The 25 greatest classic rock guitar tones of all time

Best rock guitar tones
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/David Redfern/Mike Cameron/Richard E. Aaron/Getty Images)

The world of electric guitar tone changed and changed fast after the first wave of rock ’n’ rollers laid down the template for the modern beat combo. 

The first wave was four beats to the bar, loud guitars, a little spring reverb and maybe some echo if the engineer had the moves. It was Berry, Wray, Eddy et al. It was electric and it was exciting. 

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.