SMG Poll: Who is the Most Influential Guitarist?

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  • While Clapton is on top for me, Michael Hedges has to be in there.

  • B.B King,Albert King,Muddy Waters,
    Les Paul,Django Reinhardt,
    Charlie Christian,Carlos Santana

    Just to name a few your list don’t have.
    Who do you think the people on your list learned from and copied.

    • Good ones Jeffry but then you got to ask yourself… who influenced them as well ? Never ending cycle of greatness.

  • Alex

    Les Paul.

  • Can’t forget Jeff Beck!

  • Art

    I have to say Les Paul. He was the first at about everything in modern music/guitar. Without his style and inventions the world would be very different.

  • frank zappa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Olivia Anne

    George Harrison; many who play today picked up their guitars after seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. He hard a unique style and sound that attracted new players.

  • Robert

    I think it has to be a combination of them all. While I think picking any of the names listed has it’s virtues, but if you were to ask those guys the same question, I know that Eric, Keith, and Jimmy Page would talk about Robert Johnson and his influence on their playing progression. I think we (Guitarists)are all the sum total of all of those who have come before us!

  • Steve

    I selected Hendrix. Many guitarists will tell you that they were inspired by him. Just watched “Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child” on Biography Channel. The things he did with the guitar were amazing. There are many that should be on the list, but Hendrix brought a change to music in the ’60s.

  • Bil McCombe

    I’d have to say Jeff Beck. He was the First Rock Guitar Hero, and still leads the pack.
    But whoever inspired you, it’s all good, because the more you get involved in Music, and Guitar, you start researching who your Heroes’ Heroes were, and it’s just a Bitchin’ chain reaction of discovery, excitement, and inspiration.

  • Duane Allman is what i grew up on and who probably made me realize i even wanted to play guitar. Not a bad guitarist to look up to i must say.

  • Erik

    The most influential I say is Buddy Guy, if that gut can influence Jimmi Hendrix then thats all it takes. Personally I say Joe Satriani, but its not about me its about the masses.

  • I picked Jimmy Page but I’d really like to have picked BB King! I also think you could have included Ace Frehley (a million guys my age got our first guitars BECAUSE OF the Space Ace! And what about guys like Chet Atkins or Les Paul… without Les none of this would be here today!!!

  • Stratacus

    My Hero Nokie Edwards Of The Ventures. All of the listed were influenced by him

  • Rory Gallagher, he could play any style and play it well, even Clapton said “the man that brought me back to the blues”. He’s my preference, but there are so many great influential players down the ages.

  • Pama Geis

    When I first heard Joan Jett is when I wanted to play guitar n be jus like her she rocks!!!!!!

  • Olivia Anne

    George Harrison. Ed Sullivan, 2/1964. Nothing else compares!

  • Roger S

    George Harrison, who has inspired generations of guitarists.

  • Cant believe that David Gilmour is not on the list!! shameful!

  • Roscoe P

    Harvey Mandel did more innovating guitar sound and techniques than all the above (the original poll list)guitarists. And before they came on the scene.

  • mmcquain

    Out of the list provided I picked Page but I’d say BB King, Les Paul, etc. could have easily ranked right up there if the list had more names on it.


    RITCHIE BLACKMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dhruv

    u know it’s impossible to tell who was the most influential guitarist as all of they
    have contributed to the development of
    the art of playing the guitar as we know it!!!

  • Frederick (Rick) Maskell

    George Harrison ! I (and many friends) used to await each new Beatles 45rpm single and 12inch LP to see what George would be doing next !

  • Rick Richtmyer

    James Burton

  • JERRY GARCIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WhatWentWrong22441

    Without one shadow of a doubt the most influential guitarist of all time is ROBERT JOHNSON, born in 1911. He wrote only 29 songs between 1936 and 1937, and had no real fame during his short life time. He died aged just 27 in 1938. 25-30 years later guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix appeared saying there influences are from Robert Johnson. And since then nearly every guitarist that followed as been directly or indirectly influenced by Johnson’s playing. Its been over 70 years since Johnson’s death and still guitarists play knowingly or unknowingly with a influence from Johnson. Without him Modern blues, rock’n’roll and every hybird of rock and blues that followed was partially created by him. To find influential guitarists you have to look way back further than Vaughan, Clapton, Hendrix and Beck, you have to look back at the roots. Thank you for reading.

  • Cary

    I am going to say, Roger Fisher of Heart. Even though I have been greatly influenced by many metal guitarists as well.

  • Dudevinci1965

    Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Will Ray, and the Hellecasters stuff. Awesome guitar work. 

  • jasmcpherson

    Alex Lifeson.

  • vivoman

    Hey, where is Satch? THis guy influenced many guitarist’s.

  • Guy

    Jerry Garcia— need I say more?

  • vivoman

    Oh I forgot to mention Guthrie Govan, What can i say pure awesomeness!

  • Andy

    Robert Johnson. Without him, there’d be no Clapton, no Hendrix, no Keith Richards, no Jimmy Page… He’s like the granddaddy of guitar players.

    Well, actually I suppose you could include any of those old blues players really, but Robert Johnson is the one who stands out most I think.

  • JOHN


  • Nearly all the above if not all, borrowed at least one Eddie Cochran riff. Doesnt that give him the most influence of the influence’s influence. Not be mistaken for influenza.

  • Keith

    Ritchie Blackmore

  • jamminfool

    We must not forget where all this heavy as hell riffola came from…gotta give props to the original rockers, the first masters of the craft, who took the as-of-then fairly new invention and made it sing, snarl, scream, croon and catch the ear of every teenager in the world! Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Cliff Gallup, Eddie Cochran, the MIGHTY Link Wray, Dwayne Eddie and so many more…each and every red hot player had a HUGE part in creating a new sound, a totally new lifestyle, and the music that would move this country into a new age..the age of ROCK AND ROLL! And before the blues scholars on the site get peeved at me, we must also reach further back and a bit to either side, to the very inception of the electric guitar, and the sometimes unknown and often uncredited masters who laid the groundwork for all the rockers and modern bluesmen to follow…and lest we forget, the amazing jazzcats of the age who made the acoustic archtops they favored sing, the when they went electric all bets were off! In at least one amazing case (and with the help of Gibson’s the new ES-150 guitar and amp), the very first modern guitar GOD played highly melodic and truly inspired single note runs that the audience could not only hear, but also be totally awed and amazed by (the immortal Charlie Christian, the true father of modern lead guitar) and helped bring this new fangled contraption to the attention of band leaders and fans alike…and let’s not overlook the country swingers, whose stellar fretboard work helped inspire the likes of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Paul Bigsby to modify, update and create some of the greatest electric guitars and accessories known to the guitarist’s world, before and ever since! So many influential players, too many to truly give proper credit to, but all had a hand in making our world, literally CREATING our world from the ground up!

  • David R. Strong

    Glad someone mentioned Scotty Moore, who died this week. I’ll mention Western swing musician & fellow Texan Floyd Tillman. (My uncle ‘Red’ Railey was his fiddle player before Floyd moved to California.) Floyd is, I believe, the first person to use a guitar as the lead instrument in a combo. At any rate, he had a major role in popularizing its prominence.

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