Musicians The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
216.2k votes 15.9k voters 187.5k views 260 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
3,639 1,706
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
3,201 1,950
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
3,339 1,335
Tony Iommi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

4
3,046 1,733
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

5
2,165 1,389
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

6
3,310 1,600
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

7
3,491 1,742
Dimebag Darrell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

8
2,500 1,462
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
2,394 1,850
Slash is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

10
2,088 1,450
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

11
3,249 1,519
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman

12
2,156 1,141
Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing

13
2,747 1,726
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield

14
2,140 1,153
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

15
2,179 1,536
Angus & Malcolm Young is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Angus & Malcolm Young

16
1,970 1,221
Brian May is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

17
2,294 1,293
Zakk Wylde is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Groove metal, Heavy metal, Southern rock

18
1,354 1,080
Michael Schenker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Hard rock

19
2,291 1,040
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith

20
2,501 1,112
Dave Mustaine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Heavy metal

21
1,765 967
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

22
1,694 1,414
Kirk Hammett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

23
1,272 1,064
Alex Lifeson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

24
1,057 1,095
Jeff Beck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

25
1,276 793
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
1,021 410
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
1,018 960
George Lynch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

28
1,007 888
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
1,411 1,000
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman

30
1,986 438
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
1,283 1,063
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
1,000 842
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

33
826 952
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
973 1,314
Ted Nugent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

35
754 925
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
644 399
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
826 828
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
761 957
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

39
489 424
Billy Gibbons is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Pop music, Boogie rock

40
884 1,141
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley

41
668 882
Mick Mars is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

42
808 863
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
697 313
Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

44
582 799
Warren DeMartini is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

45
818 736
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson

46
661 743
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Acoustic music, Heavy metal

47
1,063 563
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
674 224
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
1,018 495
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
605 869
Joe Perry & Brad Whitford is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Joe Perry & Brad Whitford