Top 5 Best Guitar Players Of All Time

5. David Gilmour

  Gilmour became famous for playing guitar in Pink Floyd. This “replacement” guitarist exceeded expectations and helped shape Pink Floyd’s unique sound. You can always expect the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up when you hear one of his solos – whether you’re listening for the first time or the hundredth. All the emotion that Gilmour pours into his guitar work lives on in the music and is transmitted through anyone willing to cover a Pink Floyd song. I know quite a few guitarists (myself included) who are always on the edge of tears when playing Comfortably Numb solo – whether they’re alone in their bedroom or on stage. How can you not expect everything to be esoteric and mystical when it comes to music?

  4. John Frusciante

  Let’s get straight. Froo – Shawn – Tay. If you don’t know him, he is the lead guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Frusciante is the author of the brilliant chord progression on Under the Bridge, the haunting introduction to Californication, and the simple solo and riff on Otherside. If you’re a casual listener of the Chili Peppers, then you might be wondering why John made it all the way up this list. But a closer look will reveal that his simple catchy riffs are just the tip of the iceberg. His technical prowess can be seen in the Dani California solo. If you dig a little deeper, you will face Lyon on 06.06.06 in one of the B sides. John takes his influences (Page, Hendrix) and blends his nuances into a sound that’s pleasantly different but melodically gives you the same influences. A track to watch out for is his solo work, Ramparts, which showcases four or more guitars stacked on top of each other in an introspective orchestration.

  3. Stevie Ray Vaughan

  Now if this house rocks, don’t knock. Famous lyrics by Stevie. Many may know him for his Hendrix covers, but where Jimi left off, Stevie has carried on and on. Elements of Hendrix were alive and well on SRV, but with it, he mixed in his own influences like Albert King and his own soul, making his sound a trademark spot on his songs. I vaguely remember a car commercial I saw Stevie (Pride and Joy) playing in a Nissan commercial. That was long before Vaughan really got going. SRV was an artist who could play while getting his face completely stoned. When he woke up, he played better. His newfound health, love of life and music are on display on In Step, his final album before his death a year later. Stevie’s footprints will always be in the air and in our hearts.

  2. Jimi Hendrix

  Hendrix was known for many things. The beautiful chord embellishments on Little Wing, the solo on Voodoo Child screaming from the strat pickups, the Dylan cover of All Along The Watchtower and the backwards solo on Castles Made are Sand, but time and time again, Sand is recognized as a great innovative guitarist. His short but explosive career influenced numerous artists in the many years following his death and continues to influence musicians today. Making such a difference in such a short period of time really earns Jimi the number two spot.  

  1. Robert Johnson

  Every artist has been influenced by him without knowing it. Beginning in the Mississippi Delta, Johnson’s life is full of myth and allegory. His dealings with the devil and death are steeped in folklore and mysticism, which is only added to by his haunting voice and raw guitar playing. His songs are just pure expression of emotions without any bars. He laid the groundwork for the early blues for all the artists on this list to fill in and build upon. It was not the best place to be a black man in the early 20th century. But his music was to attract the interest of white musicians and help the civil movements of the sixties. Politically or musically, Robert Johnson deserves number one on this list. 

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