Greatest Guitaristsby Paul Hamell | created - 04 Nov 2010 | updated - 08 Jul 2012 | Public
1. Jimi Hendrix
Soundtrack | Woodstock
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, to African-American parents Lucille (Jeter) and James Allen Hendrix. His mother named him John Allen Hendrix and raised him alone while his father, Al Hendrix, was off fighting in World War II. When his mother became sick from ...
3. Duane Allman
Self | The History of Rock 'n' Roll
Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee in November 1946. On Christmas Day in 1960, Duane was given a motorcycle as a gift while his younger brother, Gregg Allman, got a guitar. A few months later, Duane wrecked his motorcycle in an accident, but traded in the spare parts for a guitar of his ...
5. Jimmy Page
Soundtrack | The Song Remains the Same
Jimmy Page was born on January 9, 1944 in Heston, Middlesex, England as James Patrick Page. He was previously married to Jimena Gomez-Paratcha, Patricia Ecker and Charlotte Martin.
Actor | Alcatraz: Island in the Sun
Yngwie Malmsteen was born on June 30, 1963 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden as Lars Johann Yngve Lannerback. He is a composer, known for Alcatraz: Island in the Sun (1983), Metal Evolution (2011) and Sergio's Blog (2011). He is married to April Malmsteen. They have one child.
Soundtrack | Twister
Keith Richards is an internationally recognized iconic figure in contemporary culture and popular music as a singer, guitar player, songwriter, film actor, and public figure. He was voted 10th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, and was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of ...
10. Eric Clapton
Soundtrack | Lethal Weapon 3
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945. His real father was a Canadian pilot but he didn't find that out until he was 53. When he was 2 his mother felt she was unable to look after him, so Eric then went to live with his grandparents. When he was 14 he took up the ...
11. Jeff Beck
Soundtrack | The Boat That Rocked
Jeff Beck was born in Surrey in 1944. He grew up in a suburban street in Carshalton. When he was about 10, he wanted to play the guitar. His mum, however, wanted him to play the piano because she didn't approve of the guitar. When he was in his late teens, he joined "The Tridents" on lead guitar. ...
The Yardbirds; solo
12. Neil Young
Soundtrack | Philadelphia
Neil Young is one of the most respected and prolific rock/folk guitarists of the late 20th century. Raised in Canada, he first became well-known as a guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Buffalo Springfield. After the band's breakup, Young became a solo performer. However, he also has ...
13. Frank Zappa
Soundtrack | Baby Snakes
Of all the qualities that typified Frank Zappa, perhaps the most striking is that he was a paradox. A workaholic perfectionist rock star who eschewed the hippie culture of the 1960s, deploring its conformism, spurious ideals and drug use, Zappa was not only a brilliant rock guitarist but an ...
14. Ron Asheton
Soundtrack | Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Ron Asheton was born on July 17, 1948 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Ronald Franklin Asheton Jr. He died on January 6, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
15. Kirk Hammett
Soundtrack | Spawn
Hammett was born in San Francisco, California on November 18, 1962, to Teofila (Oyao) and Dennis L. Hammett, a merchant seaman. He learned guitar at age 15 and joined Metallica to replace Dave Mustaine in 1982. He has won several Grammys with Metallica and participated in their class action law ...
Soundtrack | Under the Cherry Moon
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Mattie Shaw, a jazz singer and social worker, and John L. Nelson, a lyricist and pianist. His father's stage name was "Prince Rogers". His parents were both from African-American families from Louisiana. They separated during his youth, ...
17. Carlos Santana
Soundtrack | Desperado
Carlos Santana is a guitarist, composer, singer and band-leader who helped to shape the concept of "world music" by his experiments with blending many styles of music from a multitude of ethnic sources.
He was born Carlos Augusto Alves Santana on July 20, 1947, in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico....
18. Mark Knopfler
Soundtrack | The Princess Bride
Mark Knopfler recorded his first single at age 16, but it was never released, He started the band Dire Straits in 1977, they were signed to Vertigo Records in 1978 and recorded the album "Dire Straits", which featured their first major hit single, "Sultans of Swing". Their follow-up albums include ...
19. Brian May
Soundtrack | Flash Gordon
Brian May is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential, innovative, technically gifted and recognisable guitarists in the history of rock. He is also a prolific songwriter, responsible for writing or co-writing many international hits with Queen. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School ...
20. Pete Townshend
Music_department | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Born in Chiswick, London just ten days after the German surrender in 1945, Townshend grows up in a typical middle-class home. His parents, Cliff and Betty Townshend, are both musicians, and as a child he accompanies them on dance band tours. Townshend starts playing guitar at 12. He goes to art ...
The Who; solo
Soundtrack | Terminator Salvation
Saul Hudson, mainly known as Slash, was born on July 23, 1965, and was raised in Stoke-on-Trent. Both his parents worked in the entertainment business, his mother being a clothing designer (she did some of David Bowie's costumes) and his father being an art director for a record company. When Slash...
22. Ry Cooder
Soundtrack | Primary Colors
Born in Santa Monica, Ca., Ry Cooder, at the age of four had an accident which left him blind in one eye. He became a bit secluded and began playing the guitar. His biggest influences include Blind Willie Johnson, Arthur "Blind" Blake, Joseph Spence and Curtis Mayfield. Cooder has played on several...
23. Jack White
Soundtrack | Quantum of Solace
Jack played guitar and sang in the band The White Stripes. They released six albums: their self-titled debut -- "The White Stripes", "De Stijl", "White Blood Cells", "Elephant", "Get Behind Me Satan", and "Icky Thump", before breaking up in 2011.
White also sings and plays guitar in the band The ...
25. Dave Mustaine
Soundtrack | Last Action Hero
Dave Mustaine was born on September 13, 1961 in La Mesa, California, USA as David Scott Mustaine. He has been married to Pamela Anne Casselberry since April 1991. They have two children.
27. Steve Vai
Soundtrack | Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
American guitarist, songwriter, composer and producer. He first learned guitar by studying under Joe Satriani and also studied at the Berklee College of Music. He started as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa in 1978, joined his band in 1980 and stayed until 1983. He formed two separate bands, the ...
28. Bo Diddley
Actor | Trading Places
Ever heard "I Want Candy" or "Not Fade Away" or "Willie & The Hand Jive", Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame" or U2's "Desire" or George Michael's "Faith"? If you have, then you've heard the "Bo Diddley beat", the most famous beat in the world! One of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll, Bo ...
29. Tony Iommi
Soundtrack | Iron Man
Tony Iommi was born on February 19, 1948 in Birmingham, England as Frank Anthony Iommi. He has been married to Maria Sjöholm since 1999.
Soundtrack | Twister
Ritchie Blackmore was born on April 14, 1945 in Weston Super Mare, England as Richard Hugh Blackmore. He has been married to Candice Night since October 2008. They have one child. He was previously married to Amy Rothman, Barbie Hardie and Margrit Volkmar.
Deep Purple; Rainbow
31. George Harrison
Actor | A Hard Day's Night
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold Harrison and Louise Harrison.
32. Jerry Garcia
Soundtrack | Great Expectations
One of the most prolific and iconic guitarists of the second half of the 20th Century, Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, California, USA on August 1st 1942. Garcia, whose mother was a registered nurse and whose father, Jose, was a small time jazz musician, had a troubled childhood. At ...
33. Johnny Ramone
Soundtrack | Spider-Man: Homecoming
Johnny Ramone was born John William Cummings in Queens, New York. He went to be the guitar player for the Ramones, alongside Jeffrey Hyman and Douglas Colvin (later Joey Ramone and Dee Dee Ramone). They also hired Thomas Erdelyi (later Tommy Ramone) as drummer. Tommy disbanded in 1978 and asked ...
34. Angus Young
Soundtrack | Last Action Hero
Angus Young was born on March 31, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland. At school, Angus was an unenthusiastic student. His only real academic interest was art wich allowed him some freedom of expression. He gave up school at 15 and went to work for a soft porn magazine called Ribald as a printer. But his ...
35. John Frusciante
Soundtrack | Stealth
John Anthony Frusciante was born on March 5, 1970, in New York. He became interested in rock music at an early age. After his parents divorced, John and his mother moved to California when he was seven. When he was nine, his stepfather offered him his first acoustic guitar.
John taught himself how ...
36. Tom Morello
Soundtrack | Battleship
Tom Morello was born on May 30, 1964 in New York city. He has become an influential guitarist due to his work with Rage Against The Machine in the 1990s. Tom got his Social Studies degree from Harvard and went to L.A to start a band. He briefly played guitarist for a band named Lock Up with fellow ...
38. Terry Kath
Soundtrack | Electra Glide in Blue
One of the most influential yet underrated guitarists of all time, Terry Alan Kath was born on January 31, 1946 in Chicago, Ill. Musical practically from birth, Kath taught himself bass, drums, and guitar, and made the rounds in local bands, impressing everyone he met. Childhood friends included ...
39. Kurt Cobain
Soundtrack | Moulin Rouge!
Kurt Cobain was born on February 20 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. Kurt and his family lived in Hoquiam for the first few months of his life then later moved back to Aberdeen, where he had a happy childhood until his parents divorced. The divorce left Kurt's outlook on the world forever scarred. He...
40. James Burton
Actor | The Guardian
Born in Minden, Louisiana, on August 21, 1939, James Burton began playing guitar at the age of thirteen, and turned professional the following year. His first recorded track was the Dale Hawkins hit, "Susie Q", in 1957. His dynamic rockabilly style of playing brought him to the attention of ...
41. Richard Thompson
Soundtrack | Looper
Talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist co-founded the British folk-rock group Fairport Convention in 1967. He left the group in 1971 to perform and record solo and then with his wife, Linda Thompson, with whom he made the legendary albums I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974) and Shoot...
42. Mike Bloomfield
Soundtrack | Sneakers
Mike Bloomfield was born on July 28, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He died on February 15, 1981 in San Francisco, California, USA.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
43. Warren Haynes
Soundtrack | The Perfect Storm
Warren Haynes was born on April 6, 1960 in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.
44. Dick Dale
Soundtrack | Escape from L.A.
Hailed as the "King of Surf Guitar, " Dick Dale virtually galvanized the surf rock sound in the 1950s. An avid surfer and accomplished musician, Dale and his band, 'Dick Dale and the Del-Tones', appeared in several of the ever-popular "Beach Party" teen flicks starring Annette Funicello and Frankie...
45. Stephen Stills
Soundtrack | Annihilation
Stephen Stills was born on January 3, 1945, in Dallas, Texas. He dropped out of college to play music professionally. He formed Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth") with Neil Young and later became part of Crosby Stills & Nash. After they broke up, Stills joined Manassas, then helped to form ...
46. The Edge
Soundtrack | Gangs of New York
The Edge was born David Howell Evans, in Barking, Essex in 1961. When he was 2 the family moved to Dublin. During his childhood he learnt how to play the guitar and the piano. In 1978 the Edge became the guitarist and keyboardist of U2. The Edge is still in the group, who have conquered the world ...
48. John Cipollina
Composer | '68
John Cipollina was born on August 24, 1943 in Berkeley, California, USA. He was a composer, known for '68 (1988), Fillmore (1972) and Grateful Dead: The Closing of Winterland (1978). He died on May 29, 1989.
49. Lee Ranaldo
Soundtrack | The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Lee Ranaldo was born on February 3, 1956 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York, USA as Lee Mark Ranaldo.
50. Thurston Moore
Soundtrack | The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In 1980, Thurston Moore formed the band Sonic Youth as a lead guitarist and singer with Kim Gordon (bass guitars/vocals) and Lee Ranaldo (lead guitars/vocals). In 1981, they released their debut album "Sonic Youth", which attracted lots of attention for using feedback in music. They later released ...
52. Steve Cropper
Soundtrack | Easy A
If not the most influential guitarist in the Memphis soul music scene, Steve Cropper is definitely near the top. He was a member of 'Booker T & the M.G.s', wrote songs for and performed with Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Sam & Dave (he's the Steve referred to when they say "Play it, Steve!" in ...
53. John Fogerty
Soundtrack | Battleship
John Fogerty was born on May 28, 1945 in Berkeley, California, USA as John Cameron Fogerty. He has been married to Julie Lynne Kramer since April 20, 1991. They have four children. He was previously married to Martha Ann Paiz.
54. Joe Perry
Soundtrack | Armageddon
As co-founding member, principal co-songwriter, electrifying lead guitarist and co-producer of Aerosmith--America's Greatest Rock & Roll Band--Joe has achieved permanent iconic stature in the pantheon of rock. He has helped to drive his band, over the course of three decades, to sales of more than ...
55. Robert Fripp
Soundtrack | Children of Men
Robert Fripp was born on May 16, 1946 in Dorset, England. He has been married to Toyah Willcox since May 16, 1986.
56. Eddie Hazel
Soundtrack | Lords of Dogtown
Eddie Hazel was born April 10, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York. He died December 23, 1992 in Plainfield, New Jersey. When he was eight years old, his older brother, Sonny, gave him a guitar for Christmas. Self-taught, by age twelve, he was winning guitar contests in Plainfield. Most of the guitarists ...
57. Trey Anastasio
Soundtrack | 127 Hours
Ernest Joseph "Trey" Anastasio III (born 30 September 1964) grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, playing drums. He worked with his mother, an editor for Sesame Street Magazine, developing stories and songs of fantasy and fun and meaning. (His father was an executive with the Princeton-based ...
58. Clarence White
Actor | The Farmer's Other Daughter
Clarence White was born on June 7, 1944 in Lewiston, Maine, USA as Clarence Joseph LeBlanc. He was an actor, known for The Farmer's Other Daughter (1965), Cal's Corral (1959) and Stamping Ground (1971). He died on July 15, 1973 in Palmdale, California, USA.
59. Paul Kossoff
Soundtrack | Almost Famous
Paul Kossoff was born on September 14, 1950 in London, England. He died on March 19, 1976 in New York City, New York, USA.
60. John Petrucci
John Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967 in Long Island, New York, USA as John Peter Petrucci. He is a producer, known for Dream Theater: Images and Words - Live in Tokyo (1993), Dream Theater: 5 Years in a LIVEtime (1998) and Dream Theater: Breaking the Fourth Wall (2014). He has been married to ...
61. Peter Green
Soundtrack | Munich
Peter Green was born on October 29, 1946 in London, England as Peter Allen Greenbaum.
62. Scotty Moore
Soundtrack | The Departed
Scotty Moore was born on December 27, 1931 in Gadsden, Tennessee, USA as Winfield Scott Moore. He died on June 28, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
64. Dickey Betts
Soundtrack | When Harry Met Sally...
Dickey Betts, born in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1943, was the oldest member of the Allman Brothers Band when they formed in 1969. He shared lead guitar duties with band founder and leader Duane Allman, also playing alongside bassist Berry Oakley, drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, and Allman's ...
65. Steve Howe
Soundtrack | Apollo 18
Steve Howe was born on April 8, 1947 in London, England as Stephen James Howe. He has been married to Janet Howe since 1968. They have four children.
66. Mick Ronson
Soundtrack | Bones
Michael "Mick" Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. He achieved critical and commercial success while working with David Bowie as the lead guitarist and band leader for Bowie's backing band, the Spiders From Mars. Ronson was also a session ...
69. Jorma Kaukonen
Soundtrack | Transcendence
Jorma Kaukonen was born on December 23, 1940 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Jr. Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen.
Jefferson Airplane; Hot Tuna
70. Lou Reed
Soundtrack | V for Vendetta
He formed the group The Velvet Underground with Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale, second guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker in New York in 1965. The group soon became a part of Andy Warhol's Factory scene, which housed a great number of the most freaked and experimental ...
The Velvet Underground
71. Mickey Baker
Soundtrack | Men in Black 3
Singer / songwriter / producer Mickey Baker was born McHouston Baker in Louisville, KY, in 1925. At about 15 years of age he traveled to New York City to break into the music business, and played in both blues and jazz clubs and bands. To make ends meet he gave guitar lessons, and in 1953 a young ...
72. Tom Verlaine
Soundtrack | Love and a .45
Tom Verlaine was born on December 13, 1949 in Morristown, New Jersey, USA as Thomas Miller.
74. Jonny Greenwood
Soundtrack | The Master
Jonny Greenwood was born on November 5, 1971 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England as Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood. He has been married to Sharona Katan since 1995. They have three children.
75. Ed O'Brien
Soundtrack | Vanilla Sky
Ed O'Brien was born on April 15, 1968 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England as Edward John O'Brien. He is married to Susan Kobrin. They have two children.
76. Ike Turner
Soundtrack | Deadpool
Ike Turner was born on November 5, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA as Izear Luster Turner Jr. He was married to Audrey Madison, Jeanette Bazzell, Margaret Ann Thomas, Tina Turner, Bonnie Mae Wilson and Lorraine Taylor. He died on December 12, 2007 in San Marcos, California, USA.
Ike & Tina Turner
78. Vernon Reid
Soundtrack | Say Anything...
Vernon Reid was born on August 22, 1958 in London, England. He is known for his work on Say Anything... (1989), The Proposal (2009) and Look Who's Talking Too (1990). He has been married to Gabri Christa since February 22, 2000. They have one child.
79. Randy Rhoads
Soundtrack | Ghost Rider
Randy Rhoads was born on December 6, 1956 in Santa Monica, California, USA as Randall Williams Rhoads. He died on March 19, 1982 in Leesburg, Florida, USA.
81. David Gilmour
Soundtrack | Pink Floyd: The Wall
David Jon Gilmour was born on 6th March, 1946, in Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge. As the lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, he is by many considered one of the most influential guitarists on the rock stage. Right up to "The Dark Side of The Moon", Dave wrote his own songs, but from then up to "The ...
82. Glen Buxton
Soundtrack | The Faculty
Glen Buxton was born on November 10, 1947 in Akron, Ohio, USA. He died on October 19, 1997 in Clarion, Iowa, USA.
83. Zakk Wylde
Soundtrack | V for Vendetta
Zakk Wylde was born on January 14, 1967 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA as Jeffrey Philip Wielandt. He has been married to Barbaranne Wylde since December 14, 1992. They have three children.
Ozzy Osbourne; Black Label Society
84. Link Wray
Soundtrack | Independence Day
Rock'n'roll musician Link Wray reigns supreme as one of the best, most important, influential, and innovative guitarists to emerge from the 1950's. Wray was the creator of the power-chord and was one of the first musicians to experiment with both distortion and the burning fuzz-tone guitar sound in...
85. Dave Davies
Composer | Village of the Damned
Dave Davies is the brother of Ray Davies, the lead singer and songwriter of The Kinks, of which he was the lead singer up to 1964, when Ray joined. He was also the lead guitarist and backup singer for the Kinks. As children, both brothers were immersed in a world of different musical styles, from ...
86. Hubert Sumlin
Self | Lightning in a Bottle
Hubert Sumlin was born on November 16, 1931 in Greenwood, Mississippi, USA as Hubert Charles Sumlin. He was married to Willie B 'Rea' Reed Sumlin. He died on December 4, 2011 in Wayne, New Jersey, USA.
89. Eddie Cochran
Soundtrack | Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Eddie Cochran was born as Edward Raymond Cochran on October 3, 1938 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. When Eddie was 14, his parents moved to Bell Gardens, California where he began playing the guitar. In 1954, Eddie joined a local band with songwriter Hank Cochran where Eddie performed as the second ...
90. Davey Johnstone
Music_department | Sherlock Holmes
Davey Johnstone was born on May 6, 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
91. Vivian Campbell
Soundtrack | Highlander II: The Quickening
Has been with the band since 1992 when the original guitarist, Steve Clark, died in early 1991. Has two daughters, Lily Rose and Una Marigold, with wife Jewels Has played guitar for the Rock 'n' Roll band 'White Snake' and other Rock 'n' Roll groups.
Def Leppard; Dio
92. Joe Walsh
Soundtrack | The Warriors
Joe Walsh was born on November 20, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas, USA as Joseph Fidler Walsh. He has been married to Marjorie Bach since December 12, 2008. He was previously married to Denise Driscoll, Juanita Boyer, Stefany Amaro and Marjori.
95. Robbie Robertson
Soundtrack | The Wolf of Wall Street
Robbie Robertson was born on July 5, 1943 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Jaime Robert Robertson.
97. Henry Vestine
Self | Playboy After Dark
Henry Vestine was born on December 25, 1944 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. He died on October 20, 1997 in Paris, France.
98. Robert Quine
Soundtrack | Night of the Demons
Robert Quine was born on December 30, 1942 in Akron, Ohio, USA. He was an actor, known for Night of the Demons (2009), Blank Generation (1980) and White Trash (1992). He was married to Alice Sherman. He died on May 31, 2004 in New York City, New York, USA.
99. D. Boon
Soundtrack | Mirage
D. Boon created the legendary punk rock band, Minutemen, with George Hurley and Mike Watt in 1980. The trio went on to release 11 albums in less than six years and toured maniacally until Boon's tragic death in late December of 1985 caused the group's abrupt demise.
100. Fred Smith
Self | Cast Away
Frederick W. Smith is chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporation. Smith is responsible for providing strategic direction for all of the FedEx Corporation operating companies, including FedEx Express and FedEx Ground. Smith founded Federal Express Corporation (FedEx Express...