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19.2k voters

The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams

Updated February 22, 2020 194.8k votes 19.2k voters 203.5k views210 items

List RulesOnly metal guitarists or guitar tandems. Guitarists from other genres shouldn't be included, but given the crossover between hard rock and metal, hard rock players are allowed.

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. 
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  • 1
    Tony Iommi
    3,774
    1,708
  • 2
    Randy Rhoads
    3,938
    2,059
  • 3
    Jimi Hendrix
    3,773
    1,813

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  • 4
    Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman
    3,420
    1,564

    Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman

  • 5
    Dimebag Darrell
    3,865
    1,864

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  • 6
    Jimmy Page
    3,418
    1,942
  • 7
    Dave Murray & Adrian Smith
    2,047
    1,058

    Dave Murray & Adrian Smith

  • 8
    Joe Satriani
    2,273
    1,300

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  • 9
    Zakk Wylde
    2,563
    1,373
  • 10
    Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing
    2,347
    1,220

    Glen Tipton & K.K. Downing

  • 11
    Brian May
    2,140
    1,301
  • 12
    Eddie Van Halen
    3,551
    2,198

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  • 13
    John Petrucci
    1,915
    1,088
  • 14
    Ritchie Blackmore

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  • 15
    Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield
    3,123
    1,982

    Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield

  • 16
    Steve Vai
    2,362
    1,593
  • 17
    David Gilmour

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  • 18
    Angus & Malcolm Young
    2,516
    1,537

    Angus & Malcolm Young

  • 19
    Yngwie Malmsteen

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  • 20
    Slash
    2,755
    2,228

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  • 21
    Michael Schenker
  • 22
    Jeff Waters
    1,617
    753
    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.  
  • 23
    Gary Moore
    1,008
    592

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  • 24
    Alex Lifeson
    1,394
    1,223
  • 25
    Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman
    1,514
    1,068

    Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman