Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists


I'm in a band and I've played guitar for 25 years. Some thoughts about the list.

1 Jimi Hendrix - Can't argue with this. With his output cut short, he could have been much greater.
2 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band - Cetainly the greatest slide guitarist ever. Another career cut short.
3 B.B. King - I assume he's this high because of influence and what he accomplished in a long career. Technically, he's got the blues chops but doesn't really waver much from that.
4 Eric Clapton - I probably differ in opinion from many, but to me, Clapton peaked on Dekek and the Dominos and his solo records have been spotty at best. He was great for a time but never really blows me away.
5 Robert Johnson - Blues legend. Recordings aren't very listenable. Created so much but relatively unheard. I have trouble with this only because he really wasn't as good as many below him but without him, they wouldn't exist.
6 Chuck Berry - Should be no. 1 in my opinion. Created rock and roll guitar. People still try to copy his licks.
7 Stevie Ray Vaughan - Many people differ on Stevie. Some call him a Hendrix rip off. Either way, he was certainly a phenomonal guitar player.
8 Ry Cooder - Played so many different instruments and in so many different styles, it tends to water down his influence. Great player.
9 Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin - Always thought him a bit sloppy. Came up with great riffs and the Stairway solo is probably one of the greatest of all time.
10 Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones - Not sure about this. Great rhythm guitar player. Great song writer. Great guitar player? I'd put him around 25.
11 Kirk Hammett of Metallica - Some great stuff. Some crappy stuff. Would I put him this high? Probably not. Master of Puppets is a great guitar album though.
12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana - No way. Yes he started grunge and alternate music. Was NOT a great guitar player. Wrote great songs. Should be around 50.
13 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead - Never been a fan of the Dead so I feel that might unfairly lower my opinion of Jerry. I like some stuff but I've never listened to a Dead song and had the guitar work jump out at me.
14 Jeff Beck - Great player. Small amount of impressive recorded work. Besides Blow by Blow, not a lot of listenable stuff.
15 Carlos Santana - Very good. Impressive output. A bit repetitive in solo work. Great feel player.
16 Johnny Ramone of the Ramones - Started punk rock in America. Great player? Since any guitar player can learn a Ramones song in about 2 minutes, I would disagree. Influential but not great.
17 Jack White of the White Stripes - I have no idea why he is on the list at all let alone this high. The fact that Eddie Van Halen is at 70 and Jack White is 17 is a travesty. Rolling Stone has a huge bias towards this group.
18 John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers - Good player. Fun licks. A little high but Rolling Stone had to put some names on here that some of their readers would recognize.
19 Richard Thompson - Good player that not alot of people have heard of. Hard to find his CDs as many are out of print.
20 James Burton - Country guitar picker. I haven't heard anything from him so I won't comment.
21 George Harrison - Way too high. Nice slide guitar player. Not a great guitarist.
22 Mike Bloomfield - Great blues player.
23 Warren Haynes - Joined the Allman Brothers in 1989. Nice player. A little high on the list.
24 The Edge of U2 - Hard for me to comment on Edge. Created a style of playing. Did some really nice stuff. Not a great solo player though.
25 Freddy King - Another early blues player.
26 Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave - Always thought every Rage song sounded exactly the same. Too high on the list.
27 Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits - Should be higher. Great style. Great solos. Amazing stuff.
28 Stephen Stills - Very good player. Doesn't show off a lot but has the chops. Some acoustic work is very complex.
29 Ron Asheton of the Stooges - Sigh. I guess he's here for the same reason the Johnny Ramone is here.
30 Buddy Guy - Great blues player.
31 Dick Dale - The King of Surf Guitar. Great player. One of the fastest ever.
32 John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service - Never heard any of their music. Can't comment.
33 & 34 Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth - Great at making feedback noises. Created a new guitar style.
35 John Fahey - Brilliant folk guitar player. Probably only about 10 guys on this list could even play his stuff.
36 Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MG's - Played as a studio musician on countless records. Great solo player.
37 Bo Diddley - Blues innovator.
38 Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac - Haven't heard a lot of his stuff, but what I have was pretty good.
39 Brian May of Queen - Love his guitar work and sound. Amazing stuff. Should be way higher. Listen to the Sheer Heart Attack album (not the song) if you don't agree. Metalica even covered a song from it.
40 John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival - Swamp guitar at its finest.
41 Clarence White of the Byrds - Hard for me to pick out exactly what he played on the Byrds songs. Not sure about him.
42 Robert Fripp of King Crimson - Another group I never liked but he's obviously good.
43 Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic - Should be in the top 10. Equal to Hendrix.
44 Scotty Moore - Pioneer guitarist on many Elvis songs.
45 Frank Zappa - Should be in the top 10. Insane at 45. Half the guys above him couldn't play his stuff with a year of practice.
46 Les Paul - Most people only think of him as making the guitar. Was a great player also.
47 T-Bone Walker - Early blues player.
48 Joe Perry of Aerosmith - Some good stuff. Some stuff recorded while stoned and sounds horrible.
49 John McLaughlin - Influential jazz guitar player. Should be higher.
50 Pete Townshend - Created the windmill and some of the greatest guitar songs ever. Not a great soloist but should be higher.
51 Paul Kossoff of Free - Ok with this placement.
52 Lou Reed - I don't think even Lou Reed would put himself this high. Wrote some great songs though.
53 Mickey Baker - Early guitarist that played a lot of session work. Was on many big hits.
54 Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane - Love Jorma. Brilliant player. Should be higher. Solo work and Hot Tuna stuff better than Airplane songs.
55 Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple - Great soloist.
56 Tom Verlaine of Television - I like his stuff alot, especially the Matthew Sweet Girlfriend album.
57 Roy Buchanan - Great blues player.
58 Dickey Betts - Held his own with Duane Allman, I think that counts for higher than 58.
59 & 60 Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead - Here because the band is popular. I love Radiohead but not "greatest" guitar players.
61 Ike Turner - Not a fan.
62 Zoot Horn Rollo of the Magic Band - Played on Trout Mask replica. Not sure why here's on the list.
63 Danny Gatton - Virtuoso player, mostly rockabilly.
64 Mick Ronson - Played with Bowie and Ian Hunter. Not as well known as he should be.
65 Hubert Sumlin - Blues guitarist for Howlin' Wolf.
66 Vernon Reid of Living Colour - Really like his playing. Relatively short life span of the group affects his rating.
67 Link Wray - If you've seen a Quentin Tarantino movie, you've heard Link Wray.
68 Jerry Miller of Moby Grape - Moby Grape has some nice guitar work but I'd put 20 other guys on this list first.
69 Steve Howe of Yes - Should be way higher. Very complicated intricate guitar work.
70 Eddie Van Halen - Should be in the top 10. This is insane.
71 Lightnin' Hopkins - Early blues player.
72 Joni Mitchell - Very complicated player. Lots of strange tunings. Very melodic. Not a soloist though.
73 Trey Anastasio of Phish - I like Try a lot. Should be higher.
74 Johnny Winter - Should be in the top 20 or at least ahead of the other blues players. Great player.
75 Adam Jones of Tool - Like Tool's songs. Guitar never stood out to me. Guess i need to listen more closely.
76 Ali Farka Toure - West African player. Never heard of him. Can't comment.
77 Henry Vestine of Canned Heat - Uggh. Going to the Country is one of my all time least favorite songs. Maybe other stuff is good.
78 Robbie Robertson of the Band - Very underrated. Great "feel" guitarist. His guitar sounds searing on The Last Waltz. Should be higher.
79 Cliff Gallup of the Blue Caps - Played guitar for Gene Vincent (Bee Bop a Lula). Early impressive guitarist.
80 Robert Quine of the Voidoids - Also of Television. Like his work of Matthew Sweet's albums.
81 Derek Trucks - Nephew of Virgil. Competent player.
82 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb is one of the greatest solos ever. Should be way higher.
83 Neil Young - Not a great player but well known. I like his songs a lot but it doesn't make him one of the greatest 100 guitarists.
84 Eddie Cochran - Died early. Good pinoneer guitarist (Summertime Blues).
85 Randy Rhoads - Should be in the top 10. Amazing player. Died too young.
86 Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath - More of a riff player than known for solos. Probably why he's at 86.
87 Joan Jett - I have no idea why she's on this list. Where's Bonnie Raitt? She could play circles around Joan Jett. Looking good in leather pants gets you on the list I guess.
88 Dave Davies of the Kinks - I love the Kinks. Dave created some of the great early guitar styles.
89 D. Boon of the Minutemen - Haven't heard any of his stuff. Can't comment.
90 Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper - Very good player.
91 Robby Krieger of the Doors - Hate the Doors but respect Kreiger.
92 & 93 Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 - On here for one song - Kick Out The Jams.
94 Bert Jansch - Never heard his work.
95 Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine - Like Sonic Youth, the wall of distortion and sound. Not technically impressive.
96 Angus Young of AC/DC - He's better than you think.
97 Robert Randolph - Pedal Steel player. Have not heard him.
98 Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer - ????
99 Greg Ginn of Black Flag - Good punk guitarist.
100 Kim Thayil of Soundgarden - Pretty good guitarist.

What about Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Randy Bachman (BTO), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Snowy White (he joined the Pink Floyd as an auxiliary musician)…???? I’m so disappointed with RS’s list.

I agree. It really was a crappy list. Skunk Baxter and Larry Carlton (most of the Steely Dan solos) should have been on there too.

I want to suggest another guitarist and solo that I never hear mentioned.
I have always thought Greg Lake played pretty tasty. Usually considered simply the vocalist, and over-shadowed instrumentally by Emerson. On Brain Salad Surgery, in the first part of 1st Impression, he plays the complete solo. Most people only hear the second part of 1st Impression because that part started out of a tambourine break at the beginning of the second side of the original album, whereas the first half of it started out of a long, drawn out mish-mash of artsy stuff, so it has never gotten much airplay. The second part, (the familiar one) only has the second part of the original solo, and that gives it a kind of ‘out-of-context’ weakness.
If you have never heard BSS listen to 1st Impression from the beginning. After the abstract part the band settles in to groove that is good and driving and the solo is a dandy one. (The second time around, when the last half only of the solo is repeated, the band has speeded up so much – they were playing real-time in the studio – that the music is rushed and sounds simply that – rushed, instead of driving.
Others on my list of tasty players would be Gilmour, Van Halen and Neil Schon, and, particularly for rhythm riffs, Martin Barre and Keith Richards.

If you think that Fred "Sonic" Smith and Wayne Kramer are on the list solely for Kick Out The Jams, you really need to listen to the rest of their work, both the other 2 MC5 albums and their post-MC5 work. Both have done fantastic work in the post-MC5 days. RS referred to Fred's main post-MC5 band, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, as "The best band you've never heard of." I've heard of them and their work stands up against the best any other band has done. Wayne has put out several outstanding albums over the last 10 years. I do agree with you on Kurt Cobain.

yeah and garry rossington and allen collins and steve gaines of lynyrd skynyrd. they were awsome guitarists

Great posting... also wanted to mention another underrated guitarist (by the public at least), Mike Campbell.

So here's what someone should do. Take all the "missing" guitarists mentioned throughout all the posts and create another top 100 "missing" list. Then we can argue about that! My point is, if you look at all the replies as a whole, there would be just as much argument about ANY top 100 list. I agree with roughly 50% of the comments, and disagree with the rest.

But of course I can't resist listing a few of my own "shoulda oughta" comments:

1. Metheney, Chet Atkins, Kottke, Joe Walsh, Steve Morse all definitely in the top 50.
2. Zappa should be way higher - might even be my #1
3. Clapton, Cobain, Hammett, Slash, Joni Mitchell, Joan Jett and several others off the list completely.
4. John Fahey in top 5.
5. Ok, maybe Clapton should be on the list, but in the bottom 50. Never saw why people thought he was so great.

I just want someone to explain to me how Kurt motherfucking Cobain made the list while David Gilmour came in at #82.

If he only played Time, Money, and Comfortably Numb he'd still be better than most of the people on this list.
If he NEVER played Time, Money, and Comfortably Numb he'd still be better than most of the people on this list.

WTF? This List is so wrong except the top 10.

Eddie Van Halen?, Joe Satriani?, Steve Vai?,Travis Meeks?(Days of the New)
Randy Rhoads?Zakk Wylde?...just off the top of my head!

No dumb shits...Jerry Cantrell!!!

Wow -- Where is Alvin Lee, Phil Keaggy (Hendrix was asked how did if feel to be the best guitarist and he said you better ask Phil Keaggy that question and Hubert Sumlin (88 years old now and still tours with 200 dates a year) who most of the people on this list copied and wanted to be like him. There is probably 35 people on this list that shouldn't be and then about 35 missing. Prejudiced about my cousin Roy Clark, I saw him play one time at a family reunion and he mesmerized me and I though he was only good for Hee-Yawn, the dude played flaminco incredibilty.

Wow -- Where is Alvin Lee (His I'm Going Home is incredibly and his Pure Blues is he cleanist guitar playing I've ever heard), Phil Keaggy (Hendrix was asked how did if feel to be the best guitarist and he said you better ask Phil Keaggy that question) (I think he was left off the list because he plays nothing but Christian music, dude stands 5 foot nothing and what huge sounds from those amps) and Hubert Sumlin (88 years old now and still tours with 200 dates a year) who most of the people on this list copied and wanted to be like him. There is probably 35 people on this list that shouldn't be and then about 35 missing. Prejudiced about my cousin Roy Clark, I saw him play one time at a family reunion and he mesmerized me and I though he was only good for Hee-Yawn, the dude played flaminco incredibly well.

Don't agree one bit about your assessment of Dereck Trucks I'd have him in the top three all day long.

I agree with Alvin Lee - should be top 15 (I've seen him live).

Paul Kossoff should be top 10 (maybe top 5) - he had a fantastic feel for the instrument (died in 1976). Jeff Beck also top 10 - similar in style to Kossoff I think (but no-one else comes close in style) - I saw him live once with Bogart and Appice, ca. 1973.

The attraction of Neill Young as a guitarist is his feel for the instrument and the atmosphere he creates with it - he makes it sing out.

The one major absentee for me is Stan Webb (Chicken Shack) - top 3 without question (I've twice seen him live). Not only as crisp and creative as Hendrix, but also has a great feel for it.

Other favourites of mine are Tom Verlaine, Mick Ronson, John Fogerty, Robert Fripp, Steve Howe, Brian May.

Others left off the list would be Robin Trower, Al DiMeola, and Alan Holdsworth. They seemed to focus more on blues and most jazz guitarists were ignored. Django Reinhart for example. I saw Al DiMeola live in Buffalo and he was pretty inspiring.

Quick comments:
1. Gutsy for RS to make this kind of list, considering guitar magazines spend way too much time debating who's the greatest and why.
2. Notable, unexcusable absences: Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhart, Carl Perkins, Johnny Marr.
3. Too often guitar mags and players emphasize technique and chops over feel. In other words, blistering solos and pyrotechnics beat chord progressions and grooves any day. I know some guitar players who swear Steve Vai and Ying-Yang Malmsteen are the greatest ever, and Keith Richards is a joke. I feel the exact opposite.
4. About time someone called it as it is: Eddie Van Halen isn't as great as his reputation suggests. Great technique, but had no feel for rhythm whatsoever.
5. Bert Jansch is a fantastic, I mean fantastic guitar player. Singlehandedly introduced British folk to the world. Richard Thompson and Nick Drake emerged from his wake; Jimmy Page was a huge fan.
6. Guitarists that should be higher on this list: Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour, Randy Rhoads.
7. Guitarists that should be lower on this list: Kirk Hammett, Kurt Cobain, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Tom Morello.
8. Aside from Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett (who shouldn't be on this list), there's not enough women on this list. There are some pretty damned good women guitar players. Bonnie Raitt, for sure, but the absence of Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney is a joke.

I agree that Neil Young, David Gilmore, and Pete Townsend should be higher, but no way should Eric Clapton be lower. He was in some very amazing bands: Cream, The Yardbirds, Derek and the Dominos. He deserves to be where he is.

Best Clapton band was Blind Faith. Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, Rick Grech, and Clapton on the same album led to incredible music. I don't even know if that album is in print any more.

repete86. Clapton's Prime Was The Late 80,s Till The End Of The Century. So I Have To Disagree With You Dude. Listen To The Lead On Old Love From Hyde Park. And You Might Just Change Your Opinion. And That Was 1997.

i Absolutey agree With Bam Pontius. But I Think Clapton Still Should Be Over BB king. And Carlos Santana & Mark Knopfler Should Also Be In The Top 10. Knopfler Is A Bad Ass Finger Pickin Mother F'er

slipkid71. You are f'n dilluted. clapton & santana Should Be 3 & 4. Obviously u don't Know Great Guitar players. All The Great Guitar Players Gotta Go Through EC to Find Themselves. My Top 5 Are 1.Eric Clapton 2.Carlos Santana 3.Mark Knopfler 4.Chuck Berry 5.Robert Cray. I Think Hendrix & Allman Didn't Live Long Enough For People To Realize Their Full Potential. We Never Got To See Them In There Prime. Besides I Think Hendrix Was Nothing But A Noise Maker.

Many guitar players missed ( Yngwie Malmsteen, John Pettrucci, etc.)
MANY overrated guitarists (Kirk Cobain, Jack white, Joey Ramone, 3 biggest overrated ppl)
Eddie Van Halen at least top 10 jesus, obviously the guys at RS havent heard his song, "Eruption"
Angus Young at 96....that's WAY OFF Rolling Stone, I woulda let it slide if they even put him at like 30, but 96???
Nirvana made some pretty good songs, but they weren't known, not in the SLIGHTEST of bits, for their guitarwork.
I agree with about 95% of the guys opinion who says he's been playing for 25 years

I think the players such as Jack White, Kurt Cobain and Neil Young are singer/song writers then guitarists. So I personaly don't think that they should be on the list of guitarists. Also Kirk hammette at 12 is fine, he is one of my favourite guitarists, but if you put him there then you have to have his teacher Joe Satriani above him purely because he is a better player than him and is the reason why he is at number 12. And then again if you put Joe Satriani above him then Steve Vai also needs to be above Kirk. So I think the top 10 needs revising a lil bit. Also no mention of Yngwie Malmsteen who invented shredd guitar. Hendrix is a definate at number 1, Page should be higher at 2 I think, then Jeff Beck, then Satriani... Angus Should be higher and Malcome Young should be on aswell. Angus should be higher not just for his tallent but his showman ship aswell. Anyone who watches AC/DC Live At Donington '91 would thing he deserves a spot in the top 20. Apart from that it's not a bad review in my opinion.

Obviously never heard any of Neil Young's material produced with Crazy Horse as his band. While a plethora of guitarists are more technically skilled, Neil Young is the only working rock guitarist who can be call "artist." He takes the instrument to places that so-called musicians can only dream of.

Two words: Adrian Belew. The most melodic, talented, creative, and listenable guitarist since Hendrix or Van Halen. (Oh, I guess that was more than two words.)

Agree about Belew and in general that there are several folks on the list who shouldn't be on there and many who are way too low or aren't on there at all. (Fripp should definitely be higher)
Pat Matheny?
I would also add Eric Johnson, seen him several times and the guy is amazing, and I think Alex Lifeson of Rush should be somewhere in this list. Maybe not top 50 but definitely top 100. His stuff from Rush's progressive phase (late 70s) is real nice.

kurt cobain should be on here but not so high. slash should definatly be on here. kirk hammett's spot is actually justified. people who are all into classic rock would dismiss him because he's to heavy, and heavy metal fans because they love to hate metallica. james hetfield should be on there too. johnny ramone shouldnt be there, tho i love the ramones ( nirvana too). the guitarist from the punk movement that should be on there is mick jones from the clash. evh and angus young should be much much higher. jack white is what u teach 8 year olds in their first guitar lesson

and by the way i know everyone will think im stupid, but cc deville from poison should be on there. say what u want about poison, but cc was a great guitar player

CC DeVille isn't stupid. Nothing But a Good Time is a cool song. He had some slick licks. The hair and makeup worked against him.

The list of guitarists left off the list may actually be more impressive than those on the list! Well maybe that's a little exaggerated, but with players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Ritchie Sambora, Al DiMeola, Warren DiMartini, Zakk Wylde, Slash (My personal favorite), Joe Perry, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jake E. Lee, Bonnie Rait (Argueably one of the best slide players ever), Paul Gilbert... Hell, if they needed a female player, that looked hot in leather pants, I'm pretty damn sure Lita Ford not only looks hotter than Joan Jett, but could play circles around her, and Jennifer Batten may not be all that hot but sure as hell burns Jett and Ford, and probably most of the men on RS's list. What about blues legends Albert King and Muddy Water? Perhaps Johnny Winters? And I agree Chuck Berry should be #1, he ain't better than Hendrix, but hell, in my opinion he was the first rock n roll guitar god, he made the electric guitar the main attraction in rock n roll! Nooooo, instead RS sticks Jack White and Kurt Cobain, and other questionables, on the list.

That list is a complete joke... Van Halen is aregueably the second most influencial guitarist of all time (Maybe even the most if you consider that the entire generation of guitarists after him were essentially copying him) and he is closer to not being on the list than he is to being in the top 10. It's disgusting.

Hey, what about Joe Walsh? Not just Eagles (Hotel California one of great leads of all time) but James Gang. RS is lame.

In response about CC, I do believe he's the funniest human being to walk the earth. When i turn to VH-1 and they're doing something involving Poisen, I can get a good laugh by LOOKING at him, then the shot the have of him running around backstage with his guitar is hystarical....

But Yeah, I didn't like that list. My main beef was NO METHANY?!?! Pat Methany IS fusion jazz, and can circles around 98% of that list. Many Shitty players on there, who are just ofr influenciality. Not fair. I also didn't like how bands like MC-5 and Radiohead got to have thier guitarists right next to one another, like they are just that equally good or something. Yeah right. That makes it more than 100.

Here are a few other overlooked in the RS list.
David Bromberg
Doyle Dykes
Eric Johnson
Jeff Heley
Scott Henderson
Tommy Emmanual
Uli Jon Roth
Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Roaring silence)

I made a mistake. Chis Thompson is not the guitar player on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's The Roaring Silence. It is Dave Flett who played with Thin Lizzy

Robbie Robertson is better than almost everyone on this list. If you haven't seen The Last Waltz yet, you need to see it right now. There is a song that Clapton went on stage to perform, and he dropped the guitar. Without missing more than one beat, Robbie Robertson picked up the solo without ever playing and played it better than Clapton wishes he could play it. And Robert Johnson should be higher as well. If you ever listen to his stuff, it is simply amazing. All of his recordings were recorded live, one take without multitracking in a hotel room, and he still sounds like two guitarists. Furthermore, he is probably one of the most influential guitarists of all time. His music has been copied by everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Cream, to Robert Cray, and none of them have done him any justice. Last but not least, is Mark Knopfler. I don't care what anyone says, he is better than Hendrix. If you have listened to his music extesively, you would know that his technique is unsurpassed, and is very diversified. He has played everything from Rock to Folk, to Blues, and has been the best at all of them. Now you can yell at me for saying that Knopfler is better than Hendrix.

Oh and i forgot to add Steve Hunter as someone who was noticeably absent from the list. His guitar work on "Rock and Roll Animal" by Lou reed was phenomenal.

Yes, yes - forgot about SH! He's the reason that's the best album too-cool-Lou ever put out! Having said that, what the hell is Lou himself doing on this list?!

Yes!!!!!!!! I know this posting is very old and may not even be read anymore, but I just came across this list thanks to my 13-year old son. How pathetic! Thank you for agreeing with my position that Mark Knopfler is hands-down the best guitarist ever. It's a shame that Dire Straits will go down in history not only for Sultans of Swing, but the awful Money for Nothing. He is simply incredible. Also left off the list (as has been said before) was Yngwie Malmsteen, a glaring oversight on Rolling Stone's part. Anyone who wants to tear him down, just listen to the CD he did with the orchestra. Amazing stuff. My husband is a very good guitarist, known as one of the best in this area, and he can't believe the stuff he heard. Anyway, thanks for the kudos to Knopfler.

Hendrix is the #1, I agree. But what's Frank Zappa doing on the 45th place...
And Jan Akkerman? He was the best guitar player in 1973. And now? Now he isn't on the list...
How can people forget one the of greatest guitar players?

I know many people are not familiar with him but Robert Randolf is an amazing improvinational slide guitarist. I would call his music funk/rock I had the pleasure seeing him jam out with widespread panic for a few songs at Bonnaroo '03. If interested you can download some of his live shows, free and legally at

Im just glad that Dave Matthews isnt on this list. I dont know if anyone has heard of Buckethead, but he should definitly be on this list.

Yah, ive heard of buckethead and while hes not slash, he comes pretty close.

WWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?????????????? Jimmy Page should be #2 Ritchie Blackmore #3
David Gilmour #4 and... Satana #5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Rolling Stone is the most overrated garbage music magazine out there. How Eddie Van Halen and David Gilmour are not in the top 10 is beyond me. Having them both over the top 70 makes me laugh. Gilmour's solos are better than anyone else out there, yes better than page and jimi. Other underrated guitarists include: Angus Young, Buckhead, Slash, Vai,Blackmore, May, allen collins - free bird, wow - put him at the end of the list just for that. O, and Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain and The Edge are not good guitarists and shouldnt even be in the 50.

Couldn't agree with you more, Rolling Stone mag has a reputation for snubbing Pink Floyd choosing to list Comfortably Numb as 314th on their all time hits chart which is a farce, simply because the solo on this track is consistently ranked top 5 all time by many sources. Also interesting is the fact that the Dark side of the moon record figured in Billboard's top 200 hit albums for 14 years which I think is still a record to this day and ironically not a single track from that album made it on R S's top 500 list. I didn't even bother reading past the top 20 when I saw Gilmour's exclusion from the list, like you I couldn't believe that anyone with any common sense at R S magazine couldn't even recognize the creative genius it takes to play a guitar with such feel and sustain for more than four decades. While most would categorize Cobain's status due of course to his obvious talent but it was mostly because he implemented a new style which was embraced by many but sadly Gilmour doesn't seem to get the same credit for developing a totally original style of his own. Yeah Rolling Stone is the most overrated garbage music magazine for sure!

hell ya. i totally agree

OMG! you meant santana. dammit, you really thunk that rock music is of the devil? stop listening at stairway to heaven backwards

I just stumbled across this site, and I think the original writer has an overall excellent understanding of these players.

It's great to see Duane Allman rated #2. His playing showed such a rare combination of passion, intensity, subtlety, and virtuosity, that is amazing to reflect on the fact that he was only 24 at the time of his death.

By comparison, some of these guys (I'll keeep the players names to myself) playing was, for me, simultaneously jaw-dropping, yet emotionally nowhere.

Where in hell is Leo Kottke and Metheny? What's with that? And Joni Mitchell, my god, what a fabulous musician, but I don't get it - a great guitarist?

Ah, this is a lot of fun. Scuse me, while I kiss the sky and go work on my lame chops!

Brian May Needs to be alot higher some great solos belonged to one of the best bands ever. eddie van halen should be in the top 5 and frank zappa also in the top 10. Jack White and Kurt Cobain and John frusciante way to high. David Gilmour also way to low on the list.

Also Justin Hawkins of the darkness great soloist should be on ths list.

I'got one word for y'all. Slash. He might not be the greatest of all time like Jimi was appropriatly named, but after you listen to some of his stuff in pretty much the whole AFD album, not to mention Estranged from UYI2 and the solo in Coma from UYI1 youll be pretty impressed. Also, listen to the end of Nightrain from AFD, this is one of the most mad crazy ripping guitar solo I have ever heard.(Altho it is a bit short.)

How about these guitarists? Guitar is played all over the world, for all types of music and the Rolling Stone list forgets that. If someone has already mentioned the same folks, I'm just working from a list I came up with earlier when someone dared me to name guitarists better than Clapton, who voice is what I love. I hate pigeon-holing since great guitarists can play many types of music, so here are the names:

Mike Sterns
John Scofield
Peter Frampton
Pat Metheny
Glen Campbell
Wes Montgomery
Habib Koite
Ray Kane
Andre Segovia
Sonny Chillingsworth
Victor Wooten (he may play bass, but he's so fluid that it might as well be lead guitar)
Jaco Pastorius (same comment as for Victor)
Adrian Belew
George Benson
Larry Carlton
Hiram Bullock
Robben Ford
Stanley Jordan
Otis Rush
Ellmore James
Ellen McIllwain (Blues and she's amazing)
Bonnie Raitt
John Mayer (ignore the MTV rotation stuff)
Coco Montoya
Paul Brady
Pierre Ben Susan
Tommy Malone (Subdudes)
Manus Lunny
Andy Irvine
Garnett Rodgers
Leo Kottke
Chet Atkins
Vince Gill
Prince (he showed everyone why he was inducted into the Hall of Fame when he performed there) Neil Schon
Mick Taylor(the ignored Rolling Stone)

A few more
Richie Sambora
THE MAIDEN GUITARISTS(!!)atleast janick jers..
Malmstein(hw dumb is ANYONE to exclude yngwie?duh!)
Steve vai

Malmstein, Vai - so they'd win a who can play the most notes in 10 seconds contest (yawn)

I agree...... your list is better. I would only add Roy Clark, and Joe Bonnamasso

Robin Trower? Michael Schenker? Tommy Bolin? Joe Walsh once said that Tommy would blow him off the stage. Not alot of recognition, but Jeff beck thought he was one the best. So did Robert Plant. I think they know more than the folks at Rolling Stone. Alex Lifeson of Rush? I count about 25 guys that shouldn't be on this list. lets put Michael Schenker on one stage, and Kurt Cobain on the other, and lets see who's better. Come on now. Lets try Trower against the Red Chili Pepper guy....lets get real here.

I do not disagree that the list is bunk, and too many great guitarists are unrecognized while too many mediocre guitarists are included. However, have you ever seen John Frusciante play? The guy is amazing. I love Robin Trower and agree he should be included ... and Frusciante may be a bit high on the list, but ... it's highly doubtful Trower would "blow him away". He really is one fantastic player ... very few on this list or not can match his chops.

I think Rolling stones is insane! those people are retarded, Why is Kurt Cobain even on there? Wheres the Dime bag Darrel? Kirk Hammett?? Joey Ramone? I'm a Ramones fan and I say he shouldn't be on there! He wasn't that good, you could learn all the ramone songs in a hour. This list is rubbish.

I just want to say THANK YOU for saying Dimebag! That no one said any thing before this is amazing. Definatley one of the most underated players ever, and the best guitarist to come out of the ninties. He could kick Jack Whites ass.

I've always thought Dimebag was overrated but not THAT overrated, definately belongs somewhere on the list.

Just watched a PBS thing tonight w/ Stevie Ray Vaughn Live & heard about this Top 100. WAY TOO MANY obvious ommissions on this list!!!

The most glaring is Zack Wylde who is clearly top 5. Other prominent names missing from this list are:
Alvin Lee
Billy Gibbons
Joe Walsh
Dime Bag Darryl (hate the vocalist but this guy is incredible)
Wes Montgomery (an old name)
Steve Vai
Jerry Cantrell (how can you put the Tool guitarist on the list and exclude him?)
Dave Mustaine
Robin Trower (a lesser known player that deserves more recognition)

Glad to see Michael Bloomfield in the mix. Saw him live about 15 times. One of the greatest blues guys in the 1965-1975 era.

Be sure to check out the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival on DVD. Some great performances and a few surprises, especially John Mayer, who may emerge as one of the best over the next couple of decades.

My vote for #1..... Clapton, without a doubt. Throw out all that '80's crap that he did and dig into the real meat of his work, BLUES, and there is no denying the genius of this mans talent.

haha. you are a badass. i agree that clapton shoul be #1 hands down. but, no offense, i can play guitar better than slash. the only thing slash brought to guitar was playing while smoking a cigarette. guns 'n' roses is, in my opinion, the most overrated band there is. their only good song was sweet child of mine.

I'm from Norway, and we have have a guitarist named øystein sunde. He should be on the list, though if you can't understand the norwegian texts you'll understand when listening to the licks. When Eric clapton got the award for the best guitar player in the world, he said: This norwegian guy, sunde, he is much better.

What about Michael Hedges? I know he is not thought of as a rock and roll musician, but he covered many rock songs with acoustic guitar and was an incredible innovator with the harp guitar. Likewise, someone has already mentioned the exclusion of Leo Kottke on this list, which makes no sense to me as he was and is a brilliant guitar player.

One more I just noticed that was missing - Roger Mcguinn of the Byrds. Why is he not on here? Just because their music was in 'Forrest Gump?'

After reading this list its not hard to think its absolutley stupid. Clapton or Stevie Ray should be number one, how anyone can consider him a hendrix rip off is beyond me the guy was an unbelievable player, I get the impression people always seem to put Hendrix at the top of these lists is because its what everyone expects. I'm not saying he wasn't amazing but his records have never blown me away the same as clapton or stevie ray.

I also think its an absolute travesty that David Gilmour is that low on the list he should be top ten in any list. One more thing is that I cant understand is why who ever made this is so outraged about jack whites placement and almost condoning of John Frusciante's, fair enough neither of their work warrants where they've been placed but some of Jack Whites slide work live is phenomenal.

Finally someone who agrees with me on Jack White! I think he is an incredible guitarist and deserving to be on this list. He turns the guitar into a carnival of sound. Also agree with you on Dave Gilmourbeing higher. Is anyone going to stand with me to defend Johnny Greenwood. I'd put him top 20 without hesitation. Paranoid android does things with a guitar I never knew were possible. If you want any proof of Johnny Greenwood's incredible ability check out the solo at the end of this song

i agree that jonny greenwood should be higher on the list. radiohead has some intense guitarwork. him and ed o'brien made me completely rethink guitar playing. he does this thing live where he tunes the top e so far down that he actually pulls it off the fretboard and makes some crazy noises. how's that for innovation?

Agree Stevie should definitely be number one.Also where's Ted Nugent,Mike Campbell(Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers),Toy Caldwell,Ricky Medlocke,Dave Hlubek,and Duane Roland(Molly Hatchet)

why the hell is angus young of acdc down in 96?? he is EASILY a top ten guitarist, i was shocked to see him down there so far at the bottom of the list, he would own kurt cobain thats for sure. i still have no idea why hes even in the list, just cos hes f#$%kn dead

Slash. Period. Jack White is on this list and Slash isn't? Is there one White Stripes song that is as recognizable as "Sweet Child O' Mine"?

It's one thing to leave out non-mainstream guitar players, but to leave out one of the most popular and most recognizable mainstream guitarists of all time is just a crime.

Next, Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett? What about Nancy Wilson?

I remember reading this list when it came out and being incredibly dissappointed.

Besides leaving off Malmsteen, Satriani, and even Vai, what Ted Nugent??? He'd knock the socks off any of his competitors in a live jam (literally). If you include Neil Young, then you have to include Frampton. And how about Gary Moore too? If you put them old farts on there, might as well add Steve Miller too. Some fine solos and how about everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd (Gods of Southern Rock)?

I agree a top 100 is hard to do but some of these are so far off it's like RS was trying to be PC. An argument can be made that since Nirvana killed metal, there hasn't been any good guitarists since.

Also, if you add Chick Berry, then you have to put Buddy Holly up there too.

A lot of players on this list couldn't hold a candle to a guitarist from my city, Cork in Ireland, who died some years ago. Rory Gallagher. He could play rock, blues, slide guitar and acoustic better than most of them. BB King is a very limited guitarist. He can't even play chords and his soloes are very "samey". Keith Richards write fantastic riffs, but he's a poor player compared to most of them. My tops would be Hendrix, Clapton, John Renbourn, Arty McGlynn. The latter two are famous folk guitarists on this side of the pond. Look them up on Youtube!

If Ted Nugent couldn't out-play someone, he'd probably strangle the other guy and gut him with his bare hands right there on stage.

Really is a CRAPPY list. How about Albert Lee? Kurt Cobain, George Harrison, and the Edgeless suck!!! P.S.- Out of ALL magavines I thought they'd put Link Wray! HE INVENTED DISTORITION! NOT IKE TURNER!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAmen to the post above. Also, where the HELL is Terry Kath of Chicago. Yeah he had a short career, but so did a handfull of guys on the list. Just listen to his solos on Chicago Transit Authority, especially "Introduction" as well as the classic "25 or 6 to 4" (yea it's overplayed on the radio, but he fuckin tears it up on the wah pedal).

How about David Lindley? Allan Holdsworth? Bob Weir? Stanley Jordan? I suppose Andres Segovia isn't really in the right category. Re Garcia, well the availability of all those live tapes will bring to light some of the rippin' stuff he did. As a composer he was top 10 material too. Michael Kang of String Cheese plays lead electric mandolin, but he sure has the Right Stuff.

Bob? Give me a friggin' break; he does absolutely nothing!

Jack White? give me a fuckin break! and where the hell is james hetfield? Hammett got 11 but its Hetfield that does the work. Hammett just has the speed. and what about the late great Dimebag Darrel Abbott?

Sure, Lars and Hetfield id the brunt of the composing work, but Hammett was the one who played all the solos ad crazy riffs. Hetfield was a good guitarist, don't get me wrong, but of the two, Hammett deserves the spot more.

Also: where's John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Satriani, Eric Johnson, and so many more.

And Hendrix totally deserves that top spot.

Whoever made the comments on this list obviously comes from a narrow guitar playing perspective. Being a "great" guitar player isn't just about being technically skilled, playing fast and doing huge solos. I now heaps of people who can play like that but it doesn't make them "great" guitar players. Being great is about how they fit into the landscape of the songs and create a texture to fill a space. It is about knowing what to play and when. Subtlety is huge part of what makes a great guitarist. That is why people likes Johnny Greenwood, The Edge and Jack White are there. And Graham Coxon, Jeff Buckley and Matthew Bellamy should also be there in the place of people like Randy Rhoads and Joe Perry. That is my 2 cents...

this guy has a great way of putting it. it's not about being technically impressive. it's about the pure emotion that your instrument exudes. you can tell when a person has a real passion for their craft.

what desapointed me more was the fact the the one who .... started ... influenced the best isn't there .... ALBERT KING my friends inspired jimi ... clapton ... he was like srv's master ... he was the king of blues allong with b.b. and freddie king ...billy gibbons isn't there why ? i mean ... Keith Richards 10 and Joe Perry 35 .... yes they were good ... but they cant even touch angus and eddie ... and kurt koulbain was a great musician but not that good on the guitar to be that high .... angus and van hallen - come on they should be a bit higher no ? .... i mean .... this was a weak list ....

i don't know what RS was thinking. this is the worst list of great guitarists of all time. Hendrix at 1? i dunno. he was a brilliant musician and had an exemplary concept of sound but stylistically he didn't really push the boundaries that much. Page should be higher. sure he was a bit sloppy but when you think about it he was excellent at making riffs and composing his songs impeccably. Kirk Hammett Sucks. i'm sorry folks. he fucking sucks. he's hugely overrated. Mustaine left metallica because they couldn't play fast enough. thrash metal is supposed to be fast as hell. mustaine was a much better guitarist than hammett and he's not even on this list. and where's paul gilbert, where's marty friedman, where's jason becker. has anyone ever heard of cacophany. greatest metal band ever. friedman would just shred some insane lick and tell becker to harmonize it and he'd just do it on the spot. Paul gilbert said he was scary good. what about jeff buckley? he was vastly underrated and short-lived. he could play like jimi. his version of hallelujah, or night flight are both great. grace is pretty sick too. you know. he wasn't fantastically intense, but definitely top 100 material. my opinion is that rolling stone should stop trying to decide who's the best and just do their fucking job and interview musicians.

its hard to say that a band is the best ever when nobody else has ever heard of them.

I would say Keith is a much more important guitarist than Angus Young.

1. If you think every Rage song sounded the same, you need to read some lyrics buddy.
2. Listen to some earlier RHCP stuff and you'll be amazed.
3. George Harrison was a great guitarist; he didn't stand out in a lot of Beatles songs because the style of rock back then wasn't like that. "And your bird can sing" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
4. Jack White deserves about maybe 30, I agree and Eddie Van Halen deserves much higher than 70 as well.
5. Brian May's fine where he is.
6. Eddie Hazel is in no way equal to Jimi
7. Keith Richards isn't terrible
8. As far as I'm concerned Kirk Hammett is untouchable. I'd put him at like 4 myself.

Some of you guys seem to know nothing about what you're saying. Being a good guitarist is NOT all about being a good soloist. It's about pioneering. That's why BB King, Kurt Cobain, Jonny Ramone, Jack White, George Harrison, Tom Morello, both Sonic Youth guitarists, etc. are ON here in the first place. I disagree with making a list of greatest guitarists in the first place because it's really impossible to compare older guitarists with new ones. Guitar style really has changed over the decades and what made one a good guitarist has as well. It's like comparing "pop" nowadays to what "pop" was in the 1700s. Now, pop to us is just pop. In the future when pop changes they will most likely have a name for it. Back then pop was what we call now classical music.

What makes some of these guitarists so good is the fact that they existed to push rock in our direction.

good comments on this posting... but just wanted to share with you some info that on clapton was actually the lead guitarist for while my guitar gently weeps...

Holy fuck! Really? OMG, what a revelation - I'm going nuts just thinking about it!

When I first heard someone tell me that, I thought it was the biggest crock of bullshit I ever heard.

thought that was commen knowledge, how old r u people

Every Rage song DOES sound the same... if you need to read the lyrics to tell them apart that pretty much makes his point. I don't get how Tom Morello gets to be #26. What exactly did he pioneer? He plays riffs, whoopee... if Zeppelin and Sabbath and countless others hadn't been doing that since he was a fetus maybe he'd be a pioneer.

Technically George Harrison wasn't exceptional. Everybody on this list can PLAY what he wrote but I'd like to see most of these people on this list try to come up with it themselves.

I'm surprised that Rolling Stone thought to include some of the guitarists on that list. Mike Bloomfield is a great soloist, albeit a little obscure, and the fact that he's getting any recognition at all is great. I was also shocked to see Kevin Shields. While he's not much of a soloist, he did pioneer the shoegaze genre, not to mention the fact that he rocrded Loveless pretty much by himself. I saw My Bloody Valentine recently and it was definately in my top 3 concerts attended, if not number 1.

Where is Paco de Lucia? He could school any one on that list as far as technique is concerned.

WTF, Keith Richards even said Mick Taylor was a better guitarist then him. Santana even said he was better then him. He has the best tone ever! He should be in the top ten!!

Listen, why is slash not on the list at all... i dont get it...
also angus(ACDC) and eddi van halen (... van halen if it isent obviuss) ok, it was hard not to write `lol`their enyway, these guitarists are under rated, and um, hendrix, k, he is good dont get me wrong... but the guy never WOWd me... like i think they influanced the list to much, and should re do it... cuz this is ridiculase... metallica, is good ), but like he sayd some is great some is bad...

I know you guys will laugh at me, oh hell I don't care. I see Slash. That's a good arguement. What about C.C. Deville. Listen to Life Goes On by Poison. But he plays some really good licks. He's had several good solos. And what's up with Angus being so low. RS Pricks

Every new guitar player practices by playing boring-ass scales over and over.
Slash does it and calls it a solo. That's why he's not on the list.

love the anti slash &GNR stuff

How can a list of the 100 greatest guitarists not include Gary Moore, one of the all time greats? This list is a beauty contest and goes for obvious popularity. B.B. King did a lot of recording with Moore and clearly this legendary blues man would not have worked with Gary to the extent he did if Gary were not amazing. thank

I think the list should reflect differing groups of players. Place it like a tree branch, you know? The roots would be the greatest of the Blues players- Robert Johnson, etc. Move up and the songwriters should be there. Just because someone is a great songwriter doesn't mean their guitar sounds any better. THERE you can stash Cobain, and others. Then spread out with the differing genres, like rock guiarists, country ones, blues, etc.

1.Hendrix! Look what he accomplished by age 27!!
2. Jeff Beck- if you haven't seen him on the tour for Crossroads in 2007, you should.
3. Duane Allman - great slide guitarist but he's lived on in Derek Trucks who filled his place as the Allman Bros. slide player since he was 11 years old, and at age 24 was ranked at #81 just b/c nobody tends to listen to blues as much as rock in RS Magazine.
4 Eric Clapton -Few have been in his league for so long that perhaps he's slacking, but still..
5 Stevie Ray Vaughn
6 Mark Knopfler- awesome on guitar & great songwriter
7 Carlos Santana
8 Brian May
9 Keith Richards
10 Pete Townshend
11 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
12 Joe Perry of Aerosmith
13 Stephen Stills
14 John Frusciante just hear his solos from '07!
15 The Edge of U2
16 Brian May
17 Mike McCready of Pearl Jam
18 Kirk Hammett
19 Mick Taylor
20 Jimmy Page
21 B.B. King
22 Curtis Mayfield
23 Eddie Van Halen
24 Davey Johnstone of the Elton John band
25 Vince Gill (more Grammys than any other man)!

There's my top 25 basically off the top of my head.

jeez dude, your list isn't all that much better than theirs (and the fact that you think number of grammys mean something explains why). I love U2 for the passion - one of the greatest live bands around - but Edge - come on?

What about Steve Morse? Talk about versatile virtuosity!

What about synyster gates of Avenged Sevenfold? Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria? Angus Young should be higher and Maclom Young should be up there because he was better than Angus and wrote alot of his solos. What about Dimebag Darrel? He should be top 5 no doubt, if not #1. Have you ever heard of dimebag squeals? Yah, he made those popular. You need to include synyster and dimebag for sure.

'Dimebag' Darrell Abott, Kirk, Hammett, Brian Haner Jr.(Synyster
Gates), Herman Li,Slash
all of the guitarists mentioned above suck, especially Syn,he isn't shit in comparison to guitarists like Uli Jon Roth.Claudio doesn't deserve a place on this list either.

this list is a load of crap.
for starters - Eddie VH is my fav guitarist, sure he might not be the best in other peoples oppinions but he's so experimental and just loves what hes doing. kurt cobain shouln't be on the list at all. and randy rhoads should be WAY higher, as should gilmour and Zappa. I have more to say but it could take hours. my point is that this list is a total shamble and was probably made by a deff, dumb, and blind kid

It's like they thought a bit about who should be in the top ten, but then they were running short of time, so one guy said 'aww...screw it. Let's just pick names out of the hat. So...11...Kirk Hammet...not bad....12...Kurt Cobain...ahh, what the hell, let's do it....'

Who in their right mind would look at this and say 'Hmm....Eddie at 70, and Cobain at 12...yeah, that makes a lot of sense'.? Worst list ever made.

The only thing worse than their list is the phony, ridiculous "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame."

Some of the people on here should actually be on the worst 100 instead...Joey Ramone? Pullease!

Where is Robin Trower ... GREAT Blue Rock
Where the hell is Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser of
Blue Oyster Cult? He can play (and write music) rings around many of the names on this pathetic list.

The only person who can truly take that list seriously is the idiot who wrote it, and the editor that approved that travesty.
Excuse me while I go puke for awhile.

Where the hell is Bob Dylan, and jimmy paige should be higher. p.s. carlos santana beats kirk hammet of metallica any day.

yours truly hello77711

I absolutely love Bob; but come on - a great guitarist?!

WTF bob dylan love his music but not a top 100 guirtarists

This list is such a joke. The fact that Eddie Van Halen is #70 just kills me. How do you put Jack White and Kurt Cobain above him? In fact, how do you even put those two in the top 20? They've never had an "Eruption" before! I think Eddie should be right behind Jimi at #2. Pete Townshend and Randy Rhoads should also be in the top 10. They are missing Slash, Prince, and Ted Nugent. I mean really, this list is soooooooo terrible.

This lists is missing some pretty great players. I'm shocked RollingStone could not do a better job. There are some on that list who should not even be there if they are talking about pure guitar talent. Some of those listed are good song writers but only marginal guitarists. Some who should be on the list & even high up there are; These 4 are (pure) guitar experts.

Joe Satriani
Steve Vai
Adrien Legg(greatest finger picker I ever heard)
Derik Trucks(the best slide of the new generation)

Other guitarists who could replace some of the filler on this list:
(1) Chet Atkins
(2) Billy Zoom of X
(3) Ron Wood
(4) Paul Weller (The Jam)
(5) Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie)
(6) Peter Frampton
(7) Charlie Christian
(8) Joe Pass
(9) Andre Segovia

Joan Jett????? Gimme a freakin' break!!! Hell, I'd take Nancy Wilson of Heart or Lita Ford over her anyday.

Great suggestions.

what... no todd rungren and the great rory gallacher. this list is garbage.

Todd Rundgren... really... come on.

FINALLY ! it took this long for someone to mention the GREAT RORY another life cut short & J. Beck deserves better /but a list like this is subject to ones opinion/ last thing this is another reason I stoped reading rs to begin with they just suck

In all honesty this list is a total joke! It should at very most be called 100 most popular in RS/potentially influencial guitarists/ lick theives in the pop/rock genre since about 1960...

Any list of guitarists that fails to mention people like Django Reindhart, Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, George Benson etc doesn't carry any credibility. Most of the guys on this list would be blown away by any half decent jazz guitarist.

And don't get me wrong, i'm not saying jazzers are the best or whatever, but most jazzers know their instruments inside out - you ask Metheny to shred on a blues next to Clapton and Clapton would run off the stage bawling his eyes out.

This list sums up pop/rock for me. The lack of talent, musical ambition, creativity etc

Keith Richards in 10th... oh my f#cking God, come on RS or is it BS?! Kurt Cobain?!! Absolutely nuts. We are talking about the greatest guitarists in history, not some random drug addict who kick started a genre for anx ridden, smelly teenagers...

Trane Lives

Of course....
Wes! WES, oh god, talk about taste, and music, and sparks jumpin out between the cracks of nuance. Professional! god he's awesome. Point is Hendrix too. Hendrix was innovative in that he took the genre (blues-rock) to a different, popular level, plus his vibe and singin with his axe, BUT - the actual music, the chords, the vertical and horizonal temporal elements >> not even close, my opinion. Jazzers? there's no contest

After reading the list and wading through the comments it made me question if there was some kind of formula behind the list. Something like (hit songs)(genre)(common wisdom)(birthday)

I listened to Roberts Johnson's 'Love in Vain' covered by the Rolling Stones decades later. I am listening to Quicksilver Messenger Service 'Happy Trails' album as I write this and it sounds so good I am having trouble concentrating. It is the John Cippolina the list poster didn't know about.

There's more then a few people that would deserve honorable mention. Doc Watson maybe? How about Spirit/Randy Califoria, they were one of the most influencial bands in the 60s. As one of the other posters mentioned, Robin Trower! Just saw him last year at the Catalyst. Peter Green of the original Fleetwood Mac?


Pete's there

Well, RS is a r 'n' r publication after all (or it least it once was). While I can't say what position he should be in - probably lower than he is - Keith shouldn't be ragged on so much. He plays rhythm with a feel like no one else.

Keith Richards is the #1 rhythm player if you ask me.

Frusciante definitely deserves #18

One name not mentionned, unless I missed it, is Steve Morse.He replaced Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple and was in the Dixie Dreggs. He is a superb player with tremendous soloing skills and a great alternate picking style. He's in my personal top 10 along with Angus, David Gilmour and Billy Gibbons. Were Skynard's players mentionned? Tom Keiffer and Jeff Labar of Cinderella also had great skills.Very bluesey players lumped in with other eighties metal bands but a cut above, in my opinion.

Yeah, Steve should be in the top 3 as far as I'm concerned; could play anything by anybody; but very odd that you would put Angus Young in his league???

Is anyone familiar with Michael Hedges? He was an acoustic player, so he might not seem like an obvious choice for this list, but I would consider him one of the best of all time. Better than KC by a long shot..

This list is missing and misplacing some many people it's hard to mention them all but that said, I agree with #1 and #2. Those two guys could run circles around anyone who has ever lived in my opinion. Duane is my favorite to listen to. Hendrix was, well, he was in a league of his own.

I think one of the great injustices of music history is how little credit Duane Allman gets for the Derek and the Dominos album. He brought Clapton to a new level in playing. Without Allman, that album is not the classic that it is. I'm glad to see that he was placed ahead of Clapton on this list.

This list is all messed up! I want to know where a lot of guitarists are that are missing from this list. I agree with most, get Joan Jett the hell off of here. Where are Zak Wylde?? Lindsey Buckingham?? they are better than half the people on this list

What about adding Yngwie Malmsteen and Michael Angelo Batio just for their technical prowess? No feeling and their music is utter shite, but hell, they are great guitarists nonetheless. Also, Steve Howe should be waaaaay higher. Criminally underrated on this list. Kurt Kobain? What???

No Rory Gallagher?! Are you kidding?! Six years on and still a controversial list. Probably will remain so. I must, however, add to the (growing) number of those for whom the omission of the late and sorely missed RORY GALLAGHER is just bewildering. What a huge omission!! His energy and verve live are legendary and there is a huge archive of audio and video material available that testifies to his extraordinary playing. His acoustic and slide work alone would justify a place in the top 10. I hope the uninitiated will check him out. Read what other rock guitarists have to say about him and marvel. He is still a secret to many but believe me, you will be stunned. I envy you hearing him for the first time. (Trivia-he was invited to join the Stones as Brian's replacement and turned it down!) Only Chuck and Jimi are more important and Duane and Clapton and Muddy Waters stirred the pot, sure, but as he says himself - did you ever wake up with those bullfrogs on your mind? Rory Gallagher. Oh yes.

Howe should be in the top 10.

Oops. replied to the wrong guy.

Howe should be in the top 10; ok, got it right this time.

THANK YOU!!! Yngwie Malmsteen (and that whole "school" of guitar-playing) spews forty-seven billion notes in like three seconds. It's utterly incredible from a technical standpoint. Musically, it's about as melodic as when you hold down all of the keys on your keyboard at once and your computer starts repeating that DING sound.

Nevertheless... they belong on the list.

Agree with you on Batio. Yngwie's music has no feeling and is "shite?" I suggest you youtube "Icarus Dream Suite."

where the hell is randy rhoads?his riffs are awesome and his solos are phenomonal

He is there.

Man oh man...Rolling Stone has grown up to become little brother to Teen Star magazine.

Jack White, but no Rossington and Collins? Joan Jett, but no Slash? Johnny Ramone, but no Dimebag? And where the hell is Billy Gibbons? Rolling Stone should give up on the "greatest" lists; it's getting a bit silly.

The fact that Steve Morse can be found nowhere on this list makes the rest of it meaningless.

It's hard separate influence from ability, but I've always felt B.B. was overrated (at least as a guitarist; he's a powerful vocalist). I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know how to play chords. And even his lead has no continuity; it's 4-5 note lick, pause, 4-5 note lick, pause,...

Most of these Guitarists are overrated, not to say they aren't great guitarists, but they aren't the best
I am too lazy to give my top 100, so I will give a top 20 based on how skilled and knowledgeable they are
Uli Jon Roth
Rusty Cooley
Jeff Loomis
Yngwie Malmsteen
Michael Angelo Batio
Vinnie Moore
Joe Stump
Tony MacAlpine
Paul Gilbert
Zeno Roth
Luca Turilli
Michael Romeo
Marty Friedman
John Petrucci
Steve Vai
Jason Becker
Eric Johnson
Greg Howe
Chris Broderick

Al Di Meola also deserves a place up high on a list such as this

This might just be Rolling Stone's worst list... ever.

Like a lot of people commenting here, I'm mad that Alvin Lee, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Robert Trower, etc etc aren't on this list.
I'm also upset that Jimmy Page (along with Mr. Zappa, among others) isn't higher on the list.
Sure, Page was a tad sloppy--some of his solos, for example, would tend to gradually lose their melodic fluidity. But his playing was always full of emotion; & "Stairway to Heaven," for example, is almost totally flawless and the kind of solo that really hits you & makes you go "wow".
Pagey also did not just play in just one style. He's done blues (e: "Tea For One"), rockabilly ("Rock and Roll", which has the rockabilly chore progression), middle eastern-influenced stuff ("Kashmir"), stuff more on the funky side ("Trampled Underfoot"); he didn't stray from acoustic material ("That's the Way", "Tangerine", etc), and even did toe-tappin' old countryesque stuff ("Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp").... and so on.

Where the holy hell is Nick Valensi? Another great example of this stupid magazines fogeyism, he should be on the list, listen to 'Trying Your Luck', '12:51', 'Heart In A Cage'

Jack White and Angus Young should swap places (snobs!), and no Johnny Marr?

Read the Sunday Times article on George Harrison hence my interest in this. I don't play the guitar and with my main suggestion it will probably show, but anyway...

Read the list and all the comments and there is no mention of Mike Oldfield. Why? any takers...

Apart from that the comments were very good. Gilmour, May, Knopfler, Zappa, Van Halen and Johnny Marr all underrated.

The boys from Steely Dan were along with much of this studio outfit's music, technically precise but arguably not in top 100.

Are my eyes bad or did I not see Steve Miller on that list. Miller can jam pretty good I would put him in top 50 if not top 30. How about Malcolm Young? Jerry Cantrell? Dimebag? Zakk Wylde? RS list is pretty bogus?