    where is Buckethead????

  46. Bob

    It’s too difficult to compile a top 10 guitarist list. There’s just too many that are so good. On top of that, a lot of guitarists are great for different reasons. It’s pretty hard to compare guitarists from two different genres of music.

  47. Noe

    You are all wrong. Slash was depeneple and BB King was teh best blues guiatarist prince was stupid and idk about that asian name. sorry for the errors hehehe malmeesten

  48. Noe

    @ Dylan Hendrix deserves numero 1. He treated tah guitar like his bitch and made it play whatever. He was the one who invented the bomb noise on the guitar no hard feelings also but slash like i said was senor dependple never scwering around.

  49. hellhound

    Yngwie? C`mon get real. The guy couldn`t even get a record deal in the states until he put out his own. Fast? Yes. Good? No! It doesn`t take a ton of speed to be good. That`s why Jimi and Eric and SRV are still WAY out selling guys like Malmsteen. Not that they were slow. They just didn`t feel the need to impress with speed. Jimi never had to brag about his playing. All you had to do was listen to be impressed.

  50. the shit

    Jimmy Page belongs on top.

  51. Rachael

    ok this list really sucks! slash is really great, but i dont think he belongs on this list! what about kirk hammett?!?! he blows slash out of the water… or dave mustaine!

  52. the mighty banana

    where is dave mustaine, kirk hammet, eddy van halen, joe satrani, dave murray? its a good list though, the hard thing abaut these list is that you will always get people who disagre with you nomatter what opinion you have

  53. the mighty banana

    where is dave mustaine, kirk hammet, eddy van halen, joe satrani, dave murray? its a good list though, the hard thing abaut these list is that you will always get people who disagre with you nomatter what opinion you have

  54. whoknowswho

    No TOMMY BOLIN? Nobody’s even namechecked him yet, and he could play everything from fusion to rock to Carribean music. Wise up guitar fans!!

  55. Bubba Rump

    They are comparing guitarists that play completely different stiles of music: Les Paul, BB King, Prince, Yngwie. Music is and art form, and there is really no such thing as a scale to determine better or worse, it’s mostly personal preference. Some defined eras, some technically proficient, some wrote songs that got very popular, and some all of the above, but all these lists by corporate organizations are for the most part meaningless.

    Another thing, Nobody mentioned Randy Rhodes, who died at 24, but yet has a style all of his own, and continues to influence guitar players today.

    Only two people on here mentioned Jason Becker, who was an amazing guitar player. To accomplish that level technical ability by 20 years old, only to have it involuntarily taken away, is a pretty tough call. Anyone know what happened to him…and where he is now? Go to his website and look.


    …and at the same time put yourself in that position. What would most people have done? The guy still composes music to this day, although not with a guitar anymore, and if there is anyone that deserves any kind of honorable mention or even award for accomplishment, it should be him…


  56. Johnny

    The ten best….mmmm….I’m not so sure….influential, definitely, the best, definitely not. I have to agree with the sentiment that this list was compiled by a ‘non-guitarist’.
    With all due respect to these great and influential guitarists, this list is cliched at best, for the most-part, they have been plucked from the top 40 at one point or another.
    Might I suggest, in no particular order, in recognition of technique, feel, and in some cases more than others, originality (pre-requisites IMO for BEST guitarist): SRV, Dimebag, Satch, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Tom Morello (disagree? Name another guitarist as original as he), Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhodes, EVH, John Frusciante…I could go on.
    I should also note, that with the exception of Dimebag, I haven’t picked any guitarists from what I would consider to be my favourite bands, or even favourite genre of music, so not much bias here really, and not top 40 predominant either.

  57. Todd

    Bad List!
    Just have to say something for the Metal Heads, Tony Iommi!!! Kirk Hammett, Dimebag, EVH, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. Even relatively newer guitarists like Matt Heafy, Mark Morton, Brent Hinds are better than half of this list.
    And for those people that say the slower guitarists with more soul are better what about James Hetfield, he has thrash riffs, slow heavy riffs, melody and accoutic skills. And was the primary song writer in one of the best bands of all time. \m/

  58. max

    what about SRV, Kirk Hammett, Robin Trower, Tony Iommi, Mark Knopfler, & Angus Young

  59. Brendan McCue

    Sam McCue. Recognize! Milwaukee!

  60. Fozi

    Hahaha what a joke, listen i love Slah and Jimi Hendrix but no one in the history of Electric guitar can do what VAN HALEN can do hell his in the biggest Album ever thriller song “beat it” dont that say much not in the top three my ass even ten hahaha dont make fun of him his the best fastest ever..

  61. Wattajok

    John Petrucci is obviously not present on the list cuz he’s… a deity. Not a mere guitarist.

  62. Aaron

    Ok, I can agree with some of those names, but….Prince!!!??? I mean seriously. Angus Young should be on there, or Tony Iommi , or Zakk Wylde, not Prince. And why the heck is Johnny Ramone number 11? I love the Ramones, but he was not even a proficient guitarist.

  63. Mohib

    Slash above Pagey and B.B? The greatest joke of all “TINE”

  64. aldo

    Maybe the 2nd most famous guitarist of all time but 2nd best? I nearly chocked on my dinner when i read that. Jimmy Page? What? Slash is better than Jimmy Page or Clapton? And about 1000 others?

    thats an absolutely terrible list

  65. Seriously...

    As someone earlier pointed out, there is no way to meld all different guitar styles and their top guitarists onto one list. And yes, the best guitarists are mostly people you have never heard of, because they play studio, or you don’t listen to jazz and other contemporary forms. But if we are to focus on popular guitarists and throw them all in one basket, why the hell hasn’t anyone even mentioned Chet Atkins? Because he’s a country bumpkin? The man was incredibly proficient technically, innovative to the sound of rock, rockabilly, and country, and could do things on a guitar others still struggle, and often fail, to do to this day.

  66. Sheryl

    Well at least there are some names that ring true but where are Tony Ionie, Richie Sambora, Brian May, and a few others!! O@ne or 2 on the list Ive never even heard of and Ive been into music for 50 years+

  67. abourass

    Prince lol!! just wanna share the laugh with the readers of this list can’t add any name u’ve mentioned all the great players, Peace.

  68. Jonesy123

    Seems like the list is made up of guitar innovators who inspire others. Van Halen, Steve Vai and many others are all very awesome, and very technically capable; however, they simply don’t cast enough of a shadow to be on the list. Every single guirarist alive copies Hendrix so he definitely belongs in 1st place and you need to put down the pipe if you think different. I think the list is pretty good, couldn’t have been too easy to attempt.

  69. Katelyn

    Here’s what I think should be the correct list:

    1. Jimi Hendrix (he is probably the greatest)
    2. Jimmy Page (Time Magazine obviously hasn’t heard enough of Led Zeppelin)
    3. Chuck Berry
    4. Eddie Van Halen
    5. Keith Richards
    6. Stevie Ray Vaughn
    7. Joe Santriani
    8. Ritchie Blackmore
    9. Angus Young (HUGE fan of AC/DC)
    10. Carlos Santana

  70. The Real List (from a realist)

    1. Phil Keaggy (Jimi even said so himself)
    2. Pat Metheny
    3. Mark Knopfler
    4. David Gilmour
    5. Steve Howe
    6. Terry Kath
    7. Jerry Garcia
    8. Big Head Todd
    9. Derek Bailey
    10. Roy Buchanan
    11. Rik Emmitt

  71. Fernando

    Porque faltam (why not appeared in the list): David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler,Rory Galagher, Ritchie Blackmore e Van Halen?!

    Estão a brincar comigo.

    Lista subjectiva e sem critérios definidos. Enfim!


    F. Cunha.

  72. J@(0!3

    “Time Magazine music critic Josh Tyrangiel…” Can I just say that this guy has never tried to play a guitar. To be fair to every genre you should have a Best Jazz, Best Classic Rock, Best Metal, etc. This list is meant for people who obviously don’t play guitar. And for the little kid that said Herman Li was the greatest guitarist of all time, he really should stop playing guitar hero. But in reality TIME magazine already published this and not even one will agree to one list because every person has a different taste in music.

  73. rey fernandez

    U can include g. e. smith and steve stevens very fine session guitarists but underrated

  74. Nate09

    Well, where’s Van Halen? He was one of the greatest influences aside from Jimi Hendrix.. This critic sucks.

    Where’s Dimebag Darrell? Have you ever seen the way that guy played at the age of 17? He was a wild child, he was genius and to not see him on this list is utterly saddening.. You look up his solo during the 80s, damn he was wild, and it would blow your mind just listening to the rhythm of the way he played that guitar

    He played with blood, sweat and tears, loved every single one of his fans, never played for a quick buck, always loved to play for fun and entertain his fans.

    And no, not all of it was metal, he did play blues as well as country, damn fine guitarist at it too.

    Disgraceful this list I tell you, Slash at #2 is literally stupid. Some Critic this guy was, he needs to read up a little more.

  75. TNS

  76. BostonSpin

    Most glaring omissions:

    1) Eddie Van Halen
    What were they thinking? He should not only be on the list, but near the top!

    2) Jeff Beck
    How could they miss Jeff? He’s a virtuoso “chameleon” who’s survived, improved and adapted from the 60s to the current day.

    3) Steve Howe
    As the Yes guitarist for 40 years, Steve was the original virtuoso neo-classical interpreter. Sorry Yngwie fans, Steve Howe deserves his spot on the list.

    4) Tom Scholz
    OK, yes I am from Boston, but don’t think for a second that local favoritism plays any role in this suggestion. As the mastermind behind the band Boston, Tom pretty much wrote, played and produced that debut album on his own. It was almost more of a project to showcase his guitar “inventions” than anything else.Well, not only did it launch the “Rockman” amplifier which revolutionized the sound of rock guitarists from 1976 to the present, it was also the signature sound that made Boston’s debut album such a breakthrough that it remains the #1 selling debut of all time in the US with over 17 million copies sold since 1976!

    5) Carlos Santana
    He deserves a place for his introduction of the latin-jazz-rock fusion sound which continues to the current day.In addition to his mainstream work, let’s not forget his experimental playing with the likes of John McLaughlin (from the Mahavishnu Orchestra) a guitarist, who, on his own merit should at least be honorably mentioned.

    Honorable Mentions:
    A top 10 can’t have “everyone” so the five I’d relegate to honorable mention status from Time’s list to make space for the 5 noted above are:

    1) Prince (first to go!)
    2) Yngwie Malmsteen (Replaced by Steve Howe)
    3) Johnny Ramone (love the Ramones, but I don’t agree that this is a deserving accolade for Johnny)
    4) Keith Richards (I can’t think of one innovative guitar solo or riff that he didn’t rip-off)
    5) Slash (Sorry, just not a phenom in my opinion)

    Honorable Mentions:
    Guitarists deserving mention but not necessarily a place in the top 10.

    1) The five relegated from the Time Top 10 (see above)
    2) Alex Liefson (Rush)
    3) Tony Iommi (inventor of the heavy metal guitar sound)
    4) Todd Rundgren, experimentalist and rock god (played all lead guitar on “Bat out of Hell)
    5) Andy Latimer – Camel (reclusive guy, but genius player)
    6) Pat Metheney – C’Mon, most unique contemporary electric jazz guitarist!
    7) David Gilmour – First Space-Rock guiarist. You can tell his sound within 3 notes!
    8) Brian May – Ditto with Gilmour, instantly recognizable sound that gave Queen a unique sound. He also deployed metal riffs before there was much metal (check “Brighton Rock).
    9) Duane Allman – Virtually the inventor of the southern rock electric guitar style
    10) Stevie Ray Vaughn – Most influential blues-rock fusion player, gone too soon.

  77. sovereignic

    1. Steve Howe

    ummm, that’s it.

  78. Amin

    Well, I think we shouldn’t forget David Gilmour.

  79. PNG reaper

    WTF!! You all suck!, big time!……The list was made according to how many people listend to the their music and not on their technique. I listen to Joe satriani, jimmy, ven hallen etc, but I think slash wud have made their music sound way better if he played on their tracks, seriously! even some1 like Steve Lukathar would be better….If U think that Joe satriani has *feel* when he plays then ur crazy!!!!! oh and the GUITAR WASN”T MAKE FOR ROCK! But for music!!

    nuff said…

  80. William

    NEWSFLASH: metal ain’t the only genre out here. Playing fast is not the same as being the best guitarist. Period. Mastering techniques such as alternate and sweep picking and studying the theory of the circle-of-fifths isn’t that hard and certainly doesn’t make you the greatest guitarist. (And yes, I’m a Malmsteen and Petrucci fan, but I don’t think they deserve to be in the top 10)

    Anyway, guys like Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, Paco De Lucia and Segovia can kick/could have kicked any electric guitarist’s ass anytime :)

  81. I am not guitarist but...

    The first thing that went through my mind after reading this was “… wait, #2, #2 out of everybady?????” Granted that I like Slash and would be suprised if he showed up in a top ten list, but not even I belive he tops all but one person in playing electric guitars in general. If this is a popularity list, yeah I could see it as plausable, but definatly not the best, and it is impossible for anyone to claim the best spot because everyone claims a different style, and different pepople like different styles. Now if the list was more specific, maybe it would be possible, (i.e. give it a genre’ and an era) then yeah there would be far less ‘no, this guirist and that guitarist, and where the @%$$ is this guitarist’ and far more ‘yeah, okay, i guess this will do, just rearange it a little’.

    Lesson for Time; Stay away from making lists that are way to broad.

    P.S. I am NOT a guitar player, (play instrements, not the guitar though) and I have to disagree with this list.

  82. mark

    This list is comical. Ever hear of Randy Rhoads? Steve Vai? SRV? Michael Schencker? Jeff Beck? Satch? Stupid stupid list!

  83. Gman

    I agree with all the above. Interesting – Boston Spin had the only post that included Alex Liefson from Rush. That’s because most of these posts re from non guitarists. For that matter Rush rarely makes the top ten of anything – except the top ten list of most musicians.

    The above list may be the most popular guitarists. The list has some great guitarists (King, Clapton, Beck).I think others are are the list because of their contributions to music, and not because of their raw musical talent (Slash, Ramone and maybe even Richards).

    If you polled actual guitarists the list would be far different. 9 of 10 guitarists would include Van Halen, Liefson, and Allman in the top ten. What say all you real guitarists out there?

  84. sol

    What about Steve Morse? What about John Sykes, or Rik Emmett, or Roy Buchanan, or Vinnie Moore? Slash, but not Jeff Beck, or Eddie Van Halen, or Richie Blackmore, or Gary Moore. I could go on for days.Prince, a great guitarist? You’ve got to be kidding! I don’t think Time’s music critic knows anything about what makes a great guitarist,but he can spot the sub-mediocre players a mile away.

  85. JFS

    Where the heck is Mark Knopfler? He’s got everything, from technique, soul and a unique sound and style up to songwriting skills. And then there’s PRINCE in the list? You’ve got to be kidding.


    Such a dumb list!! Heres how it should be:
    1- Jimi Hendrix
    2- Eric Clapton
    3- BB King
    4- SRV
    5- Jimmy Page
    6- Jeff Beck
    7- Robert Johnson
    8- Chuck Berry
    And as for Slash, or Yngwie, or Prince??!?!?

  87. Casey

    Whats with all the Slash haters? Guns N’ Roses (the Axl, Izzy, Slash, Duff and Adler line up) was one of the most influential rock bands of its time in large part thanks to Slash. You could read that list to some Joe Bloggs on the street and i guarantee he’d be lucky to recognize 7 names MAX out of that line up. Time is a magazine for the people. Is Slash the 2nd greatest electric guitar player of all time? Maybe not but he was fucking sick and doesnt deserve the hate.

  88. Jon

    Where the hell is James Hetfield!?

  89. Klaus

    I’m agree with Time Magazine, They have chosen these guitar players from “ordinary people’s eyes”, not the musicians’ eyes.

    1. Jimi Hendrix (famous guitar player are influence by jimi)

    2. Slash (his guitar solos like, november rain, sweet child o mine, don’t cry etc. are the 1 of the best guitar solos.)

    3. B.B. King (One of the best blues players)

    4. Keith Richards (Rolling stones)

    5. Eric Clapton (great player and famous)

    6. Jimmy Page (led zeppelin, voted for best guitar solo)

    7. Chuck Berry (Johnny B.Goode)

    8. Les Paul (innovative guitar player)

    9. Yngwie Malmsteen (OK, this one is a surprise)

    10. Prince (purple rain?)

    11. Johnny Ramone

  90. jessica


  91. Droogie

    No Dimebag? No Dave Mustaine? No Kerry King? No Satriani? No EVH? And what about Tony Iommi, or even Randy Rhoads?

  92. sodhi

    where the fuck is dimebag ???\
    prince wtf

  93. sodhi

    and sambora ????
    ace frehley ???

  94. sodhi

    wheres sambora and frehley…
    prince wtf????
    time magazine wtf???

  95. CBA

    I think SRV, Frank Zappa, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Brain May & Steve Vai should be on here. I’m glad to see Prince is on this list even though there are many people who I guess “deserve it” more because he is NEVER on any top guitar player lists. I am a big Prince fan & he is an amazing guitar player, Slash himself said he admires his playing. Search “Greatest Guitar Solo Ever” on youtube & see for yourself! Many people pass Prince off as this camp high-heel wearing guy with a crazy high voice but he is one hell of a guitarist! Not to mention singer/songwriter/bass/piano/drums/producer… you get the point :)

  96. Terry

    Not to mention Prince plays guitar in various genres; rock, rockabilly, blues, pop, metal, new wave, pshechedelia, jazz, even latin-tinged guitar. (i think you call it flamenco). Everyone else on that list plays in 3 genras at the very most.

  97. Harry Monk

    Impossible for everyone to agree on a list, but how supposed music ‘experts’ continually miss the likes of Alex Lifeson, Michael Schenker, David Gilmour and Angus Young is beyond me.

  98. Ronbo

    Arggg……not a complete/accurate list to be sure.

    There is no number one guitarist. They ALL bring something to the stage/table. Real muscians do not judge each other in a negative light. They know the blood, sewat and tears that goes into their passion and respect anyone who gives it a try. They learn from each other. They support each other, no matter what the level of expertise.
    They are NOT in competition with each other. The only person you try to out-do is yourself.

    My list:

    - Jimmy Page
    - Hendrix
    - George Lynch
    - Steve Howe
    - EVH
    - Steve Vai
    - Richie Blackmoor
    - Tony Iommi
    - Ace Freley
    - Alex Lifeson
    - Zappa
    - Dimebag

    There are so many many more….(bow) Julian Bream..check him out

  99. whammie bar

    Hendrix is far and above all others. Its the only call I agree with on this list. Beck and Derringer should have been included. Page played well considering how loaded he always was, but he doesn’t belong on a top 10 of all time list. The three King’s and Ledbetter (oops acoustic 12 string, sorry) made significant contributions to music and their techniques are used to this day by others. No one even mentions Jose Feleciano (oops another acoustic), who can run circles around many–BLIND! Van Halen added to the body of technique. I think this guy pulled Prince and Johnny Ramone, Keith Richards (Keith Richards writes great songs, but, shit, I play guitar better) and Saul Hudson out of his ass. Good players, but not part of the 10 best of all time. Les Paul deserves a spot here for his contributions to music as a guitar player (he also invented sound-on-sound recording techniques, which were the predecessor to multi-track techniques of today) Clapton should be on the list. Howe, Walsh and many of the others listed here, like SRV and Satriani, should be nominated for the remaining spots and have a playoff…lol for the positions. Prince? WTF?? Has the guy that made this list ever picked up an axe?

  100. Tim Eimiller

    Pete Townshend and Eddie Van Halen. ’nuff said.

  101. johnny

    First of all Prince is a pop star where as Jerry Garcia is an artist..

  102. Cliff

    Malmsteen’s specialty is embarrassing young men for having respected Yngwie when they were teenage boys. Trust me.

  103. Johnny

    Looking at the list I noticed some people think heavy metal is music.

  104. Chris

    No Django? Someone who with two fingers can outplay most guitarists with four?

  105. axid

    have you ever heard of a band called AC/DC and their lead guitarist?

  106. shmoopy

    Jake Cinninger

  107. Adam

    What a strange list. At least it’s not as bad as the abysmal failure that is the Rolling Stone…

    Let’s see though…

    You left out the majestic tones of David Gilmour…
    You left out the thunder of Ritchie Blackmore…
    You left out the fury of Eddie Van Halen…
    You left out the eastern esoteric beauty of John McLaughln…
    You left out the inventor of heavy metal, Tony Iommi….

    And what’s more, you put in two obscure players … Slash and Prince (who are good), but… why? Without Jimmy Page, Slash’s playing would be no-where. Prince is good, but has not made the impact that the top contenders of this list have.

  108. Tony

    Obviously NONE of you have even heard Prince live before. Along with Mike McCready(Pearl jam) he is one of the most unrated guitarist alive!!!! I suggest you look for some of his live performances up online.
    I agree that John, Eddie, Richie, Muddy, Buddy and a whole list of others should have been added. Slash should NOT have been #2, but in the top 10. As for Yngwie; he shouldnt have been in the top 10.
    I’m tired of scale runners always getting awards and big interviews for memorizing various scales and modes only to turn around and play music behind them!!!

  109. chuck stuart

    1. Edward Van Halen
    2.Jimmy Page
    3.Jimmy Hendrix
    4.Eric Clapton
    5.Jeff Beck
    6.George Harrison
    7.B.B. King
    8.Keith Richards
    9.Les Paul
    10.Eric Johnson

  110. chuck stuart

    hey guys im 50 years old ive seen em all… van halen tops my list notice i left off satriania and steve vai….. they can play no doubt but are not the inovators that page hendrix and van halen were. not even close. some respect to clapton as always and lets not forget the guy from liverpool – the greatest band of all time the beatles george harrison needs to be in there as well as keith richards. Sure slash and other guys can “shred” but talking about “all time” take a look what about the Mccartneys and the Pete townsends of the world. anyhow the list is my list and i stand by it on any day of the year.

  111. chuck stuart

    hey i’m old school. did i forget to mention that dosent mean i dont like or respect the other guys ….. I was going for the best of all time and like Keith Richards said about vertuosity I can’t do what they do and they cant do what I do
    love SRV
    and Y Malsteen
    Joe Perry
    steve vai
    joe satriani
    John Lennon
    Paul McCartney (wrote a lot of the beatles lead guitar stuff)
    Buddy Holly
    roy clark
    chet Atkins
    carlos Santana
    Angus Young …..
    did i leave your favorite out? sorry this is my list!

  112. Ron A


    Stevie Ray Vaughan should be #1 without a doubt, but he’s not even on the list? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    And where’s Van Halen and Santana?!

  113. Vince

    Another list made by people who don’t know a shit about guitar, putting the fanbase before what really matters: historical impact and mastery of the guitar.
    Here would be a nice one to me, and contrary to most teenies putting their list here I play guitar and its history.

    1/ Django Reinhardt – Father of modern guitar playing, first virtuoso.
    2/ Jimi Hendrix – Do I need to say more?
    3/ B.B King – King of the blues, influenced almost every guitarist, including Hendrix.
    4/ Wes Montgomery – Marked the point when jazz guitar reached its maturity.
    5/ John McLaughlin – Any serious guitarist would understand. All of those shredders came from this jazz-fusion guy, which arguably remains the most technical (don’t read fastest, though he has had this title until Al Dimeola arrived) player ever. Its influence spans over jazz as well as technical rock (Dream Theater and such).
    5/ Eric Clapton – Birth of post-Hendrix poppy blues-rock.
    7/ Van Halen – Even though I consider him a sloppy guitar player, he was clearly the first to bring some serious guitar playing after Iommi.
    6/ Yngwie Malmteen – Father of neo-classical metal, defined guitar for a whole generation.
    7/ David Gilmoure – That Pink Floyd dude.
    8/ Stevie Ray Vaughan – Another well known dude.
    9/ Allan Holdsworth – Ever wondered who was EVH’s idol? Him. Another reference for any serious guitar player.
    10/ Paco de Lucia – Godfather of flamenco guitar ;P.

  114. random guy

    You can’t make a list of the all-time greatest. It just isn’t possible. You can do a list of some good guitarists, but you can’t number it. Every guitarist is different.

    My Favorites:

    Van Halen
    Angus Young (my favorite)
    Malcolm Young (it ain’t all about the solos)
    Tom Scholz (smartest man on list & one who probably gets least credit)
    Joe Perry
    Keith Urban (metalheads you can shut up)
    Steve Morse
    Andres Segovia
    Jack White


    For those who question Malcolm, think of a world without that first riff of Back in Black. Then tell me he’s no good.

  115. Chris

    Steve Lukather is the best rock guitarist I ever heard. His studio work is emotional and to the point; his live playing is unparalleled…almost without limits. I’ve never seen anyone else turn it up from a controlled fire (studo) to such an explosion as with Steve plays live. It’s like a Vette when you floor the engine and all 500 Horsepower explode.

    This guy can play as fast as the fastest shredder or can swich off and play with as much emotion, tone and phrasing as I’ve ever heard. “Hero with 1000 eyes” has brilliant studio solo, the live version just takes it to the next level. There truly is none better. Steve Morse is the best acoustic player I’ve ever heard and one helluva rock guitarist.

    SO many honorable mentions (in no particular order):
    Eliot Easton
    Brian May
    Jimmy Page
    Alex Lifeson
    Rik Emmett
    The Late Randy Rhoads, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Healey

  116. cam

    Where is SRV ? Where is SRV ?

  117. speedgod

    The metal heads are upset because they want to see a list of shredders. People who simply enjoy music don’t care about solos as much as guitar enthusiasts or people who love metal and limit themselves to it. You could add Chet Atkins or Andres Segovia to the list of technical players as well, but many people do not know or like the songs that these players may be featured on as much as they like and are familiar with hugely popular guitarists like Edward Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix who not only revolutionized guitar but wrote and interpreted great songs and were emulated by millions of others. People love to mention Malmsteen, but he has no hit songs and though his technical proficiency is good. Greg Howe and Paul Gilbert have taken Malmsteen’s style and improved upon it 100 fold with much more fluidity speed and variation. Howe especially has transcended the genre and is more technically proficient than any of the others, but he is not influencial in the way that Hendrix and Van Halen are. Yngwie influenced all of the neo-classical shredders of the 80′s. He was hated as a blow hard and he disrespected Van Halen in interviews. Overall, Hendrix is the king. He had the looks, the songs, the tech, and a style that no one could touch at the time. No one in his era could touch him. He put the distortion in when others were taking it out and his feedback manipulation and use of the tremelo were precursors to modern day effects.

  118. speedgod

    1. Jimi Hendrix
    2. B.B. King (Copied like hell)
    3. Eddie Van Halen (most popular guitarist of the 80′s, the MJ of guitar. Eddie Van Halen + Zappa = Steve Vai)
    4. Yngwie Malmsteen (Everyone copied this guy but won’t acknowledge that they did because he’s a Swede and an asshole)
    5. Catfish Collins (Where Prince likely got is funk style from. Played with James Brown).
    6. Chuck Berry (Influenced an entire wave of pop music!)
    7. Jimmy Page (The last great Brit guitarist of the 70′s)
    8. Randy Rhodes (Crazy Train)
    9. Kurt Cobain (Popularized and brought to prominence an entire genre for over 10 years)
    10. Andres Segovia (A true classical guitarist, not just some air metal head’s shredder. The most popular and well known classical guitarist of all time. Responsible for the guitar being accepted as a classical instrument.)

    The endless list of metal shredders:

    1. Greg Howe
    2. Michael Angelo
    3. Paul Gilbert
    4. Marty Friedman
    5. Chris Impelliteri
    6. Yngwie Malmsteen
    7. Tony MacAlpine
    8. Joe Satriani
    9. Jason Becker
    10. Petrucci

    With the exception of Paul Gilbert who scored a few hair metal radio hits, people don’t know or don’t care about these guitarist and they will be forgotten in history and will NOT be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You have to be a hell of a song writer to do that. Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix smash this list. Speed isn’t all it takes. These guys simply love guitar. Prince would anihilate these guys with his keyboard. Most metal heads focus on speed only. Many of these can’t chord. Angelo studied Jazz, so he can. Paul can also. The jazz guys ruin these dudes. They are more evolved. Howe tops the list in music knowledge speed and theory. Vai didn’t make it because he’s not as fast. Petrucci copies Satriani and Lefson with a bit of McLaughin and Holdsworth.

    The fathers:

    1. Wes Montgomery
    2. Robert Johnson
    3. John McLaughlin (Miles Davis)
    4. Allan Holdsworth
    5. Larry Coryell
    6. George Benson
    7. Al Di Meola
    8. Roy Clark
    9. Chet Atkins
    10. Les Paul

    I dare you to play these guys! Theuy eat shredders for lunch with the exception of Howe, MacAlpine and Angelo who have studied jazz themselves. These guys combine speed and phrasing with a since of rhythem that is not recognized in the animalistic dungeon sounding music of most repititious and boring neo classical metal.

  119. taiki

    Slash #2? ate u nuts? who the fuck is malmsteen?

  120. sarcasm

    Perfect list.

  121. Perfesser

    Mike Keneally, anyone? Zappa’s last “stunt guitarist”, a position formerly held by Vai; superb technically but deeply original musically. Chronically underrated. Also a wicked keyboard player — can solo on keyboard with his right and play the guitar with his left.

  122. ZEXXES

    Jimi ok. Slash, top ten? No. BB King but no Muddy waters? maybe. Keith Richards before Clapton before ‘Old Slow Hand’ ? Really? Uh… no. Clapton should be 3 or 4 depending on whether your a Stevie Ray fan. Jimmy page should be 5. Al DiMeola should be 6 Joe Satriani and Ingve Malmsteen should slug it out for 7-8 David Gilmour at 9 Les Paul and Chuck Berry while great innovators were surpassed even during there own heyday so only one shuold get on there at 10. Prince doesn’t belong on this list at all… period. Joey Ramone… uh love the Ramones but uh NO! AND… Omitting Eddie Van Halen is just… just… mind boggeling. Technically Satch and Ingve are better… but over all he just has that something that makes him a geniune guitar God. and he can pen a really good ol’ rock and roll song. which makes him numba 2. Satch is my favorite though. he is unreal. Nobody that anyone has mentioned can really touch him. His music though is just unaccessible for the mainstream.

  123. JJ

    Alright guys. Stop your bitching. Personally, I think this list is alright. I would definitely make some changes though. Mine would probably play out like this:

    Van Halen
    Nugent (man deserves some credit!)

    I’m not a huge Malmsteem fan, so I probably wouldn’t put him on here. He seems to ruin every song he remakes. Prince was a horrible choice. I think Ramone is up there. Tom Morello would make an interesting little surprise. Ace Frehley is a good choice. Jerry Cantrell is one of the best grunge guitarists of all time. For newer bands, Mark Tremonti can SHRED. I like Vai. Les Paul could grab a spot just on how legendary he is. Robin Trower deserves to be mentioned. Brian May isn’t my favorite, but he can definitely play. I’d say SRV is definitely top 20. One person everybody forgets about is RONNIE MONTROSE! He knew his way around an axe. I may only be 15, but not many people can argue with this list.

  124. Robert

    Depending on what genre you personally like the lists are going to be different. Punk – Johnny Ramone is great but what about Steve Jones who has done other stuff besides punk. Zakk Wylde and Steve Vai are at the top of my metal list. Classical metal guitarists: Tony MacAlpine is superior to Yngwie. Progressive guitarists: Alex Lifeson deserves more credit than he gets, John Petrucci, and there are just so many great progressive metal guitarists. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have great guitarists as well. So if you don’t listen to it, don’t judge it, it might be great.

  125. IDPmofo

    Most of the comments are worse than the list

  126. IDPmofo

    Andres Segovia doesnt really fall under “eletric”. nor does John Williams

    made a GREAT post.

    Wes Montgomery, Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin were so influential they have to be here. This list isn’t a shred contest, and probably not an ability contest. Guys like Angus Young, Page, Joe Perry etc. wrote classic riffs and shape rock into what it is today. Its obvious the writer is a fan of Slash and Ramone. Prince is a VERY good guitarist. He’s on many peoples Top10s.
    You cant really have a Top 10. Its just too difficult to separate so many great guitarists.
    Some opinions on here are awful. Zakk Wylde?? not even best Ozzy guitarist. Kirk Hammett? If you’re gonna put Metallica in the mix, try Hetfield.
    Nugent, Ace Frehley and Richie Sambora….jeez, LMAO!

  127. John,Paul& George Were All Very Good Guitarists!

    You are *SO* right Chuck Stuart, John Lennon,Paul McCartney and George Harrison were all very good guitar players! In an online 1977 Eric Clapton interview,Eric Clapton In His Own Words he says that there was always this guitar game between John and George and he said partly because John was a pretty good guitar player himself. And Eric was a member of John’s 1969 Plastic Ono Band and played live in concerts with him.

    John made his debut as a lead guitarist on his great early 1964 rocker,You Can’t Do That. And as this guy who runs Keno’s Classic Rock n Roll Site and he also runs a Rolling Stones and a John Lennon fan site says in his review of The Beatles Let It Be album,John showec on Paul’s get Back why he should have played lead guitar more often because he said he did such a good job.He also said he played a really good slide guitar on George’s For Your Blue and he also said he played 1 of the first and best acid guitar parts on his great 1968 rocker,Revolution.

    And not only has Stanley Clarke,Sting,Billy Sheehan,Will Lee,George Martin,John Lennon and Wilco’s John Stirratt called Paul McCartney one of the greatest,melodic and influential bass players of all time,he has always been a great multi-instrumentalist,he’s a great acoustic and electric guitar player,and a pretty good drummer and pianp player too.He played lead guitar on his own 1965 song Another girl,he plays the great bass and guitar solos on Jon’s Ticket To Ride and George’s Taxman,and he played every instrument at age 27 on his first and good solo album,McCartney,and then he did this again 10 years later on MCartney 2(although I’m not too fond of his song compositions on this record)he also played most of the instruments on his 1997 Flaming Pie album,and his recent albums Chaos And Creation In The Backyard and Memory Almost Full.

  128. John,Paul& George Were All Very Good Guitarists!

    The Beatles are the Most Creative Band of All Time By Musician And Song Writer Peter Cross

    BACKGROUND HISTORY: The first musical bands originated in New Orleans among black musicians who have traditionally been the innovators. The first jazz record ever recorded was by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917, and of course they were white because racism always rears its ugly head to hold black people back. But during the Roaring 20′s, young white people couldn’t resist the dance beat laid down by the black jazz bands. Fletcher Henderson, a black man, became the first band leader to achieve national fame possibly because he featured Louis Armstrong on trumpet. Duke Ellington, a classically trained musician, brought a level of style and sophistication to jazz that hadn’t been seen before. But it wasn’t until 1935 that jazz bands with a “swing beat” achieved national attention due to Benny Goodman who I think was the best clarinet player ever to blow air into that instrument. Benny also had the good sense and taste to bring the first great drummer, Gene Krupa, into his band.

    When rock and roll exploded into human consciousness during the early 1950′s, black musicians like Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Smokey Robinson pioneered the way, but a white DJ named Alan Freed is believed to have coined the term “rock and roll”. The first real rock and roll record was “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, written by Jesse Stone who was black and recorded by Big Joe Turner who was also black but it wasn’t a hit. The first big hit rock and roll record was “Rock Around the Clock” written by James Meyers and Max Freeman of obvious ancestry, and that one catapulted Bill Haley and his Caucasian Comets to stardom. During the 1950′s and early 60′s, there were countless “do wop” groups, rock groups, singers and songwriters but until The Beatles hit the charts, there had been very few bands which contained talented songwriters. The vast majority of jazz and rock bands recorded songs written by songwriters who were not performers, with occasional exceptions like Duke Ellington and Buddy Holly. As time goes on, it’s increasingly clear that Lennon/McCartney songs are brilliant classics which will never be forgotten. Now here’s why The Beatles are the most creative band of all time:


    As I sit here writing this at the keyboard of my computer facing the unique and colorful Beatles poster in my bedroom, I’m aware that I have been directly and indirectly inspired by John Lennon’s music as well as by the way he lived his life offstage. Squarely in front of me is a full color poster of all four Beatles standing in a heavenly-like flower garden at about the time of the Abbey Road album. Paul is angelic in his pink suit with a white laced shirt. John is enigmatic peering out from the background. George is charismatic staring directly into the camera from the lower right. Ringo is on the left with a stylish blue suit and his pink ruffled shirt. I always wished I could dress like those guys but obviously there’s a bit of a problem with a money differential there. Surrounding this gorgeous poster which I have never seen elsewhere are my 45 speed original Beatles hit records, including I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout, Can’t Buy Me Love, She’s A Woman, Yesterday, and of course, Hey Jude. And surrounding all that is a chain of 1-1/2″ long orange flicker flame lights which are the most beautiful and unique Christmas lights I’ve ever seen. I chose to decorate the wall directly in front of my work station this way because, as I’ve written elsewhere on this site several times, The Beatles were my major musical influence and having them on the wall in front of me inspires me to write web pages like this one. I was also among the millions of people who were inspired by how The Beatles were actually living their off stage lives. The Beatles’ music creatively stimulated millions of people to change the way they were living, and The Beatles behavior encouraged people to have fun by trying new life style experiences. That’s what I call a perfect example of FORM = CONTENT. In this case it means that the creatively and masterfully varied music The Beatles were producing (form) embodied the real life styles which each of the four Beatles were living (content), together as a band as well as separately as unique individuals.


    This should be self-evident, but just because Paul McCartney has the title of the most popular songwriter in history doesn’t necessarily make him the best songwriter in history. The qualities which do make both Paul and John the best songwriters in history go beyond writing the greatest number of catchy classic songs. “Catchy” means that their melodies and lyrics are instantly memorable. “Classic” means that they stand the test of time. But both Paul and John wrote very sophisticated melodies that moved beyond the simple groups of 2, 4 and 8 patterned phrases used by almost all other songwriters. John and Paul’s melodies soared, floated, cascaded, dived and peaked with true dynamics, naturally following the syllabic lyric patterns – but not always. Sometimes the melodic and lyric patterns were independent of each other, almost counterpoint in nature, and as a songwriter, they never ceased to astonish me with their brilliance and originality. In the beginning, their lyrics were simple and their songs were simple love songs. But they soon began exploring new territory by writing about subjects that hadn’t been covered before. Inspired by Bob Dylan, they wrote true poetry with feeling and depth, using evocative and unusual words. Rubber Soul marked the beginning of their evolution as mature songwriters, Revolver was a break-out album, and Sergeant Pepper was an historic landmark album in terms of new and innovative songwriting as well as production. Every song they wrote was significantly different from the last one even though each song had their unmistakable sound.

    Most songwriters are only average players on their instruments, but John and Paul are both sophisticated guitarists who were able to integrate their playing into their songs and even into their song structure so that the “licks” they played became as catchy a part of their songs as the choruses and verses. Blackbird and Dear Prudence are only two examples of songs which couldn’t possibly be written by any other songwriter because of the guitar playing which forms an integral part of the song structure. In similar fashion, Lady Madonna is the best example of a great song which derives from the unique and beautiful bass part which only Paul could possibly have created.

    Average songwriters achieve the catchy quality by repeating a phrase endlessly or by beating a chorus to death. John and Paul found countless ways to be memorable without ever overly repeating something. The only time they repeated something over and over again for a long time was in Hey Jude, and what they chose to repeat is so gorgeous that one can only wish they had never ended the song. The Beatles were my biggest musical influence and I used to think, “If I could write just one song that’s as good as John and Paul’s worst song, I’d be happy.” People tell me I accomplished that goal and they say one good example is John is Alive, which is my sincere tribute to Sir Lennon.


    Even Ringo could sing when he got a little help from his friends who lived in the yellow submarine. But to say that Paul and John are two of the best singers in rock and roll is to state the obvious. Combining John, Paul and George created the best harmony vocals the world has ever experienced. Even their two part harmonies were unusual, catching us all by surprise on their first hit record with the fast harmony melisma in the chorus of I Want to Hold Your Hand. John had a knack of placing a unique low harmony line underneath Paul’s high melody line so as to form a second melody which created unusual harmony effects. He did that right from the beginning in the verses of She Loves You. Both Paul and John could blast out screaming rock and roll (i.e. Long Tall Sally and Twist and Shout), and both could break our hearts with touching, deep feeling ballads (i.e. Yesterday and Julia). There seems to be no end to their emotional vocal range, and John even explored the heights of vocal psychedelia in songs like She Said (Revolver) and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.


    Paul brought a new style of melodic playing to the bass guitar, reaching a new high of creativity on Sergeant Pepper with a level of sophistication never heard before. Many other musicians besides me recognize Paul as being one of the best bass guitar players ever. George is underrated as a lead guitarist by people with average or below average musical knowledge or ability, but most guitarists (including Eric Clapton) know better. George’s strength is in melody, pure and simple. It would be difficult to find a George Harrison lead which is not melodic, and each of his leads has a strong beginning, a stronger middle and a well defined ending. In fact, that’s Eric’s definition of what makes a good guitar lead. George continually developed new guitar sounds for each Beatles song. John and Paul are also excellent guitarists and both recorded great leads as well as innovative rhythm tracks. All three of the Beatles guitarists may lack showy technical fireworks but they make that definition of guitar mastery irrelevant by overwhelming the senses with creativity, style, and pure melody. The exact same thing can be said about John and Paul’s keyboard playing. Ringo may be underrated as a drummer by the public but he is not underrated by other professional drummers. Ringo mastered the art of drum sounds. No drummer has ever recorded so many different sounds on so many different sounding records. Ringo invented a new style of slow drum playing, epitomized on A Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields Forever. John said many times, “Ringo has the best back beat in the business” and the successful studio drummers understand why John was correct.


    A good definition of charisma needs to include “an unusual ability to influence people and arouse devotion” and “a personal attractiveness which enables a person to influence others”. No musical group prior to or after The Beatles features true charisma emanating strongly from the entire group as well as separately from each member. The Beatles stunned the world with their photogenic quality, their charm, their bubbling and lovable personalities, their cuteness and their unique style. Even before The Beatles achieved fame, people in Liverpool were imitating their haircuts, the way they dressed, the way they behaved, and the way they lived. Such a simple subliminal message about smoking marijuana got communicated to all the hippies who were waiting to happen without actual words ever being spoken. The Beatles had a lot to lose by being explicit on that subject, but they successfully avoided trouble by keeping it very subtle while at the same time clear enough so that we all got it. The Fab Four kept changing their styles rapidly, almost with each album cover, and soon the message became one of explicit spiritualism. After visiting India, The Beatles introduced eastern mysticism and meditation to the Western world for the first time through the mass media. John’s long saga with internal angst, drugs, spiritualism, politics, personal battles, and ultimately his marriage to Yoko played out like a movie the whole world got to watch in fascination. Paul’s happy life with Linda, George’s great focus on meditation, and Ringo’s equanimity throughout were all perfect examples of the power, the truth, and the effectiveness of true charisma.


    Need I say it? Ask the millions of girls who were screaming and fainting at the very sight of them. “The Boys” didn’t move like Elvis or dance like Mick, they just stood there shaking their “mop top” heads around, smiling, laughing, and looking gorgeous as they performed great music and that was it. On their first visit to America, some enterprising weirdo from New York City managed to cut up the hotel bed sheets The Beatles had slept on into 1″ square pieces, and these things were actually sold to girls over the public airwaves by adult DJ’s on the AM radio stations who should have known better. The Beatles phenomenon went way beyond the rock and roll sex star status that had been seen before. Teenage girls in uncountable numbers fell in love, their hearts to be trapped, their heart strings to be continually plucked, and ultimately, their hearts to be broken by the unobtainable object of their love. Worshiping a star from afar? Infatuation? Obsession? Not real love? For many of them, it was their first experience feeling love for a man/boy. Whatever it was, it was very real to all of them, and we all soon understood that The Beatles were The Real Thing.

    That’s why I call The Beatles the Most Creative Band of All Time. They were The Real Thing. The Creative Zenith. The high point on the bell curve of musical history.

    Web page design copyright 1996 © , text copyright 2005 © Peter Cross

  129. John,Paul& George Were All Very Good Guitarists!

    I just noticed that I made a few typing mistakes in my first post.

  130. John,Paul& George Were All Very Good Guitarists!

    The Beatles wrote, played and recorded so many great critically acclaimed, popular songs and albums of all different styles of music and wrote about 50 or more years worth of mostly great music in just an 8 year recording career.

    When The Beatles were playing live in 63,64, 65& 66 they had very limited primitive sound systems at the time,only 100 watt amplifiers,(and George Harrison says in the excellent video series,The Beatles Anthology that special 100 watt amplifiers were made for their August 1965 Shea Stadium concetts,and he said they went up from the only 30 watts before!) no feedback monitors so they couldn’t even hear themselves play and sing(yet they amazingly managed to sing and play in sync and in tune with each other anyway!) plus all of the screaming from the crowds.

    In their January 1969 live rooftop concert they sounded great, the sound systems had improved some by then ,although still pretty primitive compared to today’s, and there were no screaming crowds anymore.

    When I was a teenager I met 3 people who saw The Beatles in concert, 2 saw them in 1966 and 1 saw them in 1964, they all told me they could see and hear them and that they were great.

    On the site Artist Facts in The Rolling Stones section a guy from Canada said he saw The Beatles in concert in 1966 and The Rolling Stones in 1996(and the sound systems by then were a million tines better!) and he said they both were great but he said The Beatles were The *GREATEST* Band ever!

    And former Kiss guitarist Bob Kulick who produced the heavy metal tribute Beatles album,Butchering The Beatles, said he saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1966 and he said he only heard them in bits and pieces but he could hear parts of Baby’s In Black and Paperback Writer and he said they sounded amazing. He also calls them the *GREATEST* band ever.

  131. soufian

    yeah this list is right 100%

  132. The Man


  133. YoGo


  134. Jimmy Williams

    Roy Buchanan at Number 1 . . . no doubt about it.

    Taught Jeff Beck and Robbie Robertson how to play. Clapton stole his stuff, but even Clapton (and Beck) acknowledged Roy as “the master.” Turned down the Rolling Stones twice to be their lead guitarist, as well as Clapton’s Yardbirds. Bested Jimmi Hendrix and Beck while all 3 on stage. Hendrix demurred from a pick off with Roy (wisely). Check him out on YouTube from Austin. He leaves people like Vai and Satriani in the dust.

  135. Apple Man

    Roy Buchanan? Absolutely. the guy was freaking amazing. Best I’ve ever seen. I’d have to second that.

    As much as I like the Stones, no way Keith Richards belongs on here. Even Mick Taylor blew him away as a Stone from 1969-1974, part of why Taylor chose to leave the Stones.

    By the way, that wicked, sick guitar solo on “Sympathy for the Devil” is not Keith Richards. It’s unmistakably Roy Buchanan (uncredited). Listen to them both and decide for yourself.

  136. Zeus

    Wow, Roy Buchanan. Yes. Glad he got his due here. In a league by himself.

    And what’s all this stuff about the Beatles as the greatest band ever. Puhleeeeease, the Rolling Stones were better than them even before the Beatles broke up. But 5 decades of the Stones. They are the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band . . . still. All alone at the top.

  137. matt

    Slash should be the #1 he’s amazing much better than Jimi

  138. Bhaskar

    OK Hendrix is great…….Where are the gods Blackmore, Steve Vai, Petrucci, Satriani, Eric Johnson …..

  139. Ian

    These lists are horrible. I agree with the guy who said there should be separate lists for different styles of guitar player.

    People might be caught up in Eddie Van Halen’s addictions and person problems but before 1978, the sort of guitar playing he made popular barely existed at all; certainly not in the mainstream. Ed is to modern rock what Hendrix was in changing blues guitar into metal/hard rock.

    Putting Prince on this list is an abomination. He has guitar chops, but he’s NOT known for it and he is certainly not influential in the guitar sense. I think Keith Richards is influential but a suck guitar player… putting HIM ahead of Clapton? What a joke.

  140. Bluesfish

    First why is Richards so fucking high. And why are their so many people here that don’t belong. Also why isn’t Clapton 2! I’m mainly into blues and rock that relates to it, so i may be slightly opinionated, but where is Jeff Beck! Also, shouldn’t Allman also be on here? And why is Slash two? This isn’t the most popular guitarist list, but the greatest guitarist list. SVR is a tough one cause so many people think he rocks or is a cheap Albert King imitator. I like Jimmy page there. Zep I and II were incredible playing wise. Also, are we leaving out Rory, Green, Buchanan, (although is don’t like his music he is great) Van Halen, maybe even Pete Townshend? I don’t know many other guitarists metal wise cause I don’t get that genre, but surely some are better than these? Lets just shoot John Mayer to the top Times that wouldn’t change much to this obviously failed attempt at making a list that some random smuck can read your magazine and suddenly believe he has a knowledge of this topic, kinda like how you believed that.

  141. Bluesfish

    Sorry for the grammar issues and punctuation

  142. Bluesfish

    Im going to bitch more so here is my list example: May be genre biased
    First two ore greatest and second greatest, the rest are kinda unordered.

    -Hendrix-of course
    -Clapton-clapton is god, bluesbreakers + cream = amazing
    -Jeff(suprised? some of Jeff’s stuff really had been great over the years, Jeff vs Jimmy may simply be preference.)
    -Jimmy(Can leave out Zep 1. Also more versatile than Beck, but I don’t know who beats who in blues.
    -Roy Buchanan-listen to Sweat Dreams
    -Peter Green
    -Duanne Allman
    -Albert King-not gonna put Stevie Ray on the list due the fact that Albert influenced everything he did.
    -George Harrison-I’m not a beatles guy, but Harrison does rock his solo on Alvin Lee’s the bluest blues is mind blowing.

  143. ElRando

    Just read the list and I have to agree with the majority of people here. This is a bad list of best electric guitar players.
    If they named it most influential guitarists of all time I might agree but even then they’d still be missing some guitarists.

  144. donrichardson

    All I have to say is where’s Angus Young?

  145. RHiNoFeROs

    Comparing guitarists in this manner is like comparing brushstrokes in paintings. You have to agree to who is the greatest painter and the greatest painting and the subject and the era and the style, and on and on.

    All of this is too suggestive for a list to make any sense.

  146. Guitar itself

    1 – John Petrucci
    2 – Yngwie Malmsteen
    3 – Jimi Hendrix
    4 – Steve Vai
    5 – Tony Iommi
    6 – André Olbrich
    7 – Dave Murray
    8 – Ritchie Blackmore
    9 – Adrian Smith
    10 – Janick Gers
    11 – Jimmy Page

  147. pub goff

    Top 10 Most Influential Electric Guitarists in Rock History:

    1. Jimi Hendrix (needs no justification)
    2. Jimmy Page (the sheer number of innovative, legendary riffs makes him a living legend)
    3. Chuck Berry (he was rockin before anybody knew what it was)
    4. Tony Iommi (Was there REAL hard rock before Sabbath?)
    5. Eddie Van Halen (I remember hearing Eruption for the 1st time)
    6. Kirk Hammett/James Hetfield (There’s no denying Metallica’s innovations that were at the forefront of modern metal)
    7. Eric Clapton (A bit overrated but was huge in blues-rock)
    8. Stevie Ray Vaughn (He was too bluesy for my taste, but watching him play was to be in awe- power & energy, even if it was coke-fueled)
    9. Yngwie Malmsteen (makes the list based on skill & technique)
    10. Keith Richards (I’m not a big Stones fan, but their longevity & number of hits gets him on the list)

    Who doesn’t deserve to make the list:
    -Jeff Beck (What did this guy ever do? Certainly not top 10.)
    -Ritchie Blackmore (I’m a fan but Deep Purple doesn’t compare to Zeppelin)
    -Steve Vai & Joe Satriani (Nothing against their skill but Eddie Van Halen gets more credit for doing it first)
    -Steve Howe (I’m a fan but Yes wasn’t influential enough)
    -Alex Lifeson (Good but not an innovator. Plus he’s in a nerdy band)
    -Angus Young (AC/DC rocks but wasn’t/isn’t particularly special)
    -Randy Rhodes (Died too young. No way.)
    -David Gilmour (I’m a fan but not quite influential enough)
    -Ted Nugent (People quit going to his shows because he lacked depth. Besides, he’s a raving right-wing lunatic. Fuck him.)
    -Slash (Seriously, now. This is not a “best guitarists of the 90′s list”)
    -Prince (Props but not known for his guitar influence)
    -The Edge (Close but no cigar. Maybe top 30 because U2′s sound is so well-loved. Plus I’m biased, being a big fan.)

    Did I mention phuck Ted Nugent? Oh yes I did. Carry on.

  148. Guitar itself

    I agree, but I miss Rhandy Roads so :( He was sent to save the Heavy Metal’s Messiah from eternal damnation and then gone away…

  149. aged_shredder

    The entire idea of this list is a total waste of time and energy, but being sucked in like the rest of you I have to agree that SRV needs to be on this list, as does Edward Van Halen. In general I think pub goff’s list is pretty dang accurate if you’re looking at rock guitarists from the 70′s – 90′s, which was (let’s face it) really the last great era of guitar. Go into any guitar store these days and the 15 year old snot-noses are playing riffs from the 80s!

    Personally I would replace Richards with DiMeola and also remove Berry and Clapton in place of Vai. I loved Randy Rhoads — we all missed out on a lot when he died.

  150. Phil

    I think this list is quite correct. However, most of the people here feel the list should be filled by sorting guitarists according to the complexity of strokes and play. However, everyone is missing what really matters. The guitarists are more often recognized for the trend they once created for the mainstream music.

    Today guitarists still have Jimi Hendrix or Slash as an inspiration, but of course someone like Yngwie Malmsteen had its technique acknowledged. A pianists and peridodical guitarist myself, I agree with most of the list, but I would swap some spots. However, some great figures like Van Halen are missing from this list. Yet is a good reference.

  151. Robb

    In no order (which can not be done)


    That’s it. That IS the list.

  152. Ben Sona


    Where is Pete Townshend for one thing??? He invented the power chord, playing with feedback and practically all of modern rock. How is Keith Richards on the list and not Pete? Keith used Pete’s style on many of his songs.

    There would be no Ramones, Van Halen and anyone else who came after 1965 if not for Pete’s influence. Great guitarists are not just about technical ability but also innovation and they are applied to song writing.

    Prince, please! He is the most unoriginal artist out there. And as for Malmsteen, who cares about any of this guys music. Love Slash but he is far from a legend.

    What are you guys smoking at TIME???

  153. ScottT

    Predictably ridiculous.

    Hendrix at number 1 on a list of great rock guitarists would be fair enough. Credit where credit is due. Other great rock guitarists which immediately spring to mind – Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen, of which only one is on this list. Unfortunately though, this list is simply the 10 Best ELECTRIC guitar players of all time, all genres included. Jimi certainly would deserve a spot on that list, but not number 1.

    Django Reinhardt (yes he played electric guitar), Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian…

    The greatest living player, and THE guitarist of our time across all genres (aside from Flamenco where Paco is a god), Pat Metheny?! His great contemporaries Allan Holdsworth and John Scofield? Even blues greats like Buddy Guy (known to have directly influenced Jimi, Eric, etc), Stevie Ray Vaughn and Rory Gallagher are absent.

    And to add salt to the wound, SLASH at number 2? Slash in the top 200?!

    Time magazine should stick to their area/s or expertise, and stay away from music. The editors who published this list probably have never even HEARD the acoustic guitar played! God help the memories of Paco de Lucia, Baden Powell, Raphael Rabello, Andres Segovia and Julian Bream!

  154. sdf

    wow, what a joke…

  155. FPF

    Have you ever heard of Andres Segovia ? Paco de Lucia ? These are real musicians.

    Slash… give me a break

    Prince… insulting

  156. FPF

    Have you ever heard of Andres Segovia ? Paco de Lucia ? These are real musicians.

    Slash… give me a break

    Prince… insulting

  157. zetan

    cares who? why have a top ten list? My list would have been in a different order- but it would be a waste of time to put it together.

  158. Rob

    Prince? Um, pass that spliff over here, man.

    Slash is a punk who couldn’t play his way out of a wet paper bag.

    Eddie Van Halen belongs at number one, hands down. He pioneered guitar playing, transforming the 70′s into the 80′s single-handedly.

    I agree, where’s Steve Vai, Nuno Bettancort, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Satriani, and the other REAL guitar virtuosos.

    Eric Clapton?

    Get back on the sofa with your Cheetos and leafy green herb, and stop making lists about things of which you know nothing.

  159. slimbo

    Well what a list!!!
    Absolutely stupid without any musical basis.
    This should be called a “popularity” list not a “best of” list.
    Surely someone who changes history ie trends etc… holds claim to being influential.
    “Best” at anything is based more on popularity than tech ability.
    Hendrix,page,clapton,srv,bb king,van halen,malmsteen,satriani,etc….
    all changed the way electric guitar was played.
    There are others now who are doing similar.
    To say one is better than the other is so childish and petty.
    Different styles and types, just like sportstars of yesteyear and current ones.
    Some things to think about? Who can play all styles easily? Who is still playing after a long time. And where are all the copiers that always come along when a new style is introduced?
    My list for tech ablity rock guitar in no order is,
    Steve moorse
    Randy rhodes
    Van halen
    I can go on and on but no one can deny this lists credibility.
    Longevity and musical ability must count more for speed and effects.

  160. slimbo

    Ps i will post a pop version of this list one day.
    And maybe a metal,classical etc…..?

  161. m2dad

    Any top list without Eric Johnson (among others) is bogus

  162. chris

    Jeff Beck. It’s impossible to exclude him. Better than Clapton and Page. Better than Hendrix. Just not as commercial. But he’s been the only one who combines technical ability with actual musicianship at a level beyond what the Billboard charts dictate. Listen to his work with the Yardbirds; better than anything any guitarist of his era produced. Then listen to “Guitar Shop” and it’s superior to any guitarist of the 80s and 90s. And I’m not even mentioning the releases that beck fans adore.

    Angus Young. Several steps above Slash.

    Van Halen? Certainly overrated, but better than Prince and Slash.

    Prince? Please! Noodles from the Offspring is far superior. Then again, so are abut 1,000 other guitarists.

  163. Name

    Why all the Slash hate?

  164. Tickman

    Sorry but I have to disagree with all the hate on Prince. Although he does not go for all the showing off on his records, his playing is absolutely amazing live, and the guitar playing he puts on the albums is tasteful. I think it says something that he has so much ability but realizes that people would rather produce a killer song than bloat his music with unnecessary solos. Some more guitar players should follow that example (ahem Jimmy Page). His playing has soul, which is a lot more important than playing as fast as you can like Malmsteen and Vai. Those G3 guys just bore me to death. They can play absurdly fast, but that’s the extent of it. I’d rather listen to music.

  165. Tickman

    Incidentally, all you Eric Johnson fans, do you know who had him signed to Warner Bros? Prince!

  166. soufian

    this list is true,slash yeah i agree

  167. redjim

    no place for the legends gary moore and rory gallagher of course every one is entitled to their opinion but the list no i cant agree with most of the top 10

  168. Jackass

    Ooh, how original. If I wanted to see the same friggin’ list of way overrated guitarists I’ve been seeing for the past 10 years, I could just search youtube. I’m going to go out on a limb and just say most of the guitarists you listed are not only not in the top ten, they suck at guitar. Deal with it.

  169. The stormwind

    Very funny list. Without John Norum?????????????
    Malmsteen is neighbouring Prince?

  170. Michael C.

    JASON BECKER!!!!!!!!!!

  171. Juana

    I think Randy Rhoads deserves a spot in that list

  172. Michael Coleman

    Along with the ridiculous omission of Jason Becker I already pointed out, the absurdity of this list can also be justified by its exclusion of Shawn Lane. I always look at this “list” when I’m feeling down and need a good laugh.

  173. Joe Miles

    This list deseves it!

  174. Paul Setter

    No list that omits Stevie Ray Vaughn can be taken seriously. Of course, we all can come up with names that should or could be on such a list. It all depends upon the style that a person prefers. In the case of Vaughn, we’re dealing with technical expertise that rivals that of Hendrix.I own only one of Vaughn’s CDs. I don’t favor him because of his style. It’s just that he could do things that many of the other “best” guitarists could only dream about. It’s true that he died quite a while back, but so did some of the others on the list.

  175. Paul Setter

    I forgot to mention Gilmore.

  176. Brian

    How can this list have Prince on it and not include Duane Allman?

  177. Yngwie

    Where the F is Gavin Rossdale???

  178. me

    What about Peter Frampton……….have all you monkey’s forgot about him?

  179. Legend

    And Angus Younug?????
    I saw him at Stade de France, Paris. A solo of 22 minutes, an amazing solo, maybe the best i have heard.

    And Slash must be in this spot.

  180. nrc

    David Gilmour shuld be in first 5 for sure so prince go out of the list WTF is wrong with ppl today prince rly sux!!!!

  181. Atilla

    Slash deserves to be 2nd in that list. Don’t talk anything about Slash !!! He is a great guitar player, he is a great rocker… He is the coolest guy in this f…… world !!!

  182. ill_ man

    Wat’s the matter with u and Slash. He is one of the best guitarists in the world, even in the whole space. He can play fast but he doesn’t, cause he believes in soul and emotions. Firstly, he is the master of bends. He is the best band player in the world. He even teaches Bend lessons in Berkley College of Music. Secondly, he plays really cool licks. u Can play that licks but u cant play it like slash. Don’t understand me wrong, i think steve vai is the best guitarist in the world but i’m sick of people treating slash bad. he may be playing his solos a little slow, he may be playing hard rock, not metal but he deserves number 2 on this list. BB King deserves the 3rd place too but what the f*ck is wrong with Time Magazine. Yngwie? He IS fast but he has no melody and no composing ability. Do u understand, Slash has a cool technic but he doesn’t psuh it hard that much cus’ he knows that melody and quality of the licks are more important

  183. Joel

    Jeff Beck!

  184. Kayster

    Terry Kath, most underrated guitar player of the 20th century Check out his solo in Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4 and other guitar work on utube.

  185. Kayster

    PS What Jimi thought about Terry Kath:

    Terry Kath
    January 31st 1946 ~ January 23rd 1978

    He was a lead guitarist in a league with Jimi Hendrix – this according to no less an authority than Hendrix himself. After hearing the band in 1968 at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles, Hendrix told Chicago saxophone player Walter Parazaider “Your guitar player is better than me.” Hendrix was so shocked and amazed at his guitar abilities that he took him and the band on tour as the opening act on his and Janis Joplin’s European tour in 1968. Allegedly, his was also one of the only times that Hendrix was actually floored by another guitarist. Rock critics, unfortunately didn’t offer the same for Kath. Pop music critics seemed to rebuke Chicago with regularity during the band’s hey days in the 1960s and 1970s.

  186. Scott

    Joe Satriani isn’t on here?! That’s crazy.

  187. GDog

    This just shows Time Rag-azine is not worth reading. Keith Richards and Prince?

  188. lllamaaa

    robert johnson? idk if anyone mentioned him.
    or maybe lead belly. that’s just a few.

  189. T.Lyudacris

    Where is John Frusciante?!
    WHERE IS HE!?!

  190. Hayley

    I’m disappointed Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains hasn’t been mentioned. Kurt Cobain’s guitar playing was absolutely nothing compared to his.
    And yeah, Page and Clapton should definitely be higher on this list, and Pete Townshend and David Gilmour should be in there too.

  191. Michael

    This list does need some serious changes, and there isn’t just 10, it can’t happen. But I do like hendrix on top, changed music forever. Slash… He’s the man, he loves and cares about the music, and puts his heart and soul into it and makes memorable solos and riffs that appeal to the ear and emotions. And with the guys new solo album? He can do it ALL. it’s so diverse and was composed beautifully, and at number 3, Buckethead. The guy has real talent, and does very well when on his own. Rhandy Rhodes deserves a spot, as well as Eddie van halen. No angus young. Sorry, but AC/DC makes him. But the top 3 best are definately Hendrix, Slash, and Buckethead when you talk about being epic, writing music, and showing emotion and being one with the instrument. Guitar is/was their life. Playing fast doest matter, it’s what you put into it, what makes it yours, and what sets you apart from everybody else, which these 3 have accomplished.

  192. mlyn

    ..those are their list..i you want to recognize your fave guitarists. then publish your own mag…

  193. Aurels

    There’s one fantastic electric guitar player missing on this list : Mike Oldfield. Nobody think about him but he revolutionned the modern music with Tubular Bells and most of his discography… I think he deserves a rank in this list.

  194. nino


  195. \m/

    This list is TOTALLY ABSURD..

    -Pay no attention to this blasfemi.

  196. Amine

    a list with no satriani inside is absurdity itself

  197. Gibson.com Readers Rank The Top 50 Guitar Players of All Time | Fretbase

    [...] to let Time Magazine have the last word on top guitarists, Gibson.com has recently published its list of the Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.  Because the [...]

  198. LA WOMAN

    I would include Randy Holden who played with Blue Cheer and then made an album called Population II.

  199. Joey

    What about Tom Morello?????

  200. Eric

    Folks, Kirk Hammett really isn’t that good. Hetfield plays most everything on their records anyway.

    David Gilmour and Randy Rhodes, yes. SRV, no. Put him next to Jimi and he’s an exact replica – nothing earth shattering there.

    You CAN make a top ten list but because there are so many different kinds of music out there then you can’t have the list overloaded with blues guys. One or two is enough. Sorry Clapton.

  201. Erik

    First of all – you’re not great cuz you’re famous. Most of the names belong there, but there are two that need to go for sure!

  202. Sydney Simon

    Pathetic.Here is mine

    1.Allan Holdsworth.
    2.Jeff Beck.
    3.Jimmy Page.
    4.Wes Montogomery.
    5.Jimmy Page.
    6.Jimi Hendrix.
    7.Django Reinhardt.
    8.Chuck Berry.
    9.Duane Allman
    10.Steve Morse.

  203. Sydney Simon

    OUCH…WOOPS !!!
    Corrected…Let me do that agaian.

    Pathetic.Here is mine

    1.Allan Holdsworth.
    2.Jeff Beck.
    3.Jimmy Page.
    4.Wes Montogomery.
    5.Eddie Van Halen.
    6.Jimi Hendrix.
    7.Django Reinhardt.
    8.Chuck Berry.
    9.Duane Allman
    10.Steve Morse

  204. Russ

    This is all very subjective. We all have favs and I think this is evident throughout the posts. The list could be the top 50 and still leave some out and you definitely cannot rank them. Oh yeah…Pub Goff…you’re an idiot! Ted not only put on great shows, but now he fights for your rights to live in a country where you can be free to post your nonsense and let us all know you’re an immature punk.

  205. Russ

    How can you possibly pick the 10 greatest electric guitar players of all time? This is so subjective. We all have our favorites and those will be reflected in our lists. You could have a Top 50 and still leave out some great guitar players. Oh yeah, Pub Goff…you’re an idiot! Ted not only put on great shows, but now he fights for a free country where morons like you can express their immature views of the world in an open forum. YOU…Carry On…My Wayward Son.

  206. micheal

    Jimi deserves #1 because he was the first guitarist to really use effects Slash is awsome but he should be #3 and page should be before him and then van halen and yngwie malmsteen should not even be on this list because all of his stuff sounds the same and he is really sloopy

  207. Scott

    Slash shouldn’t be on this list!
    Where is George Harrison?
    And I agree with so many others, Brian May should be here too.
    Without Chuck Berry you wouldn’t have had rock and roll as we know it.
    And who ever it was that said Keith Richards ripped off all his riffs is nuts! I love Jimi Page, but he is known to have ripped off lot’s of music. But he should be #1 anyway, because of the great guitar playing. Someone mentioned Ace from Kiss, come on, really?

  208. Chris

    Django Reinhardt, classic jazz guitarist (speed with only two fingers on the fretting hand!) deserves mention, even if not top-10. Prince is awesome, but not top-10 (perhaps top 50).

    I’m a blues man myself, and while BB King deserves a top spot (if not top-10), what about the other two Kings (particularly Albert) of blues, Buddy Guy (a true showman and master), SRV…

    We definitely need a list for every genre–even sub-genres–to work everyone’s tastes in and do justice to the greatest musicians. Truth told, even the short list of blues men I mentioned wouldn’t necessarily compare well to one another.

  209. Chris

    …A big Thank You to everyone for listing some great players I didn’t think of or didn’t know–I’m getting a kick and an education by reading this board–and a shout-out to the other Chris who posted Django before me. Long live guitar.

  210. CandyRat1

    You seem to have completely missed out the fact that todays indisputable number one electric guitarist is a guy named STEFFEN SCHACKINGER

  211. Jaime

    LUDICROUS, ABSURD AND DISTURBING… THIS HAS TO BE A BAD JOKE… prince??? LMFAO!!! the people who made that list obviously never have played guitar, the only 3 they got right are Hendrix, Page and Malmsteen and the fact that they even made that list is amazing because the ignorance shown is absolutely absurd I mean what happened to Di Meola, Satriani, Gilmore, Vai, Romeo, Petrucci, Van Halen, Friedman, McLaughlin, Becker, Firkins, MacAlpine, Hetfield, Gilbert, Lukather, Johnson, Santana, Beck, Lifeson, Howe, Morse, Vaughan, Govan, Murray, Schon, Skolnick, Schenker, Roth, etc., etc., etc.

  212. Angry dude1

    where the feblarkerjarks is Mark Knopfler

  213. Jaime Castaño

    RIDICULO, ABSURDO Y PERTURBADOR… ESTO TIENE QUE SER UN MAL CHISTTE… prince??? ME CAGO DE LA PUTA RISA!!! obviamente la gente que hizo esta lista jamás ha tocado guitarra, los unicos 3 que acertaron son Hendrix, Page y Malmsteen pero el hecho que estén en la lista es más increíble porque la ignorancia demostrada es absolutamente absurda, es decir que pasó con Di Meola, Satriani, Gilmore, Vai, Romeo, Petrucci, Van Halen, Friedman, McLaughlin, Becker, Firkins, MacAlpine, Hetfield, Gilbert, Lukather, Johnson, Santana, Beck, Lifeson, Howe, Morse, Vaughan, Govan, Murray, Schon, Skolnick, Schenker, Roth, etc., etc., etc.

  214. Scott

    Let us not forget Alvin Lee (ten years after)

  215. Dan

    B.B. should be #1 if for no reason other than the fact that he influenced so many other guitarists.

  216. Jon

    I’m just trying to figure out what criteria this list is based on. I’m so sick and tired of reading Johnny Ramone’s name on top 50 lists. The guy’s skill level is that of “the Edge’s” at best. he plays a few cords and died young and that’s the only reason why he is on lists. Prince is a phenominal istrumentalist, but to put him on a top ten guitar list is ridiculous. Keith Richards plays great riffs, but top ten electric guitarists? King and Paul are Pioneers and highly skilled so you could make a case. Malmsteen is impecably technical and deserves to be there but lacks in substance of play, He writes and plays at one speed. The only people who I think belong there out of that list is Malmsteen, Clapton, King, Paige and Hendrix. To have an ELECTRIC GUITAR LIST NOT INCLUDING EDDIE VAN HALEN OR STEVIE RAY VAUGHN NULLIFIES ALL OF THE LIST’S VALIDITY. ELECTRIC mind you, how about…Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Joe Satrianni, Vitto Bratta, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmore, Alvin Lee, Mark Knopfler, Brian Setzer. There I just named ten better than Prince, Slash, Richards and Johnny Ramone without even having to think hard.

  217. Jimi

    Slash is a good player but #2?! Slash should be number 150 or something, so many better players…

  218. John


  219. bucketface

    Uncle fester is Einstein.
    Mona lisa is a polaroid.
    I’d believe the moon is
    made out of cheese, before that.

  220. DreddDubai

    1. Allan Holdsworth
    2. Al diMeola
    3. Yngwie Malmsteen
    4. Ritchie Blackmore
    5. Eddie Van Halen
    6. Jimmy Page
    7. Jimi Hendrix
    8. Steve Vai
    9. John McLaughlin
    10.Joe Satriani

  221. DJL

    UMMMMM FROM A 25 YEAR GUITAR VET. I do nothing but play guitar after work. seriously,,,, thats all i do.

    Ill tell you the bext guitar player i have come across even though there are the obvious snubs by this POS list.

    Dimebag, Rhoads, Vai, Satch, friedman, petruci and many more…… but the most aw inspiring guitarist of all time is clearly Jason Becker people. jesus christ have you guys ever heard perpetual burn? its absolute genius and the closest thing to mozart on guitar we will ever hear. GOD

  222. DreddDubai

    1. Andy James
    2. Joey Tafolla
    3. Govan Guthrie
    4. Nuno Bettencourt
    5. Shawn Lane
    6. Ritchie Kotzen
    7. Fernando Miyata
    8. Jerry C
    9. Arkadiy Starodoub
    10.Luis Moreno

    Beat this list…..

  223. kmd

    1 slash 2 paul ddwen 3 jimmy hendrix 4 mac fliovi 5 vector 6 t crush 7 angus youg 8 joe satriani 9 wendy towner

  224. cary georges

    Check out the results of the 50 greatest guitarists here:

  225. Hanes

    Put Orianthi, please. She’s so amazing.

  226. Guitar

    Some great Guitarists on the list but where the hell is Rory Gallagher who was from Ireland he was one of the most talented guitarist ever and even jimmy Hendrix said he was the best in the world ??

    Do you guys not know who the great Rory Gallagher is ?

  227. Guy

    This list is a JOKE! You guys don’t know s**t about good guitar players! Slash? BB king? Eric Clapton?! Are you kidding me? Where is John Petrucci? Kirk Hammett? Steve Vai? And why is Yngwie Malmsteen on no. 9? He should be way up in the list! Once again, Time Magazine has proven that they have nothing but ignorant journalists and editors. This list should never be published. Go to hell Time Magazine!

  228. Alex Hirsch

    My top 10 list in order 1 to 10.

    1. Yngwie Malmsteen
    2. Jimmy Hendrix
    3. Ritchie Blackmore
    4. Joe Satriani
    5. Randy rhodes
    6. Dushan Petrossi
    7. Tony Iommi
    8. Steve Vai
    9. Michael Angelo Batio
    10. Axel Rudi Pell

    That’s my list like it or not. And forget about Slash he’s over rated. He’s really not that good and shouldn’t be in the top 20 sorry. Yngwie Malmsteen is the the best he’s number 1 and no one will ever compare to him playing the guitar bye…

  229. Ian

    As everyone else said: The list depends on the sort of music you like.

    BB King
    Albert King
    R. Johnson

    Hard Rock?
    Jimi Hendrix
    Jimmy Page
    Angus Young
    Maybe Van Halen, but please, don’t let your head explode because of tapping. It’s easy to do. But he invented it, so, he should be on the list for making all the next generations of guitar players what they are. A complete tapping crap.

    Metal? I love it, but it isn’t the place to search talented guitar players. But, there are some of them that are great:
    Tony Iommi
    Yngwie Malmsteen
    Steve Vai
    That’s it, good playing what the play. I love metal but no metal guitar player can compare with Hendrix, Page or King (both Albert and BB).

    Slash, Prince and Keith Richards are not bad, maybe what they play can sound good, but the technique…

    Well, that’s just my opinion, everyone has a personal opinion and there is possibly no two persons who totally agree.
    I tried to be as objective as I can, but even trying everything is 90% likes.

  230. Jack Klase

    I’m not fan of Eric Clapton. I think he’s overrated.
    Prince is certainly underrated for his guitar playing. I’m glad to see him in somebody’s Top 10. Although he is not in mine.
    Chuck Berry should be number 2 (at least) on everybody’s list.
    I think Stevie Ray Vaughan is the obvious omission.
    It should look like this:

    1. Jimi Hendrix
    2. Chuck Berry
    3. B.B King
    4. Jimmy Page
    5. Keith Richards
    6. Mark Knopler
    7. Joe Satriani
    9. Steve Vai
    10. Stevie Ray Vaughan
    11. Eddie Van Halen

    We can argue forever who should be in, and who should be out, but all these guys deserve to be in somebody’s Top 10.

  231. Dano

    The fact that Yngwie is even on this list makes me both laugh and cringe. Johnny Ramone is as well. Jimi of course is on top but the idea itself of trying to make one of these lists always seems ridiculous to me. You can’t rank guitarists on a #1-#10 basis like this, especially when you’re friggin Time magazine. Even Rolling Stone got this list better than they did, and RS’s was crap too

  232. heyy

    who the fuck made this? OK slash is good but better than Eric Clapton?! and where’s Brian May and Carlos Santana? they’re not good enough? the guy who made this is LAME

  233. Albert M.D.Chase

    Listen first! Now , the best guitar player of world is the young Pedro Castilho. He is only fantastic.

  234. Rogelio Bellman

    Thanks for the Information, thanks for the fine Post. I will come back soon . Great information about learning guitar playing: learn and master guitar

  235. walter

    You will never be able to compile a “best of” list that will satisfy the majority. First off, most readers probably don’t play the guitar. Secondly, most individuals interested in this competitive guitar wars forum are mired in the classic rock genre. I agree with a previous post that stated most people probably haven’t ever heard of the most brilliant guitarists.
    How could there be no flamenco or creative jazz players on the list? Why? Because they play musical styles that are not in the mainstream. Yet, many of these post -pubescent boys drool every time they hear yet another guitar solo in Am pentatonic. Hence, the omission of accomplished guitarist like Dereck Bailey, Paco de Lucia, Lenny Breau, along with countlesss others. Let’s just make these lists into my favorite guitarists, rather than turning every aspect of modern society into yet another competitive event (i.e. American Idol;, et al.) Let’s just celebrate the greatness. All of Time’s top ten guitarists are extremely talented guitarists, but I’ll bet everyone of them would mention some bloke we’ve never heard of as one of their top ten guitarists. I’m also sure they would all undoubtedly marvel at the techniques or virtuosity of other guitarists. That, in part, makes them the credited musicians they are today.

  236. asfsadfas

    wtf, slash is on this list?

  237. Scott

    Certainly a very hot topic. Everyone has their favorite guitar players. While I’m not sure Prince belongs in the top 10, every time I seem him play guitar, he blows everyone away. Check out the Concert for George for more proof.
    I think that any list of the top 10 needs to include SRV. While BB was a ground breaker I don’t think strictly as a player, he should be up that high. Chuck Berry is another ground breaker and the first to hit those double note solos but probably not in the top 20 let alone Top 10. Chet Atkins influenced many of these guys and we probably need a country player in there anyway. Maybe James Burton.
    Eddie Van Halen is one of the cleanest and fastest and definitely influenced a whole generation of players in the 80′s.
    Maybe the point is that you can’t just name 10…too many genres, too many generations of players etc..

  238. Dave

    I like Prince as much as the next R&B fan, but he has no place on this list. Carlos Santana or a million other guitar players are more qualified.

  239. Keith Richards Discusses Big Risk For Guitarists: Electrocution | Fretbase

    [...] just because we want to protect the good name of Sacramento).  Not only is Keith Richards #4 on Time Magazine’s list of the 10 greatest electric guitar players of all time, but he was also #10 on the Rolling Stone [...]

  240. Rex

    No Angus Young or Billy Gibbons!?, Unbelievable, slash above Page what a joke.

  241. Dee Dawg

    Prince is by far the most versatile out of all the guys listed here. And none of you guys dissing him, could play the guitar half as well as he can. Cuz if you could, you’d be well know as opposed to throwing out insults online. So go back to your 9 to 5 jobs at McDonalds and keep dreaming.

    I don’t profess to be an expert on guitar playing but I can tell when a guy plays with soul and creativity that moves me.

    With that said…. in no particular order

    Van Halen
    Curtis Mayfield
    Andy Summers
    Ernie Isley
    George Harrison

  242. JB

    No Jeff Beck? No good!

  243. Thomas

    The absolute greatist guitar palyer of all time was Danny Gatton.

  244. Neo

    John Petrucci & John Frusciante would cry a river if they read this pathetic list….
    might as well throw in Kurt Cobain while you’re at it..

    oh..and another person would be crying in heaven as well..his name is Hideto ‘hide’ Matsumoto

  245. Tom

    Woi!1#ynwie n 2# man kidal. Ok

  246. Chris

    Yngwie Malmsteen shouldnt even be on this list. His guitar playing isnt even complictated, all he does is sweep! Most “decent” guitar players can do that… Paul Waggoner from BTBAM is a much better guitarist, (he should be in the top 3 at least) but seriously u shouldnt be famous just for doing sweeps… also you shouldnt measure guitar skill by how fast you can play or how insane or complicated it is, but because someone can pick up a guitar and play beautiful music.

  247. ED

    WHERE THE EDGE!! EDGE from the U2…

  248. Josabi’s 3rd Anniversary Show with Hydra Melody and The Sound of Curves, Saturday Dec. 4th | kennyfaherty

    [...] Mike Alessi Thomas Allier HÃ¥kan Andersson This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← haiku 10-10-10 wake up to Cyber Monday → LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  249. Caroline Locke


    How about STEVE HOWE?????????????

  250. pj

    I agree with keith richards, bb king and chuck berry. People will disagree but I would definately include the edge. Muddy waters maybe deserves a place on the list aswell.

  251. zetan

    Who complied that original list? Is the person a retard? No Eddie val halen! Keith over Jimmy page! Slash at #2! Prince is on the list!
    All I can say to whoever that is, is

  252. Alex

    I’m not a great guitar player myself, more of a producer. And it amazes me how much people hates Prince guitar playing, or even him as an artist. Saying such as that he is the least original musician they know. People got to be deaf or listening to just recent material. His visual style scared the hell out of homo phobians.

    THe fact is that he is easily one of the most original artists out there combing the such as Hendrix, Little Richard, Santana, James Brown, Al Green, Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, Beatles, Joni Mitchel etc in one, and still sounding more Prince than anything else. He is not a overplaying showoff like many others on the list. He is is using air and art pauses like the likes of Miles Davis.

    And just because 80% of these anonymous haters are just pure purists listening to metal or rock. You wouldn’t have shit to say about funk, rnb, soul, gospel. The reason why Prince would be atleast a great player. I’m not saying he should be on the list, is his composing of guitar, it suits the songs perfectly. There’s enough of nerds who knows how to play more notes per second than the other. Screw that shit. I hate music that is only trying to be technical.

    Prince is both technical, a great composer, a great improvisor, is listening to the rest of the composition to make it fit, is rythmic, is soulful. Check out songs like the end of Private Joy, huge parts of Computer Blue, vidoes from the Love Sexy tour of him playing the cover of Down Home Blues, him ending Lets Go Crazy, the cover of Just My Imagination, the intro of WHen Doves Cry. Check out albums like Controversy and Purple Rain … you won’t be mentioned as great by the such of Eric Clapton, Miles Davis if you’re a no name.

  253. Brenda

    List not complete without the name of the brilliant, monster-talented Nuno Bettencourt …. my preferred guitarist of the last 25 years.

  254. brando

    you KNOW this list is just to get your GOAT! NAHHH….ya didn’t know that.
    1. John McLaughlin
    2. SRV
    3. The Vibrators dude
    4. Zappa
    5. PAge
    6. Robert Quine
    7. Brian May
    8. The Polvo dude
    9. The XTC dude
    10. ME
    11. Alex Lifeson
    12…NONE OF YOU!

  255. bruno

    touche’ brando I agree 100% except Prince belongs up there instead of you…and maybe both queens of the stone age dudes…tight!

  256. brravo

    I AGREE>>>>>too many douches are overrated since the can play fast! WHAT ABOUT FEELING?

    steely dan dude
    kim thayillllll????
    mr. rogers???

  257. mr. B

    1.jimmy page
    2.james burton
    3.Jimmy hendrix
    4.George Harrison
    5.eric clapton
    6.Keith Richards
    7.joe satriani
    8.eric johnsonn
    10.david gilmour

  258. mrclean

    Ever hear of Randy Rhoads?
    I’ve seen many of the guitarists mentioned play live, few come close to his level of ability and passion.
    How about George Lynch? A monster of a talent that puts most of the guitarists mentioned into the category of also played.
    A top ten guitarist list is subjective anyway, but if your going to do one, Time should at least have someone compiling a list that knows something about guitarists and their actual abilities.

  259. Cliff

    George lynch is very good, John Sykes is earthy blues goodness. Whoever mentions richie sambora outta have there head examined. He plays from the pocket, although he has a great feel and is very good with his phrasing. Randy Rhodes had a future that was cut way to short, and had some amazing potential. But I am sorry, dead people do not play guitar. It’s past tense. (right…) I hate to tell 90% of you, because it seems there are a few people here who realize it. RIK EMMETT is universal in his ability and has been from day one. This guy has more talent in his pinky finger than most of these guys have in 2 hands. All anyone has to do is listen to the 12 minute insane guitar solo from 1977s rock and roll machine off of the same titled album to know this guy is blessed. News flash, RIK EMMETT is from Canada and does not get the recognition he so truly deserves, and 80% of the players mentioned in this lists would say the same thing. So close your eyes, open your ears and listen to a true player. And remember if you aren’t capable of playing all genres of music on your guitar like RIK EMMETT, then you aren’t a true player. You are a ham and egger, possibly good at speed,jazz,classical the list goes on. But my money is on Mr ENMETT all the way to the bank.

  260. Abdul Bouie

    I just read this quote, what do you think” Without passion, you don’t have energy; without energy, you haven’t anything. Nothing great on earth has been accomplished without passion. Ps your RSS feed isnt working at this time?

  261. xavier thériault

    before hating prince because he’s not only a guitarist (as most of the faggy shredders i read about in the comments), you should search a bit and open your mind :
    does he belongs to the list…i can’t say, does angus young deserves it more than Prince…NO!

  262. iloveannie

    I can understand the shock at Prince as most guitarists are very limited regarding their listening choice. Only a fool criticises what he doesn’t know. As for Malmsteen, well I’d rather have cancer.

  263. Jason S

    Prince is an amazing guitar player. Have you guys ever listened to the instrumental Alexa de Paris, have you listened to his Jazz style on Exogenous ? What about his amazing work on Back to the Lotus or Dreamer ? What about his tremendous guitar work on the whole CD the Rainbow Children? He is the greatest versatile guitar player out there? Have you listened to his cover of Whole Lotta Love? Or shall I invite you to check on youtube his guitar solo on While my guitar gently wheeps? I’m amazed to see so many ignorant people commenting when they know shit.

    Rock, Jazz, Funk, Latino. Rythm, Solo. Prince is a musical genius.

  264. iloveannie

    …because guitarists are often shit dancers. Not as bad a drummers mind you. People who don’t dance often don’t like music much. That’s why we have shredders. Talented yet talentless.

    No BB King shows how far off this list is. And let’s face it how the hell can you make a Top 10 anyway. Hendrix always get No1 through default, Gilmour’s absence is unusual, May often gets overlooked, Prince isn’t known for his guitar skills except by committed fans and serious musicians. Go to one of his shows and the audience is made up of as many famous musicians as the one on stage. But then they put the music first. Which isn’t what this list is about.

    Oh, While my Guitar gently Weeps (wheeps!?) isn’t that great. Whole Lotta Love from the London aftershows is pretty cool. As is his version of Creep. With that in mind where is Radiohead’s mention? Or The Stone Roses. How about Johnny Marr. Fucking excellent player. One of the best tbh.

  265. JohnnyM

    Why the hell is Prince on this list?? He’s never been a REAL guitarist at all.He’s just a pompous,flamboyant pop star who prances around stage more than he plays guitar.Most of the time,he doesn’t even do rock music.Many of his songs don’t even feature much guitar!

  266. iloveannie

    JohnnyM, you’ve never been to a Prince aftershow have you. So really you’re talking absolute bollocks. I’ve hardly ever seen him without a guitar and on those occasions he’s either been on bass, drums or keys. Consummate performer as it were.

    And how about Angus and his brother? Cracking players. Martin Harley? Let’s face it, there are fucking hundreds of guitarists to choose from and each so very different. Is there a best? No. Unless you like to shred or are under 20 in which case your opinions are pretty devoid of all intellect and substance anyway.

  267. Ronnie Ron


    And Prince is one of the most badass rhythm guitar players ever. So take your lightning fast shredding chops somewhere else. Okay?

  268. JohnnyM

    Prince is a POP STAR,not a serious rock n’ roll guitar player.Real rock n’ roll is not about gimmicks,silly outfits,high heels and bringing Kim Kardashian up onstage.Go to a concert by a REAL guitarist like Eric Clapton or Carlos Santana and you won’t see that nonsense.You will see real musicianship and passionate playing.

  269. iloveannie

    You’re still referring to the main shows and not the aftershows which are where the real musicianship and passionate playing occur. And having James Brown’s sax player as your own is surely quite an accomplishment?

  270. producer

    ha, JOHNNYM… even Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana themselves know about Prince and have said so in interviews many times. Prince has everything that the best guitarists have and also is a much more seriously conceptual musician and composer than most of them if you listen the the scope of sounds he has mastered on drums, bass, guitar, vocals, piano, and as a producer/arranger of all his material both studio and live. No one has as much studio and live bootlegs… he literally has thousands of different songs that you can collect of all genres. Thousands. Just because he also funds his endeavors (nonstop composing and recording) by being a pop star/performance guy as well doesn’t take anything away, it only adds. And both Carlos and Eric know. Carlos just played with Prince last week at his San Francisco concert, didn’t he? Clapton thinks of Prince as incredible. I just think you have been limited in what you listen to or imagine as accomplishment. All you have to do is research it out and listen.

  271. Randy

    Slash has beautiful solos, is very creative, and definitly has alot of skill, but in terms of SHEER SKILL, Slash is definitly not number two. I love slash, but he’s not number two.

  272. Mark Stone

    What a croc of $#!+…NO ONE has changed guitar playing since Edward Van Halen.

  273. Jeff

    It needs to be separated by genre. Best hard rock guitarists, bets soft rock, pop, metal, etc. Personally, I think it is disgusting people like Vail, Van Halen,George Lynch, etc etc etc are not on there.

  274. Jeff

    I also think you have to look at writing ability and technical difficulty regarding their styles. Satriani, Vai, Lynch, Van Halen have a style and technique that is 100 times more difficult than playing blues pentatonic scale all of the time like BB King and Clapton. By the way we need to give a little credit to Jeff Healy who was blind and Stanley Jordan deserves mention as probably one of the top Jazz guitar players.

  275. Ched

    Slash and Eddie Van Halen are the 2 greatist to ever touch an electric guitar.

    RIP Dimebag.

    Sinister Gates, John Petrucci, Mark Morton and Zakk Wylde are the best living shredders.

    Jimi Hendrix sounded like garbage live.

  276. alex

    wheres buckethead!

  277. Devin j

    Brian May
    Kerry Livgren
    Larry Carlton
    Phil Keagy
    Mike Slamer
    Steve Lukather
    Lee Ritenour
    Neil Schon
    Gary Moore
    And the Dark Lord Tony Iommi

  278. Jeff

    Some of these guys I’ve never heard of, but some I have and you’re right.
    Holy crap has May covered more ground and sound than anyone. His melodic ability, writing and sound is untouched by anyone. Also Mike Slamer is the unknown guitar God!! Love “the dark Lord” reference. Iommi is insane!

  279. Respect to the Purple God

    Prince makes the top 10, no ifs ands or buts about it. I’ve been to many of his concerts and it’s a rare occasion where he is not wielding a guitar, churning out the sickest, grooviest, funkiest rhythms ever concocted on this Earth. I shit you not. That and he has vocals, can play 20 other instruments at master class levels, and sell 75 Million records, unlike 99.99999999% of your one trick pony guitarists out there on this or any other list out there.

  280. Rick

    Being a Prince fan is cool, but, when isolating just the guitar, how it’s played and the mastering of it-Prince is no where near any of the guitarists mentioned by these other posts. Eddie, Slash, Lukather, and Mike Slamer (yes I’ve heard of him) are far better GUITARISTS than Prince. Keeping to the topic (not about overall musicianship) the categories should be split into types of music and or styles.
    I did however see Prince live and the show was very, very good!


  281. Rick

    Oh, and Kerry Livgren of Kansas is amazing.
    The lead on the song Hold On” is ridiculously perfect.
    HE is the most masterful writer of our time but and a serious, serious guitarist!

  282. Ok

    +1 for anyone who mentioned Terry Kath and Tom Scholz. They deserve more credit than they get.

    I think if a true list of the most skilled guitar players were made from every single person ever to play guitar, a lot of them would be random people who never made it big. There might be a few names we recognize, but I doubt they would all be big names.

  283. Rick

    Good Point, Mike Slamer being that very person!

  284. Rick

    Gary Moore’s passing is so, so sad.
    Any of you who have not heard him- do so.
    You will thank me.
    He was simply the best Blues player to have ever lived…

  285. Bingo

    Yes he was!
    No question.

  286. Jeff

    Hey Bingo-
    No Duh!!! Anyone who does the blues circuit knows that.
    Moore Ruled

  287. Campbell

    Who in the heck is Mike Slammer?

  288. Devinj

    It’s Slamer (one m).
    He is the guitarist from City Boy, Streets, and Seventh Key.
    He is also well known for his studio work with countless bands and tracks for t.v.

    Mike Slamer is insane.

  289. Campbell

    Is he the guy that did Warrant’s guitar work back in the late 80′s-early 90′s
    Worked with John “Mutt” Lange?

  290. Devinj


  291. kevin

    where the hell is stevie???

  292. Jeremy Watson

    Time magazine employees obviously don’t listen to much music. Where is SRV, Satriani, Vai, Gary Moore, Batio, fuckin BucketHead, holy hell time magazine…, Eddie Van-fuckin-Halen!!!??? Seriously put slash 2nd?? I play better than Slash, Jimmy Page is way better. Hendrix was NOT the best player that existed, OMG …..so uneducated in music. ERG!! Looks like a list I would have put together when I was 12..

  293. Devinj

    Where is SRV?
    The list blows…

  294. Devinj

    All the guys you mentioned Rock!
    Good choices.

  295. Ian

    Ask most of the living players on the list who they think is the best and 2/3 of them would tell you JEFF BECK. He has mastered and demonstrated so many styles over the years without ever playing any cliches. He can improvise well beyond the majority of his peers.
    Clearly, as stated by many, this guy knows little about the history of guitar music.
    To be fair, breaking a list down to just 10 is impossible – 10 in each genre would be more like it.

  296. Ian

    Oh, by the way, check out Guthrie Govan on youtube – holy moley! the guy is phenomenal and not only plays with utter precision, he’s actually melodic and musical at the same time that he’s playing impossible lines.

  297. Ian

    In particular, check out “Guthrie Givan mimics the guitar greats”. Meant as a tribute, not a put down. He really is the possible heir to the throne. He’s 39 and he’s only been playing for 36 years! Before you say he’s just a mimic, check out his CD’s. Unreal musicianship and composing talent. Enjoy.

  298. LeGrand

    Are you guys seriously mad about prince? He is one of the most original guitar players on earth and changed the way rock was made in the 80′s. You guys know nothing about music. 10 is prime for what he did.

  299. Mordor

    Yngwie should be in the top 3 at least !!!

  300. The Fury

    1. you have to be kidding me… Yngwie? all he does is play arpeggios really fast and act like he’s god’s gift to mankind by treating everyone around him like crap. he’s a mediocre guitarist and in much need of some humble pie. rack Yngwie right up on the same level with Dragonforce.

    2. Tony Iommi should be up there

    3. John 5 should be up there

    i agree with everyone else that’s up there, i don’t look for “shine” in a guitarist, i listen for soul, depth, and creativity.

  301. chris speir


  302. chris speir