I was recently chatting to my buddy Tom Hess guitar player and a great guitar teacher and we got to talking about the lists of the greatest guitar players ever. You see these lists a lot from the likes of Rolling Stone magazine and they are always contentious, I suppose when it comes down to it, each of us have different ideas about what makes a great guitar player. With that in mind, I wanted to put together my favorite all time electric guitarists, and those that I think are the greatest of all time, see if you agree and if not feel free to comment below.
Jimmy Page was a pioneer, he could create the sound of one hundred guitars all jamming at once and he consistently sought to find new ways to create sounds from the guitar. From the 12-string Gibson SG that he used on the rock classic Stairway to Heaven to the violin bow which he would wield at live concerts to add that cosmic sound. Page was not only a pioneer, his influence on Led Zeppelin and his blues-rock style make him one of my favorite all time guitarists.
Berry’s staccato style has influenced hundreds of guitarists through the years and his this influence can still be heard throughout the World of rock today. Berry is the godfather of rock n’ roll guitar and pacey and exuberant style of play as well as his outstanding grasp of rhythm is why he sits on this exclusive list.
Metallica tore through the world of rock music in the 80s in one of the first of the new style of rock bands following groups like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin who dominated the 70s. At the heart of this stomping rock band was the screaming voice of James Hetfield and the outstanding guitar work of Kirk Hammett. Hammett created some of the most iconic rock solos from ‘One’ to ‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘Memory Remains’ and his style and method of building solos to a crescendo is something that many guitarists since have been trying to mimic.
Prince is criminally underrated as a guitar player as a result of his showmanship and that weird personality that he is often tagged. Away from the showmanship and bright colors is an outstanding guitar player whose grasp of rock, blues and funk is incredible. You only need to watch the purple one onstage at Superbowl 2007 playing The Wind Cries Mary or listen to his outstanding cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ to get an understanding of just how great a guitar player he was.
Angus young personifies a rock god, from the schoolboy getup to the incredible things that he can do on that Gibson SG, he has led AC/DC through over 40 years of mind blowing rock music. From the crunching ‘Back in Black’ to the noodling ‘Thunderstruck’ and everything in between, Young has the gift of magical fingers and a musical ear which he was given so that he could teach the World how to rock.
These are my favorites, what are yours?