Eddie Van Halen Voted Greatest Guitarist of All Time in Guitar World Readers Poll

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rh287

Well Billy Gibbons knew Hendrix and EVH. When asked in an interview to name to top 10 rock guitarists of all times Gibbons responded by saying "well put Eddie Van Halen in the top five slots and the bottom five are up for much debate".

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Jayf.u.c.k

As much as you deserve this and as big of a fan of EVH as I am,all the Evh great gear I own and love.
Eddie you are a great innovator way a head of your time.
BUT....If Randy Rhoads would have lived he would have blown your doors off.Just sayin.

linkonhayes

I have seen guitarists on the street & in little clubs that make Eddie look like he's still learning. To make him the greatest of all time is not something that wasn't expected. Bubblegum metal. I wouldn't be suprised if most of his votes came from the gay guys & 12 year old girls who thought he was cute & wished they had hair like his. He did have some talent but not nearly enough to be the greatest guitarist of all time.

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Stan The Fenderman

Beste Eddie,
Van Harte Gefeliciteerd met de welverdiende prijs.
Keep on Rocking.
Groetjes vanuit Nederland.

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ThemBones24

In my opinion EVH is the greatest guitarist for several reasons:
- The first VH record changed rock guitar playing as we know it.
- Ed's "Brown" tone is unmatched.
- Ed's use of the tremelo is unmatched.
- Ed's picking style is unique and ackward. He holds the pick with thumb and middle finger (not index finger). Some people think it's "effects" that's what made unique...but it's really his picking style.
- Ed's use of effects (flanger, etc) is masterful because it's never overkill in any of his songs.
- His solos are fast when approriate and not overkill(aka Yngwie, Vai).
- He wrote 2 solos for Michael Jackson's "Beat It" in about 15 minutes FOR FREE...and told him to choose one!!!

Some responses to others who are against EVH being #1:
- There would be no Randy Rhoades if it wasn't for EVH. Stop it.
- I wouldn't even have Brian May in my top 10 list of best UK & Irish guitarist. Off top of my head I'd take Jimmy Page, Clapton, The Edge, and David Gilmour over Brian May.
- EVH's playing even on Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance...and the new VH record is better than ANYTHING Brian May has done. EVER!
- I would like to see Hendrix try playing "Mean Street" or Ed's picking style.

jpjjd

You really should listen more from Brian May if you think that crap from last VH album is better than anything May has ever done...and if there is a guitar tone really unmatched and most requested to be reproduced, well, that's by BM Red Special:

http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/brian-may-still-reigns-as-the-king-of-tone/148233

http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/how-to-capture-brian-mays.aspx

Anyway I have a lot of respect for EVH, he's one of the greatest guitarist ever for sure.

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beerfordolphins

Brian May seems to be getting a bit of a kicking here...and while I wouldn't agree that he is the best guitarist out of the bunch he is certainly due a lot more respect and credit than some of the people on here seem to want to give him.

Those in the US seem to forget that Queen are HUGE worldwide - the best selling album act in the UK and have sold way more albums and singles outside of the US than Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. Brian has written and played on some of the most iconic tracks in the world..in fact he has written himself 22 top 20 UK hits. Legendary live performers - owning Live Aid and just recently playing to 350,000 in one show in Russia! I can only vouch for the UK, but stop anyone in the street and ask them to name a Van Halen song they MIGHT remember "Jump" but thats it...

Remember, this is Guitar WORLD and outside of the US, Queen are arguably the most popular rock band on the planet!!...and this was a popularity contest!

linkonhayes

I guess no one who voted ever saw the backstage video of Hendrix & Mick Taylor jamming '69 Stones tour New York I think. Jimi is using one of Taylors Right handed Les Pauls Strung for a right handed player, only Hendrix plays it left handed basically with the srings upside down. I have a problem knowing which note is where up the neck & I am right handed. I don't think Eddie could pull that one from his little bag of tricks.

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devinhull5150

By that logic, Dick Dale should be up top.

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mrbeancanada

Is this for real? have these "guitarists" who voted never heard of Segovia, Django, Charlie Christian, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny ???

linkonhayes

No they haven't.
Charlie Christian. Even Chuck Berry admits to stealing some of his jazz or be-bop licks in the late 40's. Go Cat Go.

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podman1

Another thing that makes Ed get all my respect - he worshipped Clapton when EC was in Cream. That is how Ed cut his teeth. Clapton is an absolute god in my eyes particularly when he was with Cream which is one of my favorite all time bands. And to know that EVH looked up to him, that just makes me warm inside. This is a tough world but these two players make it liveable and fun. I don't know why Eddie has not gotten an honorary doctorate from Yale or Johns Hopkins, etc..yet.

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podman1

Eddie is the Rob Halford of rock guitar. Versatile, Incredible, Influential, Mercurial, Charismatic, and just the best in his field. I would give up a testicle to have a Rob Halford - EVH colaboration. Also, Alex VH is better than John Bonham. Jump back what's that sound.? It don't get no better ever!

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Tight but loose

Please. It took Alex 4 bass drums to do what Bonzo did with 1. Bonzo was the first to use tambourine on the high hat with great effect. Bonzo was the greatest rock drummer ever. Bonzo hit harder than ANY other rock drummer and could swing jazz with great subtlety. Bonzo the BEST. Period.

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podman1

Historical footnote - When Eddie came around in the late 70's there was no one around to compete. Jimmy Page was on heroin; Clapton was a drunk; Randy R was 2 years away; Townshend, although great, was not in the same category; Hendrix was dead, KISS - don't think so; Jeff Beck was too into his hot rods (which is all cool but you know..); Brian May, please - get a hold of yourselves; Alex Lifeson and maybe Steve Howe of Yes were the only real competition out there. I'm waiting for the onslaught of backlash.

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Hendrix1970

I'd still say late 70's Johnny Winter would have owned him at a pick off

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podman1

Sorry, one last comment; Eruption is the greatest recorded guitar solo and Hendrix' Machine Gun from the Band of Gypsies album is the greatest live guitar solo. But also pretty much right next to Machine is Ed's solo from the 5150 movie - where he starts out with 316 and then goes nuts. Too damn cool. Right below as far as solid greatest guitar albums is Jeff Beck's Truth. Brutal. If you don't have it, get it today! This of course was when Rod Stewart was an actual man who sang real blues.

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podman1

I want Eruption played at my funeral. I was only 8 when it first came out so I can't imagine what the guitar community must have thought when he first unleashed the awesomness that is Eruption upon all.. It must have been like a nuclear bomb being dropped. It still sounds good today and when I hear it in the car I blast it still. Who cares if someone can copy, play it faster, bla bla bla. He created it and that's why he is the s*** and always will be.

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podman1

Oh and by the way - I know Queen was very talented but they are overrated. Yes, Fred sang awesome and May is a great player but I don't see how Brian May made it so far in this. I would vote for Randy Rhoads in a heartbeat or Clapton over Brian May. Under Pressure was the best thing they ever did but I think that's because Bowie was involved. David Bowie rules..

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podman1

Ladies and Gentlemen, The reason Ed won is because of his influence. And he had influence because of all the tricks he invented & used. Eruption, Spanish Fly, The Cradle Will Rock, Mean Streets (My favorite intro) Cathedral.. No one plays like that. He could wham the hell out of the Whammy bar all day long, I don't care, I love it. His influence is what made him win. Also, there are 3 most important guitar players ever in this order - The guy who won this, Hendrix and Chuck Berry. All boils down to influence.
Go Frankenstrat, Go!

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podman1

Ladies and Gentlemen, The reason Ed won is because of his influence. And he had influence because of all the tricks he invented & used. Eruption, Spanish Fly, The Cradle Will Rock, Mean Streets (My favorite intro) Cathedral.. No one plays like that. He could wham the hell out of the Whammy bar all day long, I don't care, I love it. His influence is what made him win. Also, there are 3 most important guitar players ever in this order - The guy who won this, Hendrix and Chuck Berry. All boils down to influence.
Go Frankenstrat, Go!

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podman1

EVH is deservedly #1. He has squeezed more sounds out of his Frankenstrat beat up piece of wood then pretty much anyone ever who has picked up a guitar. He also looks awesome doing it. There is just enough flash and crazy sounds to make things interesting but he still stays in the blues. I know many people say he overdoes it with the whamy bar and tapping and stuff but I love it - it's my taste. I could listen to it all day long. But the real reason he is the best is because of his intro to Mean Street. That slap-tapping thing he created. I cant come close to doing that. That is the coolest thing I have ever heard. When I hear another player do somethat that skillful and soulful at the same time then I'll take note. Until then EVH IS THE GREATEST. AND HE BETTER STAY HEALTHY FOR MANY YEARS!!

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Hendrix1970

"Still plays in the blues." are you fucking crazy dude? blues dont want him.

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urth1000

JIMMY PAGE is the answer,and I wish some people would spell Randy RHOADS(NOT RHODES) THE RIGHT way. And Randy Rhoads.

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BobRaker1

Ugh ...you got me. Sacrilege to mispell his name! I deserve a thousand lashes!

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podman1

Other than John Lennon dying, the greatest tragedy this world has ever faced is the untimely death of the beautiful Randy Rhoads. The closest thing to EVH we'll ever see. Diary of a Madman is insane and jaw-dropping.

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jimmylerxst

I agree !!! I also noticed some people spell Paige instead of Page. Come on people !!

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cckolohe

The moniker "Greatest guitar player" is far too broad and vague. Can Eddie Van Halen play like Don Watson or vice versa? The answer is no and neither would they want to but both are awesome guitar players.

chriswich007

Yes, I agree with you completely. Very good point.

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Allusio

I totally agree with Funit! I voted for Brian May...I love Queen. But I’m also glad that Eddie won. How can anyone not see that they absolutely ALL are great!

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Farookhq17

Well, Queen is the greatest rock band of all time, Freddie Mercury the greatest rock singer of all time and now Brian May is the second greatest guitar player of all time. I can live with that!!!
Cheers to you all Guitar World readers!!!

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stevejmo

The idea of a knockout poll always made the outcome even more unreliable and controversial. I still find Van Halen 1 an incredibly complete album - just about all you really need is on there - but all the greats have a small handful of albums that are the essentials for their playing. For me, VH hasn't done anything to really catch my ear since OU812.

I'll stick with Randy Rhoads for sound, dynamics, vision, power, and melody. What would have a third studio album sounded like I wonder...

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thf24

Ironically, it probably wouldn't sound anything like the first two because Randy was strongly considering leaving Ozzy to pursue a degree in classical guitar when he was killed. Randy was amazing though and its one of guitar history's greatest tragedies that we lost him so soon.

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jimmylerxst

It would be packed full of tasty riffs and kick-ass solos ! RR ROCKS !!!

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thf24

The one thing that does it for me with Eddie is the pure, effortless joy you can see in him when he's playing. I just don't see how anyone who is a player or fan of the instrument can find any negative in that. The dislike and even hate for him seen in this comments is completely irrational. The one thing about him that I think could legitimately rub some people the wrong way is how he treated some of his bandmates over the years, but if you put the off-stage issues aside, you're left with arguably the most free, talented, creative, and innovative player we've ever seen. I really don't see how anyone can knock that.

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podman1

The guy was a stone cold drunk so we can blame the booze and not the man. Eddie rules.. He looks like the guitar is is part of his anatomy. And that black and white one he had for VH1 - tell me that's not the coolest axe you've ever seen...

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jimmylerxst

Well said.

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BobRaker1

I've been playing for 26 years and I love all guitarists and have been influenced by so many of them. From John MacLaughlin, Hendrix, SRV,Clapton, Page, Mustaine, Vai, Satch, and Rhodes to others like Doc Watson, Ken Perlman,and even Roy Clark and Buck Owens (I'm still a metalhead though). Without a doubt the guy that made me start was Elvis. Just seeing him holding a guitar was enough to inspire me. The Beatles were my next heroes followed by Hendrix, Clapton and Page's licks that took me to another level. All that being said...none of the before mentioned have ever done to my playing what EVH did. Gave me great examples of tone, innovation, song-crafting, versatility, and the desire to do something different from what's been done before. Had many "wow" moments with all the others, but nothing can compare to the amazement I felt when I spun that Van Halen album for the first time. His evolution over the years has continued to amaze and inspire me and seeing him live again in 2007 proved again to me that in my mind he will always be the greatest...if I have to pick one.

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podman1

EVH is the greatest. His Mean Streets intro creation is the best thing ever. When another guitar player comes up with something like that then I'll take note. Until then, Eddie is the best.

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kris101

Well spoken, and i completely agree

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funit

I'm thinking some people are getting too exited by this, I'm a huge Brian May fan but do I think he's a contender for this title -No, does Dr may thinks he is the best -No, Brian would not entertain such thoughts, these legends have much respect for each other, Brian was influenced by many of the names on this list such as Beck, Hendrix and Clapton, he referred to Satch and Vai as being masters of the space age guitar! and made an album with EVH amongst others, BHM has made some fantastic music over the years and long may it continue, he has created a unique style and enjoys a a massive following, some of these guys will be reading these comments and having a right laugh, how can these guys really be compared?.....just enjoy the music and respect what these fucking clever people deliver...ALL OF THEM!

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jamesclaptonrandall

JHS5150, YOU SAID IT ALL. TEN MINUTES LATER, I'M STILL LAUGHING.

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jamesclaptonrandall

It seems to be, that these Brian May queenies are a bunch of wackadoodles. If I wasn't being nice, I would have said that they're sick puppies. Any one who doesn't think that Jimi Hendrix is the Greatest Guitar Player of all time, so far. Simply does not have a true musical ear and is at least partially tone deaf. It would be interesting to see how the guitar players on this poll would vote. Being that they all have gifted hearing. I already know,without a doubt, what the results would be. It would be no less than 95% of the votes going to James Marshall Hendrix. And for all you queenies out there, that I've been making jokes about for the last week or two. I'm sorry. But to the rest of us, you are a joke.

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DanR5150

The people have spoken, and acurately so. Ed is the king. It is absolutely laughable though what some people think. For example, Pete Townsend better than Eddie???? Townsend is an average rhythm player at best and nothing more.
With all of the criteria; influence, chops, album sales, etc this is a no brainer. Another stated Paul Gilbert and Vai are "shit". These two can play anything the other 100 can play only much faster, smoother and with one hand! Please think before you speak!
The simple fact that Ed has sold more signature gear with his Wolfgangs, 5150 amps, EVH gear and so on than the rest of the 100 list combined shows huge influence. 100 million albums sold does as well. Changing the way guitars are built with a single humbucker and a Floyd throughout the eighties. People want that sound. He changed rock back in 1978 in a way no one including Hendrix has ever done. The ante was upped and has not been reached since.

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trevorAllcock

WOW - can't believe the Eddie haters. The reason he has been on the cover so many times is he turned the guitar world upside down with VH1 and continued to innovate and popularise hard rock for the next 15 odd years. The 80s were the decade of hard rock and without a doubt this was because of Eddie. Some f-tard commented he didn't influence many people. Get a clue. Eds vibrato, phrasing, exploration of techniques whilst still sounding good and songwriting are brilliant. There's only a handful of other guitarists in the comp with more album sales (even if you ignore Eds contribution to Thriller) and a lot of them are more rhythm players/songwriters (e.g. Keith and Townshend). I'm surprised that it wasn't Hendrix vs Ed in the final because he's the only other player that's had such a massive impact. I was more than a little surprised that so-so blues cover guy beat Clapton but I guess there are a lot of hardcore fans (if Clapton had stopped after his work with the Bluesbreakers he still would have been better).

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podman1

I totally forgot about the Thriller contribution. That solo was devastating. Eddie rules!

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Trev Morson

I was going to post a comment, but after reading the previous ones before mine.. it seems everyone is angry and extremely mad??

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RobinTrowerFan

Should have been, 1 of the best out of?
Jimmy Page
Jimi Hendrix
Joe Bonnamassa
Robin Trower
and the list goes on an on.
But to say that Eddie's the best out of all these
great guitarist, is a bunch of BS.

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thf24

Good grief, I thought we were past the "this contest is BS because my favorite player didn't win" comments...

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Lookslikeyouhad...

I dont think it was so much as "my favorite player didnt win" as it was the poll was biased by fanboys. Some of us voted on the criteria given, many others did not and ruined the entire thing. So really this entire poll is without merit. Eddie is without a doubt one of the best and Id rather he have won vs May or Lifeson ect. But most people based their votes off of who they liked more vs who was the actual better guitar player, and more importantly most people really focused on influence. Given the actual criteria of the whole poll Hendrix honestly should have won, and Im not the biggest Hendrix fan either...

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