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The Guitarists

The web abounds with 'top 100' lists of guitarists. Some of the names on those lists are technically brilliant; others are melodic geniuses. But just about every list overlooks the guitarists who by their powerful songwriting, leadership of a genre, technical innovations, or stage personality inspire other guitarists to higher levels. Performers such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, or Johnny Cash have inspired many thousands of others to take up the guitar... although these folks are not 'great guitarists', they have each done more to advance the guitar than a hundred technical wizards.

Top guitarist lists also tend to be one-sided, ignoring everyone outside of rock. Shouldn't a list of great guitarists also include masters of genres that are off the radar, like Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Keola Beamer? What about the exceptionally talented players who are better known for other things, like Charo? How about the complete unknowns who developed performance techniques, like Alexandre Legoya, or founded influential guitar schools, like Eli Kassner?

Many fine guitarists never achieve more than local recognition, but are every bit as good as the guitar heroes who fill concert arenas. So our list isn't a 'top 100' - it's a directory of guitarists, whether they're here for innovation, inspiration, or skill. There are currently 683 names here. Every one of them is worth knowing about.

A
'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott John Abercrombie Bryan Adams Ryan Adams Jim Adkins
Willie Adler Akiya Jan Akkerman Doug Aldrich Luther Allison
Duane Allman* Gregg Allman* Quinn Allman Laurindo Almeida Carlos Alomar
Vicente Amigo Trey Anastasio Pink Anderson Magnus Andersson Koji 'Anchang' Ando
Ace Andres Tuck Andress Baden Powell de Aquino Billie Joe Armstrong Tim Armstrong
Peter Asher Ron Asheton Sergio Assad Chet Atkins* Melissa Auf Der Maur
Bryce Avary Berton Averre Hoyt Axton Kokomo Arnold
B
Randy Bachman Joan Baez Derek Bailey Brian Baker Mickey 'Guitar' Baker
Dave Baksh Perry Bamonte Paul Banks Peter Banks Carl Barat
George Barnes Martin Barre Syd Barrett* Augustin Barrios Michael Angelo Batio
Jennifer Batten Roland Bautista Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter Brendan Bayliss Reb Beach
Keola Beamer Corey Beaulieu Jeff Beck* Jason Becker Walter Becker
Adrian Belew Brian Bell Chris Bell Matthew Bellamy George Benson
Pierre Bensusan Chuck Berry* John Berry Nuno Bettencourt Dickey Betts*
Elvin Bishop Kat Bjelland Clint Black Ritchie Blackmore Scrapper Blackwell
Norman Blake Ron Block Rory Block Mike Bloomfield Marc Bolan
Tommy Bolin Ben Bolt Joe Bonamassa Jon Bon Jovi Bono
D. Boon Wes Borland Pierre Bouvier David Bowie* Liona Boyd
Mick Box James Dean Bradfield Doyle Bramhall Vito Bratta Julian Bream
Lenny Breau Devin Bronson Meredith Brooks Big Bill Broonzy Leo Brouwer
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown Junior Brown Kenny Brown Jackson Browne* Bob Brozman
Mike Bruce Roy Buchanan Peter Buck* Buckethead Lindsey Buckingham
Jeff Buckley Tim Buckley R.L. Burnside Kenny Burrell James Burton
Jonathan Butler Glen Buxton Charlie Byrd David Byrne*
C
Kevin Cadogan Charlotte Caffey J.J. Cale 'Mississippi' Joe Callicott Randy California
California Guitar Trio Jo Callis Glen Campbell Mike Campbell Phil Campbell
Vivian Campbell Mike Campese Jerry Cantrell Pedro Caparros Jeff Carlisi
Dylan Carlson Larry Carlton Mary Chapin Carpenter June Carter Maybelle Carter
Martin Carthy Neal Casal Al Casey Johnny Cash* Jeff Catania
Philip Catherine Nick Cave Eugene Chadbourne Antonio Chainho Bill Champlin
Charo Chris Chasse Chris Cheney Alex Chilton John Christ
Charlie Christian* Jake Cinninger John Cipollina Rama Claproth Eric Clapton*
Roy Clark Steve Clark 'Fast' Eddie Clarke Gilby Clarke Cleveland Fats
Nels Cline Dave Clo Kurt Cobain Eddie Cochran* Jarvis Cocker
Leonard Cohen James Colin Jesse Colburn Phil Collen Albert Collins
Allen Collins* Judy Collins Paul Colman Joanna Connor Ry Cooder
Jeff Cook Jesse Cook Rusty Cooley Gaz Coombes Korey Cooper
Julian Cope Johnny Copeland Francesco Corbetta Billy Corgan Chris Cornell
Larry Coryell Elvis Costello* Floyd Council Graham Coxon Robert Cray
Steve Cropper* Sheryl Crow Rivers Cuomo
D
Dick Dale Dave Davies* Debbie Davies Jesse Ed Davis Reverend Gary Davis
Chris DeGarmo Buck D'harma Bo Diddley* Warren DeMartini Rick Derringer
C.C. DeVille Alirio Diaz Al Di Meola Donovan Mike Dowling
Gordon Downie K.K. Downing Nick Drake Chris Duarte John Duarte
Billy Duffy William DuVall Bob Dylan*
E
Steve Earle 'Bumble Bee Slim' Easton Duane Eddy* The Edge* Mike Einziger
Tommy Emmanuel Rik Emmett Roky Erickson The Everly Brothers*
F
Mimi Farina Richard Farina Tal Farlow Mark Farner
Don Feldner John Fogerty* Clyde 'Red' Foley Sue Foley Lita Ford
Robben Ford Oz Fox Peter Frampton Michael Franks Ace Frehley
Glenn Frey* Marty Friedman Ole Frimer Robert Fripp Bill Frisell
Fred Frith John Frusciante Blind Boy Fuller
G
Steve Gaines* Noel Gallagher Rory Gallagher Cliff Gallup Frank Gambale
Jerry Garcia* Garoto Danny Gatton Dave Guard Gel
Neil Geraldo Janick Gers Billy Gibbons* Bob Gibson Paul Gilbert
Vince Gill Brad Gillis David Gilmour* Greg Ginn Lowell George
Joe Goldmark Matthew Good Scott Gorham Graham Gouldman Grant Green
Peter Green* Jonny Greenwood Dave Grohl Tracii Gunns Woody Guthrie*
Buddy Guy*
H
Steve Hackett Merle Haggard Jim Hall Kirk Hammett Jeff Hanneman
Frank Hannon Corey Harris Emmylou Harris George Harrison* Chris Haskett
Dale Hawkins Henry 'Homer' Haynes Warren Haynes Justin Hayward Eddie Hazel
Jeff Healey Michael Hedges Scott Henderson Jimi Hendrix* James Hetfield
John Hiatt Sara Hickman Gary Hoey Wolf Hoffmann Alan Holdsworth
Jeff Holdsworth Buddy Holly* Matt Hollywood Josh Homme John Lee Hooker*
Sol Hoopii Sam 'Lightnin' Hopkins Son House Rowland S. Howard Greg Howe
Steve Howe Charlie Hunter Steve Hunter Mississippi John Hurt
I
Janis Ian James Iha Tony Iommi* Sharon Isbin
J
Mathias Jabs Papa Charlie Jackson Cordell Jackson Elmore James* Skip James
Bert Jansch Blind Lemon Jefferson Waylon Jennings Joan Jett Alain Johannes
Eric Johnson Jack Johnson Big Jack Johnson Lonnie Johnson Michael Johnson
Robert Johnson* Blind Willie Johnson Tom Johnston Adam Jones Eddie 'Guitar Slim' Jones
Mick Jones* Rickie Lee Jones Stanley Jordan
K
Henry Kaiser Danny Kalb Eli Kassner Terry Kath Jorma Kaukonen*
Carol Kaye Phil Keaggy Keb' Mo' Mark Kendall Barney Kessel
Junior Kimbrough Albert King B.B. King* Chris Thomas King Freddie King
Kaki King Kerry King Justin King Earl Klugh Mark Knopfler
Al Kooper Paul Kossoff Leo Kottke Richie Kotzen Wayne Kramer
Lenny Kravitz Robby Krieger* Bruce Kulick
L
Alexandre Lagoya Larry Lalonde Sonny Landreth Shawn Lane Brad Laner
Eddie Lang Jonny Lang k.d. lang Andy Latimer Cyndi Lauper
Alvin Lee Ledbelly* Albert Lee Jake E. Lee Adrian Legg
John Lennon* Ottmar Liebert Brian Liesegang Alex Lifeson David Lindley
Richard Lloyd Robert Lockwood Jr. Nils Lofgren Jackie Lomax Courtney Love
Gary Lucas Paco de Lucia Steve Lukather Gavin Lurssen George Lynch
Jeff Lynne
M
Tony MacAlpine Lonnie Mack Steven Mackey 'Magic Sam' Maghett Taj Mahal
Daron Malakian Yngwie Malmsteen Russell Malone Woody Mann Shirley Manson
Frank Marino Bob Marley* Johnny Marr Steve Marriott Mick Mars
J. Mascis Dave Mason* Brian May* John Mayall John Mayer
Curtis Mayfield* Loren MazzaCane Connors Paul McCartney* Mike McCready Ian McCulloch
Roger McGuinn* Paul McCartney 'Mississippi' Fred McDowell Brownie McGhee John McLaughlin
Blind Willie McTell John Mellencamp Susannah Melvoin Wendy Melvoin Pat Metheney
Dominic Miller Jerry Miller Steve Miller Joni Mitchell* Kim Mitchell
Chips Moman Roy Montgomery Wes Montgomery Carlos Montoya Ronnie Montrose
John Mooney Gary Moore Ian Moore Oscar Moore Scotty Moore*
Thurston Moore Vinnie Moore Tom Morello Steve Morse Bob Mould
Jason Mraz Dave Murray Dave Mustain
N
Dave Navarro Willie Nelson Rick Nielsen Robert Nighthawk Jimmy Nolen
Aaron North John Norum Bradley Nowell Ted Nugent
O
Ed O'Brien Ric Ocasek Phil Ochs Odetta Mike Oldfield
Criss Oliva Beth Orton Buck Owens
P
Jimmy Page* Gabby Pahinui David Pajo Phil Palmer Circuit V. Panther
Christopher Parkening Gram Parsons Joe Pass Charley Patton Les Paul*
Lowman 'Pete' Pauling Tom Paxton Carl Perkins* Luther Perkins Joe Perry*
John Petrucci Al Petteway Tom Petty* John Pisano Gene Pitney*
Bucky Pizzarelli John Pizzarelli Chris Poland Iggy Pop Andy Powell
Elvis Presley* Rod Price Charley Pride Prince*
Q
Robert Quine
R
Bobby Radcliff Bonnie Raitt* Johnny Ramone* Lee Ranaldo Robert Randolph
David Rawlings Jerry Reed Lou Reed* Vernon Reid Django Reinhardt
John Renbourn Nick Reynolds Randy Rhodes Marc Ribot Keith Richards*
Gary Richrath Dax Riggs Lee Ritenour Johnny Rivers Alison Robertson
Robbie Robertson* Jimmie Lee Robinson Rich Robinson Nile Rodgers Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Roy Rogers Zoot Horn Rollo Michael Romeo Mick Ronson Gary Rossington*
Ulrich 'Uli John' Roth Todd Rundgren Otis Rush
S
Richie Sambora Carlos Santana* Blues Saraceno Eric Sardinas Joe Satriani
Michael Schenker Rudolph Schenker Neal Schon Dave Schramm Tom Schulz
John Scofield Son Seals Pete Seeger* Bob Seger* Andres Segovia
Compay Segundo Michael Sembello Brian Setzer Bob Shane Mem Shannon
Tommy Shaw Kevin Shields Kenny Wayne Shepherd Paul Simon* Nicola Sirkis
Ricky Skaggs Tommy Skeoch Slash Radio Sloan Roy Smeck
Adrian Smith Doug Smith Fred 'Sonic' Smith Robert Smith Hank Snow
W. C. Spencer Bruce Springsteen* Billy Squier John Squier Leigh Stephens
Mike Stern Corey Stevens Steve Stevens John Stewart Stephen Stills*
Sting- Hubert Sumlin Andy Summers* Matt Sweeney Michael Sweet
Jussi 'Amen' Sydanmaa John Sykes David Sylvian
T
Ty Tabor Akira Takasaki Marv Tarplin Hound Dog Taylor James Taylor*
Mick Taylor Tommy Tedesco Susan Tedeschi George Terry Kim Thayil
Henry 'Ragtime' Thomas Richard Thompson George Thorogood Andy Timmons Glen Tipton
Jose Fernandez 'Tomatito' Torres Ali Farka Toure Ralph Towner Pete Townshend* Pat Travers
Merle Travis Walter Trout Robin Trower Derek Trucks Ike Turner*
U
James 'Blood' Ulmer Phil Upchurch
V
Steve Vai Ritchie Valens* Adrian Vandenberg Eddie Van Halen* Steven Van Zandt
Jimmie Vaughan Stevie Ray Vaughan Eddie Vedder Tom Verlaine Henry Vestine
W
Waddy Wachtel T-Bone Walker* Joe Walsh* Walter 'Wolfman' Washington Muddy Waters*
Roger Waters* Doc Watson Johnny 'Guitar' Watson Gillian Welch Leslie West
Peetie Wheatstraw Bukka White Clarence White Jack White Peter White
Brad Whitford Dar Williams Hank Williams* John Williams James Williamson
Pete Willis Nancy Wilson Michael Wilton Johnny Winter Steve Winwood*
Howlin' Wolf* Bobby Womack Andrew Wood Ron Wood Bob Wooton
Link Wray Zakk Wylde
Y
Zal Yanovsky Narciso Yepes Thom Yorke Angus Young* Neil Young*
Shiroyama 'Aoi' Yuu
Z
Dweezil Zappa Frank Zappa* Neil Zaza


* -inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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