The 43 greatest guitarists of all time, ranked

Joe Perry

There comes a point in everyone’s lives when they get swept up and rocked by the riffs and rhythms of the world’s best guitarists. From blues to rock ‘n’ roll, these masters have been burning six-stringed strokes into our memory, tugging our heartstrings into pure joy. Here’s a trip through the 43 best guitarists, made famous for having listeners moving and shaking over the years.


43. Bo Diddley


Ellas Otha Bates, also known as Bo Diddley, was born in Chicago on Dec. 30, 1928. Perhaps Diddley should be higher on this list because he influenced a lot of the guitarists that follow. He was also a major influence on Elvis Presley and was largely responsible for translating blues into rock ‘n’ roll.




Some of his most popular songs were “Bo Diddley,” “Road Runner” and “Who Do You Love?” Bo Diddley’s songs are said to have “unleashed a West African groove,” and were as easy to follow as they were groovy. Simplicity isn’t a bad thing, especially when it’s applied to a new form, and Diddley’s music went on to inspire Keith Richards and Buddy Holly, among others, to pick up the instrument.