Welcome to our first-ever Greatest Guitarist poll, where 128 guitarists go head to head, round by round, in a bracketed format, all to crown your choice for the Greatest Guitarist of All Time.
We filled 124 of 128 slots with the names of a host of incredible guitarists (dead and living) — players chosen for their technical ability as well as their importance and creativity, not to mention how influential they've been. We asked you to vote in the final four names, which you did. Now the 128 slots are filled, and we're ready to go.
We know there are going to be some weird style matchups in this poll, which may lead many of you to ask questions like, "How do you compare a shred guitarist to a blues guitarist?" Aside from how good a player is at their given style, here are some things to take into consideration:
• Influence: Who inspired more kids to beg their parents for a guitar for Christmas? Who inspired a wave of copycats?
• Chops/Versatility: Is the guitarist in question a one-trick pony or a master of many styles?
• Body of Work: Who had the more consistent career? Who has played on more classic albums?
• Creativity: Who pioneered new techniques? Who sounds the most radically different from what came before them?
Round 1 — Today's Match
Andy Summers is best known for his reggae-infused guitar playing in The Police, but he also has enjoyed a multi-faceted career outside the band as a film composer, producer and solo musician. Summers has released 12 studio albums, along with collaborative albums with the likes of Robert Fripp and John Etheridge.
Opposite Summers is Rick Nielsen, who has enjoyed a wildly successful career as the lead guitarist for Cheap Trick since 1972. Nielsen is a well-known guitar aficionado, having a massive collection of custom-made Hamer guitars, including his infamous five-neck guitar. His tasteful playing is behind some of rock's most enduring classics like "Surrender" and "I Want You to Want Me."
Yesterday's match saw Alex Skolnick (57.37%) defeat Chris Broderick (42.63%).