Greatest Guitarists Ever


Angus Young, AC/DC. The heavy rock pioneer formed his band with his brother Malcolm in Sydney in 1973. His trademark school uniform makes him instantly recognisable on stage. Pic: PA Photos.


Dimebag Darrell (born Darrell Lance Abbott in 1966) was the lead guitarist for the heavy rock bands Pantera, Damageplan and Rebel Meets Rebel. His untimely demise was met in 2004 when he was shot dead by a fan, onstage in Ohio.
Pic: PA Photos


Dinosaur Jnr guitarist J Mascis is acknowledged as a pioneer of grunge rock. In July 2007 Fender released the J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster. The instrument comes in a Purple Sparkle finish and features a number of modifications J requested such as an adjusto-matic bridge (for improved intonation), a reinforced tremolo arm housing, a satin finished neck and customised wiring. Pic: PA Photos



John Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988, but quit in 1992 after developing addictions to heroin and crack cocaine, returning to the fold after going cold turkey in 1998.
Pic: PA Photos


Keith Richards declared to NME in 2007 that heâ


Bald-headed and tattoo-covered Kerry King is Slayerâ


Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitar hero Nick Zinner is a commited vegan and is also a member of the animal rights group PETA.
Pic: PA Photos


Riders On The Storm in concert – London

The Doors’ Robby Krieger started out by tuning a ukulele like the bottom four strings of a guitar and imitating a flamenco guitar record.
Pic: PA Photos

DPA – Oasis Play Duesseldorf

Oasis’ Noel Gallagher started playing guitar aged thirteen when he received six months’ probation for robbing a corner shop. During this time he had little else to do so learnt to play guitar by playing along with songs on the radio. Pic: PA Photos


Simon Neill is the guitarist in Biffy Clyro. The band formed in Ayrshire in 1995 when Simon was 15 years old. They were originally called Screwfish and played their first gig at the Key Youth Centre in Kilmarnock. Pic: James Quinton

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In this weekâ



Brothers Jim and William Reid, pictured, called time on their legendary and hugely influential band The Jesus & Mary Chain after a huge onstage bust-up in LA back in 1998. They reformed in 2007. But can the Scots rocker take the crown of Greatest Guitarist Ever? You decide now at NME.COM/Guitar.

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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand in an industrial accident when was 18, but used plastic tips which he fashioned himself from a washing up liquid bottle.
Pic: PA Photos

rage machine

As well as his acclaimed work with Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, Tom Morello records acoustic material under the name The Nightwatchman.
Pic: PA Photos

ABACA US -Van Halen performing at the H.P. Pavilion

Van Halen guitar god Eddie Van Halen underwent hip replacement surgery in 1999, after an existing degenerative condition became unbearable.
Pic: PA Photos


At a concert in Germany in the 60s, a police officer walked up to The Whoâ

Bernard Butler V2002 festival

Rarely without his Cherry Red Gibson guitar, former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler has been influenced by guitarists including Peter Green, George Harrison, Steve Howe and Bert Jansch. Is Bernard Butler the Greatest Ever Guitarist? Vote now at NME.COM/Guitar! Pic: PA Photos


George Harrison is one of the four men famed for forever changing the music of our times, although (fact fans) the only single by The Beatles that was written by Harrison and hit number 1 was "Something". Pic: PA Photos


James Dean Bradfield is the lead guitarist and singer with Manic Street Preachers. He was named after James Dean – his father wanted originally to call him Clint Eastwood Bradfield, but this was vetoed by his mother. He learnt to play guitar by learning how to play Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction’ in his parents’ front room in Pontypool, Monmouthshire. Pic: Andy Willsher

Live Earth Concert – London

In August 1992 at Montrealâ

step up concert

As well as Janeâ


Is Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day the Greatest Guitarist Ever? Only you can decide by having your say at NME.COM/Guitar. Pic: PA Photos

Carling Reading Festival 2007

Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. As a teenager Corgan was a fan of classic ’70s rock like Queen, Boston and ELO. This first love lead to him developing his trademark layered and bombastic style. Pic: PA Photos


Bob Dylan: hero to many and a living music legend. Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, his most famous songs â


In addition to using his home-made guitar Queen’s Brian May prefers to use coinsinstead of a more traditional plastic plectrum, on the basis that their rigidity gives him more control in playing. He is known to carry coins in his pockets specifically for this purpose. He also wears clogs.
Pic: PA Photos


Bruce Springsteen never liked his nickname "The Boss," and sometimes sang: "You can call me Lieutenant, Rosie, but don’t ever call me Boss." To vote for Springsteen in NME.COMâ

Courtney Love in concert – London

Before she found fame as singer/guitarist in Hole, Courtney Love was briefly the singer in an embryonic line-up of Faith No More.
Pic: PA Photos

ABACA A Perfect Circle in concert

While James Iha was a credited guitarist on the first five Smashing Pumpkins albums, frontman Billy Corgan would later discount his contributions to recordings, saying in 2007 that Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin accounted for "97%" of the performances on every Pumpkins album.
Pic: PA Photos

ABACA Bridge School Benefit Gig

Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Neil Youngâ


In 1983, Paul Wellerâ


Guitar hero and all-round sex god Prince was the first major artist to release an entire album, 1997’s ‘Crystal Ball’, exclusively on the internet. Pic: PA Photos

Music – Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – Wembley Stadium

In his autobiography published in 2007, Slash admitted that drug hallucinations had led him to believe he was under attack from tiny gun-wielding aliens. Less controversially, the mop-topped axeman can take credit for the riffs of rock classics â

Music Aerosmith

Aerosmith’s Joe Perry has spearheaded the creation of an entire line of hot sauces entitled ‘Joe Perry’s Rock Your World Hot Sauces’.
Pic: PA Photos


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Marr – Kirsty MacColl Tribute

Is Johnny Marr of The Smiths the Greatest Guitarist Ever? Only you can decide by having your say at NME.COM/Guitar. Marr can be heard these days in U.S band Modest Mouse and delivers instrument playing tips in the new issue of NME (January 5). Pic: PA Photos

stone roses

As guitarist with The Stone Roses, John Squire became famous for his chiming melodies, spiralling riffs and live solos. Inspired by the ’60s psychedelia of bands like The Byrds, as well as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, John Squire has now turned his back on music forever to concentrate on painting. Pic: PA Photos

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme was just 15 when he formed his first band, Sons Of Kyuss, back in 1988. He also performed in The Screaming Trees before he formed Queens.
Pic: PA Photos

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Marcie Bolan. Guitarist in The Von Bondies, Marcie was described by the bandâ

Music – Marc Bolan

Before giving himself his most famous name, Marc Bolan went under the stage name Toby Tyler. His real name was Mark Feld.
Pic: PA Photos


Jack White of the White Stripes played his ‘Shortest Live Show Ever’ in July 2007 in Newfoundland, Canada. White played a single C# note accompanied by a drum hit from band mate Meg, before announcing: "We have now officially played in every province and territory in Canada."

ac dc

Angus Young, AC/DC. The heavy rock pioneer formed his band with his brother Malcolm in Sydney in 1973. His trademark school uniform makes him instantly recognisable on stage. Pic: PA Photos


Blood Red Shoes star Laura-Mary Carter admits she hates going into guitar shops in the new NME Guitar Issue because they’re full of men who "aren’t very supportive"…
Pic: PA Photos


Jimi Hendrix was famous for his flash style and left-handed playing of a right-handed guitar, but he also helped pioneer the technique of guitar feedback with overdriven amplifiers. His guitar style was ground-breaking, later to be abundantly imitated by others. Readers can vote for Hendrix now in our Greatest Ever Guitarists poll at NME.COM/Guitar. Pic: PA Photos


In this weekâ


Rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson. The first female rock’n’roll artist, Wanda still tours aged 69. She has been nominated for two Grammys, and has been awarded the Oklahoma Native Daughter Award. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the International Hall of Fame, the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and the German Country Music Hall of Fame. Pic: Redferns


Jerry Garcia of psychedelic legends The Grateful Dead. For three decades until his death in 1995 Garcia lead the Dead, touring almost constantly and playing his custom-made guitar, Tiger. Pic: PA Photos


Robert Fripp is best known for his work with prog band King Crimson, although he has also worked with David Bowie, Andy Summers of The Police and David Byrne. Is Robert Fripp the Greatest Guitarist ever? Head to NME.COM/GUITAR now to have your say. Pic: Redferns


David Gedge of Sheffield indie types The Wedding Present. One of John Peel’s favourite bands, The Wedding Present share with Elvis Presley the record for the most number of UK Top 30 hits in a year. Pic: Redferns


Joni Mitchell started out busking on the streets of her native Toronto before becoming a key part of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene in LA in the early 1970s.


US country star Steve Earle is famous for his outspoken politics, campaigning against the Iraq war and the abolition of the death penalty. Pic: PA Photos


John Lennon during his time with The Beatles. Lennon was originally taught the banjo by his mother, Julia, but bought his first guitar, a Gallotone Champion acoustic, in 1957. Pic: PA Photos


Robert Johnson is among the most famous of the Delta blues musicians. Little is known about his life up until his death aged 27, although myths that he sold his soul to the devil have been as influential as his playing, which influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to Jack White.

Peter Green One Generation 4 Another

Peter Green. A figurehead of the British blues movement in the ’60s, Green’s playing was marked with a distinctive vibrato and economy of style, as well as a unique tone from his 1959 Gibson Les Paul – a result of the guitar’s pickups being accidentally wired out of phase. Pic: PA Photos

DPA Germany Robert Smith

Robert Smith formed The Cure in Crawley in Sussex in 1976. Although originally a post-punk band, Smith’s love of 1960s psychedelia played a large part in the band’s adoption as part of the 1980s goth movement.
Pic: PA Photos


New Order guitarist Bernard Sumner was also a founding member of Joy Division. He is famous for incorporating sounds from dance music into the band’s indie rock and is also a producer. Pic: PA Photos


Although Dave Grohl started out as a drummer with Washington DC hardcore punk band Scream and later joined Nirvana , following the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, Grohl rented a studio space and recorded all of the instruments on the songs which would later become the first Foo Fighters album. Pic: Danny North

wireless fest

Graham Coxon quit Blur in 2002, and did not appear ontheir final album ‘Think Tank’. But he has carved out a successful solo career. Pic: PA Photos