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
Today we present a battle of guitarists with similar first names and similar genres. Steve Howe is one of the most respected and gifted guitarists to come out of England after the initial British Invasion. Howe made his name with prog-rock pioneers Yes starting in the late '60s and scored massive hits in the '80s with Asia (He still tours with both bands). Many of Howe's signature songs, including "Clap" and "Mood for a Day," display his diverse influences -- from Albert Lee and Julian Bream to a host of Flamenco players.
The founder of Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson has earned a place as one of the faces of modern progressive rock. On top of being the guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter in one of the genre's favorite bands, Wilson maintains an active solo career, on top of numerous other projects — including Blackfield with Israeli rock singer Aviv Geffen and Storm Corrosion with Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. Largely a self-taught player, Wilson's quirky brand of guitar work veres between traditionally "prog" fare and avant-garde experimentalism.
In yesterday's matchup, John McLaughlin (83.28%) defeated John Scofield (16.72). Thanks for voting!