Musicians The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World  

Ranker Music
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3.5k votes 547 voters 9.8k 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
126 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
99 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
116 51
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
67 15
Django Reinhardt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Swing music, Romani music, Gypsy jazz

5
80 30
George Benson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

6
60 23
Jim Hall is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added Cool jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

7
78 33
John McLaughlin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Kozmigroov, Rock music, World music

8
53 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
54 24
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 47
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
51 19
John Scofield is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

12
51 33
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
picardy37 added Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
39 28
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 19
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
42 23
Kurt Rosenwinkel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

17
41 28
Biréli Lagrène is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Gypsy jazz, Jazz fusion

18
30 25
Stanley Jordan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz fusion, Jazz

19
23 8
Barney Kessel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Pop music, Cool jazz, Rock music

20
26 19
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

21
21 7
Gábor Szabó is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Crossover jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

22
27 14
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

23
21 8
Herb Ellis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Cool jazz, Swing music, West Coast jazz

24
14 7
Emily Remler is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

25
18 7
Tal Farlow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Cool jazz, Jazz, Bebop

26
18 7
Lenny Breau is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Flamenco, Classical music, Jazz

27
14 9
João Gilberto is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

28
20 16
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added

29
16 12
Bucky Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

30
20 17
Martin Taylor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
looksharp added Jazz

31
16 13
Paco de Lucía is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Flamenco, World music, Classical music

32
8 10
Ralph Towner is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Christopher Kriz added Ethno jazz, Third stream, Folk music

33
13 6
Freddie Green is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added

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
25 24
John Pizzarelli is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Swing music, Jazz

36
9 3
Grant Green is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz

37
22 24
Robben Ford is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
slaft added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

38
28 28
Frank Gambale is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Instrumental rock, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

39
14 8
Birelli Lagrene is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Birelli Lagrene

40
18 17
Scott Henderson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
geber.ramalho added

41
21 16
Tommy Emanuel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Tommy Emanuel

42
14 9
Les Paul is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Pop music, Rock music, Rock and roll

43
14 9
Johnny Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Cool jazz

44
13 8
Charlie Byrd is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Swing music, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz

45
20 16
Russell Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World

46
12 8
Vic Juris is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added

47
8 11
Egberto Gismonti is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Alfredo Acuña added

48
21 24
Charlie Hunter is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Jazz-funk, Acid jazz, Jazz fusion

49
13 10
Antônio Carlos Jobim is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
picardy37 added Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Samba

50
15 14
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Jazz Guitarists in the World
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion