Rush might be one of the more contentious bands here. Half of the people will say they’re the best ever, and the other half will say they barely make music. However, saying Lifeson isn’t a world-class guitarist is just plain wrong. He’s the only founding member of Rush that is still in the band, and he’s at or near the top spot in every rock guitarist poll.
Not only can he play sick solos or stirring classical pieces, but he can also play the mandola, the mandolin, the bouzouki, and more. Most rock guitarists these days will at least call Lifeson a genius.
Born Darrell Lance Abbot in 1966 and going by his stage name Dimebag, Darrell was a guitarist for both Pantera and Damageplan, both of which he co-founded with his brother. Regularly regarded as one of the heavy metal greats with the guitar – sometimes even the best – Darrell was one of the founders of the groove metal movement.
The album “Cowboys from Hell” from Pantera was first called “power groove,” which used the heavy energy of thrash metal such as Metallica but slowed it down. Like many on this list, Darrell left the mortal coil too early, in 2004.
While we'd all love this guy's real name to be Wylde, he was actually born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt and would change his name to Zachary Phillip Wylde. As a guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and one of the founders of the heavy metal band Black Label Society, Wylde's guitar credentials are stellar. He was even good enough at shredding and chugging to fill in during Pantera shows for Dimebag Darrell after his death.
Want to know how he got so good? Practice. According to him, he would get home from high school and practice pretty much until he left for school the next day.
First off, it's pronounced “Eeng-vay.” Second, you might already know that if you're a fan of fast and ferocious guitar music. Well-known for his unique (at the time) form of neoclassic playing style combined with heavy metal, Malmsteen came to us from Sweden. Unlike many of the shredders on this list, Yngwie made his name by just putting his name on his music instead of working inside a band.
During the forty-plus years he's been active, he's put out twenty-two studio albums. He's been in a number of bands, and his fingers are a blur of scales and eye-popping technical precision.
That's right, it's the man himself. Many might know him more because his name is on millions of guitars worldwide, but there's a big reason for that. He was an amazingly talented guitarist who pushed music forward every time he started strumming, but his accomplishments have somewhat been covered by his design and construction of the modern electric guitar.
Thanks to that, of course, pretty much everybody else on this list was able to do what they do best. He was active for a long, long time, too – from 1928 all the way until his death in 2009.