Musicians The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
215k votes 15.7k voters 186.7k views 257 items

List Rules Only metal guitarist or guitar tandems. Guitarists from other genres shouldn't be included on here

List of the greatest metal guitarists of all time, with photos. Clearly, the list contains a broad selection of guitarists who can still be classified as "metal," though some of the featured guitarists predate the period in which "heavy metal" was enjoying mainstream, popular success. It also includes guitarists such as Brian May and Jimi Hendrix who are not typically referred to as "metal guitarists" as their primary genre – but their guitar sounds were actually highly influential in early heavy metal music.

Who are the best metal guitarists of all time? Which musicians shredded the hardest on their guitars? The list also notably contains memorable duos or guitar groups, as line-ups featuring multiple guitarists who compliment one another is such a fixture of the metal genre. Guitarists who are featured as part of a group (such as Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman or KISS's Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley) should not be listed individually except in rare circumstances where that guitarist had notable success and a specific style while playing solo as well as with a metal group. If you can think of anyone who would be in your personal top 100, then definitely add them to this list. 
list ordered by

1
3,611 1,687
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

2
3,178 1,930
Eddie Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

3
3,311 1,325
Tony Iommi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

4
3,021 1,720
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

5
2,154 1,374
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

6
3,287 1,589
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

7
3,467 1,732
Dimebag Darrell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

8
2,484 1,455
Ritchie Blackmore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Heavy metal, Neo-Medieval music

9
2,376 1,830
Slash is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

10
2,072 1,442
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

11
2,141 1,134
Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing

12
3,215 1,514
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman

13
2,722 1,714
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield

14
2,124 1,147
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

15
2,156 1,528
Angus & Malcolm Young is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Angus & Malcolm Young

16
1,955 1,213
Brian May is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

17
2,277 1,286
Zakk Wylde is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Groove metal, Heavy metal, Southern rock

18
1,343 1,076
Michael Schenker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Hard rock

19
2,275 1,038
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith

20
2,478 1,108
Dave Mustaine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Heavy metal

21
1,753 964
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

22
1,677 1,404
Kirk Hammett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

23
1,263 1,058
Alex Lifeson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

24
1,047 1,090
Jeff Beck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

25
1,262 785
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
da54 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

26
1,010 408
Adrian Smith & Dave Murray is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Adrian Smith & Dave Murray Heavy metal, progressive metal, power metal

27
1,012 956
George Lynch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

28
1,001 885
Jake E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

29
1,401 999
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman

30
1,983 436
Jeff Waters is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Walkingdeads added Heavy metal thrash metal - guitarist founder writer vocalist for ANNIHILATOR. One of the most under-rated and influential guitarists and writers in heavy/thrash metal.  Interesting to note that North American guitar magazines and press do not report on this guy but everywhere else in the world does & his influence is on much of the metal coming out for years.  

31
1,275 1,061
Chuck Schuldiner is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Technical death metal

32
995 840
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

33
820 948
Rudolf Schenker & Uli John Rot... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rudolf Schenker & Uli John Roth

34
969 1,310
Ted Nugent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

35
749 922
Vivian Campbell is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Blues-rock

36
637 397
K. K. Downing is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

37
823 825
Jason Becker is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

38
754 953
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

39
485 419
Billy Gibbons is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Pop music, Boogie rock

40
881 1,134
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley

41
664 879
Mick Mars is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

42
803 855
Prince is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
JosephPampani added Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

43
688 312
Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

44
580 797
Warren DeMartini is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

45
816 733
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson

46
655 740
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Acoustic music, Heavy metal

47
1,060 560
Criss Oliva is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
JaimeVargas added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

48
663 223
Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Edwin Kruize added Glam metal, J-pop, Heavy metal

49
1,017 492
Chris Caffery is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
NannyGreebos added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

50
602 865
Joe Perry & Brad Whitford is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Joe Perry & Brad Whitford