Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time



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Pretty good article, but I thought it was a bit strange that some of the guitarists interviewed didn't choose the guitarist they thought was the greatest of all time, but rather chose a guitarist they thought was underrated. That's not to say those they chose aren't great guitarists in their own right, but not necessarily one of the greatest of all time. That said, choosing the greatest guitarist of all time is subjective to the chooser. Not everyone is going to like the guitarist chosen. One commenter mentioned Allan Holdsworth. I'm not into fusion, though I've heard a song or two of his, so I cannot say he's the greatest guitarist ever, simply because I'm not familiar enough with his music. But he could be. I could say that about a lot of guitarists. The guitarists I think are underrated, greatest of all time and my favorite are mostly limited to those with whom I am most familiar, but I know there are plenty of others who are also worthy of those distinctions.

By the way, this article inspired me to create my own lists of guitarists:



Steve Howe whips all them! Cept for Hendrix. I stil hold my head at an angle trying to figure out which planet he came from lol


My God, Eddie's such a prick that he can't even give a guy a compliment without kissing his own ass. If you guys had a "Biggest A**hole in Rock" contest, it'd be a toss up between Gene Simmons and EVH. The rest of the articles are great though. Humility, someone please explain this concept to Eddie...


Hats off to Steve Van Zandt on his choice of Keith Richards, very ballsy with this bunch of snobs.


Way to go SLASH. The Best choice from his generation MICK TAYLOR.
I was beginning to think no one ever heard of him. Helluva slide player. He made it possible for the Stones to go on as long as they have. Piss off to everyone who disagrees. Too bad instead of continuing to better the band they rested on there hits which they don't even play as good as they did when Richards was still a junkie.
All of the so called new songs post Taylor, "Waitin on a Friend", "Start Me Up" & a few other gems were taken from the Master tapes of the Exile on Main Street Master Tapes.

Not only that but the old bastards joined with the rest of the old greedy ass baby boomers & jacked up the prices for the Elite friends of "Sir" Mick. Keith doesn't get off either, all of the shit he stole from the old black guys he goes & sues some band in the 80's for lifting a loop or whatever the rappers called it & kills their career on what they called a homage to him from Satisfaction I think. I think he knicked that from Ian Stewart intro to "Flight 505".



If what I have recently read on Mick Taylor and the Stones is true, well lets just say if I was the Stones, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror while shaving.
No one came out and said it but the gist of it is, Keith Richards was so jealous of Mick Taylor it is pathetic. Not only could Mick Taylor play better than Keith Richards he was better looking, which must have really pissed Keith Richards off.
From Keith Richards erasing demo tapes of Mick Taylor's studio work and The Stones failure to give Taylor writing credits on all the work Taylor did for them, I'm surprised he has agreed to play with them (still) all these years.
Must be a better man than I am as I would spit in their collective faces.


Eddie Van Halen is a total dick. You may not like Michael Anthony, but get over yourself.


Feet First

"and a bass player we knew"

That's Mike he's talking about isn't it? I can't believe Eddie is still being nasty even after all that's going for him.


Mark Stone was the original bass player in Mammoth. Could it be that's who he is referring to?



I'll bet if they had asked Guthrie Govan, he would've said Shawn Lane. Buckethead probably would have too. Anybody think the one from Tom Morello (on Steve Vai) ends really odd, where he says it turned into his greatest nightmare, a shred-fest? I'm like "Eh? What was the point of that story?" He never really talks about Steve Vai himself. Weird.



Not too bad of a read..



Ahh. I am mostly a continuing story of hair band forever guitarist. Ive played the BEATLES for 20yrs and this year resorted mostly to pop no less. I did go on a "Kill em All" phase in'88 but always and forever a long lost RATT. I have to comend Kirk Hamment for a most interesting column on Uli Roth. "Sails of Sharon" is mostly a wicked ritual to celebrate for me, and I admire Matthias Jabbs! Way cool comments and a new heightend respect to Kirk Hamment.



Gawd I'm so fed up with this line: "It was very apparent to me that his tone is in his fingers and his head." Of course it is; it's so bloody obvious why does every guitarist feel the need to make himself sound brilliant by saying it?


Guitar George 2012

So many people say "tone is in your fingers", but I challenge that statement. Your style is in your fingers, your tone is in your gear.

Does anyone think Johnny Winter's tone sounds the same playing through his Lazer as when he played through a Firebird? Or, does Leslie West sound the same playing through his Deans & Blackstars as when he played a Junior through a Sun Coliseum PA head? Clapton sound the same now playing through Fender guitars and amps as when he played a Les Paul through a Marshall? How about the late, great Roy Buchanan? His tone suffered the most when he stopped playing his iconic Tele through a Fender, and opted instead for a plethora of other guitars through a delay pedal into a Roland Jazz Chorus amp. I could go on.

It's a romantic notion that a great guitarist, no matter who he or she may be, can play a Gibson/Marshall or a Fender/Fender or a Rickenbacker/Vox setup and the tone will be the same throughout, just because of said guitarist's "mojo". What will be recognizable is the guitarist's style, not the tone.

Heck, even Hendrix sounded a little bit different when he played his Flying V instead of his Strat.



What I want to listen to is a "musician". Not an instrument technician. No matter what instrument you play you must be musical. You must make music. Sounds obvious right? But far too many guitarists don't get it.



I tought that someone was going to talk about Shawn Lane, now i dont know what to think about this guitarrists :/



I like Slash's Mick Taylor recognition the best. They're all winners...


This is a really interesting article. I still can't believe that no one reveres Frank Gambale, Allan Holdsworth, Brett Garsed, John Petrucci, Michael Romeo nor TONY MACALPINE! So strange.



many of the those guitarist are somewhat contemporary artists, i imagine the artists that choose the artists that they did had more to do with being influenced by the subject artist. Nothing to take away from the guitarist that you stated because they are all amazing players.

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