Top Guitarists In Classic Rock

How much beer as been sloshed over the debate on who the top guitarists are in Classic Rock? I know I've chugged a few over that argument. Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton, Yngwe Malmsteen, and on and on and on........

Well, I'm going to present to you who I think the greatest axemen of Classic Rock are and you can vote for one of the three. Why my three choices? Because this is MY article and we could go one all night listing names. There are other things I'd rather do all night.


Eddie, Eddie, Eddie.

Okay, I get a little tired of EVH being thrown at me as the greatest guitar player of all time, but I'll give him props. What impresses me most is that he seems to have fun with it. That is important to me.

I really do like the first Van Halen album the most, and Eruption was one of the pieces on that album. In my opinion though, the group and Eddie lost their hungry edge after that album.

Eddie Van Halen

Every guitar great has a signature piece, and Eddie Van Halen's siganture riff is called Eruption, which is noted as the number 2 all time greatest solo by a readers poll at Guitar World magazine. This is what fans of the group Van Halen would really go to see when they would pack arenas around the world. There would be that one moment when it was Eddie and his guitar.

Although Van Halen made the guitar playing technique known as tapping famous, he did not revolutionize it because tapping had been used by various Blues and Rock recording artists since the 1950's. KISS lead guitar player, Ace Frehley, may have been the big influence on Eddie's learning the technique.

As can be seen and heard in the above video, Eddie Van Halen combines tapping, tunning of the B string, and a little electronic magic with note delays as his secret recipe for greatness.

Buck's Romance

Every time I've seen Blue Oyster Cult in concert, from the big arena days of the late 70's to early 80's to the small community picnic three years ago, Buck Dharma has stolen the show for me.

Watching his hands stroke the strings and neck is like watching Casanova work for his ends. Pure love making, smooth and effortless.

Donald "Buck Dharma" Roesser

Buck Dharma has been with the band Blue Oyster Cult since the band was founded in 1967. Always an underrated talent, yet never distraught, Dharma just played his heart out on every song and through every riff.

Although Donald "Buck Dharma" Roesser hides in the backdrop of the rest of the band, Blue oyster Cult wouldn't be Blue Oyster Cult without him. Seemingly as a tribute to Buck, the band will occasionally all join him on stage with guitars to signify the fact that they ARE a guitar band, and they do build their songs around Buck's talent.

The studio version of this version was recorded for the 1972 Tyranny and Mutations album, but didn't make the final edit. This did not stop the band from adding it to their live playlist, and thirty-five plus years later, the piece is still played at every show.

It is hard to believe that after 35 years of playing the same song a guitarist would still enjoy playing that song, but Buck obviously enjoys the piece. What is even more impressive is that he enjoys every song, every set, and plays with what seems less effort and more clarity than he did decades ago. Decades ago, Buck was none as one of the most natural guitar players of our time because he played with seemless effort.

Jimmy The King

There are three groups that are on everyone of my play lists and Led Zeppelin is one of them.

The women love to watch Robert Plant and his "sock commercial", but I will always want to hear Page as he guides the band through every song with his mastery of the guitar.

No list of top guitar players of all time would be correct without Jimmy Page's name gracing it. Look, he's a guitar God. One of the most recognizable sounds anywhere, and his axe work on Led Zeppelin's song Stairway To Heaven sits atop Guitar World's list of top guitar solos of all time.

Like a lot of rock bands that were popular in the late 1960's and early 1970's, Led Zeppelin was immersed in the music of the American Blues movement. Their self titled debut album had several songs that were covers of Blues standards and Jimmy Page demonstrated then that he was ready to take the guitar playing landscape by storm.

Jimmy Page's legend began to form before he founded Led Zeppelin. He was one of three guitarists, who later in there career became legends, that were axemen at one time or another for the group the Yardbirds.

Jimmy is one who is famous for technical wizardry with amps, mics, and other equipment, but his talent goes well beyond the realm of technology. He can play his balls of, and the best part is, he doesn't play the poser by going to his knees or making any exaggerated motions for the sake of playing the crowd. Just another great who enjoys what he is doing.


Your Choice. Sort Of.

Which Of The Guitarists Are The Greatest?

  • Jimmy Page
  • Donald "Buck Dharma" Roesser
  • Eddie Van Halen
See results without voting

Who Do I think Is The Greatest?

Well, I did try to pull a fast one here. I purposefully gave a video of Eddie Van Halen's signature song, and let the other two hang on more obscure riffs. I just wanted to demonstrate how awesome the other two are.

I truly do get tired of hearing how Eddie is the greatest, and really don't know if the argument could ever be played out to a confirmed champion. I picked the three who I think honestly deserve to be in the running.

Eddie is awesome. Eddie has created a sound that is Van Halen. There is no denying that he has mastered the tapping style and the tone of the flattened B string, and he knows how to play to the crowd.

Donald "Buck Dharma" Roesser has been playing in a band that has not only continued to tour for forty years, but he is part of the core that is formed by three members. Being part of that core, combined with his laid back enjoyment of stroking his axe, has allowed Buck to grow his already unreal talent over the years.

Jimmy Page. Really, I think that is all that needs said. Jimmy Page.

My order of the Top Guitarists In Classic Rock:

  1. Jimmy Page
  2. Buck Dharma (close 2nd)
  3. Eddie Van Halen (distant 3rd)




Who Would You Insert In Place Of One Of The Three? 7 comments

lyricsingray 6 years ago

Nicely done, if I could only play like any one of the. Well I pretend I do when I'm playing alone in y room LOL I do have a soft spot for Ted Nugent though. Thanks for a great topic. Kimberly


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

LOVE Jimmy Page! Cool hub. Thumbs up!


Tara Tufford profile image

Tara Tufford 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Awesome hub! I like anything that has anything to do with Classic Rock!! Although, I did notice there was no mention of the guitar riff in what I think may be the greatest song of all time..'Free Bird'. I'm young yes, but I still know great music:) So if I have to pick one of your top 3, It has to be Buck Dharma.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Great Hub, I love the guitar and the videos are awesome. Thanks and Peace :)


positivevibestech profile image

positivevibestech 5 years ago

This is really a fun hub. I am also a gitarist and have seen many awesome players. good luck in the coming year


raindog60 5 years ago

Long Live Buck Dharma!


John 2 years ago

Buck is the greatest. And still playing like it's 1972. Listen to Harvester of Eyes live on On Your Feet. The guitar break at the end is the most insane piece of shredding I have ever heard. Also if you can get a bootleg of the King Biscuit Flower Hour live in New Haven circa 1980-81. Listen in dumfounded awe as Buck single handedly destroys the world. There are many more but I don't have time to list them.

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