1. Jimmy Page: This guy. His brain and finger dexterity must have been tweaked by aliens. If you watch Led Zeppelin’s live performance in “The Song Remains the Same,” you’ll want to chop of your fingers and burn your guitar because this guy puts everyone to shame. Blessed with freakishly long fingers and arms, Page has written some of the greatest songs, riffs and solos.
2. Jimi Hendrix: He doesn’t really need any explanation. He’s a god among men. His wawa and reverb blues-based jungle songs are the underground beats of every generation to come, I predict.
3. David Gilmore: Instead of celebrating like a rockstar after a Pink Floyd show, Gilmore could be found in his room playing guitar. He’s got to be one of the best minds alive and his musical genius oozes from his riffs. His solo on “Money” is so simple that you can hum it, but so powerful that it’ll stay lodged in your memory forever.
4. Keith Richards: He may not play the most luxurious solos, but this rolling-stoner has come up with some of the most timeless feel-good riffs. His playing is like a sheep dog herding the other instruments around, and his garage band spank sound suits summer, sun and beer.
5. Eric Clapton: He’s got a bit of everything in his playing: catchy riffs, fairly interesting solo-techniques, great phrasing and he sings too.
6. Stevie Ray Vaughan: You can feel the love in his music. Vaughan’s heavy guitar-based songs played with his sparkling Stratocaster sound are awesome.
7. John Frusciante: Everyone knows the guy behind most of the greatest Red Hot Chili Pepper’s songs. He would practice for 12 hours a day for a good portion of his life and it totally paid off. He’s just tremendous and his work within the Chili Peppers is surreal. You go, Frusciante!
8. Jack White: He gets the medal for the most innovative and fun to listen to solos. He’s got his own odd style that’s so distinctly Jack White. Most of the time he’s compensating for a lack of bass within his bands, all the while providing kickass vocals. Bonus: he’s alive and not dying of old age!
9. The studio guitar players Steely Dan hired: Steely Dan would audition a bunch of guys to come up with a solo for their new songs and some of the talent they brought in was phenomenal. The guitar solos on “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Peg” are incredibly interesting — the songs wouldn’t be the same without them. So thanks, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Jay Graydon.
10. Duane Allman: he’s not quite as well known, but man can this guy solo. He understands the art like none other and in the Allman Brothers’ songs he incorporates hints of southern musical drawl. His soloing makes you happy, especially in “Blue Sky” by the Allman Brothers.