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.
Due to an error — and the overwhelming number of amazing guitarists out there — 132 guitarists were actually included in the first round of this tournament. This means we'll have a couple of bonus matches for you this week, with the field being narrowed to the final 32 before the start of Round 3.
There's more bonus action today as Alex Skolnick takes on Michael Schenker, with the winner facing off against Eddie Van Halen tomorrow for a spot in Round 3. Vote now!Readers Poll: The Greatest Guitarist of All Time — Schenker Vs. Skolnick
Wednesday's matchup saw David Gilmour (75.94%) defeat Keith Richards (24.06%). View the full bracket.