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The 43 greatest guitarists of all time, ranked

There comes a point in everyone’s lives when they get swept up and rocked by the riffs and rhythms of the world’s best guitarists. From blues to rock ‘n’ roll, these masters have been burning six-stringed strokes into our memory, tugging our heartstrings into pure joy. Here’s a trip through the 43 best guitarists, made famous for having listeners moving and shaking over the years.

43. Bo Diddley

Ellas Otha Bates, also known as Bo Diddley, was born in Chicago on Dec. 30, 1928. Perhaps Diddley should be higher on this list because he influenced a lot of the guitarists that follow. He was also a major influence on Elvis Presley and was largely responsible for translating blues into rock ‘n’ roll.Bo-Diddley-greatest-guitarists

Some of his most popular songs were “Bo Diddley,” “Road Runner” and “Who Do You Love?” Bo Diddley’s songs are said to have “unleashed a West African groove,” and were as easy to follow as they were groovy. Simplicity isn’t a bad thing, especially when it’s applied to a new form, and Diddley’s music went on to inspire Keith Richards and Buddy Holly, among others, to pick up the instrument.

42. Johnny Ramone

John William Cummings, oft-referred to as Johnny Ramone, was born in Queens on Oct. 8, 1948. He’s probably played fewer solos in his career than anyone else on our list, but Ramone is another pioneer nonetheless, epitomized in the way he played his Mosrite guitar.

Henry Rollins once said, “Johnny was the first guitar player I ever saw play like he was really mad. And I was like, ‘Damn. That’s cool.’” That’s because the guitar player for the Ramones was one of the first to play powerful, heavy music up-tempo. He rocked it with tracks like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Judy Is a Punk” and “Rockaway Beach.”

41. Jerry Garcia

Jerome John Garcia, known to Deadheads simply as “Jerry,” was born in San Francisco on Aug. 1, 1942. Garcia is the sum of a fusion of different sounds, as listeners can hear hints of Spanish guitar, bluegrass, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll in his playing.Jerry-Garcia-greatest-guitaristsAs figurehead leader of the Grateful Dead, Garcia cast a heavy influence on the cultural scene in San Francisco in the early 1960s, through the “Summer of Love” and up until his untimely passing in 1995. He rocked the world with songs like “Dark Star,” “Sugaree” and “Casey Jones,” and also played at Woodstock in August 1969, where he almost got electrocuted because of rain.

40. Joni Mitchell 

Roberta Joan Anderson, better known as Joni Mitchell, was born in Alberta, Canada on Nov. 7, 1943. Rolling Stone magazine placed Mitchel in the No. 75 spot for top guitarists, but she is higher on this list due to her unique style of tuning her guitar to get different sounds out of every chord.Mitchell was known to write her songs with the same chords but in different tunings, including one song that had 50 different variations. She’s very much known and respected for songs like “I Had a King,” “Nathan La Franeer” and “Night in the City.” She is one hell of a songwriter, too

39 Buddy Guy

George Guy, better known as Buddy Guy, was born in Louisiana on July 30, 1936. He didn’t stay at home long, as it’s said that his family kicked him promptly due to all the noise. This seemed to follow him in his early career, as record executives found his style to be “just a bunch of noise.”Buddy-Guy-greatest-guitaristsBut eventually, Buddy Guy’s six-stringing broke through, as his blues style became popularized. Some of the greatest (including our No. 1) guitarists on this list were influenced by Guy and songs like “Stone Crazy” and “First Time I Met the Blues” were some of his tried-and-true.

38. Tony Iommi

Anthony Iommi, better known as “Tony,” was born in Birmingham, England on Feb. 19, 1948. Iommi should not have been able to play the guitar, as he lost the tips of two of his fingers in an industrial accident at age 17. But it only contributed to a unique style that Iommi came to call his own.Tony-Iommi-greatest-guitaristHis days with Black Sabbath are legendary, and the group has been recording albums up to as recently as 2013. While he ushered in the era of heavy metal, he wasn’t afraid to slow the rhythm down to add some style. He’s best known for songs such as “Iron Man,” “Sabbra Cadabra,” “Children of the Grave” and “N.I.B.”

37. Tom Morello

Tom Morello was born in Harlem on May 30, 1964, and made a name for himself as the lead guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. He looks a little sad in this photo, but that’s because he’s leading an “Occupy Wall Street” event in 2011. He has a deep interest in social change, as a graduate from Harvard University.Tom-Morello-greatest-guitaristsMorello is known for the different sounds he creates with his guitar, with a major emphasis on the use of effect pedals. That sound was pivotal in Rage’s seemingly hip-hop and heavy metal fusion (Nu Metal). He is most famous for songs like “Guerrilla Radio” and “Killing in the Name.” “And now you do what they told ya.”

36. Angus Young

Angus Young was born in Glasgow, Scotland on March 31, 1955. Perhaps even more memorable than his blues-rock style of playing is his Chuck Berry–influenced rendition of the duck walk and his schoolboy outfits that make him look like Harry Potter. Except he uses a guitar instead of his holly wand.Doesn’t it look like the guy behind him is bowing to his greatness? Songs like “Back in Black” and “Highway to Hell” inspired a generation of rhythmic, thundering power chord-laden guitarists throughout the music industry. He’s been rocking with AC/DC since he was 18-years-old, totaling 46 years with the rock band.

35. Brian May

Brian May was born in London, England on July 19, 1947. Like Tom Morello, May has quite the head on his shoulders, as he holds a degree in astrophysics. That isn’t so hard to believe since his band Queen has been rocking people out of the atmosphere since 1970.May has many talents, including the fact that the guitar that gave us “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stone Cold Crazy” was actually built by him and his father. He used firewood to create the Red Special, a.k.a. “the Old Lady.” He’s also an accomplished songwriter, as he wrote songs like “Doing All Right,” which features his work on the piano.

34. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson was born in Abbot, Texas on April 29, 1933. Nelson has come a long way since his days as a cotton picker and bible salesman, as his music career has spanned over 60 years. In all of that time he’s used the same guitar, “Trigger,” which can be seen in the photograph below.Willie-Nelson-Trigger-greatest-guitaristsTrigger has been patched up along the way, but has been the perfect companion for Nelson’s laid back style that has hints of rock, blues, country, and even gypsy jazz. He’s best known for songs such as  “Whiskey River” and “Night Life.” Even though he’s 86 years young, he still rocks it to this very day.

33. Robby Krieger

Robby Krieger was born in Los Angeles, California on Jan. 8, 1946. Krieger was a latecomer to the Doors and was the last member permanent member to join the group. It’s a good thing he did because his schooling in jazz and flamenco contributed to a truly unique sound emanating everywhere when the band was on stage.Bobby-Krieger-greatest-guitarists-the-DoorsKrieger had a unique challenge in the Doors, as the band didn’t have a rhythm guitar section, or even a bass player. That meant he had massive voids to fill when it came to the sound. He’s even a good song writer, as he wrote “Light My Fire,” and is also known for songs such as “Riders on the Storm” and “Roadhouse Blues.”

32. The Edge

David Evens, or better known as The Edge, was born in Essex, England on August 8, 1961. It’s been said that The Edge owes his unique sound and style to the fact that he taught himself how to play the guitar.The-Edge-U2-greatest-guitaristsAt a young age he received the nickname “The Edge,” perhaps because he likes to not get involved, but be on the edge of things, or perhaps because of the angular shape of his head. He joined U2 in the late 1970s and is known for how carefully he compliments his sound to the vocals of frontman Bono. He’s best known for songs such as “I Will Follow,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” and “The Fly.”

31. Elmore James

Elmore James was born in Richland, Mississippi on January 27, 1918. James learned to play with stringed instruments when he was a little boy, and first started with a one-stringed instrument called the “diddley bow” or “jitterbug.” But once he got his first guitar he started rocking.Elmore-James-greatest-guitaristsJames’ experience with a one-stringed instrument may have influenced his style with the guitar, as he was famous for his slide. One guitarist once said they practiced James’ music until his fingers bled before he realized James used a slide. He’s best known for songs such as “Dust My Broom” and “The Sky Is Crying,” as another fantastic musician that brought blues to rock.

30. Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore was born in Gadsden, Tennessee on December 27, 1931. Moore was paired with a teenage Elvis Presley in the early 1950s, and with the addition of Bill Black on the bass the trio would go one to change music forever.Scotty-Moore-greatest-guitarists-Elvis-PresleyThe trio didn’t have a drummer, so Moore had a big void to fill. One night when the three were screwing around on a June night in 1954 and came up with the “slapback” echo effect, and the song “That’s All Right.” He also helped Elvis during his comeback in 1968. He’s best known for songs such as, “That’s All Right,” “Mystery Train,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”

29. Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield, better known as “Muddy Waters,” was born in Issaquena County, Mississippi on April 4, 1913. When he was in his mid-20s, he moved to Chicago, where he brought his southern-blues style to the Midwest scene. It would be this blend that came to define the “Chess Records sound.”The Rolling Stones named themselves after Waters’ 1950 song “Rollin’ Stone.” He played in bands that also included legendary guitarist Buddy Guy, and it’s said that he was a major influence on Jimi Hendrix. Though his popularity faded in the 1960s, he experienced a resurgence in the early 70s that lasted until his death

28. Tom Petty (shout out to Mike Campbell)

Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida on October 20, 1950. He’s obviously the lead the man of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but we couldn’t include him on this list without mentioning the lead guitarist of the group, Mike Campbell. Campbell is best known for his simplistic style with the guitar, never using 10 notes if two will suffice.Tom-Petty-and-the-Heartbreakers-greatest-guitarists-Mike-CampbellAs for Petty, who embraced heartland, or Southern rock, always did best when he had a great guitarist next to him. When he released his first solo album Full Moon Fever, Cambpell did most of the solos. They’re best known for songs such as “Breakdown” and “You Got Lucky.”

27. Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland on Dec. 21, 1940. He was a man of many talents, dabbling in different genres of music from jazz to Musique concrète. And he produced every album he was a part of, which total around 60. Zappa did plenty of solo work during his career but is best known for his work with the Mothers of Invention.Some of their highest-trafficked songs include “Willie the Pimp” and “In-a-Gadda-Stravinsky,” as each featured an iconic Zappa solo. Zappa stretched boundaries of what a guitar can do, and if you ever check out “Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar,” a 1981 solo album, you’ll hear it.

26. Billy Gibbons

Billy Gibbons was born in Houston, Texas on December 16, 1949. It’s no wonder that the six-stringed rock ‘n roller of ZZ Top fame became a musician, as his father was a maestro. His parents supported his musical prowess and took him to see Elvis in concert, and BB King in the studio.  He even enjoyed a brief friendship with Jimi Hendrix before he passed.Billy-Gibbons-ZZ-Top-greatest-guitaristsWith all that knowledge hardwired into his brain Gibbons he helped form ZZ Top by the time he was 20 years old. You’ll remember songs of his like “Tush,” and “Gimme your Lovin,” and if you’ve ever felt his steady rhythm get slapped and turned on it’s head by Gibbons’ guitar in “La Grange” then you’re probably a fan of ZZ Top.

25. David Gilmour

David Gilmour was born in Cambridge, England on March 6, 1946. He wasn’t the original guitarist for Pink Floyd (that was Syd Barrett), but eventually, he was their lead guitarist and frontman. Gilmour began playing the guitar when he borrowed one from his neighbor, and never returned it.David-Gilmour-greatest-guitaristsGilmour loved to add effects to his music, which was prevalent in the entire “Dark Side of the Moon album.” He’s best known for songs like “Comfortably Numb” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” As a young musician, he once went to the hospital for malnutrition, and now he’s worth over $122 million.

24. Joe Perry

Anthony Perry, who goes by his middle name Joe, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on September 10, 1950. Perry has the challenge and distinction of playing next to one of the loudest and most awesome voices in rock ‘n roll. With Steven Tyler by his side Perry has to bring it when he rocks with Aerosmith, and he most certainly does.Joe-Perry-Steven-Tyler-Aerosmith-greatest-guitaristsRolling Stone magazine once said that his rifts are like “blues-on-steroids.” His is familiar and unique at the same time, as he is said to have been influenced by Jeff Beck, who was a true solo artist and procured sounds from all over the world. Perry and Aerosmith are best known for their songs, “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and “Janie’s Got a Gun.”

23. Slash

Saul Hudson, better known as “Slash,” was born in London, England on July 23, 1965. When people think of rock stars—drunken, drug-fueled, and sex-crazed—Slash is one of those people that comes to mind. In reality, however, he actually brought some restraint to the guitar. Although forever associated with Guns N’ Roses, Slash has had a prolific solo career.Slash-Guns-'n-Roses-Velvet-Revolver-greatest-guitaristsSome of his solos are legendary, and a couple that come to mind are “November Rain” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which he performed with Guns N’ Roses. Slash left Guns N’ Roses for a brief period and joined Velvet Revolver, which included musicians from Stone Temple Pilots and Wasted Youth. Now, he’s back with Axl Rose as Guns N’ Roses continue to rock it to this day.

22. Buddy Holly

Charles Holly, better known as Buddy Holly, was born in Lubbock, Texas on September 7, 1936. If you’ve ever enjoyed songs by the Beatles or Eric Clapton, then you can thank Buddy Holly. He basically invented the rock band as we know it, as his band the crickets featured a bass and drum section while Holly sang vocals and strum the guitar.Among Holly’s best songs are “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue.” If he had lived just a little longer he would’ve seen an entire generation of bands invented in his image. He mixed blues and country sounds in a rhythmic style that was steady as she goes while rocking the boat at the same time.

21. Neil Young

Neil Young was born in Toronto, Canada on Nov. 12, 1945. Young was a prodigy early on, and even though he was diagnosed with epilepsy during his Buffalo Springfield days, it didn’t seem to faze him. Whether he was in a band or rolling solo, Neil Young is exceptional with every note of music he creates.Neil-Young-greatest-guitaristsYoung is known for his songs with Buffalo Springfield, “For What it’s Worth” and “Mr. Soul.” However, his solo song “Down by the River” was described by Trey Anastasio this way: “It’s one note, but it’s so melodic, and it just snarls with attitude and anger. It’s like he desperately wants to connect.”

20. Dick Dale

Richard Monsour, or better known as Dick Dale, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 4, 1937. Interesting that the pioneer of “surf rock” was born on the east coast, but his family moved to Southern California when Dale was a teenager, and he began to surf when he was 17 years old.Dick-Dale-greatest-guitaristsDale played the kind of music that would have your parents shouting at you to turn it down and turn it off, as his strumming of the six stringed instrument was as fast as it was loud. He’s best known for songs such as “Misirlou” and “The Peter Gunn Theme.”

19. Freddie King

Freddie King was born in Gilmer, Texas on Sept. 3, 1934. King was known as the “The Texas Cannonball” for his large build, and what has been described as “incendiary” live performances. He produced a unique sound, playing the guitar with metal picks meant for a banjo.Freddie-King-greatest-guitaristIn an interview in 1985, Eric Clapton (who’s high on this list) said that Freddie King’s 1961 “I Love the Woman,” is “what started me on my path.” He’s best known for songs such as “Hide Away,” “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and “The Stumble,” fusing rock and blues together. He was also one of the first blues performers to feature a multiracial band.

18. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was born in Aberdeen, Washington on February 20, 1967. When Cobain was 14-years-old, his uncle offered him a bike, or a used guitar for his birthday, and the rest is history (oddly, Elvis was given the same choice, but instead of a bike it was a rifle).Cobain’s band Nirvana played songs that were as loud as heavy metal, but others that were quiet and melodic until a thunder stroke of the guitar blew the lid off the song. Largely considered the pioneer of grunge — a fusion of punk and rock — he’s best known for songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “All Apologies,” and “Heart Shaped Box.”

17. John Lennon

John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England on October 9, 1940. Lennon is the first of two Beatles to be included in this list, as we bow to the rhythm guitarist of the band. Lennon could take a simple string of notes and turn it into a hip-shaking beat, or a head bobbing rhythm.John-Lennon-greatest-guitarists-the-BeatlesThe Beatles are the best-selling band in history with nearly a billion records sold. For the best songs to hear Lennon’s guitar try, “Help!,” “Day Tripper,” and “Yer Blues.” He’s been mostly understated for his prowess with the guitar, as Lennon once said, “They call George the invisible singer. I am the invisible guitar player.”

16. George Harrison

George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England on Feb. 25, 1943. For those living under a rock for the past 50 years, you might remember him from a little-known band called The Beatles. Harrison was largely thought of as the third-best, behind icons Paul McCartney and John Lennon, but when Harrison went solo, he eclipsed them both for a time.George-Harrison-greatest-guitarists-the-BeatlesBeatles songs “Taxman” and “Here Comes the Sun” were written by Harrison, and every album after 1965 featured at least two tracks written by him. Tom Petty once said of Harrison’s playing, “He was very in tune when he played, the slide was very precise, and just had a beautiful vibrato on it.”

15. Albert King

Albert Nelson, better known as Albert King, was born in Indianola, Mississippi on April 25, 1923. King once said in 1968 that he had no influences for his playing style because “Everything I do is wrong.” “The Velvet Bulldozer,” as he was known, for his size and smooth singing, was left-handed but played a right-handed guitar.Albert-King-greatest-guitaristsHe made that setup work because he played it upside down. Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix lauded him for his play, and he even had Hendrix starstruck when he opened for him in 1967. He’s best known for songs such as “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “As the Years Go Passing By.”

14. Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh was born in Wichita, Kansas on November 20, 1947. It’s no wonder he became a guitar player — would you believe that his middle name is Fiddler? Regardless of whether you do or not you’ve probably moved once or twice to his rhythm-and-bass style that combines with a wild side. Walsh had success in multiple bands, including one of the most successful of all time, the Eagles.Joe-Walsh-the-James-Gang-greatest-guitarists-The-EaglesWalsh was a late comer to the band but their greatest hit — “Hotel California” — was made in 1975, which was the same year he joined the band, and features one of the best guitar solos of all time. Other than that, he’s best known for songs such as, “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Funk #49.”

13. Prince

Prince Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7, 1958. The artist formerly known as… or whatever you call him, was an absolute showman and genius with the guitar. It’s said that he wrote his first song at age seven, and it was titled “Funk Machine.”Many experts have said they hear the sounds of Jimi Hendrix in his notes, but Prince disagrees, as he once said, “If they really listened to my stuff, they’d hear more of a Santana influence than Jimi Hendrix.” Prince is best known for his songs “Kiss” and “When Doves Cry,” while the solo in “Purple Rain” will live on forever.

12. Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend was born in Middlesex, England on May 19, 1945. Townshend is said to be an intense guy, and according to reports, he was the first guitarist to smash his guitar onstage (though most certainly not the last). Often controversial, Townshend always finds a way to make it on these lists.Townshend is most widely known for his work with The Who, and although he had a budding solo career later on, during his time with the band, he never had a solo. The Who had a complicated sound that had an emphasis on drums and bass, making his contributions more measured. He’s best known for songs such as “My Generation,” “I Can See for Miles” and the cover of “Summertime Blues.”

11. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan (his actual name) was born in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 3, 1954. He may look like he’s sucking on a lemon while playing his guitar behind his back, but there was nothing that sucked about his music.Stevie-Ray-Vaughn-greatest-guitaristsVaughan may have integrated a mix of jazz and rockabilly, but he was heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, B. B. King, and Eric Clapton. He is best known for his songs “Love Struck Baby,” “Cold Shot” and “Look at Little Sister,” and if it hadn’t been for a tragic helicopter crash in 1990 that resulted in his passing, he would’ve had several more hits to his name.

10. Duane Allman

Duane “Skydog” Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on Nov. 20, 1946. Just like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Allman was taken from this world too young, at the age of 24. Robert Randolph once said of Allman’s death, “Duane died young, and it’s just one of those things. You could tell he was going to get 50 times better.”His style had an emphasis on precision in a way that hadn’t been played before. While all of us are deprived of his untimely death (from a motorcycle crash), he’s best known for his slide guitar work Allman Brothers songs, “Statesboro Blues,” “Whipping Post” and “Blue Sky.”

9. Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana was born in Jalisco, Mexico on July 20, 1947. At an early age, he moved to San Francisco, and by the time the Summer of Love came around, he was well-known in the area. He reached national fame as one of the few not-so-well-known artists to play at Woodstock.Carlos-Santana-greatest-guitaristsAs mentioned previously, Prince said Santana was more of an influence on him than Jimi Hendrix because “Santana played prettier.” Santana is best known for “Black Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va” and “Soul Sacrifice.” A true product of his surroundings, he attributed LSD for finding his voice, saying, “You cannot take LSD and not find your voice.”

8. B. B. King

Riley B. King, better known as “B. B. King,” was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi on Sept. 26, 1925. Being born as early as he was exposed him to a more pure form of blues, and he was able to showcase feeling through his singing, and his guitar.B.-B.-King-greatest-guitaristsKing was a true worker and loved to perform, as it’s estimated that he did 342 shows in 1956 alone, and 200 shows a year in the 1970s. He’s best known for songs such as “3 O’Clock Blues,” “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Sweet Little Angel.” Along with Albert and Freddie King, B. B. is considered one of “The Three Kings of Blues Guitar.”

7. Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck was born in Surrey, England on June 24, 1944. Don’t confuse him with Beck, who isn’t even close to being on this list. While he was part of two very successful albums with the Jeff Beck Group, his time with the band was short, and he became something of a journeyman bouncing from band to band.Jeff-Beck-greatest-guitaristsBeck is best known for his songs “A Day in the Life,” “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “Heart Full of Soul, ” and is a true solo artist. He still rocks it to this day and is touring at the age of 74. Beck has been innovative his whole career, combining sounds from all over the world, from Indian to jazz.

6. Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on Jan. 26, 1955. During some of his riffs, Van Halen employs a unique style to the way he holds a pick. By gripping it in his middle finger and thumb, he’s able to drag his fingers across the strings, and some artists have said it’s like he’s added another instrument.Van Halen is best known for tracks such as “Eruption,” “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love” and “Hot for Teacher.” Mike McCready of Pearl Jam once said of Van Halen’s style, “You can play the things he’s written, but there’s an ‘X-factor’ that you can’t get.”

5. Keith Richards

Now, it’s down to the top five greatest guitarists of all time, and to open things up, starting with the Rolling Stones legend, Keith Richards. Richards was born in Kent, England on Dec. 18, 1943. Richards is an enigma because he’s the band’s leading guitarist, and also their rhythm guitarist, often in the same song.Keith-Richards-greatest-guitaristsAccording to Nils Lofgren of the E. Street Band, one of the keys to Richards’ unique style is the way he tunes his guitar. Just like Van Halen, one can play his music but it just won’t sound the same. Richards is best known for his songs “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Gimme Shelter” and “Paint it Black.”

4. Chuck Berry

Charles Berry, better known as Chuck, “was born in St. Louis, Missouri on Oct. 18, 1926. Berry was a blues-style guitarist that kept to his roots but rocked it so well that he influenced some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarists of all time.Berry is best known for songs such as “Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” His song “Johnny B. Goode” is considered to have one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. It was his and several others rocking of the blues that basically created rock ‘n’ roll, so the rest of the members on this list can thank Chuck Berry.

3. Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page was born in Middlesex, England on Jan. 9, 1944. If you look closely at Page below, you can see a man with two guitars and one arm. Of course, he did have two arms, and the way he swung that double-necked Gibson guitar created rhythm and some heavy solos. An undeniably dark, yet folkloric sound, Page’s guitar captivates multiple generations of fans.Jimmy-Page-greatest-guitaristsAs the lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin, Page wrote music, and in the recording studio, he was known to be a true workhorse, always fine-tuning his guitar to produce the right sound. He’s best known for his work in songs such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Heartbreaker” and “Kashmir.”

2. Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton was born in Surrey, England on March 30, 1945. Clapton used simple notes and smooth, basic sounds to produce unforgettable melodies. The greatest guitar players either trained in blues, or adopted blues style to rock ‘n’ roll, and Clapton is a perfect fusion of both.In his early days with Cream, he played with two other jazz guitarists, and later said he was, “just trying to keep up.” He produced a groundbreaking sound, and it was only the beginning of his odyssey with the guitar. He’s best known for his songs “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Crossroads” and “White Room.”

1. Jimi Hendrix

We’ve arrived at our No. 1 guitar player of all time, and this man, Jimi Hendrix, tops all lists of greatest guitar players ever. Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington on Nov. 27, 1942. One thing to note is the fact that Hendrix is hands down the god of the guitar, and had the shortest career of anyone else on this list.

His sound was out of this world, as the first to perfect feedback, and he produced combinations of notes and chords that took an alien madman to create. But he was hardly mad, as he was about as smooth as they come—seemingly effortless in creating original sounds. He’s best known for songs such as “Purple Haze,” “Foxy Lady” and his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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