100 best guitarists guitar world


Hey there, fellow music enthusiasts! Are you ready to dive into the world of guitar greatness? In this article, we will explore the renowned list of 100 Best Guitarists by Guitar World. Prepare to be amazed as we take you on a journey through the names that have shaped the history of this beloved instrument.

Before we dive into the rankings, let’s take a moment to appreciate the sheer talent and skill that each of these guitarists possesses. From legendary pioneers to contemporary virtuosos, the 100 Best Guitarists list pays homage to those who have pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved with a six-stringed instrument.

Now, without further ado, let’s embark on our quest to uncover the 100 Best Guitarists according to Guitar World’s prestigious rankings. Get ready to rock!

1. Jimi Hendrix 🎸

First on our list is the incomparable Jimi Hendrix. With his groundbreaking techniques and unparalleled showmanship, Hendrix revolutionized electric guitar playing forever. His iconic tracks like “Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Child” continue to resonate with generations of music lovers.


– Hendrix’s innovative use of feedback and wah-wah pedals expanded the sonic possibilities of the guitar.

– His unique playing style and energetic stage presence influenced countless musicians, shaping the direction of rock music.


– Some argue that Hendrix’s short-lived career limits his overall impact on the guitar world.

– His unconventional approach to music makes it difficult for some to appreciate his work fully.

2. Eric Clapton 🎸

Next up, we have the legendary Eric Clapton. Often referred to as “Slowhand,” Clapton’s soulful playing and bluesy improvisation captivated audiences across the globe. His masterful guitar work can be heard on unforgettable tracks such as “Layla” and “Tears in Heaven.”


– Clapton’s ability to convey raw emotion through his guitar playing resonates deeply with listeners.

– His collaborations with other musical icons, such as Cream and Derek and the Dominos, showcase his versatility.


– Some critics argue that Clapton’s later work lacks the groundbreaking innovation seen in his earlier years.

– His reputation as a guitar god may overshadow the contributions of other deserving artists.

3. Jimmy Page 🎸

The name Jimmy Page is synonymous with rock and roll. As the visionary behind Led Zeppelin, Page’s iconic riffs and intricate solos continue to inspire aspiring guitarists worldwide. Tracks like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” solidify his place in rock music history.


– Page’s ability to blend various musical styles, from blues to folk, created a unique sound that resonates with a wide audience.

– His pioneering use of studio techniques, such as double-tracking and distortion, expanded the possibilities of guitar recording.


– Some argue that Page’s technical skills are overshadowed by his reputation as a rock icon.

– His work with Led Zeppelin tends to overshadow his solo ventures, limiting recognition for his individual abilities.

4. Jeff Beck 🎸

Jeff Beck’s mastery of the guitar knows no bounds. Known for his innovative playing style and eclectic taste, Beck continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on the instrument. Tracks like “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” and “Freeway Jam” highlight his virtuosity.


– Beck’s ability to seamlessly blend genres, from rock to jazz, showcases his versatility as a guitarist.

– His distinctive tone and expressive playing style have earned him accolades from both fans and fellow musicians.


– Beck’s experimental nature may alienate listeners who prefer a more traditional approach to guitar playing.

– Despite his undeniable talent, Beck remains relatively underrated compared to some of his peers.

5. B.B. King 🎸

The King of the Blues, B.B. King, graces our list at number five. With his soulful bends and heartfelt vibrato, King’s guitar playing resonated with audiences on a deep emotional level. Tracks like “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Lucille” showcase his mastery of the blues.


– King’s ability to convey raw emotion through his guitar playing is unparalleled.

– His influence on the blues genre is immeasurable, with countless guitarists drawing inspiration from his playing style.


– Some argue that King’s repetitive playing style limited his overall impact on the guitar world.

– His music may not be as accessible to listeners who are not familiar with the blues genre.

6. Eddie Van Halen 🎸

Eddie Van Halen’s revolutionary guitar playing redefined the rock landscape. With his lightning-fast fingers and innovative tapping technique, Van Halen became a guitar hero for aspiring musicians everywhere. Tracks like “Eruption” and “Jump” showcase his technical prowess.


– Van Halen’s groundbreaking techniques, such as finger-tapping, inspired a new generation of guitarists.

– His ability to write infectious guitar riffs and memorable solos cemented his status as a rock legend.


– Some argue that Van Halen’s influence may overshadow his contributions as a songwriter and musician.

– His focus on technical proficiency may overshadow the emotional depth of his music for some listeners.

7. David Gilmour 🎸

Last but certainly not least, we have the brilliant David Gilmour. As the lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, Gilmour’s emotive playing style perfectly complemented the band’s atmospheric soundscapes. Tracks like “Comfortably Numb” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” showcase his musical genius.


– Gilmour’s ability to create captivating guitar solos that tell a story sets him apart from other guitarists.

– His use of effects and mastery of tone adds a unique dimension to his playing.


– Gilmour’s association with Pink Floyd sometimes overshadows his contributions as an individual guitarist.

– Some argue that his playing style may not resonate with those who prefer more aggressive or technical guitar work.

Ranking Guitarist Advantages Disadvantages
1 Jimi Hendrix Innovative techniques and showmanship Short-lived career and unconventional approach
2 Eric Clapton Soulful playing and versatility Later work lacks innovation and overshadowing reputation
3 Jimmy Page Musical blend and pioneering studio techniques Technical overshadowed by rock icon reputation and solo ventures
4 Jeff Beck Genre-blending versatility and expressive playing Experimental nature and relative underrated status
5 B.B. King Emotionally charged playing and influence on blues genre Repetitive style and genre accessibility
6 Eddie Van Halen Revolutionary techniques and infectious riffs Influence overshadowing songwriting and technical focus
7 David Gilmour Captivating storytelling solos and mastery of tone Pink Floyd association and playing style preference

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is considered the greatest guitarist of all time?

The title of the greatest guitarist of all time is subjective and often a matter of personal opinion. However, many consider Jimi Hendrix to be one of the most influential and innovative guitarists in history.

2. How were the rankings for the 100 Best Guitarists list determined?

Guitar World’s rankings were determined by a panel of experts in the music industry, including musicians, journalists, and other industry professionals. The panel considered factors such as technical skill, innovation, influence, and cultural impact.

3. Are there any female guitarists on the 100 Best Guitarists list?

While the majority of the list comprises male guitarists, there are several female guitarists who have earned recognition for their exceptional talent. Some notable names include Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett, and Nancy Wilson.

4. Can someone be a great guitarist without being on the 100 Best Guitarists list?

Absolutely! The 100 Best Guitarists list provides a valuable glimpse into the world of guitar virtuosos, but there are countless talented guitarists who may not have made the list. Musical taste is subjective, and personal preferences can vary greatly.

5. Are there any current guitarists on the 100 Best Guitarists list?

Yes, there are several contemporary guitarists who have made the cut. Artists like John Mayer, Jack White, and John Frusciante have garnered recognition for their exceptional guitar skills in recent years.

6. Can I learn to play like the guitarists on the 100 Best Guitarists list?

While emulating the exact playing style of these guitarists may be challenging, studying their techniques and incorporating elements into your own playing can certainly help you develop as a guitarist. Practice, dedication, and a love for the instrument are key.

7. Can you recommend any albums to explore the music of these guitarists?

For Jimi Hendrix, “Are You Experienced” and “Electric Ladyland” are essential listens. Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” and “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominos are highly recommended. Led Zeppelin’s “IV” and Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow” are must-haves. B.B. King’s “Live at the Regal” and Eddie Van Halen’s “Van Halen” are iconic albums. Lastly, for David Gilmour, “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd are must-listens.


As we reach the end of our journey through the 100 Best Guitarists according to Guitar World, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the realm of guitar playing is filled with unmatched talent and diversity. Each guitarist on this list has left an indelible mark on the world of music, inspiring countless aspiring musicians to pick up the instrument.

Whether you find inspiration in the fiery solos of Jimi Hendrix or the soulful blues of B.B. King, there is something for everyone. Take the time to explore the catalogues of these guitarists, let their music guide you, and most importantly, pick up that guitar and discover your own voice.

Remember, greatness is achieved through dedication, practice, and a genuine love for the instrument. So, go forth, fellow music lovers, and let the magic of the guitar ignite your passion!

Closing Statement

Disclaimer: The rankings presented in this article are based on Guitar World’s 100 Best Guitarists list and are subject to personal opinions and interpretation. Musical taste is subjective, and the true value of an artist cannot be solely determined by rankings.

We encourage you to explore the vast world of guitar music beyond this list. Discover new artists, genres, and playing styles that resonate with your own musical preferences. The beauty of music lies in its ability to bridge gaps and connect people across different backgrounds and tastes.

So, keep strumming, keep listening, and keep exploring the infinite possibilities of the guitar. Happy playing!

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