200 + 1 Guitarists – by Mike Overly

October 30, 2014

Guitar ImageGuitar is such an amazing instrument if for no other reason than it is found in virtually every genre and style of music. This list of 200 guitarists proves that!

Simply stated, genre is a category and style is a sub-category. For example, rock is a genre and heavy metal is a style. The following 200 acoustic and electric guitarists are included on this list because of their importance in the world of music and guitar. Importances which include: innovation, influence, impact on other players, respect from other players, as well as legendary status, notoriety and fame. They are included here because of their creativity, technical prowess, versatility, and depth of musical knowledge. All of these listed guitarists express tremendous performing skills and some also exhibit remarkable composing talent. They all share vitality, originality and energy, and most exhibit heightened improvisational skills. The overall effect these 200 guitarist have had on shaping the world of music and guitar is reason enough for you to give them a listen!
The order of this list is arbitrary and not hierarchical. In other words, there is no number one guitarist because no guitarist is better than another. They are just different. Said another way: just like snowflakes, no two guitarist are alike, each one is unique.

1. Andres Segovia (classical)
2. Django Reinhardt (jazz)
3. Chet Atkins, (country)
4. Jimi Hendrix (rock)
5. Paco de Lucia (flamenco)
6. Agustin Barrios Mangore (classical)
7. Ramon Montoya (flamenco)
8. Julian Bream (classical)
9. Charlie Christian (jazz)
10. B.B. King (blues)
11. T-Bone Walker (blues)
12. Merle Travis (country)
13. Wes Montgomery (jazz)
14. John Williams (classical)
15. Michael Hedges (contemporary finger-style)
16. Lonnie Johnson (blues)
17. Eddie Lang (jazz)
18. Lenny Breau (jazz)
19. John McLaughlin (fusion, jazz)
20. Joe Pass (jazz)
21. Sabicas (flamenco)
22. Blind Blake (ragtime, blues)
23. Robert Johnson (blues)
24. John Fahey (folk finger-style)
25. Davey Graham (folk finger-style)
26. Doc Watson (folk)
27. Danny Gatton (rockabilly)
28. Adrian Legg (contemporary finger-style)
29. Narciso Yepes (classical)
30. Laurindo Almeida (brazilian)
31. Les Paul (jazz)
32. Christopher Parkening (classical)
33. Pat Metheny (fusion, jazz)
34. Sol Ho’opi’i (hawaiian slide guitar)
35. Jeff Beck (rock)
36. Eddie Van Halen (rock)
37. Ritchie Blackmore (rock)
38. Alexandre Lagoya and Ida Presti (classical)
39. Phil Keaggy (christian rock, contemporary finger-style)
40. Allan Holdsworth (fusion)
41. Baden Powell (brazilian)
42. Nino Ricardo (flamenco)
43. George Van Eps (jazz)
44. Jim Hall (jazz)
45. Ed Bickert (jazz)
46. Kenny Burrell (jazz)
47. Franco (soukous, rumba)
48. Carlos Paredes (fado)
49. Freddie Green (jazz)
50. Eric Clapton (rock, blues)
51. Jimmy Page (rock)
52. Albert King (blues)
53. Hank Garland (country, jazz)
54. Chuck Berry (rock)
55. Tommy Emmanuel (contemporary finger-style)
56. Leo Kottke (contemporary finger-style)
57. Tony Iommi (rock)
58. King Bennie Nawahi (hawaiian)
59. Enver Izmailov (fusion)
60. Stanley Jordan (jazz, fusion)
61. Robert Fripp (avant-garde, rock)
62. Oscar Moore (jazz)
63. Ernest Ranglin (ska, jazz)
64. Gabby Pahinui (hawaiian slack key)
65. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (indian)
66. Johnny Smith (jazz)
67. Roy Buchanan (country blues/rock)
68. Bill Frisell (fusion, jazz)
69. Manuel Barrueco (classical)
70. Kazuhito Yamashita (classical)
71. Jimmy Bryant (country, jazz)
72. Duane Allman (rock, blues)
73. James Burton (rockabilly)
74. Freddie King (blues)
75. Elmore James (blues)
76. Earl Hooker (blues)
77. Juanjo Dominguez (tango)
78. Roberto Grela (tango)
79. Mother Maybelle Carter (country)
80. Stevie Ray Vaughan (blues)
81. Steve Vai (rock)
82. Yngwie Malmsteen (rock)
83. Steve Morse (rock)
84. Eric Johnson (rock)
85. Tony Rice (bluegrass)
86. Bola Sete (brazilian)
87. Richard Thompson ( folk)
88. John Renbourn ( folk)
89. Bert Jansch ( folk)
90. Buddy Guy (blues)
91. Steve Cropper (r&b, blues)
92. Robert White/Joe Messina/Eddie Willis (r&b)
93. Scotty Moore (rockabilly)
94. Barney Kessel (jazz)
95. Tal Farlow (jazz)
96. Jimmy Raney (jazz)
97. Howard Roberts (jazz)
98. George Benson (jazz, soul)
99. Debashish Bhattacharya (indian)
100. Ry Cooder (blues, slide)
101. Roy Nichols (country)
102. Brian May (rock)
103. Carlos Santana (rock)
104. David Gilmour (rock)
105. Jan Akkerman (rock)
106. Larry Carlton (fusion)
107. Larry Coryell (fusion, jazz)
108. Al DiMeola (fusion)
109. Steve Howe (rock)
110. Shawn Lane (fusion)
111. Joe Satriani (rock)
112. Rev. Gary Davis (ragtime, blues)
113. Derek Bailey (avant-garde)
114. Sonny Sharrock (jazz, avant-garde)
115. Sonny Greenwich (jazz, avant-garde)
116. James Blood Ulmer (jazz, avant-garde)
117. Pepe Romero (classical)
118. Angel Romero (classical)
119. Carlos Montoya (flamenco)
120. Martin Taylor (jazz)
121. Alirio Diaz (classical)
122. David Russell (classical)
123. Sandy Bull (folk)
124. Koo Nimo (highlife)
125. Paulinho Nogueira (brazilian)
126. Grant Green (jazz, soul)
127. Diblo Dibala (soukous)
128. Doctor Nico (soukous)
129. Paul Galbraith (classical)
130. Mario Escudero (flamenco)
131. Joe Maphis (country)
132. Luiz Bonfa (brazilian)
133. Pat Martino (jazz)
134. Steve Hackett (rock)
135. John Abercrombie (fusion)
136. Ralph Towner (fusion)
137. John Scofield (jazz, fusion)
138. Otis Rush (blues)
139. Melchor de Marchena (flamenco)
140. Brent Mason (country)
141. Oscar Aleman (jazz)
142. Goran Sollscher (classical)
143. Eliot Fisk (classical)
144. Marcel Dadi (contemporary finger-style)
145. Pierre Bensusan (contemporary finger-style)
146. Bob Brozman (blues, hawaiian, folk)
147. Ledward Ka’apana (hawaiian slack key)
148. Pete Townshend (rock)
149. Robbie Basho (folk finger-style)
150. Manolo Sanlucar (flamenco)
151. Serranito (flamenco)
152. Albert Lee (country)
153. Sharon Isbin (classical)
154. Randy Rhoads (rock)
155. Alex Lifeson (rock)
156. Gary Moore (rock, blues)
157. Mike Bloomfield (blues, rock)
158. Mark Knopfler (rock)
159. Johnny Guitar Watson (blues)
160. Carlos Barbosa-Lima (brazilian, classical)
161. Charlie Byrd (jazz, brazilian)
162. Lonnie Mack (rock, blues)
163. Dick Dale (rock)
164. Link Wray (rock)
165. EK Nyame (highlife)
166. Big Bill Broonzy (blues)
167. Roy Lanham (country)
168. Scotty Anderson (country)
169. Jimmy Nolen (funk)
170. Clarence White (country)
171. Jerry Reed (country)
172. Roy Clark (country)
173. Grady Martin (country)
174. Albert Collins (blues)
175. George Harrison (rock)
176. Keith Richards (rock)
177. Eldon Shamblin (western swing)
178. Johnny Winter (blues)
179. Jerry Garcia (rock)
180. Henry Kaiser (avant-garde)
181. Eugene Chadbourne (avant-garde)
182. Alex Konadu (highlife)
183. Marty Friedman (rock)
184. Uli Jon Roth (rock)
185. Michael Schenker (rock)
186. Preston Reed (contemporary finger-style)
187. Herb Ellis (jazz)
188. Mike Stern (jazz, fusion)
189. Junior Brown (country)
190. Terje Rypdal (fusion)
191. Blind Lemon Jefferson (blues)
192. Alvin Lee (rock)
193. Peter Green (blues, rock)
194. Eddie Hazel (rock)
195. Vinnie Moore (rock)
196. Fred Frith (avant-garde)
197. Vicente Amigo (flamenco)
198. Martin Simpson (celtic)
199. Tommy Tedesco (jazz, classical, rock)
200. Blind Willie Johnson (blues)
201. Frank Zappa (psychedelic rock)

This list just scratches the surface, so, consider it as a place to begin. Remember, there are many more excellent players for you to discover. And who knows, maybe next time your name will be on the list.’til then, play and have fun no matter what genre or style you play… I’ll be listening!

Image by Lindi Levison

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