Jazz The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World  

Ranker Music
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2.9k votes 470 voters 8.8k views 130 items

List Rules Vote up all of your favorite jazz guitarists and add any that you don't see on here.

The guitar is one of the most popular and diverse musical instruments in the world. It's permeated through dozens of genres of music, lending itself to help create some of the most moving and emotional pieces of music in history. The people on this list are masters of the guitar and are considered giants in the musical world.  

Whether you recognize these musicians or not, they've all carved a place out for themselves in the music world and have become influential and prominent figures in the industry. If you love geeking out on music, we definitely recommend finding some of their music. 

This list is votable and rerankable, so take a look through and vote up your favorite jazz guitarists. If you don't see someone on here who should be, feel free to add them, but this list is for living musicians only.

1
113 38
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

2
88 31
Joe Pass is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Joe Pass Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

3
103 46
Pat Metheny is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Pat Metheny Ethno jazz, Crossover jazz, Pop music

4
54 11
Django Reinhardt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Django Reinhardt Swing music, Romani music, Gypsy jazz

5
57 22
Jim Hall is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Jim Hall Cool jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

6
66 30
John McLaughlin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added John McLaughlin Kozmigroov, Rock music, World music

7
70 30
George Benson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added George Benson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

8
46 22
Kenny Burrell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Kenny Burrell Cool jazz, Bebop, Blues

9
46 22
Pat Martino is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Pat Martino Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

10
61 44
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Al Di Meola Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

11
47 29
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Larry Carlton Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

12
28 8
Charlie Christian is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Charlie Christian Swing music, Big band, Jazz

13
42 16
John Scofield is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
John Scofield Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

14
36 24
Bill Frisell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Bill Frisell Soundtrack, Americana, Experimental rock

15
26 16
John Abercrombie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added John Abercrombie Avant-garde jazz, Cool jazz, Hard bop

16
36 23
Biréli Lagrène is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Biréli Lagrène Swing music, Gypsy jazz, Jazz fusion

17
37 20
Kurt Rosenwinkel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

18
11 4
João Gilberto is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added João Gilberto Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

19
20 15
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Larry Coryell Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

20
22 20
Stanley Jordan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Stanley Jordan Jazz fusion, Jazz

21
15 4
Barney Kessel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Barney Kessel Pop music, Cool jazz, Rock music

22
10 3
Emily Remler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Emily Remler Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

23
18 8
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Lee Ritenour Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

24
12 6
Paco de Lucía is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Paco De Lucia Flamenco, World music, Classical music

25
12 3
Tal Farlow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Tal Farlow Cool jazz, Jazz, Bebop

26
18 9
Tommy Emanuel is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Tommy Emanuel

27
19 17
Robben Ford is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Robben Ford Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

28
17 13
Martin Taylor is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Martin Taylor Jazz

29
10 2
Lenny Breau is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Lenny Breau Flamenco, Classical music, Jazz

30
15 11
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Chuck Loeb

31
11 3
Charlie Byrd is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Charlie Byrd Swing music, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz

32
13 9
Bucky Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Bucky Pizzarelli Swing music, Big band, Jazz

33
6 6
Ralph Towner is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Christopher Kriz added Ralph Towner Ethno jazz, Third stream, Folk music

34
31 24
Earl Klugh is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Earl Klugh Crossover jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

35
9 2
Freddie Green is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Freddie Green

36
11 4
Birelli Lagrene is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Birelli Lagrene

37
12 5
Les Paul is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Les Paul Pop music, Rock music, Rock and roll

38
13 6
Herb Ellis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Herb Ellis Cool jazz, Swing music, West Coast jazz

39
16 13
Scott Henderson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Scott Henderson

40
24 23
Frank Gambale is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Frank Gambale Instrumental rock, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

41
11 5
Johnny Smith is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Johnny Smith Cool jazz

42
22 21
John Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
John Pizzarelli Swing music, Jazz

43
20 19
Charlie Hunter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Charlie Hunter Jazz-funk, Acid jazz, Jazz fusion

44
7 7
Egberto Gismonti is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Alfredo Acuña added Egberto Gismonti

45
17 13
Russell Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

46
11 7
Antônio Carlos Jobim is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Antonio Carlos Jobim Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

47
9 6
Vic Juris is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Vic Juris

48
11 13
Mark Whitfield is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Mark Whitfield Hard bop

49
9 11
Eric Gale is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Eric Gale Pop music, Jazz

50
2 1
Sonny Sharrock is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World