ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Makes a Good Guitar Player

Updated on September 22, 2019

Three Basic Criteria

There are a vast number of things that can make a good guitar player. Most of the time however, particularly amongst my peers, who we list in our best guitarist list is mostly subject to opinion. I was recently in a conversation about who I think is the best guitarist, and who would I put in my top 5 list. I found those questions very difficult to answer; so I decided at the time, to give a very opinionated answer based on who I like the most. This led me in my personal time, to think about the criteria for exactly what it is that makes a good guitar player. After thinking about it for a while, I looked at some articles and forums online to come up with just the right criteria for what makes a decent guitarist. Amongst the great number of things that makes a good guitar player, three things stand out almost unanimously among myself, friends, and other writers on the internet: style, innovation, and presentation. For this writing piece, I will give personal examples of famous guitarists I like, that demonstrate these ideas; however, that does not necessarily make them the best at the craft, as that is mostly just opinion.

Jimi Hendrix


First, I'd like to cover style. Style is very important because, many great guitarists can be good at one style but not necessarily another. Granted, versatility is another assisting factor in being a good guitar player; although, many guitarists still tend to enjoy and gravitate more to one or two particular styles even if they are capable of many. With that said, even though versatility is a good thing that guitarists ought to work toward, it is also very important to solidify yourself in a particular style. Solidifying yourself into a particular style of play can assist you in being not just well known, but even perhaps, iconic. To give an example of this, both Jimmy Page from Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix, are icons in the guitar world because of their style. Many people around the world, when they hear songs like Stairway to Heaven or Purple Haze the sound is unmistakable. These two became legends because of their style and songwriting ability.

Eddie Van Halen


Innovation, is also another great asset when becoming a good guitar player. To clarify, when I say “innovation,” I don't just mean you have to be the person who came up with the innovation, but you can also be the type of player who uses an innovative technique or style really well. Eddie Van Halen is a world renowned guitar player, not because he invented the “tapping” play style, but because he was really good at it. He took the tap style innovation and made it his own, then did real well at showcasing that talent. He has also been known to use a power drill in combination with his guitar on an occasion or two; creating very interesting sound effects, which has also been done by a couple others, namely Paul Gilbert, while he was with a band called Mr. Big. The lesson here, is that you don't have to be the person who invents something new. Instead take a technique or style of play, and make it your own. Who knows, during this process you may very well come up with something brand new that gets people to notice you.

John Mayer and his live cover of Ain't No Sunshine


Lastly, presentation is very important for your audience. Presenting yourself both on stage and off, is a great way to keep people interested in you, and to see your passion for what you like to do. I personally like to watch John Mayer play. If you watch his live cover of “Ain't No Sunshine,” originally by Bill Withers, you can see his passion for what he does and for the song he is playing; particularly when he reaches his solo, he nearly makes love to his guitar. So, think about your presentation when you perform, or when someone notices you, for it will make you a lot more memorable.

Time and Practice

These are just a few things that a decent number of people evaluate when they pay attention to guitar players, especially to decide if they believe they are good or not. There are also a great many other things that make a good guitar player, but to me the most important thing is time and practice. Hard work and practice go a long way, and no good guitar player got that way without doing just that.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)