Music is not only about sonorous voices or nice vocals. It also has to do with the combination of great musical instruments like the drums, piano and guitar, among many others. In this post, we will be considering some musicians the world has labelled as the greatest guitarists of all time, judging by their talents and ability to play the string instrument so well. There are hundreds of talents to be considered but our focus will be on the top ten, considered as the best of all time.
10 Greatest Guitarists Who Are The Best Of All Time
1. Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is considered by many to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington, United States and pronounced dead at 12:45 pm, on September 18, 1970, in the UK. Hendrix’s career was short-lived, he was active as a musician, songwriter and producer for seven years – from 1963 to 1970. Even though his musical career was short-lived, many who had the opportunity to hear the talented guitarist play the strings, confessed he was the best they have ever heard. During his short career spell, he signed with five record labels: Track, Barclay, Polydor, Reprise and Capitol. Hendrix was a master of the guitar and his genres were rock, hard rock, blues, R&B and psychedelic rock. He was well known for his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, under which he released three albums: Are You Experienced in 1967, Axis: Bold as Love in 1967 and Electric Ladyland in 1968. Hendrix died as a result of drug overdose, he took 18 times the prescribed dosage for sleeping pills which eventually caused him to vomit and in the process got choked by his puke.
2. Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page was born as James Patrick Page on January 9, 1944, in Middlesex, England. He is an English musician, songwriter, producer and philanthropist and best known as the founder of Led Zeppelin rock band. Jimmy Page is one of the most influential guitarists of all time and also one of the instrument’s greatest users. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Page is ranked 3rd on the list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, only falling behind Jimi Hendrix on the number spot and Eric Clapton on the 2nd spot. However, he was recognized as the second greatest guitarist of all time on “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time” by American guitar manufacturers Gibson Brands. As a member of the Yardbirds, he got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. And in 1995, he was inducted for the second time into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time as a member of Led Zeppelin. The father of five has been active as a guitarist since 1957 to this day.
3. Eric Clapton
English guitarist, singer and songwriter, Eric Clapton was born on March 30, 1945, in Ripley, Surrey, England. The 73-year-old musician has had over 5 decades of musical experience. The rock and blues guitarist is one of the greatest ever to handle a guitar. He was named the second by Rolling Stone, in the magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, only behind first place, Jimi Hendrix. But according to instrument manufacturers Gibson Brands, he ranks as fourth in their list of “Too 50 Guitarists of All Time”. But either way, Clapton has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thrice, the only musician to have achieved such honour. His first induction was as a solo artist while the other two came as a member of two different groups, one was when he was a member of Yardbirds and the other was as a member of Cream. Clapton is a father of 4 kids – all females, 3 of whom he has with his wife Melia McEnery. For all his talent and hard work, he deserves the luxurious life he is living. The singer has a net worth of $250 million.
4. Eddie Van Halen
The musician and songwriter was born to Jan Van Halen and Eugene Van Halen on January 16, 1955, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. When Eddie was six, he and his elder brother Alex began to learn how to play the piano. Eddie is most recognized as the original founder of the hard rock band, Van Halen. The band comprised of his older brother, Alex Van Halen as the drummer, Mark Stone as the bassist, David Lee Roth as the singer and Eddie himself as the songwriter and guitarist. He has been active in music for over five decades, since 1964, and has been signed to Warner Bros. and Interscope.
The 1992 Grammy Award winner for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal was as in 2011, ranked as number eight on the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” as published by Rolling Stone magazine. However, following a voting poll that held in 2012 by Guitar World magazine reader’s, he topped the list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time”. Eddie has a son named Wolfgang Van Halen, named after the music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, just as he was named after music composer Ludwig Van Beethoven.
5. Jeff Beck
Geoffrey Arnold Beck better Known by his stage name Jeff Beck, was born to Arnold Beck and Ethel Beck on June 24, 1944, in Surrey, England. Like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck was also a guitarist of the famous rock band Yardbirds. The guitarist is also known to have founded Jeff Beck Group and was also the co-founder of Beck, Bogert and Appice. He is a six-time Grammy Award winner for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. He has also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. According to the Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, Jeff Beck ranks as number five. Like a few other artists, Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. First was in 1992, when he was inducted as a member of Yardbirds, and second, was in 2009 when he got inducted as a solo artist. Beck has been a vegetarian since 1969 and has been married to Sandra Beck since 2005.
6. Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and actor. He was born on December 18, 1943, in Kent, England. The renowned guitarist is best known for being a founding member of the Rolling Stones rock band. The English rock band was founded in 1962, in London. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Richards as the fourth all-time best guitarist on its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Fourteen of the songs he wrote along with Mick Jagger are listed on “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The guitarist has had 59 successful career years, working with labels like Decca, Rolling Stone, Virgin/EMI and Mindless London. The musician has been married to Patti Hansen since 1983 and has five kids, although one of his kids is late now. The English guitarist is one of the wealthiest musicians in the UK and he is worth about $350 million.
7. Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan was born on October 3, 1954, in Dallas, Texas, to Jim Vaughan and Martha Vaughan. Vaughan’s style of music was blues, rock and jazz. He was a musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. Stevie started playing the guitar when he was 7 and said his inspiration came from his elder brother Jimmie Vaughan. He started his musical career when he was 11 years old, in 1965. Throughout his career in music from 1965 until his death, Vaughan was signed to music labels such as Epic Records, Legacy Recordings and Sony Entertainment and he is ranked as the 7th all-time greatest guitarists. Stevie Vaughan was a recipient of six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Award. He got inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2014, he got inducted into the Musical Hall of Fame and in 2015, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Double Trouble. Stevie died on August 27, 1999, in East Troy, Wisconsin, after the helicopter he boarded crash shortly after its departure.
8. B.B. King
Riley B. King, better known as B.B. King was born on September 16, 1925, in Mississippi, United States, to Albert King and Nora Ella King. He was a singer, guitarist and songwriter. His music genre was blues, R&B and blues rock. He had an active career from 1948 to 2015 and worked with labels such as RPM, Crown, Kent, ABC, BluesWay, MCA and Geffen. He got inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980. Seven years later, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed King as the 6th greatest guitarist of all time. During the course of his industrious career, he was nominated for 21 Grammy Awards and won 15 in all. King died on May 14, 2015.
9. David Gilmour
David Gilmour is an English musician and songwriter born on March 6, 1946, in Cambridge, England. He is a renowned guitarist. His genres are progressive rock, psychedelic rock, ambient and blues rock. He has been active as a musician since 1963 up to date and has worked under labels such as EMI Columbia, Harvest, Capitol, Columbia, Sony and EMI. Gilmour was inducted in the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of Pink Floyd. In 2005, he got inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame as a member of Pink Floyd. He ranked as number 14 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2011 list of “100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time”.
10. Chuck Berry
Born as Charles Edward Anderson Berry on October 18, 1926, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Martha Berry and Henry Berry. He was a singer and songwriter and was largely known as the father of Rock and Roll. The guitarist started his professional music career in 1953 and was active until his death in 2017. He was one of the pioneers of the rock and roll style of music and worked under labels such as Chess, Mercury, Atco and Dualtone. During the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Berry was one of the first musicians to get inducted. His songs Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene and Rock and Roll are among the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”. On March 18, 2017, the rock and roll legend was found dead in his home in Wentzville, Missouri. His death was reported to be a result of cardiac arrest. The guitarist is survived by his two kids Aloha Berry and Ingrid Berry.