11 Of The Most Famous Electric Guitar Players You Should Know

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

The electric guitar is one of the most recognizable instruments in the world. It’s been used to create some of the most memorable music ever recorded, and its distinctive sound is instantly recognizable.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the electric guitar players whose work has attained legendary status.

1. Jimi Hendrix

Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix was one of the most influential electric guitar players of all time, with many guitarists emulating his style.

Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942 and began playing guitar at a young age. He soon developed a reputation as a talented musician, and in 1967, he was invited to play at the Monterey Pop Festival.

His performance at the festival was widely praised, and he soon became a major star.

Hendrix was known for his innovative guitar-playing techniques, and his music fused rock, blues, and jazz.

He released three studio albums before his death in 1970, and all three reached the top of the charts.

2. Slash

Slash is an American-English guitarist and songwriter that has become very well known in the guitar community.

He was born Saul Hudson in the UK on July 23rd, 1965 and gained worldwide fame for his virtuoso guitar playing with Guns N’ Roses, an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California.

 In addition to being a member of Guns N’ Roses, Slash has performed as a solo artist and with former Guns N’ Roses members in the band Velvet Revolver.

Slash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of Guns N’ Roses on April 14th, 2012, and was ranked number 65 on “Rolling Stone” magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

3. Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani is an American guitarist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as one of the pioneers of the instrumental guitar genre. 

Satriani started out teaching guitar, then in 1978, he decided to pursue a career in music.

He released his first solo album, Not of This Earth, in 1986. His second album, Surfing with the Alien, became a commercial success and established Joe Satriani as one of the leading guitarists in the instrumental rock genre. 

Since then, he has released numerous other solo albums and has received 15 Grammy nominations for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

4. B.B. King

There are very few electric guitar players who have had the same level of influence as B.B. King.

He was one of the blues guitar pioneers, and his playing style has been emulated by many guitarists over the years. 

He was a master of the vibrato, and his solos were always filled with emotion and soul. He was named the third greatest guitarist on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

He performed for over 50 years and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and was nominated for 30 Grammy Awards, winning 15 and receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1985, B.B. King was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music.

5. Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen was best known for being the lead guitarist for Van Halen, founded with his brother Alex in 1974.

The band achieved worldwide success with their self-titled debut album released in 1978. The album featured the hit singles “Running With the Devil” and “Jump.” 

Eddie’s virtuosic guitar playing and innovative use of effects pedals helped define the sound of hard rock and heavy metal in the 1980s.

Eddie is also a highly respected session musician and has contributed to albums by artists like Michael Jackson, Gene Simmons, and many more.

Many consider him the best electric guitarist of all time, referring to him as “The Guitar Hero.”

6. Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian was an American jazz guitarist and pioneer in using the electric guitar.

He is widely considered one of the best jazz guitarists of all time, with many considering him the greatest.

He played in big bands led by Benny Goodman and smaller groups led by Lionel Hampton.

His playing on records from 1936 to 1940 set a new standard for jazz guitarists that remains a model today with lots of his playing being heard on records with Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, others.

He paved the way for many electric guitarists, such as Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Carlos Santana. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died in 1942 when he was only 25 years old.

7. Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell is anohter American guitarist, songwriter, and record producer.

He was a founding member of the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. His guitar work has been featured on every one of their albums since the 1976 self-titled debut.

Campbell co-wrote many of his songs with Petty, including “Refugee,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “You Got Lucky,” among others.

He has also co-written and performed songs for artists such as Don Henley, Tracy Chapman, and George Harrison. In addition to his session work as a guitarist, he has produced several albums.

He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 2002.

8. Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten is a guitar virtuoso who has been playing professionally for over 30 years. She is known for her innovative techniques and her skill at playing rock and fusion styles of music.

Batten got her break when she was chosen out of over 100 auditioning guitarists to join Michael Jackson’s band. She performed with him from 1987 until his final world tour in 1997. She then toured with Jeff Beck for three years.

Batten has released three solo albums: Above Below and Beyond, Momentum, Whatever, and three video courses on Rock Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, and Intervals through TrueFire.com

9. Eric Clapton

One of the most famous British guitarists of all time, Eric Clapton is a musician and guitarist who has been highly successful in many genres, including blues and rock

Clapton’s career began in the 1960s when he played with several popular bands, including The Yardbirds and Cream.

But, he is probably best known for his solo work, which has earned him many awards, including 17 Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream and The Yardbirds, then as a solo artist in 2000.

Clapton’s guitar playing is highly praised and has been cited as influential by many other guitarists. He is known for his blues-influenced style and soulful tenor voice.

10. Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan was an American blues musician who achieved fame for his electric blues guitar playing with Double Trouble in the 1970s and 1980s. 

His style is described as blues-rock, with a mix of and jazz and swing. He has been influential to many artists, including Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

He was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, and Rolling Stone ranked him at number 12 on their list of 100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time.

He died tragically at 35 years old in 1990 due to injuries sustained in a helicopter crash.

11. Chuck Berry

And finally, last but by no means least, we have Chuck Berry who was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

He is one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, recording such iconic songs as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” 

His guitar style influenced many other musicians across different genres. The use of electric guitars in his live performances helped set the style for decades to follow.

Berry’s music is based mainly on blues, but he also experimented with different types of music, including country, jazz, and swing. His distinctive style included syncopated rhythms with lyrics that made it easy to dance to his songs.

He was ranked number 7 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.

Summing up our List of the Greatest Electric Guitarists

These famous electric guitar players have all helped to shape the genre and sound of rock music.

These artists have influenced many other musicians from blues to country with their distinctive styles and innovative techniques.

Electric guitars are an essential part of rock music, and these players have ensured that the instrument will always be a staple in the genre.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.