The 250 Greatest Guitarists of All Time – Rolling Stone | Koclukevi

“My guitar is. nothing,” Joan Jett once said. “It’s an extension of me. It’s who I am.” The guitar is the most versatile instrument, the most basic and expressive. Anyone can pick up a little guitar in a moment, but you can spend a lifetime exploring its possibilities. That’s why it’s so much fun to think about what makes a great guitarist.


The rolling stone published its original list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists in 2011. It was compiled by a panel of musicians, mostly older classic rockers. Our new expanded list was created by the magazine’s editors and authors The rolling stone. This goes for 250.

Guitarists are often as iconic as the lead singers of the bands they play in. But mythical guitar gods like Jimmy Page, Brian May and Eddie Van Halen are only one part of the story. We wanted to show the extent of the evolution of the guitar. The oldest participant on the list (folk music icon Elizabeth Cotten) was born in 1893, the youngest (indie-rock prodigy Lindsey Jordan) was born in 1999. The list includes rock, jazz, reggae, country, folk, blues, punk, metal, disco, funk, bossa nova, bachata, Congolese rumba, flamenco and much more. There are unique virtuosos like Pat Metheny, Yvette Young and Steve Vai, as well as primitivists like Johnny Ramone and Poison Ivy of the Cramps. There are huge stars like Prince, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, and behind-the-scenes masters like Memphis soul great Teenie Hodges and smooth rock killer Larry Carlton.


Many great guitarists have realized their genius as part of a duo, so Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden and other symbiotic duos share an entrance. Our only instrumental criteria is that you must be a six-string player. (All you balalaika shredders out there, carry on; maybe next time.)

In compiling the list, we tended to value heaviness over taste, flair over polish, invention over finesse, risk-takers and originators over technique. We also tended to favor artists who channeled whatever gift God gave them into great songs and game-changing albums, not just impressive playing.

As modern blues visionary Gary Clark Jr. said, “I don’t know if I want to also far off the beaten path—I don’t want to get lost in the woods—but I like a bit of wandering and adventure.’

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