Need for Speed: The 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time

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Paulie Del Visco

Surprised that Michael Romeo did not make this list, perhaps the relative inactivity from he and his Symph X bandmates?

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dme5500

Lots of great players were not on the list, but have been mentioned by others.
Frank Zappa taught or discovered several of these guys and was an awesome, fearsome player-not on the list.
Another life-altering player is Jan Ackerman. Check out the extended version of Hocus Pocus.
For the New Yorkers reading this, remember John Gatto from the Good Rats and Vito Bratta from White Lion?

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michael10203

Jacky Vincent??

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dadrab

I have to quit reading stuff like this from GW. It just serves to piss me off.

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hueseph

I thought my computer was broken. That Orthrelm was pretty damn awful. Sounded like 3 minutes of broken record.

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deependguitar777

How about Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy, Guthrie Govan,George Benson. These guys are far superior to many of the names mentioned.

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hueseph

This isn't about "best" players. It's about fastest players. Strictly speed. Though, George Benson is no slouch in those terms. A shredder by any other name. That's not a criticism. I love to hear Benson play. I just wish he would stop singing. Brother Benson, no harm meant.

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mrw55

The way I heard it, he would rather play guitar. Management and his label prefer him singing as that is what pays the bills.

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deependguitar777

How about Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy, Guthrie Govan,George Benson. These guys are far superior to many of the names mentioned.

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deependguitar777

How about Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy, Guthrie Govan,George Benson. These guys are far superior to many of the names mentioned.

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mrw55

Speed is good. I can use more. However, if what is being played is not worth listening to it becomes another exercise or worse masturbation.

One of my favorite songs clocks in at 40bpm. It is "Not My Cross to Bear" by the Allman Brothers. There are 3 solos in this song. I believe Duane Allman takes the first two and Diki Betts takes #3.
If any of these speed demons can play as tastefully as Duane Allman let me know.

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buzzbomb67

Sure, hes not well-known, nor is he a technically proficient player, but Blind Marky Felchtone from Zeke is awful dang fast! Brian Setzer had some pretty fast fretwork too!

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PlankSpank

Control and Resistance by Watchtower is kickass and wheres that dude from Kentucky that blew Paul Gilbert away? He contracted a weird disease and blew up like a blimp. Steve Howe was a monster on the acoustic,his guitars were bigger than he was lol.

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atn

GW really needs to listen to Per Nilsson... he's by FAAAAR my favorite current meta/shred guitarist even if I don't necessarily like his band (Scar Symmetry). He's very technical (more than Petrucci for example) and his phrasing is simply incredible (and his improv skills are great). He simply brings fresh ideas to every song-solo.

Case in point, the solo to Ghost Prototype 1 (skip to 2:34) showcases incredible phrasing with flashes of Vai, Petrucci, Malmsteen, Friedman, etc. all blended in Per's great style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKnyvtzMRRA

The solo to Noumenon and Phenomenon is also very well composed (and technical)...

While you're at it, listen to Jakub Zytecki... insane !

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andreas_wsnake

Ummmm, usually I don't like commenting on other people lists and I know that some have to be left out, but, where is Ritchie Blackmore guys?? Seriously, he isn't there? John Sykes? Akira Takasaki? Dick Dale? I'm not a specialist at all, but I think these guys could be considered essential if we talk about fast playing...

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jdrussell

Check it out: Chris Broderick is auctioning one of his custom Ibanez guitars on ebay. The auction ends in 3 days - on April 20th. The proceeds from the auction go to charity. So go bid.

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mricciardulli

Where the fuck is B.B King?

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krshnakrunch

B.B. is at Wendy's, ordering a Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger.

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jfauser

When the hell has B.B. King played fast?

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amreed94

Corey Beaulieu is missing i think

fritzo

Little web design tip for ya: If you're going to have a top 50 list, but the "next" buttons at the bottom AND the top. I'm not going to scroll down to the bottom of the screen to hit next and view all 50 pages.

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Damage Inc.

I think Buckethead fits right into SlipKnoT.
Not just because of his appearance...

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Sycrensia

Josh Middleton - Sylosis
Alexi Laiho - Children of Bodom

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mart1018

Dick Dale???

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tspaz44

All this and no mention of Gary Moore??????????? Seriously??????

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Kainslasher

I find it interesting that Synyster Gates was added to this list on one of Avenged Sevenfold's EARLIEST albums...

Synyster Gates, or Brian Haner Jr. to some, has always been a favorite of mine because of the intricacy of his playing style. Yes, I do concede that Malmsteen is a fantastic and incredibly fast guitarist, but listen to his recordings. 90 percent of the noise you hear comes from the effects and echos he uses. Alot of these guitarists are what I like to call "tappers" using the form of tapping to create a faster speed lick or riff. I like the use of the technique, but it doesnt contribute to your picking speed at all. Any beginner guitarist can tap out a fast solo, but it takes years of practice, effort and skill to sweep pick a solo that isn't just a simple chord progression.

I believe Synyster Belongs at the top of the list because his speed has only increased since "Eternal Rest", his skills have far improved since then, and his technique is mind blowing. Say what you like, but He truly does belong on this list.

Don't believe me? Check this video out and tell me otherwise. This is LIVE material, just think of what he does in the studio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kljVpskteDc

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samanthaa

I agree, Synyster has been a favorite of mine too cause of his playing style. He has improved his skills a lot over the years.

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XGC Polaris

Chris Broderick and Michael Lee Firkins should be on this list. After seeing Michael Lee Firkins at a guitar clinic in the 90's, I am a life-long fan. Between his speed and odd technique of using his whammy bar to mimic the sounds of a slide, one thing that still stands out is his great song writing. As far as Chris Broderick, just do a search on YouTube and watch!

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paradox343

Buckethead's the best!!!

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alockout

Yeah I agree about putting young Mr. Gates on the list-he is good-but not comparable to the people who should dominate here. There are quite a few really great guitarist on here that just don't come to mind when the word speed is mentioned. Like EVH for example one of the greats and he is definitley no sloth but it's not the same speed category as say Malmsteem or Buckethead. It's kinda like comparing the speed of a Corvette to that of a Top Fuel Dragster-The Corvette will do 198 mph which is very fast but the dragster gets to 330mph. Another big difference is the dragster only goes straight ahead while the Corvette can go anywhere. When you say EVH then you must admit that there are a slew of guys who followed his lead and can play just as fast but also aren't on the list like DeMartini or Lynch. All fast and all good but again not like Malmsteem, Buckethead, or Batio. Heck what about Gillis and Watson? So I mean it's one thing to ask a question like "who is the best" and then anybody can make the list but speed and accuracy is more of a measurable subject. That's my little bitch hahaha. Oh and while I'm bitching I also feel the need to mention that I am going through listening to the guitarists I haven't heard before and I got stopped at Mick Barr and the blurb about him. Question: How can you say, "lack of repetition prove that he’s working on another level altogether"? For 3 minutes he (literally) repeats the same lick-that's called repetition-but I will agree, he is working on another level hahaha. I can't tell how fast he's going but I can tell you I'd much rather hear Ty Tabor play at 80bpm than this. BTW don't get me wrong cuz I do love the superfast guitar players too but I just prefer some melody, some soul, some purpose other than speed alone. I guess I just don't get it.

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Seven64

Michael Keene deserves to be on this list much more than a majority of the list. Same with Ryan Knight.

p.s. I voted for Rusty Cooley

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dr7rule

Synyster Gates is leading the pack, what a joke. He should not have even been mentioned on this list. Rusty, Vai, John, Macalpine, Morse all besides a few others on the list will blow him away.

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MYSYNABUN

He's the FUCKEN BEST that is why he is on the list & at the TOP of IT!!!! Where have you been...Oh wait you must have been born YESTURDAY...since u have no CLUE what u r talking about!

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jfauser

Since when are emos who pretend to be metal the best? You obviously don't know shit about the guitar. I doubt you have ever even heard of Django Reinhardt. By the way, fix up your spelling and grammar.

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FreddyB2011

Just a quick thought, on the 85 fastest guitarists in my opinion, I think those 15 (no particular order) are the fastest, and remarkable. I think Rusty Cooley's solo on Book of Reflections, I. Phoenix, should be noted...just a personal comment :
Rusty Cooley 1
Stéphan Forté
Alex Beyrodt
Alex Masi
Francesco Artusato
Oli Herbert
Johan Reinholdz
Andy Timmons
Roger Staffelbach
Kiko Loureiro 2
Hughes Lefebvre
Henrik Fevre
Tore Ostby
Katsu Ohta 3
Ryan Knight
Olaf Lenk
Alex Skolnick
Mike Lerner
Chris Bradley
Zakk Wylde (phenomenal hybrid picking) 4
Dave Nassie
Blues Saraceno
Lars Eric Mattsson
Brian Maillard
Bumblefoot
Tony Macalpine
Joe Satriani
Alex Laiho
Mats Haugen
Byorn Eliasson
Norifumi Shima
Patrick Reyes
Markus Sigfridsson
Wacław Kiełtyka
Herman Li 5
John Petrucci 6
Nuno Bettencourt
Gus G
Mattias Eklundh
George Bellas
Greg Howe
Guthrie Govan 7
Chris Impellitteri
Chris Broderick
Marco Sfogli
Jason Becker
Joey Taffola
Buckethead 8
Marcel Coenen 9
Luca Turilli
Rob Johnson
Marco Rizzo
Marty Friedman
Martin Buus
Michael Angelo Batio
Michael Romeo 10
Jarkko Kokko
Paul Guilbert 11
Dan Bage
Sami Raatikainen
Christian Muenzner
Rob Milley
Jeff Loomis
Daniel Freyberg
Patrick Rondat
Matteo Di Bon
Richie Kotzen
Per Nilsson
Torben Enevoldsen
Gary Wehrkamp
Jonathan Donais
Jani Liimatainen
Steve Morse 12
Steve Vai 13
Matias Kupiainen
Timo Tolkki
Josh Middleton
Takayoshi Ohmura
John Kempainen
Omar Rodriguez
Stephan Lill
Vinnie Moore
Reb Beach
Jari Maenpaa 14
Y. J. Malmsteen 15

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dr7rule

Rusty is awesome and very fast. I am glad to see you did not even include Synyster Gates, who in the world would have put him on the list of fastest guitarist of all time. GW really dropped the ball on this poll.

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tonyfrombalt

Yngwie didn't make the list? That is absurd. I remember hearing him on some syndicated metal show back in maybe '85. They played "Evil Eye". I was floored. Untill then, the fastest guitar player I was aware of was Alvin Lee (10 Yrs After) or maybe Ed VH. But Yngwie was mind blowing with his speed. Especially back then. Being fast is one thing, but being fast AND accurate is another thing all together. YJM was the first guy to be super fast and super clean about it, that I ever heard back then.

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dr7rule

Yngwie blows Synyster Gates away with ease. I am sure Gates will even admit this himself. More than half of the list blows him away. GW does not have a clue of what their own poll should consist of. It does not matter the genre of music, if someone is the fastes at guitar, they are the fastest at guitar.

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metalk76

Where's Jake E Lee! Might not be the fastest but he's darn good!!!!

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WMB0117

Kirk Hammett? I think he should at least be in the honorable mentions. He used to shred when he was younger, just listen to the song Hit the Lights, that's some serious shredding!

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Panzer-917-30

Irregardless of who is or isnt on the list ... what is up with so many commentors inability to understand the concept of Alphabetical..... Yngwie and McLaughlin are both under M.

Ps. I really would have loved to have seen Andy LeRoche(King Diamond) and Steve Hackett( Genesis..etc)

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tonyfrombalt

fyi- "Irregardless" is not a word.
Not trying to be a dick, just trying to help you avoid embarrassment in the future.

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Panzer-917-30

Sorry but "irregardless " is an acceptable english word. Although it is considerd non-standard in many dictionaries. It has been in use since the early 1900's and has appeared in many dictionaries as a non-standard usage of the common "regardless". Websters New international accepts it as a double negative of regradless that has come into common usage even though it is grammatically incorrect.

I am rarely embarrassed over my usage of language, but punctuation, spelling and out of tune 11h chords are a different matter.

deluge71

Agree on Laroque. I love Hackett, but I'm not sure if his speed is anything to write home about.

P.S. Malmsteen and McLaughlin both start with 'M'. If the list is alphabetical, shouldn't they be under the same heading?

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Tarkess

Uh.. ..Chris Broderick?

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mansonfan999

WHERE THE CRAP IS YNGWIE

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merio

Ok nice choice, but I think you forgot John Petrucci or you don't even know him? he should be ne of the top 10 at least.

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lovestoshred666

wheres Chris Broderick or Rusty Cooley? sure they haven't accomplished as much as some of the people on this list but that's not the point of the article, it's about who's the fastest and both of those guys need to be on there, there segments in "betcha can't play this" speak for themselves.

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dr7rule

I agree, these two alone are way faster than the current leader Synyster Gates. Just because one may have Avenged Boxer shorts does not make him the fastest. These people do not know what the pole stands for obviously. Fastest Guitarist of all time. Not guitarist in most popular band. Even the person who put the list together is not up to bar on their own pole.

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dr7rule

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