It has been stated many times that the language of music is universal. Music crosses the lines of cities, states and countries, uniting people of many different backgrounds and cultures.
Almost every person worldwide can come up with a favorite genre of music that they enjoy or an individual singer, act, or band that they are drawn to.
It is within these bands and musical acts that we find the true gems of music…the guitarist!
Some of the best guitarists known to the rock world are listed below. They are just a few of the best and certainly not all that could be listed here.
1. Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is one of the most influential musicians to ever live when it comes to playing the guitar. Although he died at the very young age of 27, he is still revered as the greatest guitar player of all time. Jimi Hendrix first found fame in the United States shortly after playing the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Hendrix started his career in recording in 1964 as a member of the band The Isley Brothers.
He would soon go on to form his own band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Jimi Hendrix Experience became very popular in the UK, but remained virtually unknown in the United States until Monterey became the band’s breakout gig, soon to be followed by his headline performance at Woodstock in 1969. Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970. Jimi Hendrix is ranked No.1 on Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of “The Greatest Guitarist of All Time.”
Born Saul Hudson on July 23, 1965. Slash has been a music icon for over thirty years. He is most known for being part of legendary rock group, Guns N’ Roses. It was in Guns N’ Roses that Slash provided us with some of the most exciting, electrifying, and haunting guitar music ever played, as heard in the song November Rain. Slash was ranked No.21 as “The 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever,” by Gigwise. In 2011, Rolling Stone listed him at No.65 on their list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
3. Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen is often considered to be one of the world’s greatest living guitarists. Much like the aforementioned Slash, Eddie Van Halen placed No.8 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All time”, in 2011. Edward Lodewijk Van Halen came into the world on January 26, 1955, in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a child, Eddie Van Halen was heavily influenced by his parents to take piano lessons and train to become a competent musician.
Playing music soon became an active part of Eddie’s everyday life. It was in Elementary School that he formed his first band called The Broken Combs and his love for playing the guitar was born.
Eddie and his band Van Halen, received their first offer for a recording contract in 1977, which produced the self-titled “Van Halen” in late 1977. Van Halen went on to become one of the greatest rock groups of the 1970s and is still an active and touring band to this day.
Eddie is well known for using both left and right hands to play the neck of a guitar, also known as tapping. Eddie’s tapping technique is used in the video for one of Van Halen’s more popular songs, Jump.
4. Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page has been hailed as one of the most successful and influential musicians- songwriters of our time. Jimmy Page was ranked No.3 on Rolling Stone’s “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list. Page has been nominated into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame two times: once for his membership in the band The Yardbirds, and a second time for his membership in Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page moved from session musician to touring with TheYarbirds in 1966, a move that would soon prove to be the genesis of Led Zeppelin. After most of The Yardbirds left the group, Page reformed the band with friend Robert Plant and renamed the group Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was a behemoth when it came to success and popularity, a lot of this success can be attributed to Page’s mastery of the guitar, as seen in this live version of Stairway to Heaven.
Led Zeppelin would eventually break up, with its members going their separate ways. In the 1980s, Jimmy Page would form another group with friend Paul Rodgers called The Firm. The group would find mild success with its 1985 single Radioactive.
5. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton was born on March 30, 1945 in Surrey, England. He holds the No.2 spot on Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time” and is believed to be one of the best living guitarists in the world. Clapton found success in such early bands as The Yardbirds and Cream, both groups garnering hit songs like Sunshine of Your Love and White Room in the 1960s. Clapton began his solo career in the 1970s, presenting us with hit songs Wonderful Tonight and Cocaine.