The 20th century saw many innovations and changes in music. Critics are divided on their views though - some think the music took a huge leap forward while others think it is a step backward. But what critics can’t turn a blind eye to is the technical mastery and virtuosity of some guitar players over the years. Some guitarists are capable of playing a piece barely seen on this planet. We list the top ten technically skilled guitarists that have wowed and shocked audiences with their performances.
1. Chuck Berry
Who can deny the skillful technical skills and the performance of Chuck Berry - the father of rock and roll? Although “Johnny B. Goode” is not considered a technically demanding guitar piece, when Berry released it back in 1958, everyone was blown away by it.
2. Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen was a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, and producer. He co-founded Van Halen in 1972 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone and singer David Lee Roth. He was known for being one of the greatest all-time guitarists of all time and for popularising the tapping guitar solo technique. He also allowed rapid arpeggios to be played with two hands on the fretboard.
3. Steve Vai
Steve Vai is famous for being in good technical control of his guitar. He could play whatever he wanted and with ease. He has been described as a “highly individualistic player” and became a part of a generation of “heavy rock and metal virtuosi” who became prominent in the 1980s. He was voted the “10th Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and is a three-time Grammy Award winner and a fifteen-time nominee.
4. Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani is a 15-time Grammy Award nominee and has sold over 10 million albums and is literally the father of technical guitar. He taught some of the best guitarists in the world. As a guitar instructor before embarking on his career, he taught Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunuit, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons to Charlie Hunter. When it comes to competing for the top spot as a technical guitarist, he is a worthy contender for the number one spot.
5. Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana was the first musician to combine rock and roll with Latino Jazz. This was a daring experiment as rock and jazz are two very different types of music. His style of playing was ground-breaking at his time and he inspired many guitarists after him.
6. Muhammed Suicmez
Muhammed Suicmez is the frontman and guitarist of the German technical death metal band Necrophagist and is admired for the complexity he brings to his guitar riffs and the lightning fast precision of his solos. He is consistent and technically unparalleled in all of his live performances.
7. Allan Holdsworth
Allan Holdsworth was a master guitarist and composer in the jazz fusion and progressive rock genre. He was famous for his esoteric and idiosyncratic usage of advanced music theory concepts in regards to melody and harmony.
8. Michael Angelo Batio
Michael Angelo Batio was the lead guitarist for the Los Angeles-based glam metal band in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Though his work encompassed many genres, he is best known for playing heavy metal. He can play the guitar fast and furious, with his right or left hand in a flawless manner. He can play dual solos with himself and play just as well over the neck as he does normally.
9. Stanley Jordan
Stanley Jordan is well-known for his advanced and jaw-dropping tapping technique that implements pretty much all of the fingers of both hands. He uses his guitar as if it is a piano playing in all fourths tuning (E-A-D-G-C-F).
10. Jimi Hendrix
Who can forget the late Jimi Hendrix when it comes to guitar technical prowess? When Hendrix came into the spotlight, he literally changed the game, raising the bar of guitar playing so high he made it difficult for all the other guitarists to impress their audiences. This famous lefty pushed his guitars to their limits and brought us some of the best blues-rooted rock solos of all time.
Interested in starting to play the guitar to become one of these technical guitar greats? Check out our guitar programme at Ritmo Music Studio and get in touch with us for a free trial.