Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time?

Greatest Guitarists

jeff-beck-top-50-guitaristsThe L.A. Times recently published a list of the 50 greatest guitarists to ever play the instrument. If you have read music-related magazines, in print or online, for any amount of time, you have probably seen a few lists of this sort published and discussed. These types of lists are really a no-win situation, as music and guitar playing are subjective, not competitive, so it is really just one persons’ opinion going against another.

There are always hard feeling about who was left out and who was included, too, for the exact same reason. That being said, the list in the L.A. Times, while far from perfect, does a better job than most at picking the most influential and proficient players of our favorite instrument. Read the list here.

Before you get all excited about the order, please notice it is alphabetical. Reading the list made me thing about who do I really like and who do I think has been important, historically or musically, to this game we all love to play. We all carry a list like this one in our hearts somewhere. We here at Gear-Vault would like to hear yours. We think it will make for an interesting discussion and allow us to get to know all of you a bit better.

To keep things manageable, make your list a Top 10 rather than 50 and post it as a comment on this article. Should be interesting. Anyway, here is mine, in random order:

  1. Danny Gatton
  2. Chuck Berry
  3. Chet Atkins
  4. Charlie Christian
  5.  Brian Setzer
  6. Django Reinhardt
  7. Eddie Van Halen
  8. Tommy Emmanuel
  9. Les Paul
  10. Freddy King

Your turn. Discuss.
Also, be sure to read our Hendrix vs SRV debate.


  1. Heres my list in no particular order, man it’s tough to narrow it down to just 10, I think top 10 by genre would be easier!

    Jimi Hendrix
    Johnny Smith
    Stevie Ray Vaughn
    Andres Segovia
    Randy Rhoads
    B.B. King
    Joni Mitchell
    Ben Monder
    Jimmy Page
    Lenny Breau

    I’m leaving out about 500 great players, but at least for today, that’s my top 10. Ask me tomorrow and I’m sure it would change!

  2. My Top 10 Greatest Guitarist (in no particular order) would be:

    * BB King
    * Eric Clapton
    * Billy Gibbons
    * Chuck Berry
    * Les Paul
    * Dickey Betts
    * Charlie Christian
    * Hughie Thomasson
    * Chet Atkins
    * Larry Carlton

  3. This is my top list (as others has said) “in no particular order”, since I can only list 10 at this time ‘bam’:

    Django Reinhart
    Les Paul
    Charlie Christian
    Jimi Hendrix
    Wes Montgomery
    Andres Segovia
    Sister Rosetta Tharpe
    Jeff Beck
    Al Di Meola

    I am leaving out at least 70 more GREAT guitarist I would love to add, but, rules are rules!

  4. I thought about Jerry Reed but decided to go with Chet… but maybe I should have picked Jerry since he WROTE so many great guitar things (ala “The Claw”, “Jerry’s Breakdown”, etc.) but then again he was a student of Chet so I went with the master (not that Jerry wasn’t a master in his own way!)

  5. It is tough to pick my top ten as there are so many great guitar players. My picks are: Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, Tommy Emmanuel, Joe Satriani,Jimmy Page, Joe Bonnamassa, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin.

  6. Keep in mind im only 18 years old. So i didn’t live through the 80’s. so dont grind my balls.
    In no particular order.
    3.Jeff Beck
    6.Mark Morton
    7.Jim Root
    8.Buddy Guy
    9.Jerry Cantrel
    10.Rob Flynn

  7. In revisting this blog I noticed that I only posted nine names on my original list, posted above. Since I can add one more, I’ll add a personal favorite:

    Gabor Szabo

    A lot of times under-rated, but a Great Guitarist all the same.

  8. Nuno Bettencourt
    Zakk Wylde
    Steve Vai
    Eric Sardinas
    Jimi Hendrix
    Jerry Cantrell
    Chet Atkins
    Andy Griffith (Yes, of the old TV show-he’s AWESOME, I’m serious)
    Ed Roland
    Randy Rhoads

  9. Danny Gatton
    Mark Knopfler
    Kirk Hammett
    Duane Allman
    Jimi Hendrix
    Jerry Garcia
    Robert Johnson
    Willie Nelson
    John Denver
    Jimmy Page

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