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

127

Comments

+ Add a Comment

billkropp

As Dime would say - "No one is better than anybody. Guitar is for everyone."

avatar

guitarladd

Now let's do a hot chick contest. Guitar chops count first of course but hot looks count to. Juliette Valduriez!!

avatar

guitarladd

SRV! SRV! SRV! SRV! I'm from Texas and I'm prejudiced. It's like Kenny Wayne Shepherd told Jonny Lang, if you never saw him playing live you just don't understand. Neither one of those guys was even in the 132 were they? Should have been. Of course, Guitar World ain't really a blues mag is it? Ain't nothing but the Blues. Everything else is just noise. Well, heavy metal and punk are anyway.

avatar

3PuttChuck

If you want a different outcome, they'll have to present a different format. I would bet a weeks salary that showing a list of potential candidates and asking readers to place them in order would result in a more clear representation of who has been the most influential. I believe that "influential" is a fairly vague term that cuts to the heart of the question. GW would show a list for a month or so and allow you to do write-ins if you want. But in the end, you would list maybe the top 50 on your list. They would tabulate the numbers and show us the top 20 by number of votes and average position. You could only place one list per login name, which would eliminate or at least reduce the influence of repeat voting. The reason they didn't use this style of format is because it wouldn't allow them such a long run of people paying attention to their website. It's a shame though, because I think it would be the clearest picture of what us practicing/performing guitarists really feel as a population. But, I agree with the vast majority on here that no matter who wins, some will be unhappy with the outcome. Fortunately it woul also remove the possibility of someone getting placed so near the top when they clearly do not belong there. Peace to all! Play on!

avatar

ipsofacto

Fully agree. The tournament system that they used may have resulted in 6 months of colorful dialog by voters, but falls short in ranking these players with any margin accuracy.

GW could set-up a program where voters could place guitarists in order similar to the YouTube system of placing videos in a particular order on a playlist. They could also set-up an option where voters could simply click "unknown" on the players that they aren't familiar with. The mean average for each players rank would then be automatically calculated, resulting in a much more accurately ranked list. Easy Peasy.

I would also advise that they require voters to rank the entire list of 100+ players, otherwise you leave the door open for human error and biased opinions if you were only required to rank your top 50.

Guitar World should seriously consider doing this. It wouldn't take very long (couple weeks tops), and it would make your list MUCH MORE credible and accurate. Just because you've already posted the results of this poll, there's nothing wrong with correcting it by posting a revised version. It would also appease many of your SUBSCRIBERS that are very pissed-off at these results. Justifiably so.

I would however leave the current overall winner (EVH) as is. Not only is he a deserving winner, but he's already been given the crown...it would not be fair to now take it away. But I don't think any of the players or voters would mind if the rest of the ranking order was adjusted/corrected.

Even after 6 months of this tournament, I think you'd find that the core of your readers would still be eager to participate. It would also weed-out most of the groupies and fanboys that contaminated the results of the current poll. Only a guitarist or serious music lover would go to the trouble of ranking 100+ players.

I would also suggest bumping-up the original list of 132 players to 150. That way you could include several players that were overlooked in the 1st poll.

I sincerely hope that GW considers doing this, because as it sits right now...the ranking order of your current readers poll list is a joke.

avatar

danmar

I like Eddie but what a load of crap. None of the guitarists in this poll (many of whom are some of my favorites) are contenders for the world's best guitarist. Makes me question my association with GW.

avatar

Hendrix1970

Well it's been a interesting few months i suppose. thank ya'll

avatar

Z---Man

Oh yeah, do this poll again without all this sharing & social media crap and THEN lets see how it turns out! May would be one and done!!

avatar

Z---Man

Should have been Hendrix but I'll take Eddie...I guess.
The little Queenies couldn't do it this time!!
May's not the Champion! May's not the Champion! Nice try GW.

avatar

GEENGADE

Now that GW did a study on us. Their magazine will now reflect how to better sell a single issue. Everyone has given up information so valuable that they have researched us like lab rats. But there still one question. What will GW do for you today?

I hope GW will have more to gain and get more subscribers from this experience. And this is will be the last time we will probably see a contest like this. The world has opened up to GW.

GEENGADE My first concert Black Sabbath age 13 1975 Paranoid

avatar

rawkbass

Two handed, social media stroke-fest. Wait til no one reads the the tweet I'm gonna blog on my wall about this. Wonk wonk wonk

avatar

Eddie the Head

I do not belive van Halen to be the best. nor do I believe Jimi Hendrix to be the best. it is impossible to choose the best since there are so many great guitarists who play in so many different styles it is nearly impossible to compare them.

avatar

Wood and Metal

Eddie's music is very much of its time and he's more of a guitarist's guitarist whereas most non-guitarists care more about songs than who popularised tapping.

As much as I enjoy them, I don't think Jump or Runnin' With the Devil are going to be remembered and loved by the wider audience like Bohemian Rhapsody or Foxy Lady.

I'd also add that Van Halen put out the call on their facebook page so any "rigging" cut both ways.

avatar

aferrari37

EVH wins, not much of a headline and I'm not impressed. nobody read the criteria for the poll. Hendrix inspired and directly influenced SRV, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend....all of which EVH can not hold a candle too.... So hey, enjoy you Ed love fest, when Guitar World returns to reality I will return to reading it.

avatar

boseff

There should be a competition based off which Guitarist has influenced you to play. Based off the number of people who have picked up the instrument because of them. Then you can see how far their impact has had on the general reading public.
A readers poll for anything "Greatest of All Time" is so, grandiose that it's almost a slap in the face to the readers, in my opinion.

avatar

zumurito

Hey everyone! I know there are a lot of folks, like me, that don't feel EVH is the 'greatest' guitarist. IMHO, it's Jimi Hendrix, no questions, but it is what it is, and EVH is no slouch! (lol) that said, i'm wondering? can GW put together some sort of thing where we as guitar players can SHARE some of the music that has motivated us/inspired us to play the instrument? it doesn't have to be the GREATEST solo or whatever, it can just be a 'passage' within a song etc... I mean....i've heard A LOT of guitar music over many, many years of listening to music. i don't know jack SH**, in terms of, all that's out there, because i don't have a MILLION ears! (lol) i'd LOVE to share stuff i've heard and liked and NOT in a 'comparison' mode to others, just SHARING. The ONE thing i noticed here was HOW much guitar music folks liked and listened to, and with youtube, grooveshark et al, we have the means to share sounds. NOW, i don't know about the 'legalities' involved. i'd leave that to GW, but HELL, when i asked a question about a guitar combo, i got some SERIOUSLY GREAT answers and they were ALL OVER the place! who'd have thought EVH heads were listening to so much OTHER STUFF? Same with MAY heads and Hendrix/Page/SRV heads? One thing i've found over the many years i've been involved with guitar is that guitar players LOVE to share their faves and stuff they've heard with other players. it's kind of how we RELATE! NO, we won't like everything, but we definitely will get a better understanding of some stuff we may have never heard or would have listened to OTHERWISE! let me try to give some examples. These aren't the BEST or GREATEST solos, but here's just a FEW, note the THOUSANDS of things i could share, and not even a representative sample, but just some stuff that i thought might be interesting. they are OLDER cuts. WHY? because there are a lot of NEW players. yeah, i could probably go toe to toe with NEW stuff, but maybe for some this will be an 'introduction', for others, repetitive, for some, BOREDOM! (lol), but i think you'll get my point. IT DOESN'T MATTER, as long as you SHARE, and it DOESN'T MATTER WHAT, how much, when, where etc... AS LONG AS WE ALL SHARE. AND YES, if you wanna give a brief caveat on WHY you liked or chose to share, NO MATTER how much, by all means do so, FOR, I for one would love to know what's ON YOUR MIND! this isn't about criticism , it's about GROWING, LEARNING and BECOMING the BEST musicians we can be!!!!!!!!!! i'll share a few cuts shortly! be well.

avatar

zumurito

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11FW052LgfE player corrado rustici (1979)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=012CrDj5YBQ player lee ritenour (1979)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEheUUjVDU0 player hiram bullock early 80/s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eaERVJzPdQ player roy buchanan 1979?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBbOoNuIoOQ player ernie isley 1978

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4DIRWEMN-4 player jimi hazel 2006

nothing special, just a few things that some might like and want to explore. I HOPE YOU GET THE IDEA! BE WELL AND ROCK ON! SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

avatar

zumurito

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKMmO3mjb5U

oh yeah, my boy joop. why? he's cool, easily accessible and shit he can PLAY! (lol)

avatar

PC-Guru

Really as this poll stands, how many of us could go up against any of the contenders?? Until you actually show me or anyone you can play the guitar like even one of them, you should probably not judge.

avatar

PC-Guru

What I want to know is how you can put Hagar on this page with Eddie, I mean really Van Halen was nothing with him. I did not buy any albums with Hagar involved, it was nasty to say the least. Hagar out on his own with his own band I would listen to, with Van Halen (Van Hagar) no thank you!! You should take that crap video off of here as I feel it a disgrace to the page, especially with him singing a song that David Lee made famous.

avatar

linville

Nothin against Eddie, great player, maybe he would have won it anyway, but to see Brian May go by the names that he beat, I lost all interest in this poll. Brian has made his individual mark on music and is a great influence, but, no way.

avatar

podman1

Agreed! 110% You're alright.

avatar

AX

Oh my! So, EVH wins this "poll." How shocking!

I'm a devoted Guitar World reader. I have a subscription and everything. I'm a major collector of the
publication. But that doesn't mean it's perfect.

My main gripe about GW is it's immature and embarrassing infatuation with EVH. Ever since that 1981 - first,
major cover story/ issue of EVH, Guitar World has continuously sucked Eddie's "knob." W/out shame.
Journalistic objectivity and integrity be damned.

This is the same GW that upon review of " A Different Kind Of Truth "
( in the May 2012 issue ) it was proclaimed that " He's...playing better than ever." REALLY Guitar World, really
!!?? EVH is playing BETTER than he played in 1979?? Okay...whatever.... The guitarists I know who admire VH
and accept that he was a game changer ( like Beck, Jimmy Page and Tony Iomni ) also know that he has been
playing the same , tired and what is now "cliched" guitar solo for the past 33 years.

Yeah, yeah. The hammer ons. the tapping.The usual Mean Streets into. Cathedral here, Spanish Fly there. His over used dive bombs.

Yawn.

As much as I love Guitar World, I try to skip the issues that slobber all over EVH. But, hey, when you put EVH
on a cover I suspect that will sell a few more copies to those who wouldn't ordinarily buy a guitar mag.

I saw EVH in 2007 and he actually sucked. It was kinda sad.

If anyone was hoping Guitar World's boner for EVH would have subsided since GW was bought from Future
plc by New Bay Media, don't get too excited. That hasn't changed.

But since the buy out, the quality of the magazine has diminished.

Where HAVE all the good times gone?

avatar

kris101

let it go, Eddie won, it's not that surprising is it? Eddie was probably on the cover GW every other month in the 80s. His impact was huge. Is he the best? It doesn't matter, because whoever wins a stupid contest like this will have lots of people complain about it. There is no 1 person that everyone will agree on.

Personally, I love the new album. Eddie's playing great, and yes I saw 2007 tour too, not so hot. I also saw 2004 which was terrible. But current tour, lets just say he's playing better than he has in a long time. Eddie is getting up there in age, no one expect him to reinvent things anymore, but just to be able to play the way he does.

All those things you mentioned as cliche, the tapping, the dive bombs, hammerons: If any other artists used it the way eddie does, it would be lame, but eddie gets away with it is because he's the one that popularized it all. you can say the same about Clapton, Page, Iommi playing the same riffs they've playing for years. It's just who they are, and frankly, when I go see Iommi, I want to hear him play like Iommi.

Eddie's a guitar icon, which is why he won. Personally i thought it would be Hendrix, but oh well.

And I agree that GW is going down. But after reading this magazine for 10 years, there just isn't anything new they are printing, all old stuff that's been said before.

avatar

podman1

Eruption is the best solo ever. He won because he deserved to win. This makes me happy.

avatar

Rodney VerBrugge

Eddie Van Halen is the greatest guitarist of my generation.

I was 10 years old when the first Van Halen record came out. And when I heard Eruption it was like literally hearing something from another planet. The greatest guitarists are the ones who change the game--they raise the bar in some significant way. The only other guitarist since EVH to do that has been Yngwie Malmsteen. Sure, someone like Steve Vai is a much better overall musician/songwriter etc etc.. And Satriani cracked the top 40.. Jimmy Page wrote the most classic original and haunting music in rock history.. I could go on and on.. But when Eddie came along, from 1977 to the early 80s, nobody else came close. He was the best, hands down. And he revolutionized dozens of new techniques and tricks that are now commonplace. In the early to mid 70s, rock guitarists where still playing basic blues riffs. Eddie essentially invented modern day rock guitar.

Now, to clarify.. I did say that EVH is the greatest of "my generation." Because we all know that Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist of ALL TIME. ;)

avatar

Damage Inc.

Haha, wow, Eddie van Halen as the greatest guitarist?...
I guess I should be proud being Dutch and all, but I just simply disagree. XD

And Hendrix second?... I don't know...
Just because he's one of the most popular and influential doesn't make him the greatest. He was also not exactly the most versatile guitar-player.

Well yeah, everyone has their style and techniques, but still...

By the way, who's to say there weren't even more brilliant guitarists before the days of recording music?
Some that didn't get any attention because of the oh so popular Symphonies and Operas at the time... lol
Who knows there was some guy shredding on an acoustic guitar in a corner somewhere and went "That fkn Mozart! He keeps stealing my audience!".

What... You don't know...

avatar

LoQ

I wasn’t sure what my vote was going to be for the Jimi vs Eddie match up that we all were expecting (and should have happened), but thanks to the official Queen Facebook followers (most who are not readers of Guitar World AND who are not even guitar players) my decision was easily made (EVH).

I’m still not sure who I would have voted for if this poll never got tainted, oh well… a debate for another time I guess.

avatar

CheezWhizz

Agreed. The poll was ruined by the Queen/Brian May fanbois. Let's hope GW adopts a different polling system for nest year's poll, one that requires you to be an actual reader of the magazine.

avatar

FREDDIEMANIAC

BRIAN MAY is the GREATEST!!!!!!
You have no idea what he's capable of if you doubt his abilities.
QUEEN is the BEST BAND EVER!!!!!! Mostly due to Brian's brilliance, and of course, the one and only, awesome FREDDIE MERCURY!!!!! As well as the incredibly talented Roger Taylor and John Deacon. They're simply the best!!
QUEEN ROCKSSSSSS!!!

avatar

LoQ

Well FREDDIEMANIAC I can't help but notice that at this point in time your account is only five hours old. So did you come here through Queen's official Facebook page, Brian May's twitter, or was it one of the many other countless Queen fan sites that supplied links to this contest?

fly_with_v

Long Live the King!

avatar

Krowley15

I wouldn't have picked Eddie myself, but at least it's not Brian May. That would have been disgraceful (no offense intended to Brian May. He's a really special guitarist as well, but he should have gone out very early on in this contest...)

EVH is at least somewhat credible. He can play like a boss. His playing inspired legions to pick up guitars for the first time. He changed the way the instrument is played, and over the course of his career he's played on quite a few classic albums.

He's a living legend, an inventor, a great songwriter, a great rhythm and lead player with more depth than most realize. I can definitely live with EVH winning this.

avatar

Gerry1964

MY GOD YOUR TALKING A LOAD OF SHITE.
BRIAN MAY IS WAY AHEAD OF MOST GUITARISTS, EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HIM,
HE HAS INFLUENCED LOADS OF MODERN DAY ARTISTS LIKE MUSE, FOR INSTANCE.
PEOPLE JUST SAY THEY LIKE EVH COS IT MAKES THEM FEEL TRENDY,AND OF COURSE AMERICAN READERS OF GW JUST DIDNT GET QUEEN/BRIAN MAY,
WE DO SYMPATHISE WITH YOU GUYS, ONE DAY YOU MIGHT JUST WAKE UP AND SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE.
YOU DONT NEED TO PLAY GUITAR TO APPRECIATE A GUITARIST SO ALL YOU WHINGING OLD BAGS WHO SAY "OH ALL THESE QUEENS FANS ARE NOT EVEN SUBSCRIBERS OF GW" WE DO NOT NEED TO SUBSCIBE TO TELL EVERYONE THAT BRIAN MAY IS OUR GOD, HE WILL HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS,
AND I WILL NOT HAVE A BAD WORD SAID AGAINST THE MAN.
HE DESERVES TO BE IN THIS POLL, ITS THE REST WHO DIDNT DESERVE TO BE IN THE POLL. HOW DARE YOU SAY BRIAN SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN IN THE POLL,
LISTEN TO SOME OF QUEENS HEAVY ALBUMS "QUEEN2" "SHEER HEART ATTACK" AND EDUCATE YOURSELFS, THIS IS A VERY INTELLIGENT MAN, WHO CRAFTS EVERY QUEEN ALBUM SO CARFULLY AND PRECISE.
I REALLY CAN NOT SEE HOW EVH IS VOTED NUMBER ONE, THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THE MANS PLAYING, IT IS JUST LOUD,SCREACHY AND ANNOYING.
SORRY GUYS, BUT I AM VERY CHOOSEY. ANDY SCOTT FROM "THE SWEET" WAS BETTER THAN EVH TOO. ME THINKS THERE IS A LOT OF HYPE OVER EHV.

avatar

errbt

WELL YOUR CAPS TYPING CERTAINLY PROVES YOU ARE RIGHT...or not.

Just go away. Please.

avatar

Gerry1964

TYPING IN CAPS TO LET YOU MORONS KNOW HOW I FEEL.
NOW YOU GO AWAY.
IM RIGHT, YOUR WRONG!

jefffos

Go back to your Brian May fanboy sites and leave the discussions up to people who actually play guitar. You've ruined the contest and while YOU THOUGHT you were actually bringing Brian more accolades, attention, and fans, all you REALLY DID was turn a lot of people against May. So when the "Greatest Guitarist of All Time" issue comes out and everybody looks at the order the guitarists are in, when they get to May they won't think, "Brian May actually deserved that spot, he was an amazing musician". What they'll think is this, "There's that old fart who fanboy's ruined the competition! May shouldn't even be on this list, I can't stand him!!!" So congrats, instead of being able with a spot in the 10 to 15 range, you accomplished a 2nd place. THAT MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

avatar

CobraGTXNoS

I can say one thing, if it wasn't for my dad showing me Van Halen when I was like 8 years old, I wouldn't be playing guitar and I definitely wouldn't be much of a rock, blues and metal fan. It all started for me with EVH, you could probably say that Eddie saved my life and so did my Dad not only making me with my mom, but also showing me Van Halen so I won't get beaten up by anybody who loves rock. I probably would be like listening to Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and others.

avatar

Axemeister

That is a valid comment, but you are apparently a young dude who has only been exposed to guitar for eight years.. That is hardly a broad base of guitar knowledge. I appreciate that EVH influenced you and millions of others, and he is deserving of praise and respect.. However, calling him the greatest is a silly sham.

avatar

CobraGTXNoS

I thank your compliment. I love listening to any classic guitarist from the 80s and earlier. I know I have not got to much guitar knowledge. One genre rock guitarists really should thank is the blues... and the mandolin for being an old design for a guitar. I am trying to gain musical knowledge. Sorry for saying so much random stuff in here. All in all, I respect pretty much all guitarists, because they are picking up an instrument and have an interest in music. Thank you for your time.

avatar

uncle_remus

HA! HARDLY! Don't agree with this at all! Shame on you people. He did develop a technique but that's as far as it goes.

CGAdmiral@Gmail.com

No one comes near 'Jimi Hendrix' the rest of us are copy cats. Eddie Van Halen wouldn't be here if it wasn't for JImi Hendrix !! He was and still is superior.

avatar

razzyjazzy42

Man, this is just ridiculous. Does anyone seriously believe that EVH is the greatest guitar player of all time? This contest is (maybe?) a great promotional tool for the magazine -- unless it pisses off more people than it pleases -- but the head-to-head bracket format pretty much guarantees that the the results are going to be totally skewed, and you can also never say that, f'rinstance, Brian May is the second most popular guy, and who's third-most, etc., etc. If GuitarWorld tries to attach any significance to this result, hopefully your credibility will plummet in the eyes of most of your readers. I like your magazine, but boy, you laid an egg with this one.

avatar

AX

You're right. EVH is GW's " poster boy." They use him to sell mags and he uses them to sell his PR.

Shameless, really.

avatar

Shie

I fucking hate that influence argument. Maybe we should give the prize to some arab guy who invented the guitar. I totally agree on Eddie being the greatest guitarist of all time, EVH FTW

avatar

calpilot7

Brian May.....OK guitarist but shouldn't be anywhere near EVH. WHAT A JOKE. Stupid that Queen fanboys that know nothing of guitar playing can prop up someone like May. Brian May better than Jimmy Page......excuse me while I barf my guts out...... Now Brian May winning a Howard Stern look-a-like contest....now he definitely wins that!

avatar

Gerry1964

STOP! EXCUSE ME,BUT ITS THE OTHER WAY ROUND BUDDY, EVH SHOULDNT BE RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE GREAT BRIAN MAY!
OH SORRY I MEAN DR. BRIAN MAY C.B.E
HE IS A SPECIAL GUY AND YOU ARE LIKE THE REST OF THE TOSSERS
ON THIS SITE, IGNORANT AND WITH YOUR HEAD UP YOUR ARSE.
AS FREDDIE MERCURY ONCE STATED, "WE HAVE THIS AMAZING GUITARIST CALLED "BRIAN MAY" THE HEART OF QUEEN.
BRIAN CAN DO ANY THING ON GUITAR, CHECK OUT "BRIGHTON ROCK"
AWESOME SOLO ON THAT TRACK.
MAY ROCKS!

avatar

FlamencoRocks

Stupid guy that don't know about music, who has never listen to Brian May, who feel strong behind his screen treating Queen's fans, you're haters that's all, personnaly I'm happy that Eddie won, because I RESPECT the choice, not like you ;-)

avatar

Maycury

I'm a Queen fan and voted for Brian May. It was Brian May that made me pick up the guitar even though I knew about Van Halen before I knew Queen.

avatar

pinkjimiphoton

further....

music is not a SPORT,

"rating guitarists is a stupid hobby"
~Frank Zappa

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.