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Guitar Players Who Influenced Rock Music! Great Guitarists.

Updated on December 9, 2011

Influential Guitar Players

I have compiled ten of the most influential guitar players in my opinion. There are many more who could have made the list I have just shortened it down to ten. I feel because of their techniques or their tone these guys greatly influenced guitar players forever. Some have gone on to have amazing solo careers while others are known for the band that they were members. I hope you enjoy the videos and if you have never heard these guys before I hope this hub expands your musical vocabulary.  If you are a guitar player I hope I inspire you to go out and learn some classic rock to enlarge your guitar chops.

Jimi Hendrix

James Marshall Hendrix has risen to the pinnacle of influential guitar players.  He used guitar feedback and made it main stream.  He also made very popular the Wah-Wah pedal.  Born in Seattle Jimi joined the army and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.  After a medical discharge he moved to Tennessee then to new york winning an amateur competition at the Apollo theater.  Hendrix first achieved fame in England before playing at the Monteray Pop Festival and Woodstock which made Jimi Hendrix a household name.

Jimmy Page

James Patrick (Jimmy) Page was born in England and worked as a studio musician before joining the Yardbirds.  He later went on to found the band Led Zeppelin and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame twice as a member of both bands.  He also founded the short lived band The Firm.  Jimmy Page also played as a studio musician for a multitude of artists.   Once he started Led Zeppelin he immediately became a worldwide superstar and is still heavily played on most classic rock radio stations.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is an English born guitar player.   Eric was a member of the Yardbirds and Cream as well as having a huge solo career.  One of his most famous songs "Layla" was recorded with the band Derek and the Dominoes. Duane Allman also played guitar on "Layla".   He was also a member of the short lived band Blind Faith.  Eric Clapton has a definite Blues sound to his playing.  He is almost always seen with a Fender Stratocaster strapped around his chest.   Eric Clapton is also known for the Famous tone of his guitar.

Ritchie Blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore was one of the founding members of Deep Purple.  He also founded the band Rainbow.  He uses a guitar with a scalloped fretboard where the wood is shaved down between the frets.  In his soloing, Blackmore combines blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from classical music.  He is usually seen playing a Fender Stratocaster. 

Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee (born Graham Barnes, started playing the guitar at age thirteen. He was one of the founders of the band Ten Years After. Alvin Lee plays in a combined style of blues, swing jazz and rock.  Ten Years After was part of the lineup at the Woodstock music festival. After ten albums the band Ten years After disbanded and he started the band  Alvin Lee and Company.  All Together Alvin Lee has been part of twenty albums.

Jeff Beck

Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck was one of three guitarists in the line up of the Yardbirds.  Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton also played for the band.  Most of Jeff Beck's music is instrumental merging  Blues-Rock, Heavy Metal and Jazz Fusion.  Beck appears on albums by Roger Waters, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May and ZZ Top.   In 1967 Pink Floyd tried to get him to join the band to replace Syd Barret.  He is known in the industry as a perfectionist.  His self titled band The Jeff Beck Group produced an album entitled "Truth"  which influenced the emergence of heavy metal in the 70's.  He is quite talented at using feedback from his amplifiers as well as being a virtuoso with the Wah-Wah pedal.

David Gilmour

David Gilmour is best known as singer, songwriter and guitarist for the band Pink Floyd.  He has also produced many albums for other artists as well as having a successful solo career.  He is best known for his lead guitar playing by blues-influenced phrasing, expressive note bends and sustain. He has also done many projects for charity.

Brian May

Brian May is a guitar player as well as being an astrophysicist with a PHd.  He is one of the founding members of Queen.  Brian played a guitar which he designed and built himself when he was sixteen.  He also is known for using coins as guitar picks as he felt they provided more control. 

Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi was one of the founding members of the band Black Sabbath. Besides Jimmy Page Tony Iommi has produced some of the best known guitar riffs of all time. At seventeen Tony lost the tips of his fingers on his right picking hand. Only after hearing Django Reinhardt who had a disability with his hands did Tony continue his music career.

Duane Allman

Duane Allman was one of the founders of the Allman Brothers. He was a great slide guitar player. He also had incredible improvisational techniques. Duane played as a session musician for many other artists. He played on the "Layla" song by Eric Clapton. Duane passed away after an accident on his Harley Davidson. 


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    • TTC12 profile image

      TTC12 6 years ago

      You have listed all of the guitarists who influenced me when I was learning to play guitar! Duane Allman was, and still is, my main guitarist for inspiration. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Arthur Fontes profile image

      Arthur Fontes 6 years ago from Fall River,MA

      Nikay Mark Knopfler could have absolutely been added to this list. He has a different style then the guitarists that I have listed.

    • profile image

      nikay 6 years ago

      Influence ? Robbie Robertson ? Mark Knopfler ? Come on , Arthur.

    • 6stringmethod profile image

      6stringmethod 6 years ago

      This is a good hub. Thank God its not Kurt Cobain. Rolling Stone magazine had him at number 12 above Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana All the guys in the alman brothers.

    • Arthur Fontes profile image

      Arthur Fontes 7 years ago from Fall River,MA

      DellNixon Both of these guitarists can be found in this hub. :)

    • DellNixon profile image

      DellNixon 7 years ago

      This hub is really informative. I think there should be information about Steve Vai and John Petrucci also. Anyway, thanks for this post.

    • WeLoveMusic profile image

      WeLoveMusic 7 years ago

      Nice picks, all great guitar players. But it would require quite a long hub in order to fit in all of the guitar players that influenced rock music. But like mythbuster said, it is a difficult choice and each one of these players deserves to be in the top :)

    • Arthur Fontes profile image

      Arthur Fontes 7 years ago from Fall River,MA

      I come here to watch the vids all the time. Thanks for checking it out and leaving a comment.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Awesome list of great guitarists you've put together, Arthur Fontes. Nice video picks, too. Your decisions must have been difficult here, in narrowing a list down from a number of astounding guitarists that are (or have been) out there. No doubt, everyone you've listed here definitely deserves to be in a "top" list. I love the Brian May solo. Thanks for putting this entertaining hub together. I'll be on this page 'til I've finished with ALL the vids!

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Yes! You rock! I agree with every choice...except that I would have put Gilmour first. :) Great Hub, and excellent taste in music!!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Nice hub. Thank you for the history. I like Eric Clapton and what about Dave Matthews. My husband and 2 sons play and it is a joy when they can all get togeather and give us a little concert.

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Cool hub! I would have to agree with most of your picks here...Great job!