Musicians The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World  

Ranker Music
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3.4k votes 528 voters 9.5k views 131 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.
list ordered by

1
124 40
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

2
96 35
Joe Pass is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

3
115 49
Pat Metheny is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Ethno jazz, Crossover jazz, Pop music

4
66 15
Django Reinhardt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Swing music, Romani music, Gypsy jazz

5
78 31
John McLaughlin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Kozmigroov, Rock music, World music

6
79 30
George Benson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

7
59 23
Jim Hall is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Cool jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

8
51 22
Kenny Burrell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Cool jazz, Bebop, Blues

9
52 23
Pat Martino is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

10
66 46
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

11
50 18
John Scofield is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

12
49 32
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

13
30 10
Charlie Christian is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
39 27
Bill Frisell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Soundtrack, Americana, Experimental rock

15
31 18
John Abercrombie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Avant-garde jazz, Cool jazz, Hard bop

16
30 23
Stanley Jordan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz fusion, Jazz

17
41 22
Kurt Rosenwinkel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

18
39 28
Biréli Lagrène is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Gypsy jazz, Jazz fusion

19
25 18
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

20
21 7
Barney Kessel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Pop music, Cool jazz, Rock music

21
26 13
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

22
18 5
Tal Farlow is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Cool jazz, Jazz, Bebop

23
17 5
Lenny Breau is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Flamenco, Classical music, Jazz

24
13 6
Emily Remler is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

25
16 12
Paco de Lucía is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Flamenco, World music, Classical music

26
17 8
Herb Ellis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Cool jazz, Swing music, West Coast jazz

27
18 14
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added

28
12 8
João Gilberto is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

29
19 16
Martin Taylor is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Jazz

30
14 6
Gábor Szabó is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Crossover jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

31
15 12
Bucky Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

32
22 23
Robben Ford is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

33
8 10
Ralph Towner is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Christopher Kriz added Ethno jazz, Third stream, Folk music

34
34 28
Earl Klugh is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Crossover jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

35
27 27
Frank Gambale is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Instrumental rock, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

36
21 15
Tommy Emanuel is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Tommy Emanuel

37
24 24
John Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Jazz

38
17 17
Scott Henderson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added

39
13 8
Johnny Smith is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Cool jazz

40
13 8
Birelli Lagrene is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Birelli Lagrene

41
11 6
Freddie Green is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added

42
20 16
Russell Malone is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

43
13 9
Les Paul is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Pop music, Rock music, Rock and roll

44
11 7
Charlie Byrd is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Swing music, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz

45
8 11
Egberto Gismonti is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Alfredo Acuña added

46
6 3
Grant Green is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz

47
20 23
Charlie Hunter is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Acid jazz, Jazz fusion

48
12 9
Antônio Carlos Jobim is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

49
11 8
Vic Juris is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
1503538756926 added

50
13 16
Mark Whitfield is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Hard bop