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The W - Music - RS's "Top 100 Guitarists of All Time" list
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Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 4645 days
Last activity: 900 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Direct link to list

Jimi Hendrix is #1. It doesn't take long after that to start getting silly.

Discuss, debate, and shit upon it from a great height.

My opening salvo is that by putting Frank Zappa at #45 (20+ places behind The Edge, Kurt Cobain, Jack White, Kirk Hammett and Mark Knopfler, and about 40+ places lower than he should be), they let the Olsen Twins write the list after they posed for last week's cover.

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Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 2881 days
Last activity: 1336 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
I like the White Stripes and all, but isn't it a bit early to be including Jack White in the top 20 of anything?

Nor should anything associated with Phish or the Dead be on this list.

Dick Dale should be a lot higher than 31.

"If this cruel, loudmouth extremist is the cream of the Democratic crop, next November's going to make the 1984 election look like a squeaker."
--House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on Howard Dean
Brian P. Dermody

Since: 20.9.02
From: New York, NY

Since last post: 2549 days
Last activity: 1972 days
#3 Posted on
Jack White could easily fall into the top 20 overrated frontmen (post 2000). Hell, he could probably make the top 5.

And where's Neal Schon? Journey had some fantastic hooks, and he was playing with Santana when he was 17, ferchrissakes.

Dick Dale should defintely have been higher.

And I swear, speaking as a punk/ early post punk fan, only music critics care about the Minutemen. And only on lists like that.

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Since: 2.1.02
From: Michigan

Since last post: 5130 days
Last activity: 5004 days
#4 Posted on
I'm certainly not the music expert that a lot of people are, or even a guitar fan like I'm guessing the people in this thread are, since they know what they're talking about.

...but am I just lame, or shouldn't Slash be somewhere on this list?

I was also gonna argue for Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard but I think that'd be fighting a losing battle.

EDIT: I think the Stripes are (were) ok, but Jack White above Tom Morello is a fucking joke.

(edited by Ubermonkeys on 4.9.03 1523)

go to WV and also go to JID


Since: 22.4.02
From: Outside of Boston

Since last post: 68 days
Last activity: 19 days
#5 Posted on
I didn't even get to the list before I saw the first bad choice (Jack White was listed at #17 on the table of contents). No real complaints about the top 16, though. Frusciante at 18's a little too high. And I thought they'd give Brian May some dap for designing his own guitar (which played pretty heavily into his tone). Aside from that, nothing you haven't mentioned that offended me. Jack White can still suck me, though. -_-

Today's Out-Of-Context Quote, Courtesy of hardygrrl:

"...between the grime layer and the Seventies game show host hair, I'd rather rim Undertaker after a White Castle/Schlitz bender."
Scott Summets

Since: 27.6.02

Since last post: 5517 days
Last activity: 5486 days
#6 Posted on
I'm still new to playing guitar, but I love listening to good guitarists and solos and such so I have some opinions on this list and how its a JOKE. Start with the top 20. That's Rolling Stone's lets please EVERYONE part, including for example, Johnny Ramone for Punk, Stevie Ray Vaughan for Country, Garcia for Folkish music, Jack White for current/garage sound, King for Jazz, Hammett for Metal and other categories represented. Now for the biggest problem--EDDIE VAN HALEN AT 70! The guy that Nirvana admitted they would never play like or nearly as good as, the guy who redifined guitar for the 80s, ERUPTION FOR GOD'S SAKE!! Also being a Metal fan, Randy Rhoads should be higher! Now for omissions, where were Slash, Zakk Wylde, Gary Rossington, Yngwie Malmsteem, Leo Kottke, and for two fucking obvious ones how can you leave out Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. You'd think since Satriani taught lots of the guys on here he would be there, but nope. Also the Chili Peppers original guitarist (can't remeber the name currently) should be on there. Personally I'd include Mustaine and Kerry King too, but they might be too "metal" for Rolling Stone. But jeez, reading the magazine and their reasons is laughable as to why they picked people. Once again though.... no Vai or Satriani is a fucking joke!

Also, could someone explain why every magazine that does a top 100 guitarist list includes Kurt Cobain? His stuff isn't complicated or difficult to play or really that groundbreaking when it comes to playing guitar. Hell of a songwriter, and I could see him being in the low top 100's in most lists, but to leave him that high isn't that right I think.

(edited by Scott Summets on 4.9.03 1633)

(edited by Scott Summets on 4.9.03 1637)

(edited by Scott Summets on 4.9.03 1638)

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Big Brother

Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

Since last post: 12 days
Last activity: 13 hours
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.65
Surely they could have fit Prince in there as well. (no, I'm serious here)


Since: 7.11.02
From: Seattle, WA

Since last post: 5275 days
Last activity: 5167 days
#8 Posted on
As someone who's been playing guitar for about 10 years, I find this list on the whole to be somewhat atrocious.

There's too much to comment on in-depth (without boring everyone to death), so I'll say Allan Holdsworth is criminally missing from this list (although he's more known for his synth-axe work than his guitar work), and Fripp, Zappa, McLaughlin, Van Halen, and Gilmour should be higher.

Jason Vincion - a veritable cornucopia of tunage

Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

Since last post: 146 days
Last activity: 13 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03


Prince absolutely positively needs to be there. And not in the lower half, either. If this list had been done fifteen years ago, he'd be top 5. And rightly so.

Where's Elvis (either one)? Bob Dylan? Reeves Gabrels? Elliot Easton of the Cars? _Any_ jazz guitarist of note?

Neil Young should be waaaay higher; right next to Stills would be fitting. Randy Rhoads at #85 is tragic. Zappa was a god.

Tom Morello, Jack White, John Frusciante? All good, but nowhere near the top thirty. Kirk Hammett that high on a list without Steve Vai or Joe Satriani? Pffffft. IKE TURNER?!!#@%#$@%

Lists like this make me sad.


It is what it is.
You are what you it.
There are no mistakes.
--Tom Robbins

Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

Since last post: 1237 days
Last activity: 112 days
#10 Posted on
To add another name who while her songwriting has gotten somewhat predictable over the last decade, there aren't many people more adept at the slide guitar that I can think of than Bonnie Raitt.

Coming to Chicago Nov. 12...I am SO there! - Brenda Weiler

Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 147 days
Last activity: 48 days
#11 Posted on
    Originally posted by tarnish
    Where's Elvis (either one)?

No comment on Costello, but Presley could barely play the guitar and mostly just held it for the look.

Chico Santana
Boudin rouge

Since: 2.7.02
From: Jaaaaamacia Mon, No Problem.

Since last post: 5666 days
Last activity: 5664 days
#12 Posted on
Old Fuzz you are wrong, The King was a gifted guitarist, he didn't show it off too much, but many musicians have testified to this fact.

I can see why CRZ hates big lists, it sucks looking at shit you don't agree with. They are trying to suck up to artists of all styles, yet they still could have even swept wider range. Our own personal lists are bound to be different because of what we are influenced by, though they did pick number one correctly, Hendrix was/is the man, I love his music. I hope they find some more rare cuts from him, because I aready put money away for them.

My other picks;
2)Stevie Ray Vaughn
3)Chuck Berry
4)Jimmy Page
5)Keith Richards

Those that should be lower...or gone.
Jerry Garcia: I love the guys work, but he is a little high(no pun)
Kirk Hammett:IMHO His best work was from Mustaine riffs.
Eric Clapton: I like his music but think he is the worlds most overrated ax man.
Jack White: Who? Why? Sorry I can't stand most of his stuff.

Higher on my list.
John Frusciante: I love his work, he put on the best live performance from a guitarist that I have ever seen.
Dick Dale:I love the Surf guitar sound, and no one plays it better.
Mark Knopfler: Great classic rock sound.
Iommi: King of HEAVY metal riffs.
Randy Rhoads: If he lived longer, he would be an easy top five pick, he could do all styles.
Kim Thayil: I'm a huge fan, in my top ten, I love his style.

Milk Carton IMO.(or ones I missed)
Dean Deleo of STP
Jerry Cantrell of AIC
Jeff Buckley
Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Duffy of The Cult
Doug Martsch of Built To Spill

(edited by Chico Santana on 4.9.03 1547)


Since: 4.6.02
From: Pratt, Kansas

Since last post: 5145 days
Last activity: 2437 days
#13 Posted on
23 Warren Haynes
85 Randy Rhoads
82 David Gilmour
70 Eddie Van Halen
55 Ritchie Blackmore
14 Jeff Beck
18 John Frusciante
39 Brian May
27 Mark Knopfler
09 Jimmy Page

Here's my top ten, folks.

I feel that this needs to be said:
There are countless talented musicians out there who will never be known outside of their own local circles. Anyone who is willing to take the time to learn music theory and its various applications deserves to be commended. I can think of a handful of players here in the middle of nowhere who deserve such praise, but will never get it.

It's not about flash. It's not about who's selling millions. It's not about who's the best. It's about creating music that can and will touch your soul.

If you're a guitarist and you pour your heart into a piece of music it will touch all those who hear it. The listener will feel the emotion and in all likelyhood, remember it.

Since: 23.2.02
From: Toronto

Since last post: 4014 days
Last activity: 4014 days
#14 Posted on
So Jack White is one of the top 20 guitarists of all time, but Slash and Steve Vai don't even make the list?

Way to go, Rolling Stone.

Downtown Bookie

Since: 7.4.02
From: USA

Since last post: 619 days
Last activity: 309 days
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.36
To be honest, I can't comment on the list as a whole, as I would only be revealing my own ignorance of rock music's recent history. However, I do feel qualified to express an opinion on the era of music that I am familiar with, the British Invasion period of the mid 1960's. Considering that one segment, let's first look at the following placements on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of top guitarists:

4) Eric Clapton 9) Jimmy Page 10) Keith Richards 14) Jeff Beck 21) George Harrison 50) Peter Townsend

My first thought at looking at this grouping was the children's song from the television show Sesame Street. You know, "One of these things, is not like the others; one of these things, doesn't belong...." But more on that later. First things first. IMHO Harrison and Townsend were pretty much equal in terms of overall playing ability (though their individual stylings were miles apart) and either man could, on his best day, be rated somewhat ahead of Jeff Beck. What I'm trying to say is that the ranking of these three men (Beck, Harrison and Townsend) is pretty much interchangeable IMHO, and I would have no quibble with whatever order anyone would choose to rank them, provided one understood that the separation between number one and number three was something less than slim. Therefore, it seems rather odd that RS would have approximately thirty positions between Townsend and Harrison; such a ranking leads me to believe that Townsend was initially overlooked, and then hastily added to the list without much thought given to his proper placement. As to Clapton and Page (the men who respectively preceded and followed Jeff Beck as lead guitarist for the Yardbirds) certainly these two rate a ranking on a higher plane than the grouping of Beck, Harrison and Townsend; but again, it's simply a matter of taste as to whether one chooses Clapton ahead of Page, or vice versa.

Which brings us to the guitarist who is out of place in this gathering, the man who simply "doesn't belong." Now, please understand that I do realize that lists such as these are simply an expression of one person's (or one editorial group's) opinion. However, if someone honestly believes that Keith Richard(s) of the Rolling Stones ranks in the middle of the grouping of Clapton, Page, Beck, Harrison and Townsend, then IMHO that person has no idea what they are talking about. This is the type of placement that destroys any credibility that the rest of the list may have, because not only was Keith Richard(s) not anywhere near the ability of the other British Invasion guitarists, Keith Richard(s) wasn't even the best guitarist in his own band! Brian Jones could play circles around Keith Richard(s) on guitar, and yet Brian Jones isn't even listed in the top 100 by RS magazine! So how the hell can RS magazine claim to have any authoritative knowledge of music if they truly think that Keith Richard(s) is one of the top ten guitarists of all time? RS magazine's ranking of Keith Richard(s) among the greatest guitarists of all-time is the red flag warning to all who read that this list has no credibility whatsoever. At least, IMHO.

Patiently waiting to be Stratusfied.
Pickled pork

Since: 16.7.02
From: Vancouver, BC

Since last post: 5069 days
Last activity: 4687 days
#16 Posted on

I agree with your point regarding Keith Richards (a great riff man, but little else) but disagree strongly with your comments about Jeff Beck. Beck, in my opinion, is one of the all-time greats and deserves to be higher on the list, not lower. His playing on Truth, for instance, is the work of a master. He'd be in my top 10 for sure.

I also share in the general suprise at the high rankings of White and Cobain. Neither would be in my top 100.

Other notables I think should be higher: Buddy Guy (I'd switch him with BB King), Vernon Reid, Eddie Freakin' Van Halen, Kim Thayil, Randy Rhoads

Others I think should be lower: Jerry Garcia, The Edge (again, riffs a-plenty but little top notch lead work), BB King, Johnny Ramone, Duane Allman

Missing in action: Vai, Satriani, Jeff Healey, Alex Lifeson of Rush

"Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go" -- Captain James Cook
Big Bad

Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

Since last post: 95 days
Last activity: 95 days
#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
Where's Bono????.......just kidding. Reminds me of Bono's famous quote "I want to play the guitar very badly, and that's what I do: play the guitar very badly." Edge's placement seems about right.

I'd agree with Jack White making the list, but nowhere near the top 20. Maybe he and Eddie Van Halen should switch spots.

Cobain shouldn't be anywhere near this list. He was at best a mediocre guitarist. Hell, I'd include Dave Grohl before I'd include Cobain.

Notable omissions....
Guy from Cheap Trick
Steve Vai
Mike McCready from Pearl Jam
Fred Penner....he could rock that mutha

(edited by Big Bad on 5.9.03 1207)

(edited by Big Bad on 5.9.03 1209)

"When this bogus term alternative rock was being thrown at every '70s retro rehash folk group, we were challenging people to new sonic ideas. If some little snotty anarchist with an Apple Mac and an attitude thinks he invented dance music and the big rock group is coming into his territory, [that's] ridiculous." - Bono, 1997

Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

Since last post: 124 days
Last activity: 8 hours
#18 Posted on
What are your thoughts on Joe Perry? I think he's vastly underrated.

Taken from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Accusations have surfaced about Julian Tavarez doctoring the baseball with a foreign substance that he hides on the bill of his cap.

''It's ridiculous,'' Tavarez said. ''They checked my hat last year, too, and never found anything. They're just trying to get inside my head. But I won't let them.'' Just to demonstrate that no one was getting inside his head, Tavarez decided to ramble on for another hour or two and provide a quote of the year possibility. ''Some people like skinny women. I like fat women. Some people like young women. I like older women. Some people like poor women. I like rich women,'' Tavarez said. ''Some people like clean hats. I like my dirty hat.''
My Blog (

Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

Since last post: 146 days
Last activity: 13 days
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03

Keith Richards may not be the best supahfast riddly-diddly player on earth, but ask 1000 guitarists if they'd rather play like Keith or Eddie Van Halen and I think you'll find Keith wins. Check out a live performance sometime--Keith's got a hundred ways to play that thing and every one sounds different. Rhythm guitar is soooo underrated: A big part of the reason G'n'R worked was due to Izzy Stradlin. A big part of the Black Crowes working is the amazing talent of Rich Robinson. Both of them are disciples at the altar of Keith Richards.

Guys like Jack White are on that list because of Keith Richards, just like John Frusciante is on the list because of Eddie Hazel.

If it were all about Paganini-esque virtuosity and pure technique, you'd see names like Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert, and maybe even the Great Kat, among others. But the list obviously takes musical and industry impact into account, to some degree.

On the Jeff Beck/British Invasion tip, I'm pretty sure I've read on-the-record quotes from Townshend, Page, Clapton, and others who say Beck was easily the best of them.

More absences that blow my mind: Django Reinhardt. Chet Atkins. Joe Strummer/Mick Jones. Danny Cedrone (think Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock). Scott Gorham/Brian Robertson/Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy.

My top ten: Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, Frank Zappa, Keith Richards, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Neil Young, Steve Cropper, and Chet Atkins.


It is what it is.
You are what you it.
There are no mistakes.
--Tom Robbins
Enojado Viento
Potato korv

Since: 12.3.02
From: Your Grocer's Freezer, NC

Since last post: 2333 days
Last activity: 1605 days
#20 Posted on
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    Guy from Cheap Trick

I beleive you mean Rick Neilsen, yes?


"ahhh...vague, mandatory knee-jerk cynicism. God Bless Internet Forums.."
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