Hello to all you Guitar Fanatics. Although classic rock has mostly appealed to adult listeners, music associated with this format received more exposure with younger generations of listeners. Classic rock really boosted the Inspiration for more teenagers to pick up the Guitar and live the Rocknroll Dream! Classic rock was one of the movements which took the whole idea of Guitar playing to another level. Many Guitarist has created their own identity with their contribution to classic rock and we are here with the list of the ones we think have become a rock Icon in their own status. It was really hard for us to pick top 10 Guitarists as we know not just these 10 but, many more artists have contributed to the Rock movement with their own sound. Before we start with the list, we would like to show some Honorable mention of artists and their thoughts about Classic rock.
10. Brian May (Brian Harold May)
Queen's Lead Guitarist Brian May is definitely one the artist we wanted to list here because of his contribution towards many Rock classic's which defines the history of Queen. May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. His Guitar Playing is considered one of the best in Classic rock and his noteworthy compositions include, "We Will Rock You", "We are the Champions", "I want it all", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash", "Hammer to Fall", "Save Me", "Who wants to Live Forever", "The show must go on" and the most notable, Bohemian Rhapsody.
His signature Guitar was made by his Dad and Himself called the "Red Special" which was very different from other guitars and made him stand out from other guitarists. From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Queen was an almost constant presence in the UK charts and played some of the biggest venues in the world, most notably giving an acclaimed performance at Live Aid in 1985. As a member of Queen, May became regarded as a virtuoso musician and he was identified with a distinctive sound created through his layered guitar work. Brian May's distinctive sound comes from his combination of Unique use of Delay effects and his Picking techniques.
Brian May also has a Degree in Astrophysics from London Imperial College, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in science.
Brian May was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of all time", 2nd Greatest Guitarist in Guitar World Magazine's Poll, he was inducted into RocknRoll Hall of Fame as one of the band members of Queen and he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in Rock Music.
9. Mark Knopfler (Mark Freuder Knopfler)
Who can forget the "Sultans of Swing" Mr.Mark Knopfler, he is the lead singer, lead guitarist, and songwriter of the band Dire Straits. He has also worked with many renowned musicians like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Van Morrison, James Taylor, etc. Mark is known for his signature fingerpicking style of playing. His Guitar solos were very different from other players in terms of technicality and melodies. The solo in "Sultans of Swing" is considered as a breakthrough in the Rock music scene. He was one of the few musicians who invented his own Guitar playing technique which made him one of the top guitarists in Rock music scene. His signature guitar is a Fender which he mostly uses in tours. His top tracks include Brothers in arms, walk of life, are we in trouble now, Everybody pays, Piper to the end, True love will never fade, etc
Since Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler has recorded and produced nine solo albums and, as with his previous band, produced many hit songs. He has also composed many film scores including Local Hero(1983), Cal(1984), Wag the Dog(1987).
Mark Knopfler is a 4 time Grammy award winner, Ranked 27 in the Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time, he has also been awarded Edison award, Steiger award, and Ivor Novello award. Mark also has three honorary doctorate degrees in Music from UK universities.
He was Inducted into RocknRoll Hall of Fame in 2018 as a member of Dire Straits. Check out the video below to see Mark Knopfler's Guitar Playing style.
Video credits- Youtube channel- Dailydosesurf
8. George Harrison
George Harrison, the lead Guitarist of Beatles can be considered one of the Pioneers of Rock Music. Beatles came like a wave in rock music and changed the history of rock. We Guarantee that Every person who loves Rock music Will know the Beatles. Of all the Beatles members, George was considered as the quite and mellow one, that's why he was known as the "quiet Beatle". Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation. He became very spiritual after his visit to India. Although most of the songs of the band were written by Paul Maccarthy and John Lenon, Harrison has also written some of the band's tracks like Here comes the sun, while my guitar gently weeps, Something, within you without you.
Harrison was also fond of Transcendental Meditation. He was a believer of Lord Krishna which made his songwriting techniques more spiritual. After the band's breakup, George started his solo career which made him recognizable for his Slide guitar Playing. He was a big fan of Ravi Shankar(Sitarist) and also took lessons from him on Indian classical music. Harrison organized the Benefit concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar.
Harrison released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer. He has also collaborated with many artists like Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and Ringo Starr.
George Harrison was ranked 11th in 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine, He is a two-time RocknRoll Hall of Fame Inductee, one as the member of Beatles and other as a solo artist.
Check out his iconic song While my guitar gently weeps below.
7. David Gilmour (David Jon Gilmour)
We had to include David Gilmour, lead guitarist of Pink Floyd in this list for his contribution to rock music with his Melodic Guitar Playing. David Gilmour is known for his unique sound which he gets by combining his Blues influenced playing and different guitar effects. He has also stated in an interview that "I don't even think whether I play the blues or not, I just play whatever feels right at the moment. I also will use any gadget or device that I find that helps me achieve the sort of sound on the guitar that I want to."
"The Expectation on me as a solo artist is very different to the audience's expectation of a Pink Floyd Show" David Gilmour stated truly that Pink Floyd's Live performance is the thing that sets them aside from other rock bands. If you want to get a taste of the Pink Floyd then you should check out their live performances. The Astounding Lightings combined with David Gilmours melodic Guitar playing will give you chills. His top Hits include Comfortably numb, shine on you crazy diamond, Marooned, Time, Another brick in the wall, Coming back to life and, many more
Gilmour was inducted in the US RocknRoll Hall of Fame in 1996 and in the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. He was also ranked 14th in the list of greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine, and 36th in greatest voices of Rock by Planet Rock.
Check out his amazing performance of Comfortably numb below.
Video credits- Youtube channel- HDPinkfloyd
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6. Angus Young (Angus McKinnon Young)
Angus Young is one of the few guitarists who is known for his Showmanship and stage presence. Lead guitarist of ACDC, and the only constant member of the band. His Energetic performances and stage tricks have stunned millions of Rock Fans!! He is also known for his own version of "Duckwalk" of Chuck Berry. Angus Guitar Playing is Unique in its own, his playing is mostly based on blues techniques and his signature nuances. You can hear this in his most notable solos are in the tracks like Black in black, it's a long way to the top, Thunderstruck, Highway to hell, let there be rock and many more. He has also tried a number of stage costumes like spider-man, Zorro, gorilla, and Superman which was called super-Ang.
He has used the Gibson SG as his primary Guitar. Also his signature black version. Most of the time ACDC is criticized for their simplicity in their songs, on this Angus stated "It's just rock and roll. A lot of times we get criticized for it. A lot of music papers come out with: 'When are they going to stop playing these three chords?' If you believe you shouldn't play just three chords it's pretty silly on their part. To us, the simpler a song is, the better, 'cause it's more in line with what the person on the street is".
Young is famous for his wild onstage antics: intense jumps and running back and forth across the stage. He frequently does his own version of Chuck Berry's duck walk, as well as a "spasm", during which he throws himself to the ground, kicking, shaking, and spinning in circles, while playing the guitar. Young was advised by older brother George that if he ever tripped over his lead to keep playing and make it look like part of the act. He also included a sort of striptease as part of a mid-show ritual, during which he slowly took off his schoolboy outfit, running across the stage to elicit cheers from the audience.
Young was Ranked 24th in Rolling stones 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the RocknRoll Hall of Fame in 2003
Check the video below to see what a madman he becomes on stage.
Video credits- Youtube channel- Carls Darwin
5. Stevie Ray Vaughan (Stephen Ray Vaughan)
The Blues Legend, Mr.Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was no doubt one of the most influential Guitarists in the Blues-rock scene. He was the lead guitarist of the band Double Trouble. Stevie's Guitar playing was straight up Blues which included his effortless execution of Pentatonic Licks. Stevie was known for his amazing stage presence and his aggressive guitar playing style. He came into limelight with his performance at Montreux Jazz Festival, Although popular in Texas at the time, Double Trouble failed to gain national attention. The group's luck progressed when record producer Jerry Wexler recommended them to Claude Nobs, organizer of the Montreux Jazz Festival. He insisted the festival's blues night would be great with Vaughan, whom he called "a jewel, one of those rarities who comes along once in a lifetime", and Nobs agreed to book Double Trouble on July 17. People's James Mcbride wrote, "He seemed to come out of nowhere, a Zorro-type figure in a riverboat gambler's hat, roaring into the '82 Montreux festival with a '59 Stratocaster at his hip and two flame-throwing sidekicks he called Double Trouble. He had no album, no record contract, no name, but he reduced the stage to a pile of smoking cinders and, afterward, everyone wanted to know who he was.
Stevie Ray Vaughan has contributed us with many amazing tracks like Lenny, Pride and Joy, Lovestruck baby, and many more. But the song which gave him the most recognition was Texas Flood.
While Albert King had a substantial influence on Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix was Vaughan's greatest inspiration. Vaughan declared: "I love Hendrix for so many reasons. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist — he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact, I'm not sure if he even played the guitar — he played music. Vaughan owned and used a variety of guitars during his career. His guitar of choice and the instrument that he became most associated with was the Fender Strat, his favorite being a 1963 body, with a 1962 neck, and pickups dated from 1959. This is why Vaughan usually referred to his Stratocaster as a, "1959 Strat." He explained why he favored this guitar in a 1983 interview: "I like the strength of its sound. Any guitar I play has got to be pretty versatile. It's got a big, strong tone and it'll take anything I do to it." Vaughan also referred to this instrument as his "first wife," or, "Number One.
Guitar Player Magazine voted him the best new talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, He was also awarded Rhythm and Blues award by the Performance Magazine, He has won over 6 Grammy's and was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame, He was inducted in the RocknRoll Hall of Fame with Double Trouble. He was ranked 12th in 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time by Guitar World Magazine.
Check out his Legendary Performance of his track Texas Flood.
Video credits- Youtube channel- stevierayvaughanVEVO
4. Jimmy Page (James Patrick Page)
We couldn't let Jimmy Page stay out of this list, He is among the most influential guitarist of all time. Who doesn't know the Led Zeppelin, they have contributed Iconic tracks to the rock music. Their most notable tracks include Stairway to heaven, Whole lotta love, Kashmir, Immigrant song, black dog, Since I've been loving you, All my love and many more.
Jimmy Page is Largely a self-taught Guitarist. He has stated that "When I grew up there weren't many other guitarists ... There was one other guitarist in my school who actually showed me the first chords that I learned and I went on from there. I was bored so I taught myself the guitar from listening to records. So obviously it was a very personal thing". In an interview with Guitar Player magazine, Page stated that "there was a lot of busking in the early days, but as they say, I had to come to grips with it and it was good schooling, Page took a guitar to school each day only to have it confiscated and returned to him after class. Although interviewed for a job as a laboratory assistant, he ultimately chose to leave Danetree Secondary School, West Ewell, to pursue music.
Jimmy page is Known for his Amazing Riffs and Guitar solos. His Guitar Playing is mostly Blues Oriented, He has also experimented with different Effects and also used a Violin bow to play the Guitar Strings. His experiences in the studio and with the Yardbirds were key to the success of Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. As a record producer, songwriter, and guitarist, he helped make Zeppelin a prototype for countless future rock bands and was one of the major driving forces behind the rock sound of that era.
Jimmy Page was ranked 3rd in the Rolling Stones Greatest Guitarists of all time, He was also ranked 2nd in Gibson's 50 Guitarists of all time and 4th in Classic Rock's 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes. He was Inducted in RocknRoll Hall of Fame twice. One with Yardbirds and others as a member of Led Zeppelin.
Check out the video of his Amazing solo of Stairway to heaven.
Video Credits- Youtube channel- OLD TAPES
3. Eric Clapton (Eric Patrick Clapton)
The "Slowhand" Mr.Eric Clapton is one of the most Important and Influential Guitarists of all time. He has been associated with a number of groups, First as a member of Yardbirds and later Cream, Blind Faith and, Derek and Dominos. Later Eric also Performed as a solo artist in which he performed his rendition of Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" which made a huge impact on large music markets. Eric Clapton's Best Tracks Include Crossroads, Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight, My father's eyes, and many more, but the track which made him a Guitar Icon is undoubted "Layla". The song was further inspired by Clapton's then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison of the Beatles. Clapton and Boyd would eventually marry.
Eric Clapton is known as the "Slowhand". Clapton told his official biographer, Ray Coleman, in the mid-80s that “My nickname of 'Slowhand' came from Giorgio Gomelsky. He coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into 'Slowhand' as a play on words.” Clapton's Guitar Technique is Based on Blues Influence. He mainly Uses Pentatonic and major, minor scales to improvise. But don't get fooled by this, the way he chooses the notes is so melodic that only he can play like him! That's why his solos are so recognizable. His signature Guitar in his early days was Gibson but in the later years, he switched to Fender Strat.
Clapton is the only Guitarist to be Inducted in RocknRoll Hall of Fame for 3 times! Once as a solo artist and two times as a member of Yardbirds and Cream. He has been also awarded 18 Grammy's. and a Brit Award for his contribution to Music. Also a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music, He has received four Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of songwriters and composers, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Check out his Iconic track Layla below.
Video credits- Youtube channel- Albert canta
2. SLASH (Saul Hudson)
The real Guitar Hero SLASH!! Every person who loves rock music knows who Slash is and, what an icon he is! Slash has received critical acclaim and is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock history. Slash is known as the Face of RocknRoll, with his Iconic Top hat and his Guitar Playing style he clearly stands out. Slash has been a part of different Rock bands like Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash's Snakepit and, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. He was given the name "SLASH" after showing a lot of energy and zipping around the place at one of his house parties. Slash has contributed many Amazing Guitar solos to the rock music. Some of his notable tracks are Welcome to the jungle, Estranged, Don't cry, Civil war, Paradise city, Godfather, and many more, but his most Iconic song is Sweet child o Mine which he wrote as a Practice exercise. Slash played lead guitar on the single "Give in to me" off Michael Jackson's album Dangerous, as well as in the opening skit for the song "Black or White" off the same album.
Slash's Guitar Technique is a combination of Basic blues playing and Hard rock Riffing! His Melodic ideas are the reason for the top hits of Guns n Roses. He can do both, bend a note with extreme Feel, and shred like crazy!
Slash is an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education programs in disadvantaged public schools. He has visited Little Kids Rock students, jammed with them and donated instruments and his time. Slash's passion for music is evident in his charity as well as his art. "Being a musician is something that is good for the character because it teaches you a lot about discipline," Slash said. "I think it's a really great creative outlet."
He was ranked 65 on the list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine, Guitar World ranked his guitar solo in "November Rain" number 6 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos", Sweet child o mine was placed in 1st position by Total Guitar on their list of 100 greatest rock riff's, Gibson Guitar Corporation ranked him 34th in top 50 Guitarist of all time, He was inducted in the RocknRoll Hall of Fame as a Member of GunsnRoses.
Slash is undoubtedly the Real Guitar Hero! Check out the video of his Iconic song Sweet Child o Mine.
Video credits- Youtube channel- Moshcam
1. Jimi Hendrix (James Marshall Hendrix)
We think that Jimi doesn't need any introduction, he one of the most important and worshipped guitarists in the rock community. His legacy is too huge to be explained. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. When Jimi grabbed the Guitar for the First Time, it changed the whole world of rock music, He showed us the things that were considered impossible at the time to do on a Guitar. The Guitar itself became an Extension of his body. When he played the guitar it seemed like he is creating a new world of music! Jimi Hendrix has influenced so many people to pick up the guitar and find their own sound. Artists like John Mayer, Joe Satriani, Slash, and many more. Tom Morello stated that Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio, and the stage.
Hendrix played a variety of guitars throughout his career, but the instrument that became most associated with him was the Fender Strat. He acquired his first Stratocaster in 1966 when a girlfriend loaned him enough money to purchase a used one that had been built around 1964. Jimi's guitar playing style was miles different from any other guitar player of his era, he Experimented a lot with Whammy bars, and Effects Pedals. He also favored the use of Wah Pedal in his Guitar solos. Hendrix favored Overdriven amplifiers with high volume and Gain. He also popularised the Guitar Amplifier Feedback sound.
Jimi Hendrix Top Tracks Include Little Wing. All Along the Watchtower, Voodoo Child, Purple Haze, The Star-Spangled Banner, Foxy lady, Hey Joe, and many more.
Jimi Hendrix has been Awarded Performer of the year by Rolling Stones in 1968, Disc & Music Echo newspaper honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970 Guitar Player magazine named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. Hendrix was ranked 1st in the list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time by Guitar World Magazine, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, In 1999, readers of Rolling Stone and Guitar World ranked Hendrix among the most important musicians of the 20th century. Hendrix has also won a number of Grammy's and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Jimi Hendrix is undoubtedly the 1st in our list of Top 10 Classic Rock Guitarists.
Check out his Iconic Track Voodoo Child below.