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Top 10 Best Guitarists – On YouTube

Paul Rigby offers a personal take on his Top 10 Best Guitarists…

…while also listing a few ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for any aspiring axe men out there.

So who are your favourites?

I’d love to see your Top 10, 5 or just a single favourite of yours. Any genre, any time period.

If you’d like to add context and explain why, then you’re welcome to do that too.

[Don’t forget to check out my new Patreon Page at, for exclusive postings, giveaways and more!]

To see the video, click below…

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  • Reply
    David M Bugg
    4th March 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Please also post a written list. While I would like to take 25 minutes to get the contenders, I do not have the time when I just want to do a quick peek. Later, when time is available, I can have the enjoyment of listening to all the great reasoning behind those choices.

  • Reply
    Chris Maley
    5th March 2020 at 12:11 am

    Hi Paul ….. My fave guitarist is probably MARK KING from Level 42. Saw them live at Bournemouth Pavilion in 2017 and they sounded brilliant……like a very, very powerful top quality HiFi, very tight massive sound and crystal clear too. Mark is just brilliant at heavy slap bass on his illuminated guitar. I often use their music as a benchmark of a good sound system and they sound fantastic through my big 70’s LEAK 2075 Mk. 1’s and give the bass units a good workout. However, they can sound thin and hard through many “so called” high end speakers with puny bass units and poor amps …. that’s the HiFi’s fault NOT Level 42 ? I can also dial in some extra bass from any of my 3 subs as well when the music demands it. I think they spend a lot of time getting the acoustic QUALITY of their sound right at their concerts unlike some others ? Chris …. Been into HIFI since 1976 and have got through lots of gear in that time !!!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th March 2020 at 9:41 am

      Yes, good choice with Mark King. I’m a Level 42 fan myself 🙂

      • Reply
        Chris Maley
        5th March 2020 at 4:13 pm

        Thanks Paul ….. Best Guitar riff of all time has to be The Chain by Fleetwood Mac with Lyndsey Buckingham’s brilliant fingerwork. Remember Mason Williams and Classical Gas ….. superb with full orchestra too. Clapton Layla ….memorable. Eagles and Hotel California …..brilliant. Dire Straits with Sultans of Swing. There are so many but must mention Santana and Samba Pa Ti. At the end of the day the MUSIC is more important than the HIFI as I can listen to any of these tunes on the tranny radio. Keep up the good work Paul.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          6th March 2020 at 11:20 am

          Thanks Chris and yes, blimey, Classical Gas. Forgot all about that – quite a track and quite a guitar performance. Thanks for the kind words too 🙂

  • Reply
    Lenny Madia
    5th March 2020 at 2:07 pm


    My favorites:

    Pete Townshed – great with power cords and acoustic. Very good with lead breakaway. Perhaps not the best technically, but my favorite.

    Followed closely by Neil Young. He seems able to play any genre of music, and play extremely well. He is able to do rock, country, folk.

    Jimmy Page. Not one of my favorites, but I have to admit, one of the best.

    Eric Clapton. Same as Page

    Hosea Philipiono I sure I murdered that spelling. Again, same as Page.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th March 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks for that Lenny! José Feliciano?

  • Reply
    Madia Lenny
    7th March 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Yes, you prob have the spelling right.

    Several of my choices are those of two of my grandsons, both who play guitar very well. Both agree with my Neil Young, and Townshed picks.

  • Reply
    8th March 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I really appreciated your very thoughtful disclaimer and operationalization of the word: “Best.

    I keep needing to remind myself that we are focused on the guitar here, not the entire band…

    There are really so many guitarists left out of my top 20, so top 10 needs to be my biassed list. So, here are my top 10 favorites. These guitarists have inspired me in some way and I just can’t get enough of them.

    In no particular order:

    Mickey Melchiondo (Ween) –
    Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic/Parliament)
    Tom Verlaine (Television)
    David Gilmour (PF)
    Erkin Koray
    Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mother’s Temple) –
    Frank Zappa
    Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard +)
    Dave Brock
    Ulrich Roth

    There are many heavy metal guitarists I wish I could add…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th March 2020 at 3:10 pm

      Fascinating list, Cosmicott – I’d forgotten about Eddie Hazel. Thanks for putting that together.

  • Reply
    terry Carroll
    8th March 2020 at 3:01 pm

    A very difficult task as guitar players have to associated associated and considered within music genre, IMO. So I went at this with all this in mind and simply came to my favorite 10 – in a way, the the players whose music I would take with me to a desert island. I can here them, their style, their structure, in any song they play. So here goes…
    #1 Rory Gallagher
    #2 Leo Kottke
    #3 Duane Allman
    #4 Eric Clapton
    #5 Jimi Hendrix
    #6 Mark Knopfler
    #7 George Harrison
    #8 Jeff Beck
    #9 Jimmy Page
    #10 Stevie Ray Vaughn
    Thanks for making me think about it – I’m off to setting a new play list on my Tidal Account!
    Terry C. in California

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th March 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Very nice, Terry – thanks for taking the time on this.

  • Reply
    Ben Armine
    8th March 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Each to his own but there are absolutely brilliant guiarists, lutenists too, who should be included when the heading is just Top 10 Guitarists, without specifying a genre. Just because it is music from a different world, it does not mean the musicality and skill of the artists is less – probably only the volume diminishes.

    Another plea for the printed word not to be forgotten in the migration to You Tube. It would be much appreciated to have a written synopsis, as of old, but if the work load demands brevity – just the conclusion will suffice. As an example scroll down the page to a conclusion on the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers and move on to the video as the written word demands.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      9th March 2020 at 10:44 am

      Hi Ben

      I’d love to see a list of guitarists (or the equivalent from another culture, sure) from other countries – I love to learn about new music and musicians. And there is no migration, just addition (as my lack of free time will attest). I maintain the same workload on this site.

  • Reply
    8th March 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks Paul!

    Rory Gallagher… is another one of my favorites. I was just listening to Taste this morning.

  • Reply
    8th March 2020 at 8:48 pm

    There are many guitarists out there which deserve a mention. You mention emotion, that’ s Michael Schenker for me, on the song Love to Love from UFO the live album ‘Strangers in the Night’, with a beer inside me taking in the whole song together with his solo at the end of the song is awesome and cuttingly emotional, I end up literally sobbing..!

    Another guitarist who for me is a complete musician, can do drama, tension, cuteness, melody, rhythm and is the master of the Riff is Ritchie Blackmore of (The Outlaws, Deep Purple, Rainbow and BlackmoreNight). I get constantly fed up that his name is connected with ‘Smoke on the Water’, there is artistically a whole more sides to him then just that song, a little underrated guitarist in the scheme of things…..

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      9th March 2020 at 10:47 am

      Hi Gandalf – yes, I too find the same old name/association thing tiring at times but it’s often a result of lazy journalism and then the repetition of the same from its readers. Which sets up a repetitious cycle.

  • Reply
    9th March 2020 at 12:50 am

    Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs……the question was ‘best guitarist’, not ‘best British guitarist’! But if I must……Best British guitarist, Steve Howe.

  • Reply
    9th March 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Pete Townshend
    Bob Mould
    Jimmy Page
    Steve Howe
    Eric Clapton
    Johnny Marr
    Richard Thompson
    Mike Campbell
    Mark Knopfler
    George Harrison

  • Reply
    10th March 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Impossible to pick 10. Here’s a motley crew of known and little known guitar players from my own vinyl collection who continue to astound no matter how old I get 🙂

    Though if I had to pick one to take with me beyond the grave then it has to be Peter Green……..

    Raoul Bjorkenheim

    Hedvig Molestsad

    Sir Richard Bishop

    Dylan Carlson

    Keiji Heino

    David Grubbs

    Jim O’ Rourke

    Syd Barrett

    Tom Carter

    Michael & John Gibbons

    Tony Iommi

    Paul Kossoff

    Steve Tibbetts

    John Renbourne

    John Fahey

    Leo Kottke

    Gerry Garcia

    Daniel Fichelscher

    Joe Bidden

    Hank Marvin

    Peter Green

    Jimi Hendrix

    Jimmy Page

    Ritchie Blackmore

    Alex Lifeson

    Robert Fripp

    Andy Latimer

    Phil Miller

    Bruce Russell

    Gary Moore

    Glenn Phillips

    Fred Frith

    Michael Karoli

    Ax Genrich

    Edgar Froese


    Steve Hackett

    Steve Howe

    John Fogerty

    Steve Cropper

    Neil Young

    Leslie West

    Eric Clapton w Cream/Bluesbreakers

    John Weinzierl

    Thurston Moore

    Lee Ranaldo

    Tom Verlaine

    Django Reinhardt

    Vincent Gallo

    Henry Kaiser

    Gregg Ginn

    Rory Gallagher

    Eddie Hazel

    David Gilmore

  • Reply
    Ron Masino
    13th March 2020 at 12:47 am

    My favorite guitarist is which ever one I am listening to at the moment. I would like to add a few more to the list.
    Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, Terry Kath, Chet Atkins, Ry Cooder, Freddie King, Steve Cropper and Les Paul.
    P.S. This is a wonderful discussion!!

  • Reply
    Mark Haynes
    17th March 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Totally agree with Neil Young, Like a Hurricane and Cortez the Killer are still some of my favourites of all time. Also agree with David Gilmour though I think Comfortably Numb is a bit overrated I prefer something like Sorrow personally. Very controversial to leave out Hendrix, yes he could be ‘over the top’ but he did some very tasteful work on his albums. Here’s a name that no one has mentioned that I rate as one of the best of all time – Tommy Bolin. Listen to Billy Cobham’s Spectrum album and you wonder how someone so young could have such an understanding of Jazz. From the modern era I like Steven Wilson a very intelligent producer, writer and guitarist. I’m 61 years old so many of my heroes are from yesteryear and I’m not really in Metal guitarists except Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (who was influenced by Django Reinhardt). Finally Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule is a great guitarist. Lowell George of Little Feat would be another favourite. Finally Joni Mitchell deserves a mention for her creative tunings.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      18th March 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Nice list Mark – thanks for that.

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