Welcome to our first-ever Greatest Guitarist poll, where 128 guitarists go head to head, round by round, in a bracketed format, all to crown your choice for the Greatest Guitarist of All Time.
We filled 124 of 128 slots with the names of a host of incredible guitarists (dead and living) — players chosen for their technical ability as well as their importance and creativity, not to mention how influential they've been. We asked you to vote in the final four names, which you did. Now the 128 slots are filled, and we're already well into Round 2.
You might come across one or two interesting style matchups in this poll, which may lead some of you to wonder, "How do you compare a shred guitarist to a blues guitarist?" Aside from how good a player is at his or her given style, here are some things to take into consideration:
• Influence: Who inspired more kids to beg their parents for a guitar for Christmas? Who inspired a wave of copycats?
• Chops/Versatility: Is the guitarist in question a one-trick pony or a master of many styles?
• Body of Work: Who had the more consistent career? Who has played on more classic albums?
• Creativity: Who pioneered new techniques? Who sounds the most radically different from what came before them?
You can check out full results via our regularly updated bracket here.
Things are really heating up in Round 2 of our poll to determine your pick for the greatest guitarist of all time. Several heavy favorites have been eliminated early, and now two more square off in today's matchup. Will Paul Gilbert or Eric Johnson survive and move on to Round 3? Vote now!
And for more on the world's fastest guitarists, check out our look at the 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time.Readers Poll: The Greatest Guitarist of All Time — Johnson Vs. Gilbert
Friday's matchup saw George Harrison (74.95%) defeat Rick Nielsen (25.05%). View the full bracket.