From the first blues guitarists in the early 20th century to today's virtuosic shredders, many great guitar players have paid their dues in the music industry and made a lasting name for themselves. Some of the most famous include these guitar legends.
Joe Satriani became an unlikely hit during the mid-1980s at a time when straight up instrumental music wasn't receiving much attention. Listen to Satriani's discography, especially classics such as Surfing with the Alien, and you'll hear what makes him famous.
Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen is nothing short of a living legend. Besides playing in Van Halen, his body of work includes guest appearances such as his famous contributions to Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He received early accolades for his work with the Yardbirds, but his solo career has guaranteed him virtuoso status.
Eric Clapton's considerable talent has made him a three-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These honors include his work with the Yardbirds, Cream and his highly successful solo career.
Where would rock and roll be without the advent of the electric guitar? For that the music world must thank Les Paul for his contribution to its development. In addition to being an amazing guitarist across several musical genres, Paul pioneered recording techniques commonly used today.
Tom Morello revolutionized guitar technique by using unorthodox methods such as modifying the guitar's wiring and incorporating pickup switches into the performance. He created some of the most unique guitar sounds ever recorded when he played for Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and many other bands.
Al Jardine has become a household name for his guitar work and vocals in The Beach Boys, one of the most iconic groups in popular music history. Although originally a fan of acoustic folk guitar, his pioneering of rock and roll surf guitar riffs blasting through his favorite Strat and Fender Twin Reverb amp has influenced decades of music.
Joe Perry has been responsible for some of the most blistering guitar riffs in rock music thanks to his work in Aerosmith, one of the greatest bands to take the stage. He's known for adding a unique take on the classic rock guitar ethos of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and many others before him, and for providing another important link in the chain to rock and roll guitar history.
When it comes to virtuoso guitarists who have made a career as solo artists, Steve Vai is one of the legends. His unusual song structures and mind-boggling technique has inspired millions of guitarists.
George Harrison helped change the world of music during his tenure with The Beatles. He helped reshape the meaning of rock and roll and melodic guitar work. Expert musicians and Beatles superfans note George's superb skill in treating the lead guitar as an instrument of composition rather than improvisation. His guitar solos are songs within themselves.
Kim Thayil, the lead guitarist of grunge music band Soundgarden fronted by the late Chris Cornell, quickly became known as one of the most impressive guitarists in rock and roll. His ability to play riffs in complex odd-time signatures and create haunting solos and chord structures made him one of the greats of modern rock.
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker is considered one of the most legendary guitarists of all time and a pioneer of the blues. Born in 1917 and known as the "King of Boogie," he got better every decade. Amazingly, the peak of his career was in his seventies not long before he died in 2001.
Now that you've finished this slideshow, check out some famous bass guitarists.