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?
You can check out full results via our regularly updated bracket here.
Round 1 — Today's Match
Due to the overwhelming response to the first Round 1 matchup of Dave Mustaine Vs. Buddy Guy, we've decided to nullify that matchup and give each of those guitarists a chance to face someone within their respective genres in Round 1.
Today's first-round matchup pits two blues legends head-to-head for one of the final spots in the second round, as the man with the polka-dot Strat goes up against "The Master of the Telecaster." Will Buddy Guy or Albert Collins make it into Round 2? Vote now!
Thursday's matchup saw Dave Mustaine (53.97%) defeat Marty Friedman (46.03%). View the full bracket.