The guitar is one of the most iconic instruments in the world of music. Many legendary musicians have wielded this instrument, but who are the best of the best, the true virtuosos? Here are the 16 greatest guitarists of all time!

16. Ritchie Blackmore

The axeman behind Deep Purple and Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore has a playing style steeped in both classical and blues influences. His work on tracks like “Smoke on the Water” is simply iconic. His formidable technique and profound musical insight make him a pioneer in the realm of rock guitar.

15. Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani is not just an extraordinary guitarist but also a mentor to many, including Steve Vai and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. His instrumental pieces like “Satch Boogie” are virtuosic without being self-indulgent.

14. Angus Young
The energetic lead guitarist of AC/DC proves that you don’t always have to be technical to make an impact. His bluesy riffs and dynamic stage presence have been the band’s signature for decades.

13. Mark Knopfler

The frontman for Dire Straits is known for his ‘finger-picking’ style. Songs like “Sultans of Swing” have a unique sound that is both elegant and authentic.

12. Randy Rhoads
Though his career was short-lived, the impact Randy Rhoads had on metal guitar is immeasurable. His work with Ozzy Osbourne, particularly on tracks like “Crazy Train,” melds technical skill with musical expressiveness.

11. Brian May

Not many guitarists can say they’ve had an asteroid named after them. The Queen guitarist is known for his versatility and his self-crafted ‘Red Special’ guitar. A true musical scientist!

10. Carlos Santana
The atmospheric melodies of Carlos Santana are influenced by a blend of rock, Latin American, and jazz music. “Black Magic Woman” remains one of the most recognizable guitar riffs of all time.

9. Jeff Beck

With a career spanning over 50 years, Jeff Beck’s work is hard to categorize, ranging from blues to rock and even electronic music. A true chameleon on the guitar.

8. B.B. King

The king of blues guitar has a style that’s both simple and deeply emotional. His renowned guitar “Lucille” is almost as iconic as the man himself.

7. Slash
Slash, the hat-wearing guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, penned some of the most famous riffs in rock history. His work on “Sweet Child o’ Mine” is nothing short of magical.

6. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan redefined the blues with his phenomenal technique and passion. His impact on the genre is so immense that he’s often mentioned in the same breath as legends like B.B. King.

5. Eric Clapton

“Slowhand” has played in various bands over the years, but his unique approach to the guitar sets him apart. His blues-inspired rock has influenced generations of musicians.

4. David Gilmour

The Pink Floyd guitarist is famous for his ethereal, almost cosmic tones. Songs like “Comfortably Numb” showcase his ability to extract emotion from every string.

3. Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen was a pioneer in guitar techniques like tapping. His blistering speed on songs like “Eruption” remains unmatched.

2. Jimmy Page

Whether it’s folk, blues, hard rock, or oriental music, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page has done it all. His influence is so widespread that every guitarist has a touch of Page in their style.

1. Jimi Hendrix
The man, the myth, the legend. Jimi Hendrix was an artist far ahead of his time. With tracks like “Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Child,” he pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the guitar.