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.
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.
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.
Though he's remembered most for his way with words and his lyrics, Simon wasn't too bad at the guitar when it came right down to it. He grew up during the infancy of rock and roll, and then he joined the folk revival during the sixties, becoming one of its biggest stars.
He studied under the acoustic master Bert Jansch and was always looking for new ways to upgrade his own playing. Even at the age of seventy, he could wow people. His songs “Dazzling Blue” and “Kathy's Song” are the best ways to hear his expertise in action.
If you're a fan of big, loud riffs that get in your face and get stuck in your ears, you have Dave Davies to thank. He was the guitarist for the Kinks, and when he was at the tender age of seventeen, he recorded “You Really Got Me,” one of the first proto-metal singles.
He was not going wild on the guitar, and he even achieved the unique distortion on “You Really Got Me” by slicing an amp speaker with a razor. Who else would do such a thing all the way back in 1966? The way he says it, nobody else.