The greatest guitarists of all time – according to the Rolling Stones

By Kanyi M

John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Sambora, Slash, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and Robert Johnson…There are very few musicians who are as talented as these men. All of them are considered guitar gods in some way or another, but not all of them can say they invented their own technique to play the instrument. Today, we’re going to take a look at guitarists who literally changed the way we play.

For this list, we’ve picked 5 of the most popular and influential guitarists alive and dead. You might wonder why we didn’t include someone like Eddie Van Halen or Jeff Beck; it’s because they don’t question their technique and they aren’t pioneers of any kind (even though they’re both amazing).

5. Jimmy Page

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Jimmy Page is one of those rare musicians that not only know how to play the guitar but has given it his own signature sound by inventing a style all his own: The two-handed tapping technique. The guitarist was introduced to the instrument at an early age and became infatuated with it. Page used to play in a school band in his hometown of the English city of Manchester when he was just nine years old.

4. Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton has been playing the guitar for a long time. At the age of 15, he joined his first band called The Roosters and became a professional musician at just 18 years old. He might be one of the most influential guitarists since rock ‘n’ roll was invented, but he can’t say he invented any techniques for playing it, though he is widely respected for being able to play virtually any style on the instrument.

3. Robert Johnson

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There’s an interesting story behind blues legend Robert Johnson: He sold his soul to the devil in order to become such a good guitarist (he could play more than 20 different instruments). But, his real talent was in playing the very popular and intricate riffs and solos that blues legends like Muddy Waters and B.B. King loved so much.

2. Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp is the founder, lead guitarist and only remaining original member of the band King Crimson, which is one of the most influential bands in rock history. He isn’t only one of the most influential guitarists alive today but also invented his own style for playing it, known as “The Crimson School” (a style which gets its inspiration from early jazz greats like Django Reinhardt).

1. Keith Richards

What can we say about Keith Richard’s sound that hasn’t already been said? He’s one of the most popular and influential guitarists alive since he created his own style, which is characterized by using the instrument very aggressively and playing it with a tone that is very dirty. Not only did he create this style but he also invented his own guitar: The legendary “Micawber” model.