The greatest ever guitar legends

11 January 2020, 11:00 | Updated: 11 January 2020, 11:01

Jimmy Page on stage with Led Zeppelin in June 1972
Jimmy Page on stage with Led Zeppelin in June 1972. Picture: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

We celebrate some of the best ever axemen, plank spankers and fretboard noodlers...

  1. Jimmy Page

    The legendary axeman with the equally legendary Led Zeppelin, Page was the natural successor to Hendrix as the ultimate showman guitarist, often using a violin bow to get an incredible sound. Greatest moment: the chugging riff to Whole Lotta Love.

  2. Keith Richards

    The Human Riff that's powered The Rolling Stones since 1962. Greatest moment: The spellbinding intro to Jumpin' Jack Flash.

  3. Brian May

    The Queen guitarist gets his trademark sound from the home-made Red Special that he plays, wringing all kinds of miraculous sounds out of it. Greatest moment: the gear change from hard rock power chords to the luscious, weeping final notes of Bohemian Rhapsody.

  4. Jimi Hendrix

    The guvnor. The greatest guitarist in rock? Certainly the greatest left-handed guitarist (sorry Macca). Greatest moment: The fade-in, wah-wah intro of Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)

  5. Matt Bellamy

    The man who absorbs guitar solos from space for Muse. Greatest moment: All of Knights Of Cydonia.

  6. Slash

    Or, Saul Hudson as he's known to his mum. The top-hatted, curly-haired guitar machine from Guns N'Roses and latterly Slash's Snakepit. Greatest moment: The opening riff of Sweet Child O'Mine.

  7. Jack White

    Channelling the spirit of a great blues man, White is a one-man riff machine. Greatest moment: The relentless riffage of Black Math.

  8. Graham Coxon

    The six-string virtuoso of Blur, who carved a solo career from a series of unique solo albums. Greatest moment: The slamming riff to Song 2.

  9. Johnny Marr

    The man behind the music of The Smiths and a thousand great riffs. Greatest moment: The opening chords of Bigmouth Strikes Again.

  10. John Squire

    The art and soul (sorry) of The Stone Roses. Likes painting, too. Greatest moment: The wah-wah freak-out of I Am The Resurrection.

  11. Noel Gallagher

    Not showy or flashy - just reliable and graceful. Greatest moment: The solo to Live Forever.

  12. Serge Pizzorno

    Kasabian's master of the strings. Greatest moment: The glam stomp of Shoot The Runner.

  13. Peter Buck

    R.E.M.'s guitarist, who inspired a thousand musical careers. Greatest moment: The confident swagger that introduces What's The Frequency Kenneth?

  14. Josh Homme

    The man that drives Queens Of The Stone Age towards rock awesomeness. Greatest moment: Guitar used as a blunt weapon in No One Knows.

  15. Billie Joe Armstrong

    The powerhouse behind Green Day. Greatest moment: The punk rock riffage of American Idiot.

  16. Bernard Butler

    The teenage sensation gained fame with Suede, but left in 1994 to become a solo artist and guitarist for hire. Greatest moment: The glittering intro to Animal Nitrate.


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