Hype: The 10 Most Over-rated Guitarists of All Time

I’m a guitar player. This may come as a shock to some folks who have declared that I’m “obviously” not a musician because I didn’t recognize the brilliance of their favorite shitty band. But I’ve been playing guitar for about half of my life now and so it follows logically that I would pay attention to guitars when I hear them in songs. A while back, Rolling Stone made a list of the 100 greatest guitarists ever; I assume it included basically everyone who has ever picked up a guitar (seriously, how can you possibly determine that someone is exactly the 69th best guitar player ever?). I like to work in smaller numbers, to single out that which is truly exceptional.

But that’s not what I want to do today. Because it’s unbearably hot in L.A. right now and I’m feeling grumpy. So I thought I’d share with you a list of guitar players whose praises are oversung to the point that I just ignore people when they tell me how good anyone on this list is. Peter Frampton is not included on this list because I don’t even consider him a guitar player. He is a joke about guitar players and his “contributions” to musical history should be forgotten as soon as possible. So now then, the Bollocks! list of the ten most over-hyped guitar players ever. In no particular order:

1. Joe Satriani. I’ll admit that, when I was starting out playing the guitar, I wanted to play that shred shit like nobody’s business. Because I thought that would make me a master of the guitar. But then I got into writing songs. Joe Satriani never did. He can play a lot of notes very fast and sometimes very slow, but nothing he plays has much in the way of meaning. He’s the Kenny G of the electric guitar. Every crunchy E chord that Johnny Ramone played – ever – has more soul in it than Satriani’s entire “creative” output. Guess what, shred guys: you still only have 12 notes and nobody but you and your asshole guitarist buddies cares how fast you can play them.

2. Steve Vai. Like Satriani, I used to listen to Steve Vai’s stuff like a dedicated student. Until I realized that what I was listening to was, though technically superior to Joe Satriani, pretty much meaningless bullshit. This guy used to hang out with Frank Zappa, but he lacks Zappa’s musical sense of adventure (unless you call briefly joining Whitesnake a sense of adventure). Vai and Satriani are in the same overrated boat because all they do is try to show you how good they are at the guitar; Robert Johnson (no slouch as a guitar player himself) was trying to show you how to outrun the devil and maybe squeeze his lemon until the juice ran down his leg. So who are you gonna listen to?

3. Eddie Van Halen. Am I invoking a thorny wrath (thank you, Patton Oswalt… by the way, I had a dream the other night that I met Patton Oswalt at some kind of convention and, along with every autograph he signed, he was giving people mix-tapes he had made especially for them. On cassettes. The only thing I remember being on the cassettes was Minor Threat, which leads me to believe that the rest of the tape must’ve been awesome) by attacking these long-cherished guitar gods? Who cares? Eddie Van Halen is most often praised for his ability to play hammer-ons really fast and for being a pioneer of “finger-tapping” which sounds a lot more difficult than it is. Come over to my house and I’ll show you how to do it. In like ten minutes. Whatever technical prowess Van Halen has, he has always been in a band that writes bad songs that are broken up by his banal, noodly/tappy solos. When the Smithsonian installs an exhibit on the decline of the American Empire, the whole thing will be set to a running loop of that Crystal Pepsi commercial that featured “Right Now.”

4. Jimmy Page. “Stairway to Heaven” is often suggested as the song which features the best guitar solo ever (by people who must, on some level, love shitty beer almost as much as they hate good music). Led Zeppelin had one of the best rhythm sections in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, but Jimmy Page is absolutely unexceptional as a guitar player. He murdered his share of Robert Johnson songs, sure, but he should be jailed for that, not praised. I’ve never seen what the fuss is about Jimmy Page and I guess I never will. His loss.

5. John Mayer. I used to dismiss John Mayer as a bad songwriter who was a good guitar player. But I’ve since changed my mind. John Mayer isn’t a good guitar player because he’s more like a guitarist impersonator. Usually, he likes to impersonate Stevie Ray Vaughan, who liked to impersonate Jimi Hendrix (easy, SRV fans! You’ll notice Stevie Ray is not on this list. I actually like a lot of his music). So let’s tell the truth: John Mayer isn’t so much good at playing the guitar as he is bad at impersonating Stevie Ray Vaughan.

6. Yngwie Malmsteen. Often regarded as a complete asshole (and rightly so. I’ve read a few interviews where this dipshit compares himself to Mozart), Yngwie Malmsteen plays notes faster than Satriani and maybe even Vai and every so often, he recruits hilariously bad vocalists to sing lyrics inspired by a lifetime of playing Dungeons & Dragons with the world’s least imaginative DM (that’s Dungeon Master, to those who pretend they don’t know. Let’s face it: if you read Bollocks!, there’s a better than good chance that you have played D&D or know someone who does). He’s sort of the Meatloaf of the electric guitar, minus the sense of humor.

7. The Edge. This guy has used the exact same annoying effects since I was in swaddling clothes, he never does anything really compelling in any of U2’s songs (I like some U2 songs, but a lot of them are greater than the sum of their parts, especially given that The Edge is one of those parts), and yet people think he’s brilliant. He’s boring! Fuck this guy.

8. Tom Morello. Uses too many effects. Has never been in a good band. Has, in fact, been in two really awful bands (I can think of three he’s been in, so I’ll let you do the math). Enough said.

9. Zakk Wylde. I guess Wylde gets points for loyally staying by Ozzy Osbourne’s side during many of the most embarrassing parts of Ozzy’s solo career (which is to say, almost all of it), but it strikes me that Wylde doesn’t do anything that Slash doesn’t do better, except for appear in the occasional episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

10. Eric Clapton. I’ve rethought my stance on Eric Clapton throughout my life. I used to think he was pretty good when he was still on drugs. But then I remembered he recorded his embarrassing cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sherriff” while still snorting his weight in blow every day. No, the fact is that Eric Clapton was a decent-at-best guitar player there for a while who later morphed into a parody not just of himself but of all the music he loves as well. He didn’t do anything Jimi Hendrix didn’t do way better (although this is true of pretty much everyone who plays guitar, myself and all my guitar heroes included) and I think, if Hendrix had lived longer, we would probably never have heard of Eric Clapton – and then we could have all been spared “My Father’s Eyes.”


135 thoughts on “Hype: The 10 Most Over-rated Guitarists of All Time

  1. I can’t claim any real guitar knowledge, but I can assert that of the dudes I know of, I think they get a pass because of the “greater than the sum of their parts” nature of their bands. Which is to say the other band members are probably pulling more than their weight, and the public don’t differentiate; I think both Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page probably owe their careers mostly to David Lee Roth and Robert Plant’s front-man reputations, respectively. I mean, Roth-era Van Halen albums are basically a hilarious self-parody, and you can tell Plant spent most of his time reading Lord of the Rings and trying to write songs about what would eventually grace the covers of Dio albums.

    I think “Meatloaf of the electric guitar” is way too generous to Malmsteen–he always sounds to me like a speed-metal guitarist who took some valium. The Edge has one specific gimmick or sound, but that just about describes 90% of guitarists–again I’d say the rest of the band takes it. I think John Meyer is a master of not-giving-a-shit just enough to ply his talents with as little-effort-as-possible to making music people will consume (mostly because of his looks).

    But Eric Clapton… that’s a toughy. Sure, I think his music has turned to caramelized sugar–but I’ll probably always love White Room, and the Derek and the Domino’s cut of Layla.

    As for Satriani and Vai, I wouldn’t say Kenny G, because they’re too up-tempo for that (check out Tommy Emanuel for that [thanks Dad!])but their music is the definitive example of what Corinne calls “noodling.”

    • Jimmy page probably did more for guitar technique, sound engineering and their applications to song writing than any single person in music history. The drum sounds he created over 40 years ago are the samples in every drum machine and sampler sold today.

      “Sum greater than his parts” is a great analogy. I would apply that to The Edge, Alex Lifeson, and any guitarist whos band as a whole was a global juggernaut, making them look “better” than they really were.

    • Joe Satch – Surfing With The Alien is one of the greatest guitar albums of all-time, not to mention, he taught Vai!

      Steve Vai – Eat Em’ & Smile, Passion & Warfare, Bad Horsie, Building The Church, Crossroads Guitar Duel, Flex-able and he played with Zappa. Are you serious??

      Eddie Van Halen – Do I even need to make a list??? Eddie’s rhythms are more complex than his solos. Enough said.

      Jimmy Page -The Guitarist from Led Zeppelin!!! Masterpiece after masterpiece. The man responsible for John Bonham’s drum sound. The man who revolutionized sound engineering. One of the greatest song writers in Rock History.

      John Mayer – Horrible at everything. This guy can only be popular in this day & age of garbage, talentless music. If John Mayer lived in the 60′s (during the Woodstock era) he’d be doing nothing. Can you imagine John Mayer play Woodstock with the other acts?; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Hendrix, Richie Havens, Country Joe & The Fish, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone. It would be a LAUGHING-STOCK!!!

      Yngwie Malmsteen – The man that took Randy Rhoads’ philosophy of mixing Classical minor progressions and brought it to a new level, which Randy might have been able to accomplish had he lived. Rising Force and Marching Out are at the top of the Greatest Guitar Album heap. There is not one wasted note on either of Yngwie’s first two albums. He spawned a generation of guitarists. There is no way Yngwie should be on this list.

      The Edge – One of the most Sonically innovative guitarist/song writers of our generation. With one whole set worth of immortal Hits, U2 can sell out any stadium in any country, as many nights as they like. Any guitarist that can do that should not be considered “over-rated”. Period!

      Tom Morello – Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Tom Morello. Their individual “technique” and approach are milestones in the history of the guitar. Everyone falls in between those 3 guys. They are the only guitarists that actually invented sound through technique.

      Zakk Wylde – Came after Jake E. Lee and wasn’t as good as Jake. I can see how Zakk is on this list, although I am a Zakk fan. Gus G. is better than Zakk.

      Eric Clapton – The fake blues man from England. Plays like a whitebread stiff. One of the most over rated guitarists in history. If Clapton didn’t rip-off Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” and capitalize on his son’s death, no one would care about him. Watch Clapton playing Robert Johnson’s “Rambling on My Mind” on Youtube. No soul, no groove, no rhythm. Robert Johnson is rolling over in his grave!

      1. Eric Clapton
      2. Jeff Beck
      3. SRV
      4. Zakk
      5. Dave Mustaine
      6. John Mayer
      7. Dimebag
      8. Kerry King
      9. Marty Friedman
      10. Brian May (Freddy was Queen)

  2. I don’t agree with half of this list — but at least you didn’t include Slash.

  3. What? No Buckethead?

  4. Oh dear… How dare you pay out Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Zac Wilde and Yngwie Malmsteen. All the other ones are perfectly valid but those five… no, my dear friend. You criticize these amazingly proficient guitarists for being unable to write songs. This is absolutely ridiculous. Their genre of music is specifically designed to be impressive and intellectually constructed- just like classical or jazz music! These five aforementioned guitarists practiced like you wouldn’t belive to get as good as they are- and they showcase their unbelievable skill on the guitar to unappreciating people like yourself. These guys are clearly NOT overrated.

    With all of the other guitarists you have listed, you are correct (with the possible excpetion of Morello). They are all hugely overrated and are otherwise terrible guitar players. Especially “slowhand” Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. These guys are very inaccurate in their picking and their soloing is lacking in originality and inventiveness.

    Still, you would be an utter moron to criticise the others. Malmsteen is UTTERLY brilliant. He is just as talented as pretty much any baroque/classical composer- yes, you read that correctly. But if we compare him to say Sergei Rachmaninov or Frederic Chopin , Malmsteen gets his ass kicked! But still, Malmsteen is infinitely able on the guitar and is probably a trillion times better than you- so DON’T CRITICISE HIM!

    You really should have included Keith Richards, Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix on this list (there are others). These guys were admittedly influential but are all VERY overrated and otherwise sucked at guitar.

    • See, the way my music blog works is it is criticism. So criticizing musicians is kinda what I do. You’re entitled to your opinion, even your opinion that I’m a moron for not liking the bloodless, lifeless crap that Yngwie Malmsteen plays, but you can’t make an objective case for musical superiority. Music is a subjective art form (like all art forms) and my subjective opinion is that Yngwie Malmsteen sucks eggs. Your subjective opinion (presented here as objective fact) is that he doesn’t suck eggs. So be it. I don’t care how much any of these nitwits practices (I’m sure they’ve practiced a lot); I care that they make music that resonates with me and the fact is that I’ve taken shits that resonate with me more than every single Joe Satriani song combined.

      • First of all, you can quite easily make a case for musical superiority. In that you are superior to another guitar player if you are capable to play more technically advanced material to him/her. You say that you cannot make a case for musical superiority. If this was true than you must think that someone who just picked up a guitar the other day for the first time is just as good as your guitar hero(in my case Yngwie Malmsteen). Therefore, we must measure musical superiority with actual ability- rather like sport.

        Secondly, the “subjective” element to music only applies to whether or not you like the style of music being played. This is why there are so many different genres out there (and so many talentless dickheads getting famous). You can, for instance, admit someone is good and not enjoy their music. You quite obviously don’t enjoy the music of malmsteen or the others- yet you are under the delusion that they are bad players.

        So, it seems we must resort to this: if there is not case for musical superiority then why the reference to Peter Frampton at the beginning? You obviously think he is inferior to other guitarists. Also, surely you don’t think the Jonas Brothers are just as good as Malmsteen? Or that Johnny Ramone is as good as Joe Satch? Sure they may “resonate” more to you but they are most certainly NOT as good.

        I know for me that there are most certainly guitarists that I will admit are either bad
        or only average who I enjoy. Kirk Hammet is one. Jimi Hendrix is another- as is Angus Young.

        In a nutshell, I perfectly agree with you about having your own opinion on the music of a guitarist- it may or may not appeal to you. However, saying that a guitarist is either good or bad IS objective fact. Someone’s ability on any musical instrument is easily measurable. For instance, don’t you think that Malmsteen could play slower and more “bluesier” if he wanted? Malmsteen could easily play what Angus Young plays- he simply chooses to play more technically advanced material. Conversely, Angus Young does not have the ability to play what Malmsteen plays.

        Finally, you may prefer AC/DC to Yngwie Malmsteen but that does not mean that you can say that Malmsteen (or the other 4 I mentioned earlier) sucks. Period.

      • it seems like you criticize some guitarists just for shock value knowing fully well your a douche for even suggesting some of them are over rated.
        its ok to have an opinion when its based on some form of REALITY OR COMMON SENSE
        as previously mentioned,if you lack the skill to perform even 5% like someone you criticize ,
        your just shooting your mouth off with the intent of pissing people off for no reason other than your a jealous talentless hipster .its like someone hurt your feelings and you want to lash out by being a dick.
        butthurt by a recent breakup with your boyfriend?
        lost your job,best friend told you to fuck off,what is it?
        what drives you to be the asshole you have become
        PS:back up your “opinions” with something like a legitimate reason for your thoughts,not “i take a shit…whatever” it just reflects your immaturity.

      • I’m not criticizing anyone for shock value; I don’t find this list particularly shocking. I am, however, baffled that a blog post I wrote nearly half a decade ago still attracts people who read it of their own free will and demand that I explain my subjective taste to them in some way that satisfies their (very subjective) definition of reason. I don’t like the things you like. I didn’t force you to come to my blog and call me names and if someone else did, you should be angry with them, not me.
        Here’s the thing: plenty of people write things on the internet that I disagree with. They don’t like the bands I like or whatever. Here’s what I do about it: I ignore them. Someone else publicly disliking something I like does not diminish my enjoyment one bit because I am mature enough to not give a shit what other people think of the things I like. Why do you care what I think of these guitar players?

        Finally, for someone who claims to value common sense, you kind of undermine your ability to question my maturity when you call me names.
        I find it especially shameful and sad that you tried to insult me by suggesting that I am a jilted homosexual, as if I would be insulted by you thinking I’m gay. Take the homophobic shit elsewhere.

      • It’s always hard for me to read reviews of Yngwie Malmsteen’s albums, because they always tend to fall into two categories: first, the aspiring guitar players who put more emphasis on Malmsteen’s skill with his instrument than his actual music and whose sense of hero worship for Malmsteen leads them to venerate his recordings based purely on the speed of his soling (“if you like REAL guitar playing, check this out!”); and second, the pretentious no talent clowns like chorpenning who feel compelled to dismiss anything he does based purely on the fact that he’s Yngwie Malmsteen (“he plays with no feel, it’s all just mindless speed and fireworks,” etc.)

        Neither perception of Malmsteen’s work is very accurate, and both are wrong for the simple reason that there was much more to Malmsteen’s early work than mere guitar pyrotechnics and flashy speed-of-light arpeggiated solos — a fact that his worshippers don’t seem to care about and that his detractors refuse to acknowledge. Malmsteen does, in fact, play with a good deal of feel and emotion on his first three albums. His love and enthusiasm for making music show through in everything he plays here. And of course, at this point in his career, Malmsteen was still a guitar virtuoso of the highest order.

        Even though Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had been the first heavy metal guitarist to incorporate classical scales into a hard rock style, and Ozzy Osbourne’s late right-hand man Randy Rhoads had perfected what would come to be known as the neoclassical style of heavy metal guitar, Malmsteen built on their work, creating a fully-formed and innovative style. Make no mistake about it: Yngwie Malmsteen is an exceptionally talented guitarist.

        But what both Malmsteen’s fans and his critics fail to realize is that there’s a lot more to look at in his music than just instrumental prowess. “Rising Force” is made up of genuinely good songs. “Black Star” is one of the all-time great rock instrumentals; it’s one of the few Malmsteen instrumental composition that’s actually built around a signature riff and contains a distinguishable solo (and what a solo it is!), rather than the entire song being the solo. The same can be said for “Evil Eye” and “Little Savage.” “Far Beyond the Sun” and “Icarus’ Dream Suite,” by contrast, feature Malmsteen using a technique that Joe Satriani would often employ: namely, letting his guitar take on the role of “lead vocalist.”

      • Hey, I like how you deal with the pinheads (head injuries). Who equates technical ability with music? An idiot. “how dare you talk badly of my gods”. Name calling, losertown… Decent post. People are so fucking stupid and sure as hell cant take criticism!

    • You’re an ignorant asshole. Have you ever tried playing some of the shit Malmsteen, Satriani, or Vai has played? I never even considered playing the guitar before I heard Marching Out. Yngwie Malmsteen and Zakk Wylde were my two influences when I started. And about artistic talent. Yngwie comes up with most of his solos on the spot. He’s stated in an interview that you’ll never see a concert where he plays the same solos. That takes artistic talent. And I say he has the right to compare himself to classical composers because they and Deep Purple were his main influences. And this is off topic but where you said he had talentless singers, both Tim “Ripper” Owens and Jeff Scott Soto are both extremely talented. Tim Owens has a huge vocal range and Jeff Soto has awesome powerful vocals, perfect for Rising Force.

      • Yes i have played Malmsteen before. Problem is I no longer care to play that style. A resonating tune is where it is at…not technicality.
        I am right now teaching a 9 year old to play guitar who is at basic level & this kid comes up with fantastic catchy riff that I who can play like Malmsteen just do not have the creativity.
        I would give up my technical ability in a heartbeat just to have a sliver of good music writing ability & play something on guitar that is juts nice sounding.

  5. Definitely agree with vai and satriani being the most boring players !! no feeling what so ever….i d’ont give a crap about their personality , I dont understand why do people say some guitar players have shitty attitude !! well who gives a shit , you arent gonna be friends with them or fuck them are you ? just listen to their fuqin music…Yngwie definitely has loads more feeling than the above mentioned players and deserves to be rated very highly for his contribution to neo classical metal….

    • “I’ma let you finish, but-” (heh)

      Again, I can’t claim to know too much about music and less about the guitar, but one thing I think I can claim about Malmsteen is that he’s what is often called a virtuoso; by which I mean he has the highest degree of technical ability in being able to get the guitar to reproduce what may seem to be an impossible arrangement of notes. In the arts this technical ability is sometimes referred to as “virtuosity” and the distinction here is that we are talking about technical, rather than artistic, ability.

      I believe the author of this blog is making this distinction in regards to Vai, Satriani, and yes, Malmsteen, as men whose technical ability far outstrips their creative ability as composers; the ability to play a scale ridiculously quickly and accurately does not make one Mozart, nor does it enlighten anything about the human condition (aside from the fact that some people’s manual dexterity is better than others). Rather it is subtlety and nuance, in combination with great skill, that inform a master of craft.

      Now I know Matt’s no B.B King fan, but having seen B.B. King live in the 90’s, I can say that watching him play a simple chord showed more mastery than any song by Malmsteen, because of his ability to create an emotional meaning through inflection. Malmsteen (and Vai , Satriani, et al) plays like a machine designed to show you how impressively it can reproduce material that is difficult to play–there’s very little that’s human there.

      • Stated perfectly.

      • BB don’t play no chords! He doesn’t know any! He is a single note pentatonic minor master often chosing to play the same 4 frickin notes ad nauseum. He’s a legend though..

      • You’ve fucking lost your goddamned mind, bro. Or have you not hard FAR BEYOND THE SUN? Listen to the FEELING Yngwie plays with at 3:45 seconds. I specifically mention that because it so running over with soul even a deaf moron should be able to hear it. His touch, tone, vibrato, the way he slides into to notes, and obviously his alternate picking and sweep picking and chops altogether are su fucking perb.
        B.B King, pffft, I can play anything he ever did better, cleaner, more feeling, using my cock to fret the notes.

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  7. I think everyone who is criticizing malmsteen that he has no soul in playing…..you should listen dreaming and then think if any of your soulful guitar player can play accoustic guitar like that?????????

    • Exactly! Malmsteen can play so called “soulful” guitar better than any of the players that are actually known for it. Most people don’t understand that players who are virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert could easily play the slower stuff that BB King plays if they wanted to, but that does not work the other way around.

  8. haha this is exactly what I looking for when I went on the internet today and searched for asshole guitarists

  9. AHAAHAHAAHA. you’re almost 100% dead on. EVH is so overrated…his tapping is boring and easy. Check out Reb Beach’s tapping but he sounds like a typewriter. EVH playing has not matured in 40 yrs….whammy bar has saved his life (in the eyes/ears of the assuming)
    Clapton rocked in Cream and then forget it….wasted his time with coke, bad tone and even worse songs. No one ever realized he didnt write sh1t on any of his albums.
    Tom Morello-I do like and think he’s a great songwriter and player IMHO.

    John Mayer-I’ll NEVER get why he’s so revered? Great amps, etc behing him but he cant sing or play. I can play w/more soul, feeling drunk.

    Vai/Satch/Malm…spot on w/the worst being Vai. For so much musical ability, technique he cant write a melody let alone a good song. the DVD where he is in Minneapolis was a complete atrocity. He was so out in his own world while his band played some nonsense behind him. Satch-I like Crush of Love and Summer Song. As the saying goes you can put a room full of monkeys behing a typewriter and eventually you’ll get Shakespeare. YJM…love the axe and amp. he’s a jerkoff.
    The Edge-HMMMMMM I dont agree w/you b/c I like what he’s done. He’s not John McLaughlin by any stretch but I’ll take him over many in your list.

    Zakk Wylde-name is fucking ridiculous and so are the interviews I read on him. and you’re fr New Jersey NOT Tennesee so stop being a confederate wannabe. and he should thank God for the minor pentatonic b/c w/o that he’d be washing dishes at a waffle house.

    Jimmy Page-Love him but I can see your point. STH solo is sloppy but the ending section after it rocks.
    I’ll take sloppy w/feeling over sounding like a typewriter.

    my boy Alex F’g Lifeson. Songs up the AZZ, GREAT Tone and feeling. La Villa…is great plus the new stuff is very very good. He’s my man and I’ll go down swinging to defend him (okay maybe not the late 80’s phase of thinner than pasta tone but he aint walking on water) anywho….he’s a master and is my favorite.



  10. I agree with most of the list. You might add Kirk Hammett. However, it would be interesting to see your list of the best guitarists.

  11. Ahhh another person who’s only listened to 3 songs by Joe Satriani. Always With Me, Always with You? Nothing of meaning? All of his songs have a story behind them. “I get tortured emotionally on stage because I know the purpose of each and every song and how it relates…” Obviously you’ve only listened to his popular “crazy and wild” songs which i agree have little meaning and emotion. But, all the other songs, give a listen. Every song is soooo emotional and awesome. Shred? Joe Satriani really isn’t much of a shredder. Once again proves that you haven’t listened to many songs by him. Even if, atleast he can shred unlike wannabe’s like for instance John Frusciante. He can’t even perform cleanly live. Joe shouldn’t be on this list and someone like ^ should replace him. Also Jimmy Page? Seriously…ridiculous post. But I guess it’s just an opinion.

    • You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re only gonna look foolish assuming you know the basis for my opinion. See, I’ve actually owned several Joe Satriani albums, including Surfing with the Alien, The Extremist, Flying in a Blue Dream, Crystal Planet, Engines of Creation, Joe Satriani, and Time Machine (which I owned on cassette). That I came to different conclusions about that music does not “prove” that I’ve only listened to a few songs by him. And yes, “also Jimmy Page.” Over. Rated.

      • I did not own that many of Satriani, just 2 albums, but came to exact conclusion as i said before “the novelty if their impressive technical guitar skills wore off”.
        Jimmy Page, I would play most of Les Zepp riff & solos before i was 18, so technically Jimmy easy to play & infact you tube has lots of kids (some 8 yrs old) playing his guitar parts to Led Zepp songs.
        But to me Jimmy did have a number of catchy riffs & solos that were likable. He is no where near technical ability of the Satriani, Vai, Maometeen breed, but Jimmy is more a guitarist that pays attention to the actually tune/riff he wants his guitar to sound & not just play to show of physical guitar playing prowness

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  13. It is very interesting to note how many people have stated that guys like Malmsteen and Vai actually lack the ability to create a slow melody. Anyone with half a brain would realise that this is utter crap. They have developed the theoretical/musical knowledge to do so if they desired. The case is, however, that they have chosen to perform showcasing their ability as virtuosos. This music is not easy to swallow for the masses (like the easily accessible stuff by guys like BB King) yet it displays FAR more musical ability. Also, it is truly astoundingly unbelievable how many imbeciles say stuff like “all they do is play fast” or “they can’t compose songs” or other such nonsense. In actuality, they play complex- not necessarily fast and their compositional skills are unparalleled. Consider how ridiculously easy it is as a guitarist to play with “feeling” (feeling, in the vocabulary of uneducated guitarists roughly translates to: the depiction of sanitised, watered down simplisic emotions) and compare it to the immense difficulty of conveying a myriad of different complex emotions with the use of higher-level musical theory.

    So, imagine if you were to ask BB King or Eric Clapton to utilise phrygian harmony compositionally or chuck some Harmonic Minor modal playing in front of Johnny Ramone. All their supposed feeling (sloppiness and inability) would go right out the window and they would literally do nothing. Yet, a virtuoso a la Paul Gilbert would eat it up for breakfast. People, do not think that just because you can interpret some sort of emotional catharsis from sloppy pentatonic scale rubbish means that those players are better musically. They are not. Have you ever considered that you simply don’t understand the immense complexity of the musically elite?

    • Dear Yngwie,

      You sure used a lot of words to suggest that people who disagree with you are stupid. In the whole history of human argument, no tactic has been less convincing. As for Paul Gilbert, he played guitar on “To Be With You,” one of the most insipid rock ballads ever recorded, which also employs the Arbitrary End-of-Song Key Change, the last refuge of lazy composers.

      Thanks for playing!

      • Well, that was easily the most pathetic and unjustified comeback argument I have ever seen. I would like to point out that I never suggested these people (who claim musical knowledge and have none) are stupid- merely that they have limited musical understanding. Hell, for all I know they could be rocket scientists. As for “to be with you”- well whoopdeedoo!! Him merely playing on that song does not take anything away from his ability as a player!! Also…..ha! Again, big whoop that the song has a key change at the end- he was merely conforming to the simplistic songwriting conventions of the Rock Ballad and you would be hopelessly deluded if you actually thought this reflected his true compositional ability.

      • Here again, Yngwie, you’re assuming people have no musical knowledge because they disagree with your taste in music. You have no way of knowing what others know about music and it’s downright rude to assume that you do.

      • Oh and by the way, you have not even attempted to disprove a single thing I have said- which leads me to believe that either you lack the capability or the conviction to do so. Me being able to effectively construct an argument (quoted by you as using a lot of words) does not take anything away from the valid points I have raised. So, I tend to wonder… What exactly is less convincing as an argument, me bringing up a series of points or you simply stating that me bringing up said points is “unconvincing”. Interesting.

  14. Not at all! This has nothing whatsoever to do with musical taste- you for instance assume that I like Yngwie Malmsteen. He is not even remotely close to my favourite guitarist. All I have done is acknowledged the plain, simple facts! I will admit that Yngwie could outplay and outcompose my guitar here any old day of the week. What touches my nerve immensely is when I hear people- with no tangible musical justification whatsoever say certain guitar players (BB King, Clapton- you know the ones) are musical masters! It may surprise you to know that I actually do like some songs by these guys.

  15. Bottom line: Regardless of their greatness or lack thereof, all of these guys are known for who they are due to their accomplishments and as result you take cheap pot shots at them in a feeble attempt to gain some kind of quick and easy recognition for yourself.
    And you are…………?
    At the end of the day, that’s the point.
    And I have to say this point is lost on all who have responded with lame defenses and rebuttals that are not even necessary.
    These kind of arguments are better left to brain dead knuckle headed sports fans who go on and on about “who is best” and “who is worst” at something as if it really matters.
    Which I suspect is a better description of most of the folks posting on blogs like this.
    None of this kind of nonsense has any relevance being applied to the arts of any kind.

  16. What the hell is wrong with you? How could you not include Cobain?

  17. Looking at some of the live recordings of Jimmy Page rough trading that Gibson I disagree with him being on that list,.. other than that your list is pretty spot on
    I would put Slash there too

    • Page was sloppy sometimes but utterly brilliant. Anyone listing him as hyped was obviously dropped on their head as a child. His use of bows, acoustic guitar, mandolin and awesome electric work spawned some of the best music on the planet, not to mention the birth a whole musical style when they shed the blues influences a bit. . Like your heavy Metal? Thank Jimi page (and Black Sabbath).

  18. Wow, I am a guitarist too, and well have to say I really don’t understand what formula you are using to dictate who is talented and good at guitar, i think you are a pretentious no talent but that is just my opinion. Personally I like Chet Atkins, I love Mark knopfler, I do like the edge his boorishness is playing within the restraint of the songs meaning within the boundaries if you were actually a musician you would understand that concept.He isn’t a shredder he isn’t a jazz player he plays his guitar parent to the song. Glad to see you didn’t not idiotically list Frank Zappa, or Richie Blackmore or others who are also very talented as those you listed. As for Robert Johnson, descent enough but music has evolved, so much so I don’t keep comparing modern country against the singing carters or Gospel against the Rambo’s, or jazz against Ella Fitzgerald.
    In short I think your post is asinine and ignorant to be real honest just one more bloody tosser acting as an expert.

  19. Since Clapton made you list, where is Peter Greene? both had the most incredible rythym sections in Cream and The original Fleetwood Mac.

  20. Last comment as for who i listen too I don’t judge talent that alone is for God who dishes out such ability, I like
    1. Mark Knopfler
    2. Chet Atkins
    3. Carlos Santana
    4. Buddy Guy
    5. Richie Blackmoore
    6. Jimmy Hendrix
    7. Frank Zappa
    8. Phil Keaggy
    9. Gerardo Nunez Diaz
    10.David Gilmour

  21. You’re absolutely correct about the Edge, Wylde, Clapton, and especially Mayer, but to lump Mayer in the same category with Joe Satriani is laughable. Mayer couldn’t even stand on the same stage with Satch for more than 5 seconds without having to run off the stage to change his underwear, and Clapton couldn’t hold a flame to him.

    I would suggest that if you think Satch is an overrated guitarist and that he’s incapable for solid composition, go listen to Andalusia, Satch Boogie, and Cool #9 for about an hour. After you’re done, go pick up a guitar, plug it in, and even try to follow him. I dare you. And if you can play all of these songs along with Joe, note for note, measure for measure, then you shouldn’t be blogging about overrated guitarists; you should be out doing world tours.

    I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve introduced him to somebody who’s never heard of him that are completely awestruck. All they’ve ever known are guitarists like Page, Santana, Clapton, King, Young, Van Halen, Hendrix, etc. And when they finally listen to somebody who just shattered their self-perceived myth that absolutely no one can touch these guitarists, then I just sit their with a small grin on my face because all they can do is sit their with a stunned look and muttering “Oh my God…Oh my God…holy shit…” over and over.

    All that said, I’m not saying that Satch is the greatest guitarist of all time. There is no such thing. But like I said, tossing him in with the same group like the Edge and Mayer is an absolute joke.

    Personally, I’ve never understood the big fascination that people have with Clapton. I think it’s just that he’s been around so long and let’s face it — people are sheep when it comes to music — that they hear hear his name and just assume that he’s great. Don’t get me wrong, he is great and could certainly destroy Mayer on a stage, but he’s never been my cup of tea.

    So far, I have yet to see a list that includes Joe Perry and Carlos Santana in the “suck” category. I’m very hard-pressed to think of a sloppier guitarist who gets more airplay than Joe Perry.

  22. This guy who wrote this is a complete moron. Its nice to say that Jimmy Page is overrated. If you were a professional music critic, id be slamming you. Jimmy Page is a legend. Little boys and girls have been playing Led Zeppelin toons on there guitars probably before you were even born. Even by some far off tale that he did suck…..his music is iconic. If the world has called you the best. YOUR THE BEST!!! End of story. LED ZEPPELIN RULES….and you suck.

    • You know what really sucks? Being called names by people with a feeble-at-best grasp of basic grammar. Stay in school, kids!

      • Spelling aside, if one dares to lay out their very subjective opinion on who is or is not overrated then you open yourself up to the critics. Some critics may have no clue how to play any instrument and that is ok as well. The fact is we all love our music for various reasons that may be that I love that latin sound from flaminco or even arabic flaminco guitar. I am of Irish descent and some of the special tunings used in gaelic music is fairly eccentric and unique, it doesn’t mean its more difficult just differant. I like Paige, he plays decently but like all who play he can also have his moments of great failure. I dont know any guitarist including one of my favs Chet atkins or Mark Knopfler who never knew failure. I like guitarists whom many who read this blog have never heard, many do not come close to shredding and thats ok as well. In the end from a man who has played guitar since 1976 I can say that opinions on who is best comes strictly from a subjective measure of personal likes or dislikes, and any who say paige stole or copied his style or music from others are correct but whom did those others steal or borrow from? I would say that Brad Paisley is a heck of a guitarist and most metal heads would say ….. Who? and listen and dislike. So this ultimately comes down to this Clapton or Greene? Paige or Townsend? Hendrix or Santana? Gibbons or Allen Collins? Maybe its Slash or Hammett, what it boils down to is this is all opinion and the author meant it to be his own, agree or disagree it really doesnt matter. His opinion does not disqualify him as a guitarist any more than any other guitarists opinions would. I prefer a classical aproach with great emphasis on harmonics and melody the rythym is essential but when I listen to great guitar work I prefer Boston Journey Kansas the dire straits or as a liketo call it the Mark Knopfler experiance. I like the blues but playing in the 7th doesnt mean your more talented. i WOULD ASK MOST SHREDDERS TO PLAY MINUS THE DISTORTION AND ON JUST A CRITICAL INSPECTION OF CLENLINESS I WOULD LIKE TO COMPARE TO SAY A ROY CLARKE OR A CHET ATKINS OR EVEN AND OLD LES PAUL. I have heard that malmsteem if that spelling is wrong please forgive it, is classically trained and in that id have a preferance to hear him play moonlight sonata over his metal stuff, same for Vai. Metal gets very boring and is why Rock from time to time has to be remade, glam metal sucked the marrow from the bones of rock and it was bands like Nirvana pearl jam stone temple pilots alice in chains soundgarden and others who helped bring rock down from the clouds or even better a metaphor, the grunge scene was the phoniex of rock no thanks to the Poison (pun intended) of bands like warrant winger nelson extreme ratt and the like. These guys were talented but it was never about their talent it was about style over substance and in my opinion it was an industry full of sycophants that allowed such regurgitation to be spilled out of radio stations all over the world. So yes the author is entitled to his opinion and I dont agree with it all but I will agree he has the right to his opinion. and to him i say rock on brother music is a gift from God and if you have that gene then use it my friend, hopefully you will be responseable for that and use it apropriately.

  23. Author, you are a total moron. Please do not pick up a guitar, or any instrument for that matter, again in your life. It disgraces those of use that actually know what talent is.

  24. Agree with basically every single one of the guitarists on here. Slight disagreement on EVH. I remember purchasing Malmsteen’s Unleash the Fury and being so livid with how bad it was. All of his parts did not add at all to the piece and seemed to demonstrate the intrinsic flaw in his approach to music. Just because he can play extremely fast doesn’t mean every goddamned lick has to be sped up to eleven.

  25. Dude you obviously have no idea what music is about. It’s not about trying to impress you or anyone else for that matter. You could learn a lot from any of these above musicians. Honestly man you are pretty pathetic. I did not even read the whole thing. I read about the first two paragraphs because I thought the rest would be a waste of my time. A true musician appreciates all music. Good luck getting anywhere in life especially in the music industry by bashing other musicians. I pity you dude.

  26. This list is kinda of retarded. Music is completely subjective. Wow, the Edge and Tom Morello use a ton of effects, that doesn’t mean their not good guitar players. It’s another color for the pallet. Also, Morello, RATM, and Audioslave are actually pretty decent. Not really a fan of Eric Clapton or John Mayer but hey, some people love them that are musically inclined.As for Satriani, Vai, Page and Malmsteen and Van Halen (I think their both pricks personally), they did things that no one else did at the time, they we innovative.

  27. How can you argue music is subjective under an article claiming which guitarists are “overrated”? Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has them and almost all of them stink.

  28. Ok, all these guitarists are put on here because he doesn’t care for their style of playing. Wow. Intelligent. Those who cant play guitar sit behind a computer and act like a critic. Can’t believe I wasted 10 minutes of my life reading this. Shame on me.

  29. Oh my god I love who ever created this list! Lol Malmsteen is the ONLY person I can disagree with but other than that you NAILED this. If you are a true guitarist you would know their styles are horrible. And by true guitarist I don’t mean a young kid who’s been playing for two years and can play crappy easy riffs like sweet child o mine or stairway to heaven. A true guitarist would understand the difference between Paul Gilbert and slash.

  30. I agree with your top Ten . I think Uli Jon Rothis the most underrated guitarist. He has ripped apart the fretboard in the most precise manner at the age of 17-23 . He recorded Sails of Charon in 1977 when he was 22 . Van halen was covering his precise scales on Catch your train Virgin Killer album in 1976 . Has he ever grace American guitar magazines? No. Very unfortunate that a true virtuoso that has inspired and educate many with his groundbreaking works was ignored simply because he was never of commercial value. Blues Saraceno and Marty Friedman are great guitarist. My 2cents worth

    • I meant Uli Jon Roth. Very underrated.

      • I honestly think that there is no #1 greatest guitarist.. At the end of the day it is all about music and the feelings each guitarist can generate within their fans. It is all about the widest possible musical diversity to meet the needs of a deeply diverse public. What is unique about all the above mentioned players is that they were pioneers. They had great faith in themselves and they produced an astounding pallet of guitar styles which are loved by an astounding number of listeners.

        You say you: “… been playing guitar for about half of [your] life now and so it follows logically that [you] would pay attention to guitars when [you] hear them in songs” It doesn’t apply logically at all. You may have been playing half your life but I suspect it was what you learned in the first six months that you played over and over for half of your life.

        If you really could play half as well as you strongly suggest, I think you would have a very deep appreciation of ALL masters of the instrument – especially those who pioneered whole new sounds, genres and styles. When I was younger, i never truly appreciated some of my heroes and I imagined that any idiot could play some of their stuff. I was dead wrong. I had no idea what it takes to make a world class guitarist never mind all their drive, dedication, study, energy and a deep faith in themselves.

        I take my hat off to all players (famous or not) who have given their life to this amazing instrument. I have learned from great players and from absolute beginners and I humbly stand in awe of all the guitar players you criticized (and praised).


  31. You say Satch, Vai and Clapton, yet you DONT say slash or angus young?
    The hells your problem?

  32. I’ve been a serious player for almost 30 years…I totally agree with everything you said and your picks..with the exception of Clapton. The man’s playing is smooth and flawless and he has soul…and I love his solos. And I knew Satriani fans would be whining about him…but he’s right where he belongs at the top of the list. More of the same followed by more of the same, then more of the same. Time to fall asleep. And his ego is the size of Texas. I’d love to rip those sunglasses off his face and stomp on them

    Oh, and “Edge” belongs at number 3, Mayer at 4

  33. The shredder lovers need to realise that their heroes such as Vai , Satriani , Malmsteen et al are basically untalented wanna be jazz- classical musicians. None of them are Nicollo Paganini as far as technical ability. They arent Coltrane either.

    Rock n roll is about passion , excitement and fun. Not some arsehole playing scales at the speed of sound.

  34. Pretty funny…Paige is a sloppy guitar player & my fave is your critique of Clapton! Brilliant and oh so true. After Cream, Clapton sucked and still does. People are getting so cerebral on here about your list. EVH is boring to me. Yep, LZ had a great rythum section and collectively a great band so I can overlook Paiges’ less than stellar playing.
    Saw Hendrix twice and he was pretty incredible. I think SRV respected his music and wanted to keep it alive.

  35. The guy that wrote this blog entry has absolutely no idea of what he is talking about.

  36. (1) Technique vs creative ability. You could be a guitar-god technique-wise–you could shred a guitar to pieces and at the same time be a lousy songwriter. You could also have mediocre technique but be able to come up with awesome melodies on the guitar. So you’re criticizing joe satriani, steve vai, van halen, or yngwie malmsteen–you’re basically telling us that you don’t like their songs, their licks, their riffs, their melodies, etc.–you’re really making a critique on their creative ability–not technique–I think–because it would really be inaccurate, even dishonest, to say that those guitarists have poor technique. Okay, so you think they have poor creative abilities. But the thing is, THESE GUITARISTS ARE HYPED FOR THEIR TECHNIQUE. I don’t think anyone is hyping satriani or vai for being amazing songwriters or coming up with awesome melodies–they’re hyped for their ability to manipulate the guitar.

    (2) You could actually objectively compare the technical abilities of guitarists. You could test them on their knowledge of music theory. And you could let them play material that has a high level of difficulty on the guitar–for instance you could have them improvise with 32nd notes in 180bpm and all the notes they play must be in key. I’m pretty sure satriani could play all of Ramone’s riffs–I can’t say the same the other way around. I hope you get the drift.

    (3) Playing the guitar for years does not guarantee technical ability. You could be playing the guitar for 20 years and still be just a basic strummer–it does not guarantee any deep understanding of the different scales nor does it guarantee technical ability to play complex material on the guitar.

  37. Oh I think I get it now! You don’t actually believe anything you say! You are horseshitting everyone and getting a hell of a laugh out of it. This is just to get a rise outta folks – and in this respect, I would say you have been somewhat successful.

    But come on, it is much easier to shatter a glass than to make one. Any sad-sack, dunderhead can write such low-brow drivel. Tell us where you are doing your next gig, I could use a laugh.

    • I believe everything I say, actually. But I believe it’s my opinion, to which I am entitled, and I am 1) fully aware that it doesn’t matter (no opinions about music matter – they’re opinions about music) 2) baffled that anyone on earth gives a shit what some stranger on the internet thinks of the things they like. When I see a negative review or write-up of a band I like, I ignore it and carry on liking the things I like. I certainly don’t expect everyone to be like me, but it’s kinda funny how much traffic this post has generated from people coming here to tell me off about it.

  38. Joe Satch – Surfing With The Alien is one of the greatest guitar albums of all-time, not to mention, he taught Vai!

    Steve Vai – Eat Em’ & Smile, Passion & Warfare, Bad Horsie, Building The Church, Crossroads Guitar Duel, Flex-able and he played with Zappa. Are you serious??

    Eddie Van Halen – Do I even need to make a list??? Eddie’s rhythms are more complex than his solos. Enough said.

    Jimmy Page -The Guitarist from Led Zeppelin!!! Masterpiece after masterpiece. The man responsible for John Bonham’s drum sound. The man who revolutionized sound engineering. One of the greatest song writers in Rock History.

    John Mayer – Horrible at everything. This guy can only be popular in this day & age of garbage, talentless music. If John Mayer lived in the 60’s (during the Woodstock era) he’d be doing nothing. Can you imagine John Mayer play Woodstock with the other acts?; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Hendrix, Richie Havens, Country Joe & The Fish, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone. It would be a LAUGHING-STOCK!!!

    Yngwie Malmsteen – The man that took Randy Rhoads’ philosophy of mixing Classical minor progressions and brought it to a new level, which Randy might have been able to accomplish had he lived. Rising Force and Marching Out are at the top of the Greatest Guitar Album heap. There is not one wasted not on either of Yngwie’s first two albums. He spawned a generation of guitarists. There is no way Yngwie should be on this list.

    The Edge – One of the most Sonically innovative guitarist/song writers of our generation. With one whole set worth of immortal Hits, U2 can sell out any stadium in any country, as many nights as they like. Any guitarist that can do that should not be considered “over-rated”. Period!

    Tom Morello – Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Tom Morello. Their individual “technique” and approach are milestones in the history of the guitar. Everyone falls in between those 3 guys. They are the only guitarists that actually invented sound through technique.

    Zakk Wylde – Came after Jake E. Lee and wasn’t as good as Jake. I can see how Zakk is on this list, although I am a Zakk fan. Gus G. is better than Zakk.

    Eric Clapton – The fake blues man from England. Plays like a whitebread stiff. One of the most over rated guitarists in history. If Clapton didn’t rip-off Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” and capitalize on his son’s death, no one would care about him. Watch Clapton playing Robert Johnson’s “Rambling on My Mind” on Youtube. No soul, no groove, no rhythm. Robert Johnson is rolling over in his grave!

    1. Eric Clapton
    2. Jeff Beck
    3. SRV
    4. Zakk
    5. Dave Mustaine
    6. John Mayer
    7. Dimebag
    8. Kerry King
    9. Marty Friedman
    10. Brian May (Freddy was Queen)

  39. Joe Satch – Surfing With The Alien is one of the greatest guitar albums of all-time, not to mention, he taught Vai!

    Steve Vai – Eat Em’ & Smile, Passion & Warfare, Bad Horsie, Building The Church, Crossroads Guitar Duel, Flex-able and he played with Zappa. Are you serious??

    Eddie Van Halen – Do I even need to make a list??? Eddie’s rhythms are more complex than his solos. Enough said.

    Jimmy Page -The Guitarist from Led Zeppelin!!! Masterpiece after masterpiece. The man responsible for John Bonham’s drum sound. The man who revolutionized sound engineering. One of the greatest song writers in Rock History.

    John Mayer – Horrible at everything. This guy can only be popular in this day & age of garbage, talentless music. If John Mayer lived in the 60’s (during the Woodstock era) he’d be doing nothing. Can you imagine John Mayer play Woodstock with the other acts?; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Hendrix, Richie Havens, Country Joe & The Fish, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone. It would be a LAUGHING-STOCK!!!

    Yngwie Malmsteen – The man that took Randy Rhoads’ philosophy of mixing Classical minor progressions and brought it to a new level, which Randy might have been able to accomplish had he lived. Rising Force and Marching Out are at the top of the Greatest Guitar Album heap. There is not one wasted not on either of Yngwie’s first two albums. He spawned a generation of guitarists. There is no way Yngwie should be on this list.

    The Edge – One of the most Sonically innovative guitarist/song writers of our generation. With one whole set worth of immortal Hits, U2 can sell out any stadium in any country, as many nights as they like. Any guitarist that can do that should not be considered “over-rated”. Period!

    Tom Morello – Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Tom Morello. Their individual “technique” and approach are milestones in the history of the guitar. Everyone falls in between those 3 guys. They are the only guitarists that actually invented sound through technique.

    Zakk Wylde – Came after Jake E. Lee and wasn’t as good as Jake. I can see how Zakk is on this list, although I am a Zakk fan. Gus G. is better than Zakk.

    Eric Clapton – The fake blues man from England. Plays like a whitebread stiff. One of the most over rated guitarists in history. If Clapton didn’t rip-off Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” and capitalize on his son’s death, no one would care about him. Watch Clapton playing Robert Johnson’s “Rambling on My Mind” on Youtube. No soul, no groove, no rhythm. Robert Johnson is rolling over in his grave!

    1. Eric Clapton
    2. Jeff Beck
    3. SRV
    4. Zakk
    5. Dave Mustaine
    6. John Mayer
    7. Dimebag
    8. Kerry King
    9. Marty Friedman
    10. Brian May (Freddy was Queen)

  40. Dude: you are a waste of pixels. Get a life.
    P.s let’s hear YOUR guitar playing. I could use a laugh!

  41. People who voluntarily listen to Average Joe Satriani have either suffered brain-damage, are born with no taste (not bad taste, a complete lack of it) or are sociopaths.
    Take away that meaningless frantic fret-wanking and what you are left with are the most generic bland telemarketing music soundtracks you can find. It’s really cheesy and horrible.
    Not only that, the backing-tracks are not even complete compositions. They have no beginning or end. It’s just a shallow caricature of only the bridge from an imaginary song from some random genre.
    Subsequently that sub-porn muzak is horse-drizzled upon with the ejaculate coming from the relentless masturbatory movements that Snatch brings forth. A Muppets version of playing with feeling and a fake display of shallow pretensions.
    If you truthfully claim that you find meaning and emotion in that barrage of detached note-whoring, then you might want to seek professional help. It’s not all that different to finding meaning and emotion is a hobby like skinning young girls you murdered first, It’s sick.

  42. Agree with everyone but Page. The Edge should be arrested for impersonating a guitarist and it was all downhill for Clapton after the Bluesbreaker’s “Beano” album.

  43. First of all it’s absolutely ridiculous to bash Clapton or Page as guitar players. What are you 14? What the fuck is wrong with you? Show some respect. Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest hard rock bands ever, certainly better then garbage like The Clash or REM. People nowdays actually think that Slash and Kirk Hammett can play guitar and you’re telling me that influential and innovative legends who had great skill such as Vai or Satriani are overrated? Son I don’t know what drugs are you using but you’ve gotta change them. Though I must say I agree with you about Zakk Wylde and some other players on the list. I also think that Yngwie is great player but terrible songwriter.

  44. MY GOD, this is really bad. Mayer? Satriani? Morello? VAI? CLAPTON? Van Halen? PAGE?

    These are some of the most influential guitarist of all time!!

    Over-rated my ass.

  45. This list was obviously made by a liberal cum gizzler with shit taste in music.

    • I’ll mix your eyeballs in a goddamn bowl of grapes and eat the motherfuckers and be happy to do it. I’ll laugh about it.

  46. People who hate yngwie are jealous little trolls. This is a well known fact. Every professional musician that knows yngwie has respect for his music. Its the nobodys that always give him shit. Zakk wylde used to be really good until the mid-late 90s when he started abusing pinch harmonics.

  47. It’s not EVH’s tapping that is most impressive to me. It’s his natural sense of timing and swing and note choices that impress me. Many proficient guitarists can listen to Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, etc, and piece together their solos by ear, learn them slow and speed them up. It’s much harder to do with EVH. I hear many renditions of eruption on YouTube or hearing other players, but I rarely hear one played near perfect. Pete Thorn comes pretty close and also gives an awesome lesson on YouTube. When our band plays VH tunes, it’s both exciting and worrisome for me. I’m excited because I love learning VH songs, but I also have to make sure I get his signature style down for all the EVH fans in the audience who know his stuff note for note. EVH’s rhythm is also very original. Nobody was playing like that in 76. Nobody. I can understand if you don’t like his music, but sizing him up in one paragraph and basing it mostly on his contribution of tapping technique…well, it just give doesn’t your opinion much worth, at least to me: your average, run of the mill, guitar player who’s been playing for over 20 years.

  48. Great job done, boy! At least somebody who calls those fretboard wankers what they really are. I could add a number of guitar players who are of the same kind. What do you think about guitarists like Scott Gorham or Michael Schenker?

    Greetings from Germany


    • M. Schenker is interesting to me in that I love his guitar work when he was 17 when he was in scorpions doing “lonesome crow” & “lovedrive” but then when he went of to his own band MSG, i was like “this is the same guitar player…what happened ?”
      MSG guitar playing did not resonate with me.

  49. wtf wat a pathetic dickheaded moron!Must be a low life loser,jealous cunt!page,van halen redefined electric guitar,influenced a whole generation of guitarists!As for satch and vai im glad that u fucking asshole listed them,coz u r light years away to understand their music.U better have some jb ladyboy shit,ur daily drugs that keeps u high!Go get a life…

  50. Joe and steve overrated? They are probably the most creative guitarist on the planet…and joe was Steve’s guitar teacher I think idk. I disagree with a few of them but I shocked there are no Kurt cobalion or Bruce Springsteen in here? Bruce and Kurt where both in the top 100 Rolling Stones guitarist list…Bruce Springsteen was like 97 something…and steve, joe, and yngwie weren’t even on there. But half the list is ok and some of those are overrated but not THAT overrated.

  51. Pretty ok list, and props for includng EVH for his wankery-personified generic tuplet tapping that people somehow find ‘tasteful because he showed emotion’ yet they bash on Malmsteen the next second. I don’t understand how people who hate shred love EVH, it’s like a complete paradox. You forgot Slash though, he’s one of the worst offenders imo. Just because he plays slow and melodic pentonics and bends doesn’t mean he has ‘soul’ in the slightest bit.

  52. I’m a guitarist and guitar teacher of over 20 years and I agree with nearly all of this list on the basis that they are ‘overrated’ which I think most of them are. I love Eric Clapton’s music but clearly his status as a ‘god’ of guitar is questionable, especially these days. He is first and foremost a singer and songwriter and a great one at that. Steve Vai and Satch couldn’t write a song if they’re life depended on it though and only make music for guitarists along with Mr Malmsteen. Van Halen has always been a one trick pony and certainly didn’t ‘invent’ tapping as Jazz guitarists were doing this decades before him. I like Zakk Wylde but he can’t touch Randy Rhoads if you ask me. Jimmy Page is a good guitarist but all of his stuff along with the modal tunings is just copying better men such as Bert Jansch and Roy Harper. John Mayer? John who? Tom Morello is just lost without his kill switch and baseball cap. That leaves the Edge who actually has an original style and has had a huge influence on a generation of guitarists who take a solo with only 2 or 3 notes. Does this make him a great guitarist though in the grand scheme of things? uh no! That’s my ‘subjective’ opinion anyway.

    • For me, if a musician can play a memorable solo with few notes, then that is where it is at.
      I could never come up with the solos the Edge does,
      I simply lack the creativity & can only wow people a little with my technical ability.

  53. I think You’re right bro. But You forgot Slash, and Kirk Hammet, both of them suck ass and are limited musicians with bad technique. Clapton is overrated for sure, listening to his worthless reggae and pop ballad attemps (his singing is bad too) makes me wanan crush my ears with pencils. He’s not a good blues player, it’s kinda ridiculous how he sings about being a black guy in mississippi. I think Rory Gallagher was far better player, much more feeling, more versatile, and always loyal to the blues. Another Overrated wank is Jack White, his playing live is poor, raraley in tune and noisy as fuck but in a bad way. No wonder how he gets praides as blues musician even though he doesn’t sounds bluesy at all, he sounds more like a bad Johnny Ramone ripoff, even sloppier.

  54. Oooo really ? Satriani and Vai are overrated ? By whom and why ? Satriani is actually one of the guitarists that made shredders stop playing 10000 notes a second and actually take the time to feel melodies. That doesn’t mean that Satriani himself did not “over play” from time to time, but to imply he’s not melodic is total idiocy which shows the ignorance of the article’s author. Try to know what you’re talking about and do your research before writing crap.

  55. A list compiled with a guy with no talent to analyze music or build a valid argument. What’s next ? An article on how asparagus is crap ? Sorry, but whining and bashing without any valid point doesn’t make you a good critic. You utterly suck as a critic.

    • There are actually valid points you could have made towards each of the guitarists on your list, the fact that you chose retarded bashing show how far you’ll go as a critic. A well written negative critic is interesting, but what you wrote feels like adolescent trolling.

  56. I love Eric Johnson, sad that he doesn’t get much credit for his mastery!

  57. “Uses too many effects.”

    >>>implies that using effects pedals is super-easy and has nothing to do with guitar prowess itself.

    You might play guitar, but I’d be very surprised if you’ve ever assembled a pedalboard.

  58. Hi
    The guy who wrote this list is a loser, to talk about Mr. Jimmy Page like you have dones soemthing = or better? Rain Song, Ten Years Gone, HIs version of BIGLY, ALS, you are dust on the scales of Who Fing Cares….What have you done? Where is it?

  59. Largely agree with this except for Ed. Yes Van Halen songs are shit but this isn’t an overrated songwriter list. His playing changed the state of the art immediately when VH1 came out. His innate rhythm and feel are unparalleled–give Ed’s spot on the list to someone who truly deserves it, like Alex Lifeson or George Harrison.

  60. truth is, you are probably a shit guitarist yourself

  61. lets hear some of your great guitar creations…? thought so, the sound of silence

  62. Hmmm, this is an…..interesting……list you have created here. Whilst I agree with two or three on this list, the rest is simply absurd. You did state that it was your opinion, however, so ill do my best to respect that. And before I say anything else, YES, Yngwie Malmsteen is my favorite guitarist. Ill keep this short as I have college finals to study for: You cannot deny the technical ability and precision that YJM possesses. It simply cannot be denied. While his music may not strike a chord with everyone, The amount of skill that is required to play the songs he writes is way above most musicians heads (note that I said most, not all), and Yngwie’s playing ability is widely acknowledged by other high level guitarists. The same goes for Satriani, Vai, Gilbert, ect. An artists music is not going to appeal to everyone, so saying a particular guitarist is better than another based solely on how their music makes you feel is an opinion based on emotion, not fact. So, for example, saying that Angus Young is a better guitarist than Yngwie, MAB, ect. is simply not true. Young might sound better to you personally, but that doesn’t mean he or someone else is more skilled than Yngwie or MAB. His sound, his tone, ect. just appeals to you more, which brings me back to your opinion, which this list is based upon. I cannot really say if it is right or wrong, because it is just one persons opinion, and not a fact based, researched list. And there probably wont ever be one, since music isn’t a competition. Each artist brings their stuff to the table, and lays it out. The people that like what they see(hear) will come to them, and will be fans. Those who hate their music will go elsewhere. That’s all I’ve got, and I must say that I am quite happy to find that Michael Angelo Batio’s name is not on this list. Holy shit, that came out longer than I intended it to.

  63. Jimmy Page, really? Granted he can be cited for lacking in technical prowess in his lead work (though I think he makes his point or plays “meaningful” lines), the guys written a boatload of legendary rock riffs, licks whatever you wanna call them that can’t be denied. That’s what many modern guitarists lack. A freakin riff. Yeah and EVH hard to see at least for the first two albums. I’m okay with most of the rest. I’ve been playing for 30+ yrs though I don’t think that necessarily means anything other than I got away from being a cram as many notes in a solo (assuming the band you’re in insists you play one), quite some time ago. That’s not to say when I hear my unsung hero Carlos Rios on “Cool Weasel Boogie” on Chick Corea ‘a Electrik Band album I don’t appreciate a crescendo flurry of notes ie at 5:30. It’s there for a reason and his choice of notes? Gotta be from the third stream. Anyway, it’s fun to do this stuff and it’s different than the punter that goes onto a Led fan site just to bash the band. That’s just a symptom of some personality disorder. I’m sure there are plenty of “Led Zeppelin: The world’s most overrated rock band.” Blogs he could go on with like minded folk.

  64. ”But then I got into writing songs.” And you think you are special because of that? What a sad, delusional little shit…I don’t overrate any guitar player, but Satriani, MUSICALLY, is probably worth 20 of you, if you listen to tracks like Crushing Day, that IS a song, idiot. You’d be best learning more about music instead of wasting your time writing the useless bullshit you write. Satriani wasn’t doing these mistakes, moron:) You’ll never amount to shit anyways, if you did, you would have already. PS. I am musically very satisfied about myself, so I don’t care about slagging off Satriani. The guy had success? Fucking good for him, I’d rather have someone like him be successful than a moaning little bitch like you 😉 GROW UP BITCH lol

    • Dear Mr. Satriani,

      While I expect you to want to defend your (ahem) music in the public sphere, I have to admit that I find it puzzling that you – given how musically satisfied you are about yourself – give a rat’s ass what a stranger on the internet thinks of you or any other guitar player. Nobody forced you to come here and read what I think about other guitar players, but surely you can grasp (what with fierce intellect on display in your comment) that my opinion of who is overrated as a guitar player (and why I think they are overrated) is just that – an opinion. It clearly differs from your opinion and that is really just healthy for our society, don’t you think? As for my not amounting to shit, you may be right. I do spend an awful lot of my time helping poor kids, which you might think is worth far less than giving idiots boners by playing your guitar at them. To each his own and all that.

      In closing, I am glad you sued Coldplay. While I may not like you as a guitar player, I do admire your work as a litigant.


      An apparently ungrown and moaning little bitch.

      • I am 52 years old and have been playing guitar for over fourty years. I have made much of my living as a studio Guitarist and Bassist. I will never be famous, but I must be doing something right. I agree with most of your list (opinion only) but I would have to say that I was very surprised that Hendrix didn’t make the list. I believe that he is by far the sloppiest famous guitarist of all time. Don’t get me wrong…I respect and admire the innovation that he provided to the guitar world in general. This just goes to show that you don’t have to be spot on to be famous. I will have to say that I was glad you didn’t include Carlos Santanna on your list. Although he is not as fast or notey as other famous guitarists, he can do more with a few slow, heart felt notes than most others can do with speed and noise. I wish I would have been in on this from the beggining. Sorry to be the late arrival. I also know many guitarists (one of whom works for me in my music store) who are better (by better I mean technically more proficient and more emotional combined) than many of the so called guitar gods.

  65. There’s no such thing as overrated guitar players, they earned their spot for a reason. There are a lot of involved factors, so it is impossible to qualify them as good or bad, since all the mentioned players are accomplished musicians. So it’s all about taste. It is absolutely relative and subjective.

    • John, I agree with you to a point, but rather than approach overrated, I will use underrated. I personally know at least half a dozen guitarists who (based on their talent) should and could be famous and can out play many famous guitarists but they just don’t know the right people. My point is that I’m sure there are just as many famous people who (based on talent) do not deserve their fame…hence…overrated, as there are…great guitarris who for whatever reason never “made it”…hence underrated. Point…I do believe that there are many overrated musicians out there.

  66. Finally, someone who says the truth about Eric Clapton! Clapton always got on my bloody nerves. His playing is retarded (anyone who puts so much emphasis on blues is incredibly ignorant of music). I also agree with Satriani being on the list. The guy’s playing philosophy is: how many notes can I cram real fast to sound complicated? lol He has no understanding of composition, arrangements, musical color and development. This generation of musicians are amazingly ignorant of the real great ones: Steve Howe and Steve Hackett (guitar – Yes and Genesis), Geddy Lee and Chris Squire (bass – Rush and Yes), Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz, Kerry Minnear and Rick Wakeman (keyboards – ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant, solos) and Neil Peart, John Weathers, Ian Paice, Bill Bruford (drums – Rush, Gentle Giant, Deep Purple, Yes and Earthworks). And after all that, I still forgot other great bands and solo artists: Jethro Tull, Supertramp, Jean-Michel Jarrre, Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa and Maneige (Québec prog rock band that disbanded and was forgotten because their music wasn’t ”radio friendly”). The ”american idol” garbage the industry and the medias try to shove down our throats cannot go on forever. It’s a question of time before real bands get the attention they deserve and make the public aware that great ”popular” music is possible and an also be profitable (to some, its all that matters). The rap garbage this generation is exposed to will eventually die off. A normal person can only get tired of hearing ”Yo wazzup” 500 times a day… Down with the music industry! Long live Prog Rock!! Cheers from Montréal, Québec, Canada

    • Sounds like you’ve been listening to the wrong rap. A lot of it is great – there is no one type of music (to me, anyway) that is superior to others. You can find crap and gold in every genre. Thanks for reading in Montréal!

    • Not all of this generation are ignorant of the real ones. I’m sixteen and I love Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, also Rory Gallagher, Roger Fisher, Alvin Lee, Chris Squire, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, etc. etc. A lot of progressive rock bands from the seventies had really good guitarists. But I also like Page a lot, and love Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, T-rex (Marc Bolan’s music before he hit the big time was very odd, folksy, progressive stuff,) Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles…..
      As for Clapton, I love the song Layla and the stuff he did with Cream, but I think he started to go downhill pretty soon after that. Ian Paice is in my opinion one of the finest rock drummers, have always loved his style. There are tons of obscure bands and musicians from the late 60s – 70s that I love that I’m sure a lot of people have never even heard of. So please, don’t discount all of the younger generation’s taste in music just because the majority of them like crap that should never have seen the light of day, let alone get airplay.

      • Forgot to add, completely agree with the account of The Edge the author gave. Have always thought he was a huge hack. But Disagree with the account of Page.

  67. You’ve nagged about the same 10 guitarists on the whole page.
    Better list the REAL 10 best guitarists then.
    There’s hundreds of webpages where guitar fans shout out their favorite guitar gurus …
    But to me it’s more about music than playing skill (I mean music like Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, Alicia Keys, ZZ Top, Noel Gallagher etc etc)

  68. .. and I’m adding Eric Johnson (maybe as the only sensible guitarist/musician) and Andy McKee

  69. They are overrated all the way to the bank$$$$ I would love to have the honor to be on your list. Over or underrated does not exist because it is what it is. I happen to like every musician that has been hated on or praised thus far. Just my 2¢ bro.
    I write in respect of all other opinions.

  70. Satriani is my childhood hero. For what its worth!

    • You are right, there really is no such thing as who is best cause Music, Art, Filmaking etc is subjective.
      What one person find inspiring another person find it to be like Chinese water torture….
      or one man’s shit is another man’s treasure.
      But opinions are valid to the person & a truth to them.
      The author is stating his opinion.

  71. come on feel the noise!!! the lead based noodlers all have one thing in
    common…playing too much useless lead…overplaying…good article

  72. You’re a fucking tool! Eric Clapton was a pioneer in guitar playing but you are too much of a fucking retard to notice that. I agree with Zakk Wylde being overrated, fuck dat niggah. Nobody plays like Tom morello. RATM and Audioslave are both great bands you fuck-ass. The edge sucks dick. Yngwie Malmsteen is a douche but he’s a great guitarist and you’re gay. John Mayer is actually underrated and probably better than you, you smelly piece of shit. As for your opinion on Jimmy Page….go drink cyanide you cocksucking motherfucker. Eddie Van Halen made half of the guitarists today do what they do. He probably finger taps your mother’s pussy more than you jerk off in a day you virgin. Steve Vai is the Jesus of guitar playing, you probably can’t hold a finger to him you dumb cunt. As for Joe Satriani, he will surf with an alien into you’re mother’s loose and hairy twat. He plays for thousands of people every night and has inspired millions all you’ve done is jerk off until your cock bleeds because you’re a fucking bitch pussy asshole motherfucking bafoon.

    • You seem like a nice person. I hope you are enjoying 7th grade.

    • Eric Clapton is like a dairy cow that doesn’t give milk. The height of his career came when he Capitalized off of his son’s death. Besides that, he played in the shadow of Jimi Hendrix most of his earlier career. He had a flash with Cream, and believe me you, Clapton was a product of Cream, not the other way around. Clapton might be the single most overrated guitarist in history. The reason he is overrated is because all the Dad’s and Guitar teachers of young students tell all the young kids that Clapton is great, and the youngsters don’t know any better. Meanwhile, they can’t point to one single song as evidence of his greatness. Cream riffs was his best stuff and it’s not even close to the riffs that Tony Iommi played in Sabbath. In fact, Iommi destroys Clapton. And since you love to throw profanities around I will say it like this, “Tony Iommi fcuking destroys Clapton.

  73. And Ted Nugent fucked your mom!

  74. Yeah I’m really excited for 8th grade next year. By the way, you’re still a fag.

    • Sir, your razor-like wit has cut me to the bone. Surely, I will change all of my opinions to agree with those of a homophobe who has commented on a blog post that was written four years ago. Perhaps you need to get some fresh air.

  75. You’re mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.

  76. I’m not a homophobe but there’s no way in hell that you don’t like dick.

    • Is this supposed to be insulting to me? Or make me change my mind about the shitty musicians you like? This is a pretty un-fucking-imaginative use of your free speech rights.

  77. Have you seen the new mocking jay movie? If you have, is it good?

  78. On a serious note, Id actually be interested in knowing what guitarists you do like.

  79. So you are saying you spent half of your life playing guitar, you must be like ten. How can you not include slash in this list? I think you don’t know what shredding is, what satriani and vai do doesn’t even come close to it.

  80. 🙂 just read your under-rated list and the list of worth-the-hype rated – guitarists, I think to each his own….and i see that you seem to favour sound and expression rather than technique and speed as i have come to understand based on your lists. And in your own opinion, you are probably very right in your assessment, and it may probably be because of where you are at in your guitar playing journey.

    I’ll admit, i started my journey listening to Brian May and Jeff Beck and then to Johnny Winter and Van Halen and then to Satriani and Vai and then Metal army of guitarists, one of them being Marty Friedman….i think this particular path shows that It started as an awe factor of making music with 6 strings on a piece of wood and then the effectiveness and then the flair and then the speed and then technique and now i am almost back to where i started off in my journey – Sound and Expression.

    But in my humble opinion, just because something bores you does not mean that it is bad and overhyped. Its probably just time to turn the page or find a newer book.

    Where you are at right now, is by virtue of all these guitarists that you may have tried to emulate and succeeded and you just want something more…

    On Kirk Hammet – Completely disagree, that guy is a terrible guitarist hiding behind a wah peddle.

  81. Pingback: Meet the New Blog… | foodismurder

  82. Spot on about that boring fret-wanker Joe Satriani.. Generic Casio backing music + 10 year old fantasy shredding..

  83. The thing is, you say that you’re a guitar player and that you’ve played half your life as if it means anything or adds any weight to your shitty opinion. All of those players on your list could destroy you on the guitar. You’re a nobody. A ZERO.

  84. It’s 2017. You can’t throw a rock and not hit a guitar player. The world is oversaturated with a Guitar Center on every corner, any guitar available online, hell, you can get guitars at Walmart. And the opinionated author here is just another symptom of the impending crash coming to the guitar world, both in terms of popular music, and economically as an industry manufacturing instruments. If this author was in “swadding clothes” like he says when the Edge hit the scene, he is too young to know the heyday of guitar. When most of the guitarists he complains about were coming in to their own, they were new, innovative, and pioneering. It was a time when being a guitar player was a rare enough talent that it still had a mystique, and good guitars didn’t grow on trees. Enjoy your opinion, fool. It won’t be long until you millenials kill guitar.

    • Yo, you’re obviously still stuck in the 80’s. It’s cool that you listen to these guitarist – if you like it then you can have it – but guess what? Things change, and that’s okay. Just check out Tosin Abasi, Ichika, Chon. Heck, just look up ‘Progressive Rock Guitarist.’ People like Plini, Polyphia – those groups are keeping the guitar alive. There’s nothing wrong with it, just like there’s nothing wrong with your guitarist. So relax, blow a load, pick up the guitar and play. 🙂

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