Need for Speed: The 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time

84

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

shredlordstump

Vinnie Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Paco de Lucia, Al di Meola, Greg Howe, Alex Skolnick, Buckethead, John 5, Chris Broderick, Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Joe Stump, Paul Gilbert, Chris Impellitteri, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Stephan Forte, Oli Herbert, James Malone, Rusty Cooley, Ron Jarzombek, Robert Marcello, Michael Amott, Christopher Amott, Christian Muenzner, Muhammed Suicmez, Luca Turilli, Alexi Laiho, Gus G., Chuck Schuldiner, Shannon Hamm, Tony MacAlpine, Michael Romeo, Michael Angelo Batio, Eric Peterson, Jonas Kjellgren, Per Nilsson, Shawn Lane, Theodore Ziras, Chris Storey, Luke Jaeger, Karl Logan, Fredrik Thordendal, LORI LINSTRUTH <3, Lars Eric Mattson, Jeffrey Ryan Smoots, Glen Drover, Chris Poland, Al Pitrelli, etc. That's 51. Mostly all metal, but with a guy who plays Flamenco, and some that lean more towards rock/jazz, and then there's Al di Meola. I could easily write for Guitar World, but you probably wouldn't let me because I call bullshit when I see it. Synyster Gates being on this list is the epitome of bullshit. He's just Vinnie Moore with half the accuracy, half the articulation, half the speed, half the complexity, half the technicality, half the originality, half the innovation, half the technique, etc. I prefer to hear the REAL thing, not a cheap imitation. Syn is sloppy, and his stuff is really rather simple. :) Vinnie Moore recorded Mind's Eye in such a short time that he didn't even get to name one of his songs(N.N.Y. stands for No Name Yet). Played clean as a whistle even though he had to think up a lot of the improvisation basically one the spot! He was 21-years-old at the time. 1986, man. Didn't miss a note in shreds over five-minutes-long. Then you got Syn fucking up Second Heartbeat Live In The LBC. Like 40 seconds long? Seriously! 0_0 Him on the list = a joke. And as funny as it is, all jokes get old after a while. Then they get annoying. It's like a fly buzzing around, and sadly, I am without a flyswatter...

avatar

ipod13dude

Why isn't he even on honorable mentions???

avatar

billbrown

Not sure why John McLaughlin didn't make the top 50? Just listen to Mahavishnu Orchestra - Vital Transformation.

avatar

hurricane_9312

All my favorite shredders are on this list! Synyster gates is the best and fastest shredder of my time! Hence I'm 19!!!!! All the old school guys kick ass to though!

avatar

Yareth14

Yup i agree !

avatar

samanthaa

I agree!

avatar

shredlordstump

No Berklee/Shredlord on this list? Joe Stump. Listen to Prophecy by HolyHell. He's at least twice as fast as Synyster Gates. Yngwie Malmsteen paved the way for guys like Jason Becker. Yet Becker makes the list and Malmsteen doesn't? Malmsteen is better, faster. Stephan Forte from Adagio. Seven string LAG guitar wit 28 frets. He's the fastest guitarist there is, he can do six and seven string sweeps like they're cake.

avatar

shredlordstump

Not to mention Christopher Amott and Michael Amott are BOTH faster than ALMOST everyone on the list. The Great Darkness for example. Of the vast amount of examples.

avatar

ric3142

Irishmen Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore would have made my list and probably Australia's Tommy Emmanual too. Then again, I haven't heard of a number of the guitarists on your top 50. Hey, what about Adrian Curtis/Gurvitz on Gun's 'Race with the Devil'? That was pretty damn fast back in 1968!

avatar

lestrum

While I respect the abilities of many of the guitar players listed leaving off Mclaughlin is absurd. Without his ground breaking work half of the players mentioned wouldn't even have a job. And they would be the first to tell you that.

Whoever wrote this article is misguided.

avatar

nasrimehat

Malmsteen not in the list..what a crap!!! I am not a big fan of him, but speedwise he is definitely among the fastest if not the fastest.

avatar

phgold

OK, so it's hard to calssify this artist to a genre, and your list has a dearth of artixts from any of the genre's one might use to classify this true virtuoso that ioncororates bluegrass, blues, jazz and folk:
LEO KOTTKEE!!!!!!!!

avatar

aerosmith1

What about yngwie malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, and Tony Iommi. This list is horrible!

avatar

thomasa

I love Guitar World Magazine and have learned much over the years. It has come in handy even when I prepare to teach lessons of my own. When it comes to technique which is an important tool to musicianship (I don't care how others feel about this) your magazine refuses to acknowledge anyone from the world of classical guitar beyond the occasional mention of Andres Segovia. A message to your readers who are "turned on" by speed and amazing technique please familiarize yourselves with Kazuhito Yamashita (Japan) and Eliot Fisk (USA) and Pavel Steidl (Czech Republic)as GREATS !!!!

avatar

tskl2

Have any of you ever heard of the album Birds of Fire by John McLaughlin Now thats a fast guitar player.I would also have to say Jeff Beck,Carlos Santana And Jimmy Page.

avatar

panterrasports

These lists are risky business. There are so many great players out there. How do you evaluate 'speed'. To me, I would look at how a player's efforts have impacted guitar music and estimate their importance 20 or 50 years from now. There are kids in their basement that can play faster than half your list, but they will never make a mark...and possibly for good reason. It still has to be music, no matter how fast.

Here are a few true pioneers you missed:

John McLaughlin
Petrucci
Yngwie
Greg Howe
Steve Morse
Chris Poland
Michael Schenker
Eric Johnson
Chet Atkins

I realize some of these guys haven't done much in a while and some have become parodies of themselves but you can't deny their impact on how the guitar is played today.

I'm also a fan of Warren DeMartini though I don't know that I'd consider him a pioneer. Same with Adrian Vandenberg, Chris Broderick, John Sykes, Gary Moore, Emil Werstler (Daath), Joe Stump, James Murphy and Vito Bratta.

I also think it's important to make mention of some great rhythm players. Hammering out superfast riffs can be every bit as technical as great leads. If you're talking about speed/accuracy of rhythm playing, it's hard to overlook:
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman
Willie Adler & Mark Morton
Scott Ian
Hetfield
Mustaine

I can't help but wonder whether leaving Kirk Hammett off the list was oversight or insight...?

May (real) shred never die

avatar

dr7rule

Synyster Gates is no where near the fastest and cleanest. It is sad to see him on the top. Vai is a way better guitarist than he is, so is Macalpine.

avatar

acdc_acca_dacca

you guys r dumb as fuck u left out two of the best ever angus yung and chuck barry so fuck you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

avatar

tskl2

Maybe you should learn how to spell AC/DCs Guitarists Name! And just because someone else has a different opinion then yours doesn't mean you should cuss them,
I'm from St. Louis and I know Chuck Berry and he doesn't even think he's one of the 50 fastest guitarist.

avatar

tonyfrombalt

Chuck "Barry"? Who is that?

avatar

dougguitar

Speed is only one weapon in his arsenal certainly, but Steve Morse should definitely be on this list, too. Not only can he pick fast, he picks insanely difficult things fast. There may be others that pick single-string or scalar runs faster, but I don't think I've heard anyone pick wide, string-skipping licks faster than Morse. He essentially becomes two guitarists at once -- one playing a blazing fast upper melody, and another playing a speedy lower counterpoint.

avatar

zappaman

you have Gambale,Dimeola and holdsworth but not the great John Mclaughin? put down your game controller and put on some cds of the Mahavishnu orchestra or Shakti unless substance doesn't count either.

avatar

lestrum

Absolutely correct man, leaving out the groundbreaker is absurd. Half these guys would never have a job in the music business without Mclaughlin.

avatar

sobplayer23

great list and the only one i can think of thats missing is kirk hammet. for all those people wondering where yngwies spot on the list is, its in the august issue

avatar

oldrhoadsfan

Ok, the original shredder....Chet Atkins is missing. If you have ever had the opotunity to hear him play flight of the bumblebee then you would know, this guy is fast. And Roy Clark was an incredibly fast player as well. And again, how can you have a list of shredders without Yngwie?

avatar

indaloman

The late great Chet, agree 100% and what about Mark Knoffler?

avatar

hatfield954

There are others that need to be mentioned. So this could turn out to be more than 50 if they were all given praise, such as the ones listed. One great one that is a favorite to me is Mr. George Lynch. He seems to have stayed under the radar much of the time, but is one of the greatest. One of the tracks he performed was even in the movie Nightmare on Elm Street. He is very great and very fast.

avatar

andeemac2006

Pat Metheny of course its beyond the Pale that he isnt mentioned !!!!

He can play every style known to man and some of his OWN!! I dont think many can play as fast as he does playing his style

Listen to track 7 of Imaginary Day
http://www.rhapsody.com/pat-metheny/imaginary-day--warner-bros

To here a lot of his styles

avatar

jhewell

You've obviously never heard them or they would have made this list.

avatar

majunga

Great List of 50: However, to be fair, there are a lot OF OTHER SUPER FAST and just as talented professionals out there, who can piece together even more interesting and entertaining solos than some listed above. Of course, much of this is subjective; and, FAST does NOT mean interesting by any means! ;^)

Maybe there is a need for the TOP 200 instead.

You missed Chris Broderick (Megadeth).
You missed Jeff Waters (Anniliator): Just take a listen to his solo on Roadrunner Records' Roadrunner United CD playing, on the song "The Dagger" (Kicks Azzzzzz, is fast, and best of all, TECHNICALLY INTERESTING!) Not just a bunch of fast-fluff! And Jeff is "kick'en it" at the age of 42!

Great list, but with a few missing!

avatar

darkslayer13

So, where is Yngwie Malmsteen?....If he's not here, this list is CRAP

avatar

bugmenot

I know Brazil is normally not in the map for great guitarists but when it comes to speed (and skill as well) Yamandú Costa is easily among the best 50 in the world. Check it out.

avatar

kotsubu

I don't want to take anything away from the people mentioned in this list, but it seems pretty biased towards the shredders with a couple token people from other genres thrown in. Perhaps the writers from Guitar World don't listen to a lot of non-rock music.

There are many more people that I think deserve to be in an open "fast guitarists" list, and some others who, while not the overall fastest, are faster than the article chose. I think guys like Robert Conti and Jimmy Bruno have to be on any list of 50 fastest guitarists. What about John McLaughlin? You mention Django - who IS an icon, but you don't list Andreas Oberg, Jimmy Rosenberg or Bireli Lagrene. Have a listen to them for some fast gypsy jazz. Tonino Baliardo (Gypsy Kings) has some of the fastest hands (fingerstyle, rather than pickstyle) around. The article mentioned a few old-school guitarists - a couple more I could add would include Johnny Smith (check out 'Jaguar'), Chet Atkins (fast notes per second travis picking rather than single note lines) and Merle Travis (check out Merle's Boogie Woogie).

avatar

juanchis

and john petrucci "paradigm shift" liquid tension experiment?

Log in to Guitar World directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

  • Sign in with Twitter
Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.