Top 9 Guitarists of All Time

This is a hotly contested field, and it might ultimately come down to personal taste for many people, but some of the world’s best known guitarists have such impressive back catalogues and track records for live performance skills that they simply had to make our top 9 list. Here are all of our top picks, although we wouldn’t go so far as to rank them in order – we leave that to the audience.

Prince

Prince

An honourable mention to begin with, Prince was known for his incredible range of musical and artistic sensibilities, but some of his guitar performances are up there with the most special moments of his long career that sadly ended with his recent passing.

Jimi Hendrix

Everything about Hendrix’s performance style reinforced the fact that he knew exactly what he was doing when it came to entertaining a crowd. His natural musical talent was unstoppable and carried him through all his performances without

Brian May

Brian May

As part of one of the most original and iconic bands of all time, Brian May shares credit for some of the songs that defined the peak era of Queen. His guitar talents certainly enabled the band to reach the level of success they did, along with Freddie Mercury’s unique influence.

Slash

Slash

Perhaps the undisputed king of guitar solos, Slash has carved out one of the most successful rock careers in history, both in his own right and as an integral part of Guns N’ Roses. His unique style is another one that’s instantly identifiable.

David Gilmour

 

Pink Floyd’s music was elevated to the next level by the melodic and complex guitar elements Gilmour contributed. He turned diverse influences into something that not only made sense, but was completely original.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Famously credited with revolutionising the performance potential of the electric guitar, Clapton has been widely praised for decades and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than any other person in history (on a total of three occasions).

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page

Mostly through his highly successful work with Led Zeppelin, Page proved his talents for songwriting and production as well as captivating guitar performances both live and in the studio. He is one of the most widely referenced guitarists in modern music with song credits across a huge array of artist’s back catalogues.

Carlos Santana

With an instantly recognisable sound regardless of the genre of music he turns his hand to, Santana fused an eclectic mix of styles in his early guitar work in the 60s. This developed into a unique Latin rock legacy that influenced everyone from Prince to Metallica, and allowed him to work with diverse pop acts decades later including will.i.am, Shakira and even the finalists of American Idol.

B. B. King

B.B. King

Riley B. King is respected and renowned as the King of the Blues, having integrated his simple but incredibly unique style into his music many decades ago. Since then generations of artists from different genres have cited his guitar talents as a major influence.

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