20+ grunge guitar heroes who took the instrument in a raw, heavy new direction

Grunge guitarists
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The proverbial bullet to the gut of hair metal? Or a drastic musical shakeup that rock music so badly needed? Three decades on after the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, fans and critics alike are still posing those questions.

Sure, everyone has an opinion, but ultimately, the answer is subjective and, in many ways, meaningless under the lens of retrospection. Say what you will, but grunge changed the game in every way imaginable. Gone were the days of pouty lipstick-caked faces, rosy cheeks, and empty cans of Aqua Net, and in were combat boots, dark glasses, and swathes of flannel.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.