It's too subjective. There's also a multitude of criteria to consider. I can pretty much guarantee any pop musicians would not be on my list, however. I have yet to hear a phenomenal musician in either the pop or alt. country genre.
I COMPLETELY AGREE! My school went to see Tuck & Patti for a jazz competition a few months ago. When he performs Somewhere Over The Rainbow you can't help but go numb everywhere and turn into jelly-that's how it is for me anyways.
As far as a put technical aspect I would have to say Michael Angelo Batio is the best guitarist. That guy shreds better than anyone and makes some crazy sounds.
I however like to think a guitarist is more than just his speend and technique. I like a guitarist who solos with feeling...puts a little bit of soul in his solos and licks.
Angus Young has created amazing riffs and some outstanding solos, Dimebag has always been a "riff master" and then youb have guys like Vai, Satriani and Van Halen who were groundbreakers in thier own right.
I have to say however that after seeing live footage of Hendrix at numerous concerts...he was the best. Hendrix conveyed his heart, soul and passion through his guitar better than anyone else...in my opinon.
I'm going with Brian May of Queen. Originality alone. I think Jimmy Page is overrated and Hendrix (though a master) was probably best guitarist of his day. I was never a Prince fan until I saw him on TV in an extended guitar solo. The man is amazing. Eddie Van Halen shouldn't be overlooked either.
Do keep the names coming and thanks for raising the question! This is a very useful thread for me, as I have a best guitarists capstone hub series in production! It's really useful to see people's suggestions, and while I've already done most of the ones mentioned (but not necessarily published as yet) I might even add some of them to the list.
For anyone doubting Prince just watch his performance at the Superbowl half time show two or three years ago. Performing Purple Rain in the rain with an impressive fireworks show in the background was amazing, plus he did a cover of Best of You by Foo Fighters, as well as a Tina turner cover as well.
I haven't seen as good a performance at the Superbowl in ages, with Prince you get an immense sense of showmanship too. That's vital for a good guitarist in my book
Eric, you are so right! Andy McKee? Never heard of him till now. He is as you said, right up there.I love the way he plays the neck. Thanks for the heads up! I loved it! By the way Leo Kotke does sing on "Chewing Pine" and he is right about his own voice, it is very ordinary!
Just finished listening to a string of Greatful Dead classics with tears in my eyes. I am the Deadesthead. Jerry said once that he hoped to learn to play guitar before he died! He had the temerity to be humble....