Musicians The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
211.3k votes 15.6k voters 185.7k 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
3,578 1,656
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
3,141 1,903
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
3,278 1,306
Tony Iommi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

4
2,994 1,686
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

5
2,124 1,348
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

6
3,260 1,563
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

7
3,424 1,704
Dimebag Darrell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

8
2,463 1,433
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
2,354 1,795
Slash is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal

10
2,047 1,421
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

11
3,172 1,495
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman

12
2,110 1,122
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
2,687 1,689
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield

14
2,097 1,136
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

15
2,137 1,504
Angus & Malcolm Young is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Angus & Malcolm Young

16
1,919 1,204
Brian May is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

17
2,256 1,267
Zakk Wylde is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Groove metal, Heavy metal, Southern rock

18
2,264 1,020
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Dave Murray & Adrian Smith

19
1,325 1,061
Michael Schenker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Hard rock

20
2,443 1,091
Dave Mustaine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Heavy metal

21
1,723 957
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

22
1,653 1,381
Kirk Hammett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

23
1,241 1,051
Alex Lifeson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

24
1,039 1,068
Jeff Beck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

25
1,237 776
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
1,001 392
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
989 950
George Lynch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

28
1,967 429
Jeff Waters is listed (or ranked) 28 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.  

29
987 865
Jake E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

30
1,383 978
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman

31
1,261 1,042
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
975 833
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

33
806 936
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
952 1,292
Ted Nugent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

35
745 901
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
631 380
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
818 807
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
479 401
Billy Gibbons is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Blues-rock, Pop music, Boogie rock

39
744 934
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

40
796 830
Prince is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
JosephPampani added Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

41
867 1,114
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Ace Frehley & Paul Stanley

42
656 861
Mick Mars is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

43
676 300
Adrian Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock

44
574 781
Warren DeMartini is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

45
808 722
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson

46
1,055 546
Criss Oliva is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
JaimeVargas added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

47
643 724
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
Rock music, Acoustic music, Heavy metal

48
645 210
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
1,015 477
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
723 434
Gary Moore is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams
ScottJaniak-Ross added Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music