My Top 10 Guitarist
As you are learning to play guitar it is very important to develop your own style, but it is also good to practice in the style of your favorite guitar players and even learn some of their songs.
Here is my list of who I would consider to be ten of the best guitar players, past and present, in no particular order. These types of list are very subjective and this is only based on my personal preference. So you may have a completely different idea of who the best guitar players are out there and I would love to hear who your favorites are.
Here we go:
- Randy Rhoads – Randy is best known for his time with Ozzy Osbourne. He recorded two studio albums with Ozzy, Blizzard of OZ and Diary of a Madman. Both of these albums featured amazing guitar work and Randy Rhoads quickly became known as one of the best hard rock/metal guitarist ever. There is also a great live album named Tribute. Before playing with Ozzy he was with Quiet Riot. He was one of the best guitarist at blending classical guitar into his rock arrangements and also had the ability to combine blazing speed and absolute accuracy with his solos. A couple great examples of these abilities are the songs “Revelation (Mother Earth)” and “Diary of a Madman” but I also have to mention “S.A.T.O.” for it’s incredible guitar work. He also had a very thorough knowledge of music theory due to his mother, Delores, who ran a music school. Sadly, Randy’s life was cut short at the age of 25 due to a tragic plane crash. Who knows what he would have went on to accomplish with the guitar, but whatever it was it would have been great.
- Jimmy Page – Jimmy is best known for his time with Led Zeppelin and is considered by many to be one of the greatest guitarist of all time. He has written/played some of the most beautiful acoustic guitar songs I’ve ever heard and could then turn around and play some of the best hard rock and roll and heavy blues ever, with some fantastic guitar solos. Some great examples of his abilities are “The Rain Song” and “Dazed and Confused”, but there are so many great Led Zeppelin songs that it is very difficult to narrow it down to just a couple examples.
- David Gilmore – David is best known as the guitarist for Pink Floyd, but has also had a very successful solo career. I think his ability to express so much emotion in his guitar solos is what makes him so great. He is not a shredder, he is just so smooth with his playing that you just have to listen to him solo. Again there are way too many great songs to list but a couple great examples of his guitar work are “Comfortably Numb” and “Time”, but one of my favorites is a beautiful slow song, “Goodbye Blue Sky”.
- Eddie Van Halen – Eddie is the guitar wizard of Van Halen. Eddie displayed amazing guitar work right away on Van Halen’s huge debut album which featured his great solo guitar piece “Eruption”. He perfected the art of “tapping” with the pick hand and brought this style of soloing to the forefront of rock and roll. Add this to his already blazing speed and you get one incredible guitar player. Again, there are so many great Van Halen songs that it’s hard to narrow it down but songs like “Spanish Fly” and “The Cradle Will Rock” are a couple good examples of his amazing abilities.
- Frank Marino – Frank is best known for Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush. Frank played a lot of heavy blues/rock style songs and was incredibly fast and smooth when playing solos. I was lucky enough to see him live in a relatively small bar, so I got a close up view of what he could do and I was amazed at his skill. He had a lot of great tunes but a couple notable ones are “Dragonfly” and “Strange Dreams”. His live solos are out of this world and where he really shines as a guitarist. You can find many examples of this online.
- Jimmy Hendrix – Jimmy was best known as just Jimmy Hendrix. Jimmy was a true innovator when it came to electric guitar. His heavy distortion, feedback and overall sonic sound were very new to many people at the time. He paved the way for heavy and distorted sounding blues and rock and roll guitarist to come after him. Aside from that he was very skilled and had many great songs. I love his version of “All Along The Watch Tower” and his songs “The Wind Cries Mary”, “Voodoo Child” and “Foxy Lady” are good examples of his great abilities.
- Yngwie Malmsteen – Yngwie is the king of the Neo-Classical genre of guitar. He has unbelievable speed and skill and is well known for taking classical piano pieces and transcribing them to electric guitar. He loves to combine classical and heavy electric guitar, and has played live with many orchestras over the years. Check out “Prelude to April”, “Black star”and “Far Beyond the Sun” for just a few examples of his incredible works, and be prepared to be blown away.
- Rik Emmet – Rik is best known for his days with Triumph, but has also had a good solo career after Triumph. Not only did Rik have amazing technical skills and songwriting abilities on guitar, he also had an amazing voice on top of all that. Rik would put a beautiful solo classical guitar piece on every album, the best known being “Midsummer’s Daydream”. But this is only a small part of his incredible guitar playing. Triumph was a great classic rock band but Rik went on to also play jazz, blues and classical guitar in his solo career. A few songs to check out that will show why he’s on this list are “The City ~ Part 1 ~ War March / Part 2 ~ El Duende Agonizante / Part Three ~ Minstrel’s Lament”, “Rock and Roll Machine” and “Never Surrender”. I’ve seen Rik live many times and his talent really shines through in his live performances.
- Joe Satriani – Joe is best known as a solo artist. Joe Satriani is one of the most technically skilled guitarist out there and has incredible speed. All of his music is instrumental guitar based rock and his songs emphasize his amazing skill on guitar. His guitar playing on songs like “Surfing With The Alien” and “Satch Boogie” really show off his talent. I’ve only ever seen Joe’s playing by watching videos but I’m sure he’d be amazing to see live.
- Steve Vai – Mainly known as a solo artist but has also played on many albums of other artist, like David Lee Roth for example. Steve Vai is another innovator on guitar. He does very unique things and creates crazy sounds on guitar that you don’t see many other guitarist doing. He has incredible technical skill and goes from blistering fast to slow and beautifully melodic sounds without missing a beat. His songs are instrumental and are there to show off his incredible skill. His talent is out of this world. I had a chance to see him live in a smaller venue, so I had a good view of what he was doing, and I was completely blown away by not only the skill, but also the emotion in his face when he plays. He is completely lost in his music from the first to last note of every song he plays. He is one of the best to ever pick up a guitar. Check out “For The Love of God” live online or his ground breaking album “Passion and Warfare” if you get a chance.
There you have it. These are my top ten guitar players past and present. I encourage you to check out the songs I have mentioned above. The songs I selected are some fine examples of how great these guitarist really are. As you learn to play guitar the music these guys have created should provide all the inspiration you will ever need to put in the time and practice needed to become a great guitar player. I could easily add several more to this list, like Slash, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Adrian Vandenburg, and Alex Lifeson to name a few, but I only have room for ten guitarist on this list. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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