RollingStone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

Love them or hate them, RollingStone has published their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time, with Jimi Hendrix leading the way.

Jimi Hendrix
#1 Jimi Hendrix

I’m sure guitar players around the world will be arguing about the ranks and names on the list, but at least most will probably agree on Jimi Hendrix‘s top spot.

RollingStone employed the help of a number of big name guitarists which includes Lenny Kravitz, Derek Trucks, Eddie Van Halen, Trey Anastasio, Alex Lifeson, Warren Haynes to name a few. These guitarists and artists ranked their favorites and helped explain why these guitar players made it to the Top 100 list.

Giving the number one spot to Jimi Hendrix is probably the safest and agreeable choice. Tom Morello summarized his defense of Hendrix by saying that “Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be”.

The top one, or make it the top ten guitar players listed gives an obvious hint of the list leaning towards “rock” guitarists. A quick scan of the top 100 list will easily show that it is dominated by Rock and blues based guitar players with a few pop guitarists thrown in. The list should have considered guitar players from a wider range of musical genres because it used the broad and general term “Greatest Guitarist”. Maybe RollingStone should have named the list as 100 Most Influential “Rock” Guitarists of All Time, which is more specific and will help reduce the potential arguments.

Mark Knopfler
#44 Mark Knopfler

Obviously and unbelievably absent in the list are great guitar players from other disciplines like classical guitar greats Andres Segovia and John Williams, or jazz guitar greats Joe Pass and Django Reindhardt. And what about the amazingly talented acoustic guitar players of today like Andy Mckee or Jon Gomm?

The list is filled with pleasant (or unpleasant depending on your taste) surprises. I was surprised to see Eddie Van Halen talk about Eric Clapton who was ranked at number two. Van Halen mentioned that he was inspired to pick up the guitar by Clapton’s earlier work, and Eddie even commented that Clapton’s “blues based sound is still the core of modern rock guitar”.

I was at least glad to see some of my lesser known favorites: Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck making the list, although I’d personally rank them higher. I guess RollingStones came up with a list that most of its readership is familiar with. I was hoping to see more of the less popular guitar players making the list – just so I can learn about them.

Here are the top 10 guitar players that made it to RollingStone’s Greatest Guitarists Of All Time:

    Jeff Beck
    #5 Jeff Beck

  • 1. Jimi Hendrix
  • 2. Eric Clapton
  • 3. Jimmy Page
  • 4. Keith Richards
  • 5. Jeff Beck
  • 6. BB King
  • 7. Chuck Berry
  • 8. Eddie Van Halen
  • 9. Duanne Allman
  • 10. Pete Townshend

We all have our own version of who we think is the Greatest Guitarist of All Time, and mostly we will point to guitar players that we have heard and have influenced our playing. So if you feel that a great guitar player was unjustly left out, or that we need to know about a certain legendary guitarist, do not hesitate to vent out and drop the names and details on the comments section.

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