The ten best rock guitarists cover several generations of guitarists. Rock guitar playing had to wait for Leo Fender to perfect the solid-body electric guitar that is the hallmark of rock guitaring. From that invention, guitar making went in all directions. A list of the best rock guitarists must include slide players and heavy metal players. Rock guitar stylings include a bit of blues, rockabilly and even a strain of jazz here and there. Truly great, the best of the best rock guitar players master all the playing styles and make it look effortless.
- Duane Allman. Along with Dickey Betts guitar playing, the duo of Allman and Betts set the standard for synchronized guitar harmonies and slide styling. Unfortunately for music fans, Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash, but not before laying down some tasty tracks for a legacy. Allman started his career as a seesion guitarist at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
- Ry Cooder. One of the best rock guitarists who has mastered many a musical style, Ryland Cooder has played guitars with super groups, including The Rolling Stones, and landmark rock groups such as Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and with Taj Mahal in the Rising Sons. Cooder continues to perform as a solo act and partner with well-known musicians throughout the world to put out albums.
- George Harrison. This former Beatle was also one of the world's best rock guitarists, a fact sometimes omitted by music fans who aren't familiar with Beatle lore. Harrison released several solo albums that featured his guitar work and hit the charts in the top 25 position.
- Andy Summers. The somewhat quiet former member of The Police rock group, Summers played guitar with a host of bands before topping the charts with the mainstream popular rockers. Summers handled guitar duties for Eric Burdon and The Animals and continues to work as a soloist.
- Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Skunk's unique guitar technique is heard on famous albums including releases by The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. His session guitar work is the stuff of legend and he continues to work behind Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell and also make an appearance in the film "Blues Brothers 2000."
- Carlos Santana. Featuring a combination of jazz, salsa, rock and fusion, Santana's signature style includes heavy on the bass strings. and featured a group of well-known jazz performers including Buddy Miles. Santana joined the fusion group Weather Report, that sometimes featured bass player Jaco, for additional musical notoriety.
- Pete Townshend. Although this former member of the rock group The Who once was known for smashing guitars, Townshend is also a noted guitarist who makes the top of the list of the ten best rock guitarists.
- Link Wray. The late, great top of the Rockabilly guitarists, Wray was a legend in the rock and roll guitar category. Before his death in 2005, the leather-jacketed Wray fronted this group known as The Ray Men. Fans claim Wray invented the "power chord," a style of open tuning and strumming that encourages volume and pulsing power.
- Dick Dale. Noted as the "King of the Surf Guitar" and sometimes "King of the Twanging Surf Guitar." Dale pioneered guitar playing in an era when the electric guitar was in infancy. The reverb, echo-type, effect and picking style made his music easy to identify. Dale played with the group The Del-Tones and released tunes including "Let's Go Trippin'," referring to surfing, not drug use.
- Eric Clapton. Probably one of the most visible of the members of the list of the ten best rock guitarists, Clapton played guitar in cutting-edge groups including The Yardbirds and Cream. As part of Derek and the Dominos, he joined with Duane Allman to record the classic "Layla."
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