Hello to All Guitar Enthusiasts! There are many metalheads and headbangers out there, therefore this blog post will be a great gift for them. Here, we present the greatest metal guitarists in history.
Being huge lovers of heavy metal music, we at Guitarmetrics felt it would be fun to compile a list of the top 10 heavy metal guitarists.
Numerous guitarists have caused us to bang our heads to their thunderous riffs, but we felt that these 10 guitarists deserved special recognition because they revolutionised the way metal music is played.
They have established themselves as the Metal Gods and the best metal guitarists in the world with their headbanging riffs and blisteringly fast guitar solos.
Rock music's Heavy Metal genre emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The bands that invented heavy metal established a thick, enormous sound, marked by massively amplified distortion, lengthy guitar solos, forceful beats, and general loudness. Heavy metal has origins in blues-rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock.
The lyrics and performing techniques of the genre are occasionally linked to machismo and anger.
Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath are just a few of the bands who helped popularise the genre and draw in a broad audience.
Heavy metal was then divided into various sub-categories, such as Judas Priest's removal of the majority of heavy metal's blues influence, Motorhead's Punk Rock approach and increased emphasis on speed, and the new wave of British heavy metal, which was introduced by groups like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard.
The following bands contributed to the subsequent popularisation of other sub-genres such Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Groove Metal, and Nu-Metal.
Motley Crue, Bon Jovi: glam metal.
Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth are thrash metal bands.
Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit play groove and nu-metal.
Before Starting the list we would like to include some Honourable Mentions
10. Jim Root (James Donald Root) Slipknot
Mr. Jim Root is one of the most renowned metal guitarists in the metal scene, and all headbangers and metalheads are familiar with him.
He plays guitar for Slipknot alongside Mick Thompson. He once played lead guitar for Stone Sour, an alternative rock band. The way Jim Root plays the guitar is a little mysterious.
He has never made his practising methods or tricks public. But a Metalhead can go crazy listening to his guitar playing!
His guitar style primarily consists of heavy riffs performed with power chords in drop-down tunings, which is ideal for the Slipknot sound.
He's been identified as a Big Beatles Fan! He has said in an interview, "You know what? I never did since I was so into bands like Anthrax, Megadeth, Overkill, and others by the time I really started learning how to play the guitar.
That was sort of what I did. Sincerely, I've never memorised a full Beatles song.
I've picked up bits and pieces here and there, but I've never actually sat down and done it.
When I have some free time in the future, I might try to mentally process some Beatles material. They write some really incredible songs.
Even though they are basically straightforward pop songs, the arrangements and creativity were astounding. Everything we do in rock now was kind of invented by the Beatles.
Regarding his struggles to improve his guitar, Jim Root has always been honest.
According to him, there is a lot of down plucking, chromatic riffing, and notes that simply circle each other quickly.
Well, not really a while, but it took me some time to work out the thought process behind it, put it into practise, and pull it off. His primary guitar has always been a Fender Telecaster.
Jim has stated that Only Fenders and Gibsons give him a Classic Rock Feel, as from childhood he has grown up watching the legends like Pete Townshend and Tom Petty Playing a Fender or Gibson.
In an interview he said "Like I said, man, I'm a classic rock fan.
It's just such an iconic image to see Tom Petty playing a blonde Telecaster. perhaps Pete Townshend.
When I was young and impressionable, the picture of those guitars stuck in my head because it was so iconic and godlike.
There isn't another guitar for me, and I'd probably be playing a Flying V instead of Telecasters, Strats, and Jazzmasters.
Although Jim Root is a true metal guitarist, Classic rock was a big impact on him growing up.
Me Inside, Purity, the All Hope is Gone Album, and many other songs by him are well-known. Watch the video below to observe his playing style on the guitar.
Video credit- Youtube channel- Lucas canso
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9. Michael Paget (Michael "Padge" Paget) Bullet For My Valentine.
Mr. Michael Paget is a very respected Metal Guitarist among the Metalheads.
He is the Lead Guitarist of the Heavy Metal band Bullet For My Valentine.
He mostly uses lightning-quick guitar solos that will melt your faces! He is underrated in our opinion at guitarmetrics, and he belongs on the list of best metal guitarists.
Guitarist Michael Paget is self-taught.
In an Interview with Guitarplayer, he has stated that "I don’t have a musical education.
Since I couldn't afford tuition, I educated myself by observing others. My very first guitar was a Spanish nylon-string acoustic that took me a few weeks to even learn how to tune.
My first Gibson SG came next, followed by an old Aria Pro electric with a Floyd Rose tremolo. My parents' buddy gave me my first amp, a tiny Marshall Valvestate that I still possess.
Anyone who has seen him play would most likely find it hard to believe that he is self-taught, as we here at Guitarmetrics did.
Michael's Eary influences include blues Guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
He has also stated that he is a huge fan of Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Adrian Smith, and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden.
He Has been a long time Endorser of ESP Guitars. It is his primary Guitar for Studio and Live Sessions.
Tears Don't Fall, Alone, Your Betrayal, Bittersweet Memories, and many other songs are among his best.
The Kerang Awards have named Bullet for my Valentine the most successful act.
Watch the video below to hear his extremely fast solo from the song "Alone."
Video credit- Youtube channel- Fearcesupport
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8. Richie Faulkner (Richard Ian Faulkner) Judas Priest.
Judas Priest is one of the most influential Heavy Metal bands of all time!!
Richie Faulkner, who is regarded as one of the top metal guitarists in the scene, had to be included on this list due to his enormous contribution to metal music.
With his 2011 American Idol debut performance with Judas Priest, he has suddenly gained notoriety.
His guitar playing has a strong blues influence. His solos primarily feature pentatonic runs combined with ideas from the melodic minor scale.
He has also released a set of Video lessons with Guitarworld which has enabled many Guitarists to Learn his Playing style and Improve their Guitar Playing.
In an interview with Guitarworld, Richie Faulkner said, "Everyone knows, I suppose, who my musical inspirations are - it's no secret Zakk Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, and Dave Murray are in there.
There are a tonne of them, really. There is Brian May and Randy Rhoads.
They're everywhere. However, there are typically four or five individuals who, in my situation, led me to believe that they were responsible for influencing the way I play now.
Therefore, anytime I hear myself playing, I also hear Wylde and Hendrix. And let's hope that results in something.
Hopefully, if you put everything through one funnel, it will come out in a different way. To be honest with you, it's a great trip to take because as I get older and move through my profession, I find myself seeking more and more to establish my own unique voice.
March of the Damned, Rising from Ruins, Sea of Red, No Surrender, Lightning Strike, and many more are just a few of his well-known songs. Watch him play in the video down below.
Video credit- Youtube channel- EMGtv
7. James Hetfield (James Alan Hetfield ) Metallica.
Yes, you got it Right! Mr.James Hetfield of Metallica, is undoubtly one of the best metal guitarists out there.
We had to include him on this list, as we all know he is a Legend in Metal Music Community. Metallica is one of the biggest and the most influential Heavy metal bands of all time.
Over the years, they've produced an endless number of hits! James Hetfield is renowned for his versatility as a guitarist and singer-songwriter.
He is one of the few vocalists who is also quite skilled with their instrument.
The combination of his rhythm guitar playing and Kirk Hammet's virtuoso guitar solos has driven millions of fans crazy!
He fills in for several solo parts in their tracks and plays incredibly intricate rhythm guitar. His playing is significantly dissimilar from that of other guitarists.
He has developed his own preferred picking technique and does not adhere to conventional playing.
Aerosmith is among the Major Influences of James Hetfield.
He has stated that Aerosmith was the Reason he learned to Play Guitar.
Hetfield is also known as a Great Performer. He also had some Major Accidents on stage, most notable is his incident with Pyrotechnics at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal during the Metallica and GunsnRoses Concert on August 8, 1992.
The majority of Hetfield's playing style comprises of power chords.
He is the "Master of Power Chords," so to speak! Due to the seamless chord changes and quick tempo of Metallica's songs, rhythm portions are very challenging to cover.
James Hetfield is a long time Endorser of the ESP Guitars. He Mostly uses them for both, Studio and, Live sessions.
Some of the most Notable Tracks of Metallica are Mater of Puppets, Nothing Else Matters, Fade to Black, Enter Sandman, One, Unforgiven, Seek and Destroy and many more. James Hetfield Has been ranked No.8 in Joel Mclver's Book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.
Check out Metallica's Most Iconic Track Master Of Puppets in the video below.
Video credit- Youtube channel- heavy metal
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6. Gus G (Konstantinos Karamitroudis) Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne.
Gus G is known to be a Perfect Shredder, a Heavy metal Guitarist in the true sense and one of the best metal guitarists out there!
He established the Greek heavy metal group Firewind.
Additionally, he has collaborated with several important musicians, including Mystic Prophecy, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil, and Ozzy Osbourne.
His preferred technique for playing the guitar is a combination of quick Pentatonic runs and classic shredding using melodic minor concepts.
According to him, "Frampton Comes Alive, notably, was the inspiration for my decision to pick up the guitar and begin playing," he said in an interview.
When my dad played the song "Do you feel like we do" on the record at home when I was around 8 or 9 years old, he used a lot of talkbox effects that made the guitar sound like it was talking, and I somehow assumed that it was a robot speaking.
It simply amazed me.
Gus is an ESP Guitar Endorser. He has Two signature Models to his Name, Gus G FR, and Gus G NT.
Some of his notable Tracks are Mr. Manson, letting go, Money for Nothing, what lies below, Blame it on me, I am the Fire and many more.
5. Kirk Hammett (Kirk Lee Hammett ) Metallica.
Anyone's face will melt when they hear the tape hand guitarist play! Alternate picking, tapping, legato, pinch harmonics, and dive bombs are just a few of the guitar techniques that Kirk is renowned for using.
Kirk Hammett even took Private Guitar Tuitions from Guitar Virtuoso Joe Satriani.
Kirk Hammett is also known to be an Art and Horror movie lover.
Additionally, he added movie posters and his own artwork to several of his guitars. The taped hand that is Kirk Hammett's trademark has caught the eye of many guitarists.
He claimed in an interview that he tapes his picking hand because it occasionally becomes injured from his aggressive playing style and starts to bleed.
In addition to Enter Sandman, one of the greatest heavy metal songs ever recorded, Creeping Death, and many more, Hammett has written numerous riffs for Metallica.
He was ranked No.11 on the Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, he was also ranked No.15 in Joel Mclver's Book 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.
Check out the Video Below to See his Guitar Techniques.
Video credit- Youtube channel- metalmonster 2018
4. Ritchie Blackmore (Richard Hugh Blackmore) Deep Purple.
Every Guitarist at some point in their life has tried to play the Legendary riff in "Smoke on the Water" Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple is a legendary Heavy Metal Guitarist.
Although he does not play in a heavy metal band and is not a traditional shredder, his guitar playing style is different from others.
He was the first guitarist to have an impact on a new wave of heavy metal guitarists. His guitar playing includes heavy riffs, legato, and alternate picking licks.
He has stated that he has largely developed his Vibrato style by listening to Eric Clapton.
Blackmore is an experimental Guitarist, he favors the use of organs in his Tracks due to his classical music influence.
In an interview, he has stated that "I like popular music.
I really enjoy ABBA. However, there is a lot of stigma, such as "you can't do this because you're a heavy band," and I think that's ridiculous.
Do whatever you want to do. I believe that listening to classical music is incredibly uplifting.
Many say, "Well, classical music is for old fogies, I guess," yet I was precisely the same.
At the age of 16, I had classical music shoved down my neck and didn't want to know about it.
But now I feel compelled to advise the children to give classical music a chance.
I sometimes become angry and unhappy when I try to play the guitar since I'm not good enough to do so.
The only music that ever touches me is really structured classical music, which I am unable to perform, and sometimes I feel that what I'm doing is wrong since the entire rock and roll industry has devolved into a farce like Billy Smart Jr Circus.
But there's a reason why I've been successful.
Because I perform for myself first, then the audience, and I try to do as much as I can for them, I play because I believe in what I'm doing.
Finally, I don't play for critics at all; I play for the band and the players.
Smoke on the Water, Highway Star, Soldier of Fortune, Child in Time, Perfect Strangers, Lazy, and many other of his iconic songs are just a few.
Blackmore was ranked No.16 in Guitar World's 100 Greatest Metal Guitarist Of all Time, he was ranked No.50 in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time. So we can say he is undoubtly one of the best metal guitarists in the metal community.
Guitar World has also Included Blackmore's Two solos( Highway Star and Lazy) in the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of all time.
Blackmore was Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple.
3. Tony Iommi (Anthony Frank Iommi) Black Sabbath.
His original, out-of-tune, gloomy riffs are credited with inspiring other bands that came after.
His legendary riffs revolutionised heavy metal music and paved the way for a great number of guitarists to pursue their musical passions.
Iommi has served as a major source of motivation for guitarists to pursue their dreams no matter what.
He stood out among guitarists of his era by being exceedingly unique. Iommi's playing technique was significantly impacted by the accident that cost him the tips of his right middle and ring fingers while he was still a teenager working in a factory.
After this accident, Iommi believed he would never again be able to play the guitar, but he didn't give up.
Although he briefly gave up playing the guitar, he picked it back up after a buddy played him a CD of renowned jazz guitarist "Django Reinhardt."
I exclaimed, "No way!" when my friend added, "Listen to this guy play," Iommi later recalled. I have absolutely no desire to listen to someone play the guitar right now!
However, he persisted, and in the end, he played the record for me. I told him I thought it was excellent, and he responded, "You know, the guy's only playing with two fingers on his fretboard hand because of an injury he got in a terrible fire." This discovery completely caught me off guard, and I was so pleased by what I had just heard that I was suddenly motivated to attempt playing again.
Iommi Never attempted to play with your right hand.
In an interview with Guitar World, he stated that "If I knew what I know now I probably would have switched.
I had been playing for two or three years at the time, and it seemed like a very long time.
I believed that I would never be able to alter my playing style.
In actuality, I hadn't been playing for very long at all, and I definitely could have used that time to learn to play right-handed.
I tried my hand at it, but I just lacked the patience.
I thought it was not possible. I fashioned some plastic fingertips for myself out of what I already had because I was going to make due.
I simply persisted in doing it. Losing his fingernails is Tony Iommi's biggest regret.
He said in a conversation with Guitar Player Magazine that "It became a burden. Some believe it helped me create the style of music I perform, but I'm not sure if that's true. Simply said, it's something I've had to adapt to.
Your playing style is impacted; I can't play some chords because I can't feel the strings. I was informed by doctors right away that I wouldn't be playing the guitar. But I succeeded because I had faith in my ability.
Iron Man, War Pigs, Paranoid, N.I.B, Children of the Grave, and many more are just a few of his most famous songs.
Metal Hammer Magazine ranked him No.1 one in their Poll "Riff Lords", Classic Rock Magazine Ranked Him No.6 on their list of 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes.
Rolling Stones Magazine Ranked him No. 25 in their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time, Joel Mclver Ranked him 6th Greatest Metal Guitarist of all Time.
Guitar World Magazine Ranked him No.7 in their list of Greatest Rock Guitarist of all time. Many Artists think that without Iommi, Heavy metal wouldn't have existed!!
He is One of the most Respected Guitarists in the Rock Community.
He was Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Black Sabbath.
Check out one of his most Iconic Riffs in Iron Man in the Video below.
Video Credits- Youtube channel- Black Sabbath
2. Dave Mustaine (David Scott Mustaine) Megadeth.
Dave Mustaine is a very respected Guitar Player in the Heavy Metal Scene. For some people in the metal scene, he is the best metal guitarist of all time.
He is a true shredder; his playing is characteristic of a heavy metal guitarist, complete with lightning-quick solos and heavy riffs played in drop tunings.
He has a very straightforward approach to playing the guitar and has had a significant impact on the heavy metal scene.
In an interview with Loudwire, he stated "It's not how big your pencil is, it's how you write your name, Playing, for me, doing solos and stuff like that, there's a lot of technical stuff that people do, they do sweeping and stuff like that and they do a lot of stuff that's real pretty-looking, but you know what?!
After a while, when someone is playing an entire solo, it's kind of like enough already.
David Gilmour, in my opinion, is capable of more with a single note than half of the current crop of young musicians who can only play mind-blowing solos.
ACDC, UFO, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Diamond, and many more artists have influenced Dave Mustaine. His songs include Tornado of Souls, Holy Wars, In My Darkest Hour, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, and many others.
Dave Mustaine is Counted among the Best Heavy Metal Guitarists in the world.
He was Ranked No.19 In Guitar World's List of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of all Time.
He was Ranked No.1 in Joel Mclver's Book 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.
When he learned he was going to be in the book, Dave Mustaine was ecstatic. He said this "When I learned that Joel has authored books about Metallica, it made me smile even more.
I was getting more enthusiastic as I turned the pages. When I reached Number 5 and saw it was Kirk Hammett, I said, "Thank you, God."
It didn't matter [in what position I was] at that moment. Being better than both of them (James Hetfield and Hammett) meant a lot to me, and it has been one of my career's pet peeves that I have never understood how to handle. I was only thinking, I win!"
The video below features his Face Melting solo from She Wolf.
Video credit- Youtube channel- Frederick Benny
1. Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrell (Randall William Rhoads and Darrell Lance Abbott) Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera.
We struggled to decide who should rank first on our list, but in the end, we decided that both of these guitarists are Legends and deserve to be in the top spot! Here are our picks for the two greatest and most astounding metal guitarists of all time.
Late Mr.Randy Rhoads and Late Mr. Dimebag Darrell.
These Two Guitarists might be the Most Influential Guitarists in the Heavy Metal Community!!
The heavy metal god Randy Rhoads continues to motivate countless guitarists to pursue their goals. We concur that he is regarded as one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time.
He is one of the very few heavy metal guitarists whose playing shows a strong classical musical influence.
He was a very committed student of classical music who later developed an interest in heavy metal.
His exposure to classical music made him a very disciplined guitarist, which really aided his guitar technique!
He came Into the Limelight By performing with Ozzy Osbourne. Randy has a Huge Influence on Neo-Classical Metal.
Randy's guitar playing greatly impressed Ozzy Osbourne.
Randy's guitar playing stunned Ozzy Osbourne during his first audition for the singer.
Randy was given the spot right away after he claimed, "He performed this fucking solo and I'm like, am I that fucking stoned or am I hallucinating or what the fuck is this?" The best part was that Randy was only getting started.
Classical music had a significant influence on Randy's guitar playing, and he used techniques like alternate picking, tapping, legato runs, pinch harmonics, and volume swells.
His main Guitar Influences were Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, and John Williams.
Randy had two main Guitars for his studio and live sessions. Gibson (White Les Paul) and his Famous Polka Dot V Guitar by Karl Sandoval. Some of his Iconic Tracks are Crazy Train, Mr.Crowley, You Drive Me Crazy, It's Not so funny, and many more.
Randy Rhoads has been Included in Several Best Guitarists Lists.
He was awarded the Best New Talent By the Guitar Player Magazine.
Additionally, he was ranked No. 26 on Guitar World's list of the 100 Fastest Guitarists of all time and his solos from Mr. Crowley and Crazy Train were among the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time.
On March 18, 1932, Randy Rhoads perished in a plane accident.
Randy Rhoads was, is, and will always be a legend; may he rest in peace.
Everyone who is a Metal Head knows who this Legend is!!!!
Mr.Dimebag Darrell, The lead Guitarist of Heavy/Trash Metal Band Pantera and Damageplan was undoubtly one of the best metal guitarists in the metal music scene.
Dimebag is regarded as one of the most influential musicians in the growth of thrash and groove metal. He has inspired the metal community and provided us with many outstanding riffs and solos.
Dimebag disliked music theory and was primarily self-taught when it came to playing the guitar.
Legato runs and alternate picking licks made up the majority of his guitar technique, albeit he preferred Legato Runs for their fluidity.
He preferred chromatic forms above other scale modes for the most of his playing.
His Pinch Harmonics' squeaking sound served as his trademark. He also experiments with various tunings for a heavier, metal tone.
Dimebag first signed a Deal with Dean Guitars and later he become a Washburn Guitar Endorsee.
Some of his Notable Tracks are Floods, Cemetery Gates, Revolution is my Name, Domination, Hollow, Cowboys from Hell and many more.
He was ranked as the Most Influential Metal Guitarist by VH1, He was placed in No.5 in Gibson's List of Top 10 Metal Guitarist of all Time.
He was ranked No.96 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time, Guitar World Ranked him No.9 in their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time and he was awarded the title of The Greatest Metal Guitarist by Lodwire.
In 2007, he was also admitted to the Hollywood Rockwalk.
A mentally unstable fan shot Dimebag Darrell to death on December 8, 2004.
Dimebag Darrell, rest in peace. His legacy will endure forever.
The video below features his iconic track Cowboys From Hell.
Video credit- Youtube channel- GeauxGreg
Below are some of the top ranking metal guitar players of 21st century!
The 21st century has seen a new generation of metal guitar players emerge, pushing the boundaries of what's possible on the instrument. From technical virtuosos to genre-bending innovators, here are some of the best metal guitar players of the 21st century:
As the founder and lead guitarist of progressive metal band Animals as Leaders, Tosin Abasi has redefined what's possible on the guitar. His complex, innovative playing style combines elements of jazz, metal, and fusion, and his technical proficiency has earned him worldwide recognition.
As the lead guitarist of Avenged Sevenfold, Synyster Gates is known for his technical proficiency and soaring solos. His virtuosic playing style draws on a wide range of influences, from classical music to heavy metal, and his ability to combine speed, melody, and technicality has made him one of the most respected guitarists in modern metal.
As the frontman and lead guitarist of progressive metal band Opeth, Mikael Akerfeldt is known for his intricate, melodic playing style. He combines elements of classic rock, folk, and metal, creating a unique sound that has earned him a dedicated following.
As the lead guitarist of progressive metal band Dream Theater, John Petrucci is renowned for his technical ability and versatility. His playing style draws on a wide range of influences, including jazz, classical, and metal, and his mastery of complex time signatures and intricate soloing has made him one of the most respected guitarists in modern metal.
As the lead guitarist of Alice Cooper's band, Nita Strauss has quickly become one of the most exciting guitar players in metal. Her shredding solos and technical proficiency have earned her widespread recognition, and her dynamic stage presence has made her a fan favorite.
As the lead guitarist of progressive metal band Meshuggah, Fredrik Thordendal is known for his innovative, polyrhythmic playing style. He combines complex rhythms with dissonant melodies, creating a unique sound that has influenced a generation of metal guitar players.
As the former lead guitarist of Nevermore and current solo artist, Jeff Loomis is known for his technical proficiency and emotive playing style. He combines elements of neoclassical metal and progressive metal, creating a sound that is both intricate and powerful.
These are just a few of the best metal guitar players of the 21st century, but they represent the diversity and innovation that define the genre. Whether it's pushing the boundaries of technical proficiency or creating a unique sound, these guitar players are changing the face of modern metal, inspiring a new generation of musicians to pick up the instrument and create their own unique sound.