10 Greatest Guitarists In Rock Today

At long last here it is. RMW’s ’10 Greatest Guitarists In Rock Today’.

10. John Mayer

Hailed by the likes of Eric Clapton and B.B King, John Mayer is fast becoming one of the guitar legends on the 21st century. Mayer’s smooth, blues influenced brand of pop music has made him one of the most successful musicians of the modern era; both impressing the greats and reintroducing traditional blues to a younger audience.

9. Jack White

Like ‘Smoke On The Water’ before it, The White Stripes iconic ‘Seven Nation Army’ will be one of the first melodies ever strummed by a whole generation of young guitarists. With his simplistic garage rock riffs, Jack White has made an undeniable impact on guitar music. He can also tear it up with the best of them when the mood takes him.

8. Tom Morello

Speaking of iconic riffs, this guy is something else. ‘Bombtrack’ alone has three of the greatest riffs of the 1990s, and Morello is becoming a more influential musician as the years roll by. Aside from his work with Rage Against The Machine, Morello has left his mark on classic rock, folk and hip hop, and added a whole new dimension to the modern guitar solo.

7. Synyster Gates

Upon first hearing Avenged Sevenfold, my initial thought was that Synyster was just another drop in a sea of endless pinch harmonic loving, dive-bombing, Van Halen wannabe metal guitarists… and I was wrong. Synyster Gates possesses such a finely tuned knowledge of the guitar, that he seems to be able to turn his hand to pretty much anything. At only 35 years old Synyster has written some of the most beautifully intricate melodies ever created, and infused his metal stylings with jazz, classical, avant-garde and flamenco.

6. Kirk Hammett

Kirk Hammett joined Metallica at arguably the pivotal point of their career, filling the shoes of future Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. Metallica’s debut album ‘Kill ‘Em All’ was released shortly afterwards, and became one of the most groundbreaking records of its era. In the wake of “Kill ‘Em All’ came ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘…And Justice For All’, ‘The Black Album’ and ‘St. Anger’, and Kirk Hammett delivered time and time again with some of the most epic riffs and shimmering solo’s in the history of guitar music.

5. John Frusciante

Another perfect replacement, John Frusciante gave The Red Hot Chili Peppers the small nudge that shifted them from freaky p-funk outsiders to one of the biggest bands on the planet. Frusciante’s powerfully emotive ‘all or nothing’ style of guitar playing separates him from many of the more conservative modern guitarists, and much like Hendrix before him – you can feel both love and pain in every in every single note.

4. Eddie Van Halen



There are few musicians who look like they’re having as much fun whilst playing as Eddie Van Halen. There are even fewer who have had such a profound impact on guitar music. EVH popularised tapping, dive bombs, volume swells and the use of artificial harmonics in metal. He also created some of the most memorable riffs and guitar solo’s in an otherwise desolate decade for guitar based rock. This guy could make you dance, make you watch in awe, and generally melt your face off.

3. Johnny Marr

Another hero of the 80s, Johnny Marr is one of the true guitar wizards of his generation. Not everyone may agree with Morrissey’s political statements or unique voice, but pick any Smiths song and your guaranteed to find some incredible guitar playing. With his fast paced rockabilly style, Johnny Marr has inspired almost every modern indie guitarist; however, not one can play quite like he can.

2. Slash

From the very first few seconds of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, rock fans knew immediately that a new king had arisen. Slash seemed to arrive as a ready made guitar god; a killer look, undeniable confidence in his playing, and a mastery of both tone and melody. Total Guitar voted ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ the greatest guitar solo ever written, and you’d struggle to argue with them.

1. Eric Clapton



One of the only players who can hold a candle to the great Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton has enjoyed one of the most prolific careers in the history of popular music. From his early work with The Yardbirds and Cream, to his iconic Derek and The Dominos years, and more recently his roots blues records, Clapton is perhaps the finest guitarist the UK has ever produced.

Now at the age of 72, Slowhand is still creating some of the best guitar jams of the last few years. His most recent album ‘I Still Do’ (2016) peaked at number one in five different countries worldwide, further enforcing that age old sentiment… Clapton is God.

Think we’ve left anyone out? Leave us a comment with your suggestions 🙂 

Photos: Getty

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