15 Best Guitarists

Heres the top 5 best guitarists ever in my opinion followed by ten more in no order
1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Steve Vai
3. Joe Satriani
4. Steve Ray Vaughan
5. Eric Clapton
Jeff Beck
Frank Zappa
Jimmy Page
Randy Rhoads
Eric Johnson
John McLaughlin
Frank Marino
Eddie Van Halen
Ingwie Malmsteen
Adrian Belew

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Unbelievably, this has become a mature, reasoned thread. "top ten guitarists" threads often descend into childish name-calling. Townshend was very much in my mind when I posted previously. Not a soloist in the usual sense, but what a defined guitar sound! However difficult he may be to work with in a personal sense, I'd put up with it for those incredible foundations that truly good (Entwhistle, Moon, Daltrey) musicians can put their layers on. A great.

SB, I think you're right in one sense. Boy-bands and Pop/American Idol have suffocated good guitar bands for a while. OTOH, good guitar is out there but I think people naturally wait awhile before conferring 'legend' status. Perhaps we can do "current guitarists most likely to..." thread?

Finally, I'm back on the Renaissance vs Impressionist point. If you lean Jazzier, Joe Pass and Pat Metheny spring to mind. OK, Pass goes for clusters and some people might think Metheny never found the adjuster knob on his chorus, but they're another two players whose gorgeous sound I can hear in my head, clear as a bell, even if I haven't listened to a recording for a while. Perhaps I've just stumbled on my definition.

ps, of the "semi-new boys", I think Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead has paid his dues. Amongst many great pieces (eg a very "George Harrison" like job for "Just") there's the instantly recognizable CHUKKA, CHUKKA, "but I'm a Creep..."

these threads usualy have the legs to run and run and run, im not going to comment on this top 15 til everybody recognises Keef as top 5 material.
And when will we see a life story in film of Keef played by johnny depp?

'i think i bust a button on my trousers, hope they dont fall down, you dont want my trousers to fall down now do you?'

Obviously, being relatively young (a "teenager" still) I do not have the knowledge of everyone else posting replies in here, so don't ridicule me for not knowing who keef is. But what band is he in/what genre or style of music does he play?

And also, back to Townshend, I agree that he is one of the better guitarists, I forgot to mention a reply on that earlier.

Keef would be Keith Richards of " Rolling Stones" . They almost singlehandedly kept the repetoire of the early 20th century American Blues artist alive and breathed new life into the careers of the ones still alive. They along with "John Mayal and the Bluesbreakers" revolving lineup that spawned the Yardbirds, Spencer Davis Group, Ten Years After and many others. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee and many others were either directly involved with the Bluesbreakers or affilliated with it. While Mayal himself wasn't as talented as the artist he brought together he did have the detirmenation and drive that few starving artist ever muster. Back in the days of 12 inch vinyl the liner notes of his LPs were a virual how to of how to record, engineer, produce your own records. In my opinion he is one of the unsung heros of the Indie music.movement.
These threads indeed have legs.

When you say Keith Richards, well I know him, I (apparently) didn't know his nickname. Or rather, I've probably heard of it but forgot about it.

And thanks for the info on the Bluesbreakers members and whatnot. But yes, when I think of the best players back from the 60's, I indeed do think of Clapton, Page, Beck, Richards, Hendrix, Zappa, and the rest that you mentioned but I have left out. Which means the only two that were not associated with John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers were Hendrix and Zappa. But of course, not being born until many moons after these players, I could be wrong on what I'm saying.

TJH, next time you're in the supermarket, see if there's one of those "Best of The Yardbirds" CDs that are often less than a fiver. Early Clapton, Beck and Page (chronologically speaking) playing to be found. Their manager certainly managed to find useful replacement guitarists...

I'll be sure to do that. Thanks. Also, my Uncle has an extensive record collection from the 60's 70's in which he has all the greats such as the Yardbirds, Beck when he went solo, Zeppelin, Mothers of Invention, all four albums by Hendrix while he was still living, and much more like Cream and so on...

But so I can get my Uncle to record those records onto cassette because I have a portable cassette/radio player that I use.

I don''t play so I can only judge by what I hear. If I can close my eyes and it can take my head away and make me feel high then they rank on my list. ( and I don't take drugs) I stumbled on this site trying to find some more of the greatest of the greats that I may not of hear of and 4 of them are new to me so thanks, I will have to check them out. Satriani, Hendricks and Eric Johnson would be on the top of my list speaking as a listener. I am surprised not one has mentioned Carlos Santana.
He would also be on the top of my list. If anyone has any suggestions to add to my listeneing please it would be welcome by the way. I also noticed the age group on the list . It is also is my opion that todays musicians don't cut the mustard whether it is ability or lack of pushng the limit.
For those of you that play,, keep at it,, we need some new blood on that list.


Eric Johnson is splendid. Carlos Santana is also good. I am not very knowledgable of his technical abilities, but I know he has a distinct sound and he (from what I have read) puts his creativity into his music. So he is up there, but in my opinion, I don't really think he is one of the 15 best guitarists ever. As far as listening goes though, he's on my list. Players that can make songs and compose and play songs that put you in a certain mood or make you feel something are definitely worth something especially if they are real good as a guitarist.

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