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Top 10 Band Guitarists

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Music would not have been the same if these guys hadn’t picked up a guitar. They’re the musicians behind some of the greatest riffs, solos and songs in history. They love their guitars as much as we love them for their guitar-playing. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 band guitarists of all-time.

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Music would not have been the same if these guys had never picked up a guitar. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 band guitarists of all-time.

#10 – Randy Rhoads

Rhoads exploded into the heavy metal universe after giving Ozzy Osbourne’s music a new lease on life. Though Randy Rhoads’ time with the Prince of Darkness and Quiet Riot before that was brief, the classical guitar devotee left a legacy that is unparalleled to this day. Despite his short twenty-five year life, he’ll always be remembered for his ability to make a whole lotta noise with just a few guitars and special effects.

#9 – Brian May

While riffing alongside the energetic Freddie Mercury in Queen, Brian May created some of the greatest classic rock melodies of all-time. As a true rock and roll virtuoso, he’s also played some of the most incredible axe solos. May brings this all to life with his trusty guitar, the Red Special, which helps him produce the feedback-heavy sounds and unusual effects that make him truly stand out from the pack.

#8 – Ritchie Blackmore

The legendary Deep Purple guitarist paved the way for classical music in blues rock. He also brought to life one of the best heavy metal riffs in history with the song “Smoke on the Water.” The success he found experimenting with different genres post-Deep Purple merely proves that Ritchie Blackmore’s talents know no bounds.

#7 – Tony Iommi

With his big bad riffs on Black Sabbath’s debut, Tony Iommi transformed heavy metal for the better. This guitarist developed his trademark loud and heavy sound while playing alongside talented vocalists such as Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio. Thanks to songs like “Iron Man” and “Paranoid,” heavy metal was never the same.

#6 – Pete Townshend

He’s almost as famous for smashing guitars as he is for playing them. Regardless, Pete Townshend quickly distinguished himself with his loud and fast style despite his lack of formal training. His guitar-playing also helped cement The Who’s reputation as a live band and allowed him to carve out a solo career as well.

#5 – Duane Allman

Skydog’s passion and ambition helped him achieve great success with The Allman Brothers Band. But it was his one-of-a-kind guitar tone, dynamic slide guitar abilities and exceptional live improv skills that really shone through during his fleeting career. While he managed to hold his own with another guitar great, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman was taken from us too soon after a motorcycle accident ended his life at age 24.

#4 – David Gilmour

Though the multi-talented musician played several different roles in Pink Floyd, he proved to be at his best when playing the guitar. David Gilmour’s blues-inspired style and evocative notes have produced some of the greatest guitar solos in history. Simply watch a live performance of Gilmour’s guitar work on “Comfortably Numb” and you’re sure to be a convert.

#3 – Keith Richards

If you’re looking for inimitable riffs, you don’t need to look any further than the Rolling Stones’ signature track, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” While Keith Richards’ playing style may be simple, it’s also unforgettable. By being able to stand side-by-side with Mick Jagger’s voice and showmanship, Richards has more than secured his place as one of the longest lasting icons of rock and roll.

#2 – Eddie Van Halen

He burst onto the music scene with his drumming brother Alex and co-founded one of the biggest hard rock acts in American history. Eddie Van Halen revolutionized guitar-playing with his tapping technique and hard rock style. While he continues to play with Van Halen, his originality and talent have already inspired many and will certainly inspire scores more.

#1 – Jimmy Page

Both as co-founder of the biggest band of the ‘70s and as a musician in his own right, Jimmy Page permanently altered the sound of music by fusing blues, rock and folk. He may very well be the greatest guitarist rock has ever seen, as aptly displayed in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Though he was influenced by Robert Johnson, the riff king himself has left an immeasurable and all-encompassing influence on later artists that won’t soon be forgotten.

Do you agree or disagree with our list? Be sure to let us know which of the greatest band guitarists are missing!

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