The GuitaristsThe 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.
* -inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame