LIST: Best Guitar Players of All Time

4,145 Views | 74 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by nevadafoothill
Bearitto
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There's a wide range of music styles, but great players are found in most of them (except rap, of course).

There will naturally be a lot of influence based on style preferences, but think technical skill. Who are the best?

I'll start...not in rank order:

1. Joe Satriani
2. Andres Segovia
3. Roy Clark
4. Stevie Ray Vaughn
5. Eric Clapton
6. Steve Vai
7. Yngwie Malmsteen
8. Eddie Van Halen
9. BB King
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MrGolfguy
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Jimi Hendrix
Billy Gibbons

Stranger
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James Burton
Chet Atkins
Les Paul
Mark Knopfler
Scotty Moore
I'm a Bearbacker
Scratchy Bear
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Chuck Berry
Terry Kath
David Gilmour
Joe Walsh
Stranger
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Good lists, all

Add Roy Buchanan
I'm a Bearbacker
VaeBear
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Neal Schon
Alex Lifeson
Steve Clark
Mr Tulip
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If it's pure technical skill, then Vai/Satrianai/Malmsteen in any order you'd consider. I'd order them exactly as I have.

That doesn't mean I can sit down and listen to albums worth of their material. The notes are precise and perfect, but they come fast and furious.

On the opposite end are Clapton, SRV, and Billy Gibbons. Of course, Clapton is easily the best of that bunch, and Hendrix left him speechless.

Of course, there are many more names that I enjoy. I've either got to make some hard choices and leave out a lot of contenders, or this list is going to be a block long.
Bearitto
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Mr Tulip said:

If it's pure technical skill, then Vai/Satrianai/Malmsteen in any order you'd consider. I'd order them exactly as I have.

That doesn't mean I can sit down and listen to albums worth of their material. The notes are precise and perfect, but they come fast and furious.

On the opposite end are Clapton, SRV, and Billy Gibbons. Of course, Clapton is easily the best of that bunch, and Hendrix left him speechless.

Of course, there are many more names that I enjoy. I've either got to make some hard choices and leave out a lot of contenders, or this list is going to be a block long.


Love what you love. It's music. I am in awe of the technical skill of Satriani, but I can listen to BB all day long. My son and I are studying classical guitar together, so I'm mesmerized by Segovia (and Malmsteen), but the Blues has always had my heart, so SRV is a mainstay in our house.

A mile long list seems appropriate for this discussion.
Mr. Bearitto was banned by the cowardly site owners because he stated that U.S. battleships should not be named after weak victims like Emmett Till, like Robby suggested. Apparently the site owners want a ship named in their honor some day. ;)
Mr Tulip
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Vai learned from Satriani (and Zappa). I appreciate his dedication, and ability to produce note perfect runs with feeling and clarity. Much like Nicolo Paganini, a lot of his stuff seems to show off that skill rather than make the listener feel something.

On the other end, you've got Bo Diddly and John Lee Hooker sitting there with a single note: "Bump-ba-dump-ba-dump-ba-dump" pattern that anyone could theoretically do, but it provides the bedrock for everything that came next (and ever).

Yep! These discussions have to be "information only" type. We gotta smile and nod. You're never going to prove someone wrong, or your own thoughts right. The field is too deep and the question too vague.
Bearitto
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Roy Clark is never on these lists. Check this out.

Mr. Bearitto was banned by the cowardly site owners because he stated that U.S. battleships should not be named after weak victims like Emmett Till, like Robby suggested. Apparently the site owners want a ship named in their honor some day. ;)
Keyser Soze
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Prince

Tom Schultz- Boston

Under rated Elliott Easton - Cars

Dwayne Allman

George Harrison -

Stevie Guitar Miller - known for a solid 10 yr pop run in the 70s he was a blues guy before that. Played as a very young man with blues greats in Chicago. God Son of the great Les Paul
Keyser Soze
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Getting points off for too much success

The Edge
Pete Townsend
Jimmy Page


Bearitto
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Keyser Soze said:

Getting points off for too much success

The Edge
Pete Townsend
Jimmy Page





Points off for naming yourself something stupid like The Edge, Prince or Slash.
Mr. Bearitto was banned by the cowardly site owners because he stated that U.S. battleships should not be named after weak victims like Emmett Till, like Robby suggested. Apparently the site owners want a ship named in their honor some day. ;)
OsoCoreyell
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I agree that Mark Knopfler is WAY underrated. What he does WITHOUT a pick is kind of just nuts.

But I don't know how you argue with SRV as being the most purely talented guitarist ever, certainly the most talented blues guitarist ever. This is with a 12 string...a 12 string...ever tried to bend and blow like this with a double-stringed instrument? It's crazy that he can do this at all:



My favorite thing was that, after this "unplugged" session, he was interviewed about the experience. He said that he picked the 12 string "just to f with those dorks" at MTV.
OsoCoreyell
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Keyser Soze said:

Getting points off for too much success

The Edge
Pete Townsend
Jimmy Page



Edge is no one's idea of a "talented" guitarist. He knew his limitations and stayed within them.

Townsend had/has some skills, but more about showmanship.

Page is not the most technically gifted in terms of perfection, but his musicality was pretty amazing.
Keyser Soze
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under rated

OsoCoreyell
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Also, for "note perfect" - gotta put Austin's own Eric Johnson on the list.
Bear8084
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Keyser Soze said:

Prince

Tom Schultz- Boston

Under rated Elliott Easton - Cars

Dwayne Allman

George Harrison -

Stevie Guitar Miller - known for a solid 10 yr pop run in the 70s he was a blues guy before that. Played as a very young man with blues greats in Chicago. God Son of the great Les Paul


Prince was sneaky talented as a guitarist and proved it in many live performances and recordings.

Adding Gregg Ginn and Chris Hannah.
william
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Bearitto said:

Roy Clark is never on these lists. Check this out.


in the early / mid 70's ol' Roy was the Sunday headliner for the SASSR......

- BUmma

Not sure I ever saw him. Always caught Johnny Rodriguez and Lynn Anderson.

... and, of course, Festus, on his mule.

BID.

{ sipping coffee }

{ eating donut }
'Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.' -TJ
Mr Tulip
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The Edge made dotted eighth note delay cool. Actually, his performance rig had like 4 delays that separated the signal into right and left, then delayed them again to the other channel.

Townshend was the right guy for the band. Most of his licks are very straightforward. He'd be out of place anywhere else besides The Who, but they wouldn't be the band without him.

Prince could sit at the keyboard, think of a hook, play it out, then go pick up the bass to put a funky groove over it. When he was finished with that, he'd grab his guitar (3/4 scale Cloud strung with full scale strings to make bending easier) and smoke the whole thing up in an effortless lead. Then, he'd make waffles!

Booray
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Mr Tulip said:

The Edge made dotted eighth note delay cool. Actually, his performance rig had like 4 delays that separated the signal into right and left, then delayed them again to the other channel.

Townshend was the right guy for the band. Most of his licks are very straightforward. He'd be out of place anywhere else besides The Who, but they wouldn't be the band without him.

Prince could sit at the keyboard, think of a hook, play it out, then go pick up the bass to put a funky groove over it. When he was finished with that, he'd grab his guitar (3/4 scale Cloud strung with full scale strings to make bending easier) and smoke the whole thing up in an effortless lead. Then, he'd make waffles!




Prince's waffles were for s4it.
Mr Tulip
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Booray said:

Mr Tulip said:

The Edge made dotted eighth note delay cool. Actually, his performance rig had like 4 delays that separated the signal into right and left, then delayed them again to the other channel.

Townshend was the right guy for the band. Most of his licks are very straightforward. He'd be out of place anywhere else besides The Who, but they wouldn't be the band without him.

Prince could sit at the keyboard, think of a hook, play it out, then go pick up the bass to put a funky groove over it. When he was finished with that, he'd grab his guitar (3/4 scale Cloud strung with full scale strings to make bending easier) and smoke the whole thing up in an effortless lead. Then, he'd make waffles!




Prince's waffles were for s4it.
Allright, so it was pancakes:


WacoKelly83
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My personal favorites would include
Richie Blackmore
Terry Katz
Robin Trower
And Centex favorite... David Zychek
REvansBU71
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Mike Bloomfield and whoever played the guitar theme on the tv series Becker.
Any Trump
2024

“And if you do-oo.....” - Lt. Hauk
Beverly Hills Bear
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Not sure if these are the greatest but these are some of my favorites
Mike Campbell
Peter Frampton
Buck Dharma
Carlos Santana
Eddie VH
Billy Gibbons
Alf
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Agree with most of the aforementioned. Surprised no one has mentioned Jack White though.
Stemperford
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I love Eddie Van Halen but sadly he passed away.
DancinBear09
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I don't like the notion of "best guitarists of all time" because so much it it is based on personal taste, style, influence, etc. some of my favorites are:
Jimi Hendrix
Jerry Garcia
Duanne Allman
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Trey Anastasio
Eddie Hazel
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Prince
Derek Trucks
Michael Houser
Eddie Van Halen
Tony Iommi
Billy Gibbons
SRV
Al DiMeola
Jimmy Page
Santana
Alex Lifeson
Chet Atkins
Robert Fripp
Neil Young
Muddy Waters
BB King
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
George Harrison
Steve Vai
John McLaughlin
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Mike McCready & Stone Gossard
Warren Haynes
Kirk Hammett
Dimebag Darryl
Slash
Elmore James
Jerry Cantrell

List goes on and on.....
Illinois Bear
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DancinBear09 said:

I don't like the notion of "best guitarists of all time" because so much it it is based on personal taste, style, influence, etc. some of my favorites are:
Jimi Hendrix
Jerry Garcia
Duanne Allman
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Trey Anastasio
Eddie Hazel
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Prince
Derek Trucks
Michael Houser
Eddie Van Halen
Tony Iommi
Billy Gibbons
SRV
Al DiMeola
Jimmy Page
Santana
Alex Lifeson
Chet Atkins
Robert Fripp
Neil Young
Muddy Waters
BB King
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
George Harrison
Steve Vai
John McLaughlin
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Mike McCready & Stone Gossard
Warren Haynes
Kirk Hammett
Dimebag Darryl

List goes on and on.....



Solid list!

As a Deadhead I've always felt Jerry Garcia was incredibly underrated as a guitarist.

And Trey Anastasio deserves an asterisk. He belonged on this list up until around 2004-2005 when his chops started to drastically decline. Early to late 90s he was an absolute machine gun!
Stranger
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DancinBear09 said:

I don't like the notion of "best guitarists of all time" because so much it it is based on personal taste, style, influence, etc. some of my favorites are:
Jimi Hendrix
Jerry Garcia
Duanne Allman
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Trey Anastasio
Eddie Hazel
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Prince
Derek Trucks
Michael Houser
Eddie Van Halen
Tony Iommi
Billy Gibbons
SRV
Al DiMeola
Jimmy Page
Santana
Alex Lifeson
Chet Atkins
Robert Fripp
Neil Young
Muddy Waters
BB King
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
George Harrison
Steve Vai
John McLaughlin
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Mike McCready & Stone Gossard
Warren Haynes
Kirk Hammett
Dimebag Darryl

List goes on and on.....



Great list. All are good, except you left off two guys that influenced everyone on that list:

Chuck Berry
James Burton
I'm a Bearbacker
DancinBear09
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Illinois Bear said:

DancinBear09 said:

I don't like the notion of "best guitarists of all time" because so much it it is based on personal taste, style, influence, etc. some of my favorites are:
Jimi Hendrix
Jerry Garcia
Duanne Allman
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Trey Anastasio
Eddie Hazel
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Prince
Derek Trucks
Michael Houser
Eddie Van Halen
Tony Iommi
Billy Gibbons
SRV
Al DiMeola
Jimmy Page
Santana
Alex Lifeson
Chet Atkins
Robert Fripp
Neil Young
Muddy Waters
BB King
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
George Harrison
Steve Vai
John McLaughlin
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Mike McCready & Stone Gossard
Warren Haynes
Kirk Hammett
Dimebag Darryl

List goes on and on.....



Solid list!

As a Deadhead I've always felt Jerry Garcia was incredibly underrated as a guitarist.

And Trey Anastasio deserves an asterisk. He belonged on this list up until around 2004-2005 when his chops started to drastically decline. Early to late 90s he was an absolute machine gun!


Jerry is one of the most unique players ever...absolutely love Jerry. Trey was definitely not good in 04-05 when he had his issues with drugs and alcohol. Jerry also sounded like sh*t in the mid 80s when he had his Heroin issues. I would argue Trey is just as good as ever, just different. He isn't "machine gun trey" like he was in the 90s, but his playing is extremely tasteful and has a lot of range right now. I'm a HUGE Phish/Trey fan!
DancinBear09
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For sure, both of those guys are absolute legends. I also forgot to add Lowell George of Little Feat.
Illinois Bear
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DancinBear09 said:

Illinois Bear said:

DancinBear09 said:

I don't like the notion of "best guitarists of all time" because so much it it is based on personal taste, style, influence, etc. some of my favorites are:
Jimi Hendrix
Jerry Garcia
Duanne Allman
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Trey Anastasio
Eddie Hazel
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Prince
Derek Trucks
Michael Houser
Eddie Van Halen
Tony Iommi
Billy Gibbons
SRV
Al DiMeola
Jimmy Page
Santana
Alex Lifeson
Chet Atkins
Robert Fripp
Neil Young
Muddy Waters
BB King
Keith Richards
Pete Townshend
George Harrison
Steve Vai
John McLaughlin
John Frusciante
Tom Morello
Mike McCready & Stone Gossard
Warren Haynes
Kirk Hammett
Dimebag Darryl

List goes on and on.....



Solid list!

As a Deadhead I've always felt Jerry Garcia was incredibly underrated as a guitarist.

And Trey Anastasio deserves an asterisk. He belonged on this list up until around 2004-2005 when his chops started to drastically decline. Early to late 90s he was an absolute machine gun!


Jerry is one of the most unique players ever...absolutely love Jerry. Trey was definitely not good in 04-05 when he had his issues with drugs and alcohol. Jerry also sounded like sh*t in the mid 80s when he had his Heroin issues. I would argue Trey is just as good as ever, just different. He isn't "machine gun trey" like he was in the 90s, but his playing is extremely tasteful and has a lot of range right now. I'm a HUGE Phish/Trey fan!


Great to know there are phans on the board. I saw my first show in '96 @ Alpine Valley and toured with them for the next several years. Still a big fan but realistic to the changes in Trey's playing since he got clean. Thankful for the incredible memories from numerous Phish shows back in the day,
william
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Alexandar Zivojinovic:



also a man of the people:



'Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.' -TJ
IslandBear
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This French gal shreds with the best of 'em; maybe even better than all of 'em.

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