70 Guitarists You Really Should Know About

Sometimes I can’t believe how much music my students haven’t heard. So I made this list to help point them toward some of the best guitarists of all time. With the advent of youtube, grooveshark, spotify and other services checking out new music has never been easier. Or cheaper. So pick an artist, go to YouTube, and start listening!

70 Guitarists You Really Should Know About *

Jeff Beck
Chuck Berry
Eric Clapton
The Edge (U2)
Paul Gilbert
Jimi Hendrix
Eric Johnson
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
Alex Lifeson (Rush)
John Mayer
Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
Pete Townshend (The Who)
Steve Vai
Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
Angus Young (AC/DC)

George Benson
Gene Bertoncini
Lenny Breau
Larry Carlton
Charlie Christian
Bill Frisell
Frank Gambale
Grant Green
Jim Hall
Allan Holdsworth
Pat Martino
Pat Metheny
Wes Montgomery
Joe Pass
Django Reinhardt
Lee Ritenour
John Scofield
Mike Stern
Martin Taylor
Frank Vignola

Acoustic Fingerstyle
Tommy Emmanuel
Michael Hedges
Pete Huttlinger
Leo Kottke
Adam Rafferty

Indigo Girls
Joni Mitchell
Peter Mulvey
Paul Simon
James Taylor
David Wilcox
Neil Young

Robben Ford
Buddy Guy
Robert Johnson
Albert King
B.B. King
Freddie King
Gary Moore
Jimmie Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan

Chet Atkins
Jimmy Bryant
Maybelle Carter
Danny Gatton
Tony Rice
Merle Travis
Brad Paisley
Jerry Reed
Doc Watson

Julian Bream
Eliot Fisk
Douglas Niedt
Christopher Parkening
Andres Segovia
John Williams
Andrew York

*This list reflects my personal tastes. I’m attempting to recognize both musicians that are often overlooked by casual listeners and musicians that young listeners may have not yet been turned on to. Many artists cross genres so don’t get too hung up on the labels. Yes, one could argue that I left so-and-so off the list. Whatever, just listen…

7 thoughts to “70 Guitarists You Really Should Know About”

  1. You left so-and-so off the list! You saw it coming and you did it anyway!

    Seriously though, I’ll need to brush up on a handful of these myself. I’m happy to say I aced the rock and blues categories. Only missing Bertoncini from jazz, a few more from the others. I’ll be coming back here to put a Rhapsody playlist together of those new to me. Thanks for posting!


  2. Good point. I have already been given a stern admonition for not including Slash. If people want to recommend their favorite players that I may have overlooked feel free to add them in the comments!

  3. I think I’ve heard every guitarist on the Rock and Folk list, I’ll have to check some of the other ones out. Did you hear Rolling Stone named Jimi Hendrix the greatest guitarist of all time? This is an interesting article about how few current day rockers are on the ‘great guitarist’ lists, since Pop has become so prominent nowadays.


    And I have to ask, you don’t like Tom Morello? I think he’s an incredible guitarist, I saw him play with Audioslave a couple of times and then I saw his solo project as well. I think he’s amazing.


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