By Steve Newton
Google “100 greatest guitarists” these days and what shows up at the top is a total joke. It’s the high ‘n’ mighty Rolling Stone‘s list of the so-called finest, posted from 2015.
And man does it suck.
But what do you expect from the same bozos who oversee the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
“We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else,” reads the intro to the list, but they aren’t foolin’ anyone. What kind of “top guitarists” and “experts” would dare compile a list of the world’s best pickers and put the godlike Rory Gallagher way down at number 57? They dumped him two spots behind axe master John Lennon, fer chrissakes.
What the fvck!?
They made Jimi Hendrix number one–which I don’t have a problem with–but then they screwed up royally again when they put Jeff Beck at number 5, behind Eric Clapton (2), Jimmy Page (3), and Keith Richards (4). Come on! Keith Richards? I love Keef‘s playing as much as the next guy, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Beck. Nobody who’s still breathing does.
It was great to see Duane Allman take the number 8 spot, but there’s no way Stevie Ray Vaughan (12) should have been kept out of the Top 10. Even though Quadrophenia is my fave album of all time, I believe Pete Townshend (10) should have been bumped to make way for Stevie.
Other amazing players who should have ranked much higher than they did were Peter Green (58), Johnny Winter (63), and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who only snuck in at number 98.
Equally shocking is the number of deserving guitarists who got left off the Top 100 entirely, people like Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, Michael Schenker, Alvin Lee, Warren Haynes, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Sonny Landreth, Robin Trower, Gary Moore, Rick Derringer, Steve Howe, Eric Johnson, John Fogerty, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Morse, Steve Lukather, Jorma Kaukonen, Guthrie Govan, Brian Setzer, Tommy Emmanuel, Lenny Breau, and Hank Marvin.
And speaking as a proud Canadian, how about Jeff Healey?
The brainiacs at Rolling Stone could have easily made room for at least a few of those instead of wasting valuable space on the likes of Lou Reed (81), Joni Mitchell (75), Roger McGuinn (95), Bruce Springsteen (96), and Paul Simon (93).
Paul Simon’s a “greater” guitarist than Gary freakin’ Moore? Piss off, Rolling Stone.
On the bright side, I was happy to see that a few of my faves who sometimes fly under the guitar-hero radar got chosen, in particular Dick Dale (74), Link Wray (45), Duane Eddy (64), Hubert Sumlin (43), Mike Campbell (79), Otis Rush (53), and the mighty Mick Ronson (41).
Here’s my list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists (that I’ve interviewed), followed by the 50 greatest ones I wished I had interviewed. Please keep in mind that I’m not a jazz expert, so I didn’t include obvious picks like Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Lenny Breau, and Django Reinhardt. I’m a rock and blues guy, so that’s what my lists reflect.
Bring on the nasty, mean-spirited comments!
10 Link Wray
11 Mick Ronson
12 Gary Moore
13 Derek Trucks
14 J.J. Cale
20 Tony Iommi
21 Joe Satriani
24 Robin Trower
26 Uli Jon Roth
27 Brian May
28 Leslie West
29 Alex Lifeson
30 Eric Johnson
32 Steve Vai
34 Joe Perry
35 Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser
38 Steve Morse
40 Dick Dale
43 Otis Rush
45 Ronnie Earl
46 Robben Ford
48 Jeff Healey
50 Steve Howe
51 Albert Lee
52 Jake E. Lee
56 Paul Gilbert
59 Tosin Abasi
62 Wayne Kramer
63 Ace Frehley
64 Jonny Lang
67 Walter Trout
69 Robert Cray
72 John Sykes
74 Andy Powell
77 Will Bernard
78 Rick Nielsen
81 Kim Simmonds
82 Don Wilson
83 Zakk Wylde
87 Glenn Tipton
88 Steve Clark
90 Marc Bonilla
91 Don Ross
93 Kim Mitchell
94 J. Mascis
95 Dave Murray
96 Leo Kottke
97 Dave Alvin
98 Buddy Cage
100 Jack Semple
1 Jimi Hendrix
2 Rory Gallagher
3 Johnny Winter
4 Duane Allman
5 Eddie Van Halen
6 Jimmy Page
7 Keith Richards
8 Peter Green
9 Eric Clapton
10 Randy Rhoads
11 Chuck Berry
12 Freddy King
13 Ritchie Blackmore
14 Steve Cropper
15 Mike Bloomfield
16 Angus Young
17 Neil Young
19 Alvin Lee
20 Frank Zappa
21 John McLaughlin
22 Ry Cooder
23 Duane Eddy
24 George Harrison
25 Pete Townshend
26 Elmore James
27 Robert Johnson
28 Mark Knopfler
29 Paul Kossoff
30 Scotty Moore
31 Jerry Garcia
32 Ronnie Wood
33 Terry Kath
34 Jorma Kaukonen
35 Bill Nelson
36 T-Bone Walker
37 Hank Marvin
38 Steve Lukather
39 Jan Akkerman
40 Tommy Bolin
41 Lonnie Mack
42 Brian Setzer
43 Hubert Sumlin
44 Mick Taylor
45 Dimebag Darrell
46 Joe Walsh
47 Martin Barre
48 Robbie Robertson
49 Kirk Hammett
50 James Burton
DISCLAIMER: I do realize that there are no “greatest guitarists”. I mean, the whole idea of ranking musicians according to who’s “best” is idiotic. But still, it’s fun readin’ this shit, right?
Those who would rather hear my interviews with the world’s greatest guitarists than read them can subscribe to my Patreon page and eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with such fine pickers as:
Dave Martone, 2020
Colin James, 1995
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Jeff Healey, 1988
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Randy Hansen, 2001
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
Robben Ford, 1993
Joe Satriani, 1990
Vernon Reid of Living Colour, 1988
Zakk Wylde of Pride & Glory, 1994
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
…with hundreds more to come
126 thoughts on “Rolling Stone can piss right off: here’s the 100 Greatest Guitarists (that I’ve interviewed) and 50 that I haven’t (yet)”
Your second list of not interviewed is better list. I don’t see what relevance having interviewed has to do with anything. Anyway I didn’t come up with any WTF’S on either list! F’ck Rolling Stone
You’re an idiot haha Schenker 25 hahaha look at the guys you have above him . Dumb
Thank you for a sane review and of course you have left out other great players to no fault of your wrong including Neil Young just listen to like a hurricane and Rick Derringer live and I think Gilmore was Great as was Steve Howe and McLaughlin changed everything.
Mick Taylor 44? Sir, perhaps you’re the one who should fuck right off.
Steve Newton, your list is not better than The Rolling Stones. It’s a subjective matter. You’re being a douche bag about the whole thing.
al dimola? Paco delucia?
Your list would indicate that you either aren’t a guitar player or aren’t a very good one. Ask any of the fellas in your top 25 who should be ahead of them? It would be James Burton. And it would be nearly unanimous. And you have him at number 50 on your “not interviewed” list. And to have Johnny Lang anywhere close to being on your list is an insult to every best blues player in every city pop. over 100,000 in America. If you ever saw “the kid” live you’d know that it was Paul Diethelm, not the young lad playing those blistering solos. And where in the HE-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS is Tommy Tedesco? 73rd? Behind the aforementioned child phenom turned average adult? And you want to bump Pete Townshend why? Because he doesn’t noodle around the fretboard in copycat fashion like most of the axemasters on your list and instead played some of the tastiest rhythm guitar parts in the history of rock n roll? Rhythm guitar doesn’t count? Maybe not in your one-dimensional world. I’d be inclined to agree with Jeff Beck at number one but Dickie Betts at #9 and Robben Ford at #46? Invest in a good pair of headphones and a CD player and go back to school dude. Rolling Stone’s list is bad. But your’s is worse. By a long shot.
No, it’s not fun readin’ this shit, because you’re every bit the fucking idiot that the Rolling Stone writers are. Neil Young is a better guitar player than Steve Howe? Angus Young better than Frank Zappa? There are dozens more ludicrous suggestions here. How much strychnine-laced crack do you consume on a daily basis? Do you have any idea what makes for a great player?
Lindsey Buckingham and Neil Geraldo belong on the list. Alex Lifeson does not. (Although being the 101st best guitarist, or even the 1001st best guitarist in the world is still pretty awesome.) Nice to see Randy Bachman get some recognition.
Neil Geraldo belongs on the list but not Alex Lifeson? Hahahaha. You sir are an absolute Moron!
Clearly you love Jeff Beck. And that’s cool.. I personally think #1 is insanity.. Nor am I a Clapton worshipper either.. And generally think he’s overrated as well. All in all though.. solid list.. Love seeing Doyle Bramhall 2 getting props.. Eric Johnson too.. Would have liked to see Ty Tabor get a nod..
Walter Trout can give most of them a guitar lesson with one song,67.
did you hear about Jonny Hiland ever ??
no. should I check him out?
Where’s derek trucks dumbass?
he’s right there at #13 in the Interviewed list, dumber ass
Glad to see Jeff Beck at number one. Because he is. Also glad to see JJ Cale at 14. Clapton’s favorite guitarist. Also Ry Cooder on the not interviewed list. But I would have placed him higher.
What about Allen Collins?
yes indeed, what about Allen Collins?
Yes I agree Allen Collins
Better than the Rolling Stone 100, but at the end of the day, any list is going to be subjective depending on the weighting given to technical ability, stage presence/image, commercial success, sound, songwriting ability and personal preference/exposure respectively. I personally would have put Johnny Thunders in place of Johnny Ramone-he was far more technically proficient and a better songwriter. Danny Gatton deserved to be in the top 100, but 3rd a bit high.
It’s all just opinion which is fine, but whether or not you interviewed someone is SO completely irrelevant to this list that I have to disregard anything you say. Is this a list of guitar players or a way for you to brag about all the guitar players you interviewed???????
interviewing 100 amazing guitar players is nothing to brag about, is it? also: didn’t you see the list at the bottom of 50 amazing guitar players that I haven’t interviewed? yet.
Rory Gallagher, Tommy Bolin ,Jim McCarty all top 10. My semi humble opinion
you’re right, I forgot Jim McCarty. His solo on Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver” is a thing of beauty. My bad
MUCH better list than Rolling Stone. Roy Buchanan and Randy Rhoads omitted??? Insane.
What about Buckethead?
I didn’t see George Lynch
How about interviewing Mike Romeo of Symphany X, that man can play a guitar. He is a phenomenal guitarist and an amazing musician. I think your list by far is more accurate and true than that “FVCKING Rolling Stone bullshit”.
Buckethead is top 30. Period
your list is a little more accurate…..but if it is a list of GREATEST guitarists then where is angel vivaldi? andy james? nita strauss? sarah longfield? What about the guitarists for iron maiden and transiberian railroad?
btw…john fogerty does NOT belong on ANY top 100 list.
he sure does!
Great list although I don’t see Unknown Hinson. He can tear up a guitar.
Agreed, ranking guitar players is a matter of taste and is just fun to do, but the man Jimmy Hendrix said was better than him is nowhere to be found, unless i missed Terry Kath of Chicago. The man was also amazing.
I retract, i see Terry Kath at 33. Breezed right though that one.
What about Stephen Stills???
yeah, that dude can play, you’re right
Double checked……Triple checked…………
No FRANK MARINO…NO FRANK MARINO ! !
Otherwise a great list.
Still…..NO FRANK MARINO ! ! ! ! !
I admit, that was an oversight. Can’t win ’em all
Thanks for including Roy Buchannon at number 8. He never got the recognition deserved. Jeff Beck, still the best all time.
gotta love Roy!
Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew from King Crimson?
Where’s Robert Fripp?
Nice to see Paul Kossoff and Peter Green and Hubert Dublin on your non interviewed list. My list would have to include Mike Bloomfield in three someplace as well.
Have to agree it’s good to see the legendary Paul Kossoff did get a mention, although not in the RS list, now i didn’t mean rat shit? I would never say that about Rolling Stone as we all know it’s well respected “cough” magazine.
You missed bill nelson. Bebop delux
did not. He’s #35 on the “not interviewed (yet)” list
What about Pat Metheny?
Hendrix, page and Clapton everyone emulated Hendrix. Besides Roy Clark should be right there
I agree that Rolling Stone’s list is idiotic, and Jeff Beck is not only #1 of all time, he probably always will be.
But where are Kenny Burrell, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, etc.
Seriously, no one can come close to Jeff Beck. But they can’t come close to Burrell, Breau or Pass either.
In my mind, Beck is head and shoulders above everyone else, then Burrell is easily #2, then everyone can debate #3 on down, with about a dozen guys like Hendrix, Van Halen and Santana easily tied for #3. Meanwhile, I’ve been playing for over 45 years and I still wouldn’t make a top 10,000 list, but I’ll keep plucking away.
What about Martin Barre?
Agree, ‘With you there to hep me’, classic rock guitar playing.
Eric Clapton is God
ok, So you thinking Chet Atkins was a jazz musician (actually I’d have said Country Picker) and one would have thought you’d have listen to Chet & Mark Knopfler’s Neck & Neck offering. Or maybe just take a moment to listen to – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wTVLIZaxMk Now tell me which one is better? (Not that either are).
How about Terry Kath? I’ve been listening to Chicago lately and watched the documentary and believe he has been overlooked by so many.
Gary Richrath (REO) or Neil Schon (Journey)
I can pick one French girl who can blow everyone away: TINA S!!
GARY GREEN and RAY SHULMAN from GENTLE GIANT!!!
Where is Glen Campbell who is the best of all these names !
Roy Clark. I think he’s #1 over Jeff/Stevie/Page/Clapton/Jimi. But that is my own preference. But the fact he is not even on here means this list is as invalid as the Rolling Stones list.
In the name of all that is sacred and holy, Glen Campbell was the best guitar player in history. Look it up.
Rory at number 2? WTF… Jimmy Page was a complete Monster player around 1973 before the drugs took over… should be in the top 5 just for that never mind his mastermind and ridiculaous rock influence with Led Zepplin song writing and production…. Rory at number 2… you can’t be Irish as you have him above Gary… wierd
Mick Taylor is AWESOME – massively underrated
No mention of my all time favorite guitarist/composer Frank Zappa 🎸
Holy crap, you’re right Mike. Admittedly, that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in public.
I just think from a players perspective….. Technically, and all around talent ” but not necessarily well known among non players….. Tommy Emmanuel is probably the best on the planet by miles and miles and miles He hasn’t written iconic music like the rest on the list, but literally has to be The best player around….so says Eric Clapton anyway. I agree….he will blow your mind.
Adam Jones? Tom Morello? Cmon man. Unless I skipped over them, you’re missing a lot. 🤷🏼♀️
yup. or Buck dhama, Dave Meniketti or Pat Mcmanus??? a lot on the list deserve to be there but come on!!!!! have you even heard the live version of veteran of the psychic wars?
I have Buck Dharma at #35, one notch above Yngwie Malmsteen!
I like your pics. But you forgot Roy Clark, Rik Emmett, Jimmy page wasn’t even on there and how about Pete Townsend and Angus Young
Good list overall. But I agree that Frank Zappa should be on the list somewhere. I like that you elevated SRV on your list. One of my favorites.
No mention of George Harrison? You clearly have not listened his slide guitar work on his solo work. Clearly the most melodic slide guitarist I have ever heard.Clapton agrees as well.Joe Satriani says Harrison is the most underrated Guitarist. I won’t even mention all the work he did with the Beatles such songs as Here comes the sun and so on…
Your list is without a doubt better than The Rolling Stone’s.
Great list! An occasional difference on order but this is a solid list. Matthias Jabs?
I like Matthias Jabs. Not enough room for everybody on the list though
So I’m no expert but are you kidding me?! I understand it may not be your genre, but no mention at all of Glen Campbell?! Roy Clark?! Look up the Wrecking Crew! A lot of the guitarist on both of these lists of greats idolized these guys. Alice Cooper said that Eddie Van Halen asked him if he could get a lesson from Glen! I think you and Rolling Stone need to broaden you repertoires a bit.
Haha funny, I was just going to say – no Glen Campbell (he played all genres) and I don’t think I saw Albert Lee or Steve Cropper. Aside from these oversights a fantastic list and thanks for pointing out Rolling Stones hilarious list….
admittedly, country music is not my forte. And Glen Campbell was a helluva player. I was just focusing mainly on rock guitarists is all
If Randy Bachman could make it a 99, so could Kurt Winter. But, hey, I like the lists and would also add that Chet Atkins and Les Paul should be on any top 30 list!!!
Jan Ackermann at 39, at one time considered the best guitarist in the world? Craig Chaquico is still alive, you could go and interview him tomorrow and put him on the list where he belongs!!!
damn fine players the both of ’em
Definitely!!!! Love Craigs playing in jeff ship! Freedom at point zero showcases his ability to play starscape trippy ballads and rock hard on the ‘57 goldtop !! A real feel and tone guy! If you love Gilmour , you’ll love Chaquico !
those are both decent suggestions, thanks
This list sucks too. Is this a popularity contest or actually a great guitar player list. John Petrucci at about 70 .. yeah right. Eric Clapton sucks .. Derek Trucks above Paul Gilbert ?
Let me give you a scenario.pick two guitarist give them the others songs… lock them in a room and whoever came out first by learning the other guys stuff correctly wins.. Do you think any of the top 10 could hang with anyone like Gurthie Govan or Steve Morse?… no….
Where on earth is Greg Howe on this list or Frank Gambale.
you’re right, those two are worthy as well
Wow….Christopher. Yeah, man….I am with you on every guy you mentioned.
I’m assuming you meant Petrucci at 70 is way LOW.
And yes, Morse. To me, he is #1 (ask Petrucci!). The most versatile. Can play virtually anything extremely well. His Deep Purple stuff since Blackmore is excellent, but within the confines of that band and their structure (which is a testament to him, really). And Flying Colors is also fantastic. But his best stuff is with Steve Morse Band and Dixie Dregs. And the solo album High Tension Wires….to me is the finest piece of guitar instrumental music ever. But those are relatively obscure bands and albums….had he not been in Deep Purple it’s unlikely he would be on a lot of these lists. But if you pay attention to guitar players…..they KNOW. He was voted best all around guitarist so many times by Guitar Player magazine they had to retire his name to be fair to everyone else. I think if you haven’t really taken in ALL of his work, there’s no way you could appreciate him the same way. That seems obvious enough, but I think even more so with him. He is the master.
To give you a sense of what I think WOULD be his appeal if he were more exposed for the Dixie Dregs and esp. SMB albums, I will relay an experience I had many years ago. For extra money, I used to clean the indoor pool at a high school in the town where I live. I started very early in the morning so as not to interfere with users of the pool (they had it open to the community every morning before the high school team started using it later). I could typically clean it by the time anyone filtered in each day. But one day I was running a bit late, and someone started coming in to use the pool. I started to just wrap up at that point, but was still playing my boom box cd player just before I quit. This person was female. Fairly young, but not high school age. She was in there for just a few minutes before I shut down. She just stood there for most of that time, with not much movement to do anything (at least from what I could see somewhat peripherally while I cleaned)….I thought she was just waiting for me to finish. It turns out she was listening attentively to High Tension Wires on the boom box. I forget what song, but it was one of his mellower ones where he uses acoustic and harmonics to create that amazing tone/sound. Now that I think about it, it was Ghostwind, the opener, as a matter of fact. Anyway, she walks up to me right after I stop the music and said that was the most beautiful music she ever heard in her life. I told her who it was and she said she was going to buy the album as soon as possible. Her comments were completely off the cuff and unsolicited. I think what impressed me with her was that she said that after the first listen….on a not so great sound reproducing piece of equipment. I think if you can go from Ghostwind (and get that reaction) to Tumeni Notes (a virtual shredfest) on the same album…..and do both with a great deal of soul despite the difference in pace….that is what makes him so great.
And yes, Gilbert, Govan, Gambale. Relatively obscure but GREAT guitarists for sure. And Greg Howe. Yes! A fusion MONSTER, but also has done some great prog instrumental stuff too.
But, you COMPLETELY lost me….with Clapton sucks. I think many will differ as to his placement on lists, but to say he sucks? That’s not only harsh, it’s not the case…..even within the context of a multitude of subjective criteria. It’s ironic, too….that Morse has him as a big influence on the album Major Impacts. Not expecting a retraction….that’s your opinion. Fair enough. I just emphatically disagree…..and am completely perplexed by that reaction.
Newt – you are spot on!!
You are right about these type of lists not meaning much but solid list still the same, no spot for Glen Campbell or Nils Lofgren?
you’re right, those guys are pretty fine
Jeff Beck as No. 1 …. THANK YOU! great to see Gary Moore near the top… Montreaux
Ehhh… Richard Thompson?
You seem to not be aware of Shawn lane…
Yeah, I’m sure I missed a few. I don’t know all the greatest guitarists, but I know some
is subjective of course but no 100 list should have ace freheley (for example) on when idols such as Buch dhama (boc),, Dave meniketti (y&t) or Pat mcmanus (mamas boys) languish in limbo. And that’s me speaking as a huge KISS fan.
One thing I noticed about these lists is that they frequently leave out international artists, especially if they aren’t from English speaking countries. Takamasa Ishihara, known as Miyavi is an amazing guitarist, and among the top 5 greatest Japanese guitarists, and has even been dubbed “The Samurai Guitarist.” Yet you almost never see mention of him in western journalism.
Agree and disagree with the lack of international artists. I would agree in the sense of the non English speaking reference. As mentioned, I had never heard of Ishihara….checked him out, wow. Very interesting style. His tapping thing with the acoustic was esp. unique.
But looking at these lists The Newt compiled….there are tons of non Americans. Most are from England….Hackett, Beck, Ronson, Govan, Gilmour, Lee, Iommi, May, Frampton, Clarke, Clark, Howe, Sykes, Murray, Page, Richards, Clapton, Blackmore, Mclaughlin, Harrison, Townshend, Wood, Tipton, Barre. But there are Irish…Campbell, Gallagher and Moore. Scottish….Knopfler. German….Schenker, Roth. Canadian….Bachman, Mitchell, Robertson, Lifeson, AND (not on the list, but should be….) Frank Marino. Mexican….Santana. Australian…..Angus and Malcom Young, Emannuel, Gambale. South African….Rabin. Dutch….Akkerman.
And those are just the ones I knew….so quite a broad based contingent from around the globe, I would say. That’s almost half of the 100 mentioned off the top of my head….are not American. Someone else who either knows offhand….or wants to look the rest up, can fill me in if there are more non Americans I left out.
Ah yes, of course I left Trower off the English list. A glaring omission since I am a big and have seen him in concert twice. And then, how could I forget Malmsteen…..from Sweden. He was so influential, and of course now there are SO many great bands from Scandinavian countries, esp. Norway. And a lot of them have some very talented guitarists as well. A couple that jump out are Miiko Tenkula from Sentenced, and Timo Tolkki from Stratovarius.
Also thought of another guy that would be on MY list of 100. He’s American, but vastly underrated….Jeff Loomis from Arch Enemy, Nevermore. He’s also done some amazing solo albums. And then, if you have Marty Friedman on the list…..how can someone leave off Jason Becker?
Other guys might include Michael Romeo from Symphony X, or Ritchie Kotzen from all of the excellent blues based rock (Winery Dogs) and also fusion albums he’s been a part of over many years. And speaking of which…..there’s another guy who definitely is in my top 100…..Greg Howe. I thought of him when thinking back on Kotzen’s fusion stuff. But has also done more prog rock type work, as well as more mainstream guitar playing with artists as big as Michael Jackson, etc. (ala EVH). His jazz fusion guitar playing is among the best ever! Right up there with Gambale if you ask me.
And someone else mentioned Mathias Jabs (German, so more international)….I always thought of him as more of a rhythm guitarist. But such a great compliment to the other Schenker, Rudolf…..who I always considered the lead (maybe because I equate him with his brother). But I guess Jabs and he each played both. But Malcom Young is on the list too, and he was always rhythm. If extending to that area…..another hugely overlooked guitar player is Adrian Smith (another Brit!) from Iron Maiden. Murray is on the list, and he is great. But Smith actually outdid him on many songs, and while typically playing rhythm….he could play lead and did some great solos as well (on the title track from the album Somewhere in Time for example….holy smokes he is GREAT on that song!). So similar to Jabs, or someone like Scott Gorham, who could play both lead and rhythm. So then, there you go….another one. Another Robertson. But not Robbie, but Brian. Seriously underrated! Two of the best solos I’ve heard are on the songs “The Emerald” by Thin Lizzy (trading with Gorham), but then also…..and a lot of people forget he was with them for an album…..is on the song “One Track Mind” by Motorhead (not trading with anyone….it’s ALL about him on that song!). If Fast Eddie is on here….I would say Robertson should be as well.
He is a reality list :
Have a good evening Newt!
All these lists suck! Mick Taylor is WAY too low, and no Lightnin Hopkins???WTF
Jimi Hendrix was at a club seeing Chicago and was quoted as saying that guitar player Terry is better then me.
I could believe Hendrix said that it, Kath was an amazing player– but Jimi will always be numero uno, he was just too humble to admit it.
Frank Zappa ranks WAY to low(if 1 is high &100 is low) on all the list I have ever seen. Makes me wonder WTF? F- all you industry whores. Something smells fishy or……….maybe it’s my STINKFOOT!😉
Wait, this isn’t in any particular order, right? RIGHT? If it IS, I have bad news for you – but I’ll wait, for now… 😛
Sure it’s in order. It’s in order of who I thought of when I was thinking of my favourite guitarists. It’s just my opinion. Go ahead and express yours. It’s not “bad news”. Just your opinion. I can take it.
As jimmy Page said of living guitarist ” There’s Jeff Beck, John Mc Laughlin and everybody else. Of the not living I like Terry Kath and Alan Wilson ( original member of the 27 club).
jimmy page allegedly in an interview, where he was asked what it was like to be the greatest guitarist in the world replied” you’d better go ask Buck Dhama” .
you left off George Lynch and Vito Bratta…both of whom are very talented and definitely are in the top 100 if not top 50. George is still shredding today and Vito hung it up in the 90’s.
Where does Allen Collins and Steve Gaines fit into this list? I believe they should be at least in the top 25-50!
good point. They are definitely worthy of mention.
You rant about a list of guitarists not mention and yet you fail to mention, Glen Campbell, Frank Marino, and Eric Johnson. Idiocy!
I did include Eric Johnson, so maybe I’m not that much of an idiot.
You can push off, too, just like Rolling Stone. I’m disgusted Tony Hicks of The Hollies isn’t on this list. He’s not on any list I’ve seen generated. He’s got to be at least in the top 100. Tony can flat play the heck out of an electric guitar.
Random thoughts. I put Jimmy Page and Keith Richard’s at the top. Tied. Jimi I put at number two. Slash? Seriously? Lol! I could round-up ten players better than that mutant right here in town. Ah, one last thing. You’re shot against Joni Mitchell is nuts. Ever tried playing her stuff? Put on your big boy pants and give it a try. She’s an incredible player. Superb musician. I don’t know exactly where I would put Steve Cropper, but somewhere in the top ten.
Dude, you clearly know zip about Slash, and/or the true breadth of rock and roll if you think that overrated clown Keith Richards is worth a damn. Dude made a living off stolen blues riffs and off the back one one of rock’s greatest front men. Chuck Berry nearly fired his ass out into the streets when they played. Yngwie finds it hard to compliment anybody, hell he’s ripped Vai & Satch before, yet he said that Slash is one one of rock’s greatest, most quintessential guitarists. Steve Lukather? Yeah, he’s another world-class virtuoso that would tell you to your face how incredibly good Slash is. Oh wait, BB King? Yeah, he dug Slash a whole bunch too. And re: Joni Mitchell, I’m not knocking her at all, but never ever judge a guitar player solely based on how “hard” it is to play – b/c what’s hard for one person to play is easy for another and vice-versa, and if it doesn’t sound good, who cares? I’ve seen 1,000 super technical players that can shred like Guthrie Govan but they can’t write anything good, original, memorable, or melodic to save their lives. And while Slash was always great, the past 10 or so years he’s taken his playing into the stratosphere, but I’m sure you haven’t heard any of it. If you like rock at all, go do your research, you’ll enjoy it. Or maybe you won’t, b/c your mind seems to be corrupt. Put on YOUR big boy pants, and go learn Anastasia note for note, and w/out losing the soul of it to boot, then come back here.
Norman Blake has to be on the list.
I have no problem with 1 & 4 on the non-interviewed list but Jimmy Page behind Eddie Van Halen, Roy Gallagher, and Johnny Winter. Clapton should be ahead of those three. Are we somewhat obsessed with those who were influenced and played with Muddy Waters? Page along with Big Jim Sullivan were the most sought after session guitarist in the early ‘60. He was playing in bands in the late ‘50s at the age of 14. As as student in the early ‘60s at Sutton Art College he regularly play at the Marquee Club on stage with Jeff Beck and Clapton. Page played the acoustic 12 string on at least 2 of the Kinks singles on their debut album and rhythm guitar on The Who’s first single. He played session guitar for The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Brenda Lee, Petula Clark, Donavan, Engelbert Humperdinck, Al Stewart and on 5 tracks of Joe Cocker’s debut album. Heck he released a bootleg copy of him and Keith Richards covering Robert Johnson’s “Little Queen of Spades.”
Then with the Yardbirds he and Beck played together initially. The 1968 reconfigured group he brought together Robert Plant and John Bonham later adding John Paul Jones (who was/is probably the most underrated yet perhaps the most highly skilled musician of the group to be called Led Zeppelin.)
After the historic run with Zeppelin ended in 1980 he formed XYZ with Yes bassist and drummer. He did the 1983 soundtrack to Death Wish II with Steve Winwood on vocals. Replaced him with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers for a four city tour where they played Layla at every concert and he was joined by Beck and Clapton for those performances. He and Rodgers released two albums and the first, Radioactive, went gold. In ‘86 he played sessions for Graham Nash and Steven Stills, as well as the Rolling Stones again. At the end of the ‘80s he reunited the Yardbirds to play for The Box of Frogs while releasing a solo album and contributing to Plants 1989 Now and Zen album.
In the ‘90s he appeared with Aerosmith at The Monsters of Rock concert while beginning a collaboration with David Coverdale. In ‘94 he and Plant did MTV’s Unplugged for their Unledded session that was released as a CD No Quarter Page and Plant Unledded. They later recorded another CD Walking into Clarksdale with Michael Lee. Page won a Grammy for “Most High” off that release. He played with The Black Crows and Puff Daddy and as the 2000s hit Limp Bizkit.
Later in ‘07 he reunited with Led Zeppelin Page and Jones with Jason Bonham on drums for a one night concert. In ‘08 he and Jones closed a Foo Fighters concert and Page played the ‘08 Summer Olympics. In ‘09 Jeff Beck asked Page to induct Beck into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in ‘11 he appeared with The Black Crows, Donavan, and Roy Harper.
Page played the normal electric guitar, 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, multi neck guitars and was known as the first to utilize a cello bow to play his guitar. Further, he changed the production of the Zeppelin albums back to the 1950s technique instead of the standard way British producers were utilizing in the late ‘60s with the microphones in front of the amps. Instead he became one of the first British producers who played the mics as far as 20 feet from and between the amps. This along with the “reverse echo” technique he invented led to the unique sound Zeppelin was known for. In a 2008 interview Jones credited Page’s production techniques as a key component of Zeppelin’s success.
Finally, even Eddie Van Halen said Page was the biggest influence on his driving riffs and style as noted by George Case in a 2009 book and in 2004 Brian May of Queen said of Page, “I don’t think anyone has epitomized riff writing better than Jimmy Page he is one of the great brains of rock music.”
Your 2,3,and 5 spots don’t have this kind of resume and influence nor have they been around for almost 60 years of rocks 65ish year history. Get over your bias and acknowledge Page’s greatness as at least a top 5 member of the greatest rock guitarists!
Any List with Dickey Betts has to be taken ”somewhat” seriously because he is in no way a lesser player than Duanne and is usually nowhere to be seen. However, this is still a compromised list in that I would say piss off to it too… No Paco, No Segovia, Bream, Debarre…
Blackmore blows away almost half the guys in your top ten…
I like this list way more than the Rolling Stone list (which I agree was a joke). The only additions I would make would be Craig Chaquico and Rik Emmett.
Ranking such global talent is a thankless job to be sure. Fact is there are hundreds, if not thousands, of deserving candidates….like Tom Scholz of Boston, Brian Tatler of Diamond Head, Chris Oliva of Savatage, Jim Matheos (I’m partial to his work in O.S.I.) and the list, like the debate, goes on…
You nailed it. I always said that the omission of Terry Kath in rolling stones list, made it completely bogus. Agree with just about all of your choices. So glad to see Trower, Montrose, Kenny Wayne, Stevie, Yngwie & Alex Lifeson. You rock dude.
Allan Holdsworth should be in the top 3. Reinvented what is possible with music as well as having an insane command of the guitar. Zabareth The Bradford Executive, Devil Take the Hindmost to name a few. Influenced most guitarists on this list. Did stuff that puts the fear of god in Beck.
The problem with a top 100 list is that there are way too many exceptional guitarist so inevitably many deserving players will be left off. Which ones will depend on the author’s bias. That said, it’s a decent list but won’t be my list exactly. Everyone should have their own list. That’s what makes things interesting. Again, better than Rolling Stone’s list which has become somewhat of a joke.
I admire your courage and thick skin, Newt. No Larry Carlton? Ted Green? Or am I blind at this time? You know as well as I do there are at least a half dozen guys in your home town (or mine, or that guy standing by the coke machine over there) better than half the players on anyone’s list.