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 deep into Round 1.
You might come across one or two interesting style matchups in this poll, which may lead some of you to wonder, "How do you compare a shred guitarist to a blues guitarist?" Aside from how good a player is at his or her 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
Ace Frehley is best known as the longest-serving and most-recognized guitarist of the rock band Kiss. "Space" Ace played on virtually all of the band's biggest hits, including "Detroit Rock City," "Rock and Roll All Nite" and "Hotter Than Hell." Over the course of his career, Ace has released five albums under his own name as well as the Frehley's Comet moniker. His own signature "Budokan" Gibson Les Paul was unveiled earlier this year at Winter NAMM.
Opposite Ace is Angus Young, the devil-horned schoolboy of AC/DC fame. Along with his brother Malcolm, Angus has written some of hard rock's most enduring classics, adding blazing, bluesy leads to tracks like "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Highway to Hell" and "Thunderstruck." The band's 1980 album, Back In Black, has sold nearly 50 million copies to date, making it the third-highest-selling album of all time.
Yesterday's matchup saw Eric Clapton (79.1%) handily defeat Freddie King (20.9%).