Favourite Guitarists

This discussion was inspired by the recent article about our 3 favourite female singers.

Because it was impossible for me to pick just three female vocalists ( I love women singers), I will not put a limit as to how many you wish to vote for. I limited myself to a dozen. However, if you list more that 50 I will seriously question your decision making skills.

In no particular order, except for Rory at number one.

1. Rory Gallagher

2. Peter Green

3. Roy Buchanan

4. Joe Bonamassa

5. David Gimour

6. Slash

7. Johnny Winter

8. Duane Allman

9. Stevie Ray Vaughn

10. Mark Knopfler

11. Glen Campbell

12. Guthrie Govan



Great list.

I would delete Joe Bonamassa and Guthrie Govan and Slash.

All certainly competent musicians, but "too young" to be with all the other greats.

If "young guns" are included, I'll include Derek Trucks.

Glen Campbell is one of the original "wrecking crew" before the label.


Jose Feliciano:


George Benson

I find rock guitarists are often one trick ponies, they can shred. I would put these two greats up against anyone.

I'm an acoustic person so no electric only people would be on my list. 

in no order: Arthel (Doc) Watson

                   Tony Rice

                    Clarence White

                   Vince Gill

                   Richard Smith

                  Tommy Emmanuel

                  Billy Strings

Could name many more. Many times these lists are populated by fame rather than actual talent. But then, thats my opinion.

Though neither are usually listed as guitar hero's Ron (Ronnie) Wood and Steve Winwood are few of my favorites.

Winwood is always scripted (but he writes well) and Wood can play well with just about anything thrown @ him.

I've also come to really like Prince through listening to his online and televised videos, many of which are live performances.



You are missing some good ones:

Jeff Beck

Tuck Andress

Robben Ford

Lee Ritenour

Larry Carleton

Pat Metheny

Joe Pass

Mostly jazz players, but I agree with some of your choices, particularly Stevie Ray and Knopfler

"Not sure I would call them young."!


Hah! I’m only 61, and a life long guitar wanker. My instructors back from 50 years ago left an impression on who to pay attention to when it comes to geetar playing.

Classical and Jazz players who have been at before the 70’s, that’s for certain.

In the grand scheme of guitarism-YES..they are quite young. Somewhere in the 70’s IMO, is where the cutoff is for innovative, unique players.

I see the great Steve Howe of Yes, has not been mentioned.

(643) Les Paul with Steve Howe - YouTube

This was the acid test for guitarists..sit in with Les Paul.

Les Paul & George Benson LIVE at the Iridium - YouTube

Here’s one with a "young" player- Zak Wilde which is pitiful. Guy is a "shredder" but here’s where you find out if you’re a "complete player". He can’t even find the key and improvise with simple chord/scale harmony. Also disrespectful and clueless as to whom he’s playing with.

(643) Les Paul with Zakk Wylde - YouTube

Joe Bonamassa gives off a "trying to be humble, but full of himself" kind of vibe.

A little showy with his guitar/amp collection= kind of douchey. Talented, but I don’t hear unique/original is his playing style.



Reminds me of watching George Thorogood trying to trade licks with Stevie Ray Vaughn.

It was embarrassing and hard to watch. Like Soupy Sales trading punches with Marvin Hagler.

Off the top of my head.  Electric lead players only.

Eric Clapton

Tom Verlaine

Robby Krieger

Jimmy Page

I'm not a fan of shredders, players who choose to play at the speed of light. I value a melodic sense and the player's ability to display a variety of intensities and emotions. I'm also a sucker for good tone.

for me the list changes constantly based on how I'm feeling.  But a few constants would be :

David Bromberg

Al Di Meola

Michael Burke

Three different styles of playing, but who I go back to time and time again when I want to hear guitar front and center.  

"It was embarrassing and hard to watch. Like Soupy Sales trading punches with Marvin Hagler."


GT has the proper Blues foundation, and just isn't a next level of Blues/Rock AND shredding, which SRV was.

No disrespect to JB and all his contemporaries. He has it figured out, but there are many his age and younger with OOTW(out of this world) technique abilities and the extra unexplainable "gift" that can hold my attention. 

Can't really compare musicians to pro sports figures. 

There are TOO MANY in my all star lineup. 

All unfortunately, are at least 10 years older than I, or have joined the great gig in the sky."

(644) Derek Trucks Performing "Soul Serenade" at Guitar Center's King of the Blues 2010 - YouTube


Eric Gales, Josh Smith, The Peterson Brothers, Kingfish, Samantha Fish, Orianthi to list a few. The music may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t deny the skills on guitar. 

Nice list…Sooo Sooo many…. Gotta add Hendrix, Kossoff, Mike Bloomfield , Billy Gibbons, Joanne Shaw Taylor, John Mayer and Joe Walsh (way underrated).

As a guitar player for 50 years, my standard for "greatness" is measured by how many other musicians play your stuff. Jeff Beck wins hands down. Nobody tries to emulate his playing.

No particular order, except for nr 1 (which is always easy for me):

1. Jimmy Page

- Peter Green

- Gary Moore

- Steve Hackett

- Brian May

- Steve Howe

- Walter Rossi (check out his 'Silent I Wait' for starters)

Mike Bloomfield

Martin Simpson

Mark Knopfler

Richard Thompson

Freddy King

Ry Cooder as previously mentioned

Albert Lee

James Burton

John Cippolina

Jorma Kaukonen

Vince Gill

Peter Green

Robert Johnson

Buddy Guy

Elmore James

Clarence White

Doc Watson

Jesse Ed Davis

Joseph Spence

Mississippi John Hurt

Blind Willie Johnson

Django Reinhardt


I hate lists when it comes to music because there's so many choices and different styles but if i choose to say magical guitar player  my top three:

Gary Moore

Uli Jon Roth

Duane Allman

but if you ask me tomorrow it'll probably change.

I’m sure if I went through my collection I could find many- but one that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Danny Gatton. Although his story ends sadly the impression he left on many stands to this day.

David Gilmour, Wes Montgomery, Vince Gill,

George Benton, Jimmy Page, Django Reinhardt,

Eric Clapton…..too many others to list…

My fav’s at the moment. Players I have to stop and listen to the guitar parts:

- Johnny Marr

- Eddie Van Halen

- Ernie Isley (I think he learned from Hendrix)



Jimi Hendrix

Jimmy Page

Tommy Bolin

Alvin Lee

John Mc Laughlin

Ritchie Blackmore

Tony Iommi


My list of rock and jazz guitar greats:


Jimi Hendrix

Jorma Kaukonen

Eric Clapton

Jimmy Page

Dickie Betts

Jerry Garcia

Rory Gallagher

Stevie Ray Vaughn

Eddie Van Halen


David Gilmour

Steve Howe

Frank Zappa

Brian May


Pat Metheny

John McLaughlin

Jeff Beck

Al DiMeola

John Scofield

Grant Green

John Abercrombie

Bill Frisell

Larry Carleton

I only mentioned guitarists of which I like ALL of their work that I'm aware of.

Lots of great players that are on/off.



Another I haven’t seen mentioned yet who is truly one of the greatest of the last 30 years- Joe Satriani.

SRV, Jimi page , Jim Hendrix , Chet Atkins ,Roy Clark , Tommy Emmanuel,

Tommy Iomi, David Gilmore ,Pete Towsen Jeff Beck , Carlos Santana ,Larry Carlton ,Mark knofler, Robin Trower,Richie Blackmore, and many others bands I don’t remember the lead guitarist.

Three which have not been mentioned - 

Grant Green 

Stanley Jordan

John Mayer 




Boy, I put Derek Trucks above all here. I can’t believe no one has mentioned him. He can play anything, just like Danny Gatton, and has an amazing musical relationship with his wife. Tedeschi-Trucks Band is fantastic. And add Trey Anastasio playing with them as they redo Layla in a live recording that is BETTER than the original, wow. Trey is pretty freaking great, too, and Phish plays together better than any band I have heard, and that includes the Dead in Berkeley.

 I would not know how great Derek Trucks is without the ability to easily discover his music on Quboz. Streaming is game changing for musical discovery.



So many guitarists I love have been mentioned across genres, but for those that like jazz, no list is complete without Peter Bernstein.

When i clicked in i figured it might be inspired by the top Female 3

I thought i would lurk only (as is my usual habit)

however when i saw Rory at 1 at had to chime in

I like the no particular order as much as i can lock in number 1  the order will change most times


so   ill go with Steve  be it Howe or Hackett

  Derek Trucks   Daune Allman

Zappa    Jeff Beck  Al Di Meola 

Frampton  J Winter


and always always always  Rory Gallagher at ONE

I saw Rory Gallagher at the Falls Church VA Community Center in either 1972 or 1973, no kidding. Saw Peter Frampton there as well as Nils Lofgren and Brownsville Station. Those days were different…

Malcolm and Angus Young of AC/DC.

The Rolling Stones did some of their most melodic stuff when Mick Taylor was a member.