The Great Rock Guitarists debate

During the summer we asked for contributions to the site to discuss the great rock guitarists.  In the end we had to close this down due to incorrect usage and abuse, however here we have recreated some of the more interesting (or amusing) comments that were made.  Moritz and Jim were not allowed to be discussed within the debate or else we would have won(this being an Adelangst fan website in the main).  The debate is now closed.  The votes ended up with the following results:

                R Blackmore             54%   
                J M Hendrix                19%
                Eric Clapton           9%
                Vaughan                 7%
                Jeff Beck                3%
                Jimi Page               2%
                Gary Moore             2%
                Bernie Marsden       2%
                Satriani                 0.5%
                Vai                     0.5%
                Others (inc Neil Young!) 1%
As of last night the total number of votes stood at 16,374   This vote is now closed.  However you can still comment via


Update October 2004: we have had quite a few enquiries to see if we can re-open this debate as people want to comment on some of the issues and opinions brought up below.  If you want to do this please email us at and if we get enough interest we will persuade Hal (our manager) to re-open it.  Remember though you cannot vote for Jim or Moritz.



  • Doylie          (7/16/2004 9:30:02 AM)

    There is no question that Eric Clapton is the greatest guitarist around

  • Jinx               (7/16/2004 9:45:23 AM)

    Are you kidding?  Jimi Hendrix is the only guitarist who can be called “Great” the rest are just technically proficient.

  • Doylie      (7/16/2004 10:03:00 AM)

    Jimi was great yes, but he was mostly just feedback and noise, surely it is technical proficiency that matters.  Look at Steve Morse, he’s a God where it comes to running up and down the fretboard, but what is it all for?  No it’s genuine feeling for the music, especially with the blues, which Eric has, and why he is the greatest.

  • Yamao    (7/17/2004 05:32:46 PM)

    Meat with Bernie Marsden in Osaka, greatest guitarist.

  • Doylie    (7/17/2004 9:30:32 PM)

    Who is Bernie Marsden?  This debate is about the greatest guitarist anyway.  Come on chaps where are you? Surely there is some idiot out there who thinks that lunatic from Deep Purple, currently twiddling with mandolins and the like, is the greatest.  Ha bloody ha.


  • Tea Boy (7/17/2004 10:12:04 PM)


Ritchie Blackmore is the only guitarist for me. Sitting here in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I cannot believe his playing on Still of the Night and Here I Go Again


  • Doylie    (7/17/2004 9:30:32 PM)

    What the hell are you talking about? Man, I think you’ve got to to get your facts right first before writing in. This is supposed to be a serious debate on a serious issue. Please, please try not to mix up your heroes.


  • Tea Boy (7/18/2004 08:14:32 AM)


I do not understand what you mean? Listen to Blackmore’s playing on the ‘1987’ album. It is fantastic. How can you say I do not know what I am talking about


  • Rainer Toss (7/19/2004 09:36:23 AM)


I am also big Blackmore fan. Here in Germany we have some huge Blackmore followings of which I am one. I used to have sexual fantasies about Vera Lynn, however since I got into Ritchie Blackmore that has completely changed. Even now, as I type this message, I find myself aroused


  • Dragon Man (7/19/2004 11:36:23 AM)


What a load of nonsense! There is only one great guitar god (or maybe 2 actually). These are the American greats Joe Satriani and the Steve Vai. Oh wow oh Wow – Have you heard their playing? I tell you, these guys can blow that rubbish Blackmore away. Also, both Vai and Satriani have full heads of their own hair, which is more than can be said for old Baldie Blackmore. I play all the Satriani stuff in my solos as I play in a covers band – the fact it sounds absolutely awful is more down to my inability to play, rather than down to the skill of Mr Vai and and Satriani.


  • Tex Mex  (7/19/2004 11:41:55 AM)


I is Eric Clapton


  • Dragon Man (7/19/2004 12:42:06 PM)


What? Can you write English (or American English at the least)


  • Tex Mex  (7/19/2004 11:41:55 AM)


I is Eric Clapton, very much… a lot


  • Dragon Man (7/19/2004 12:42:06 PM)


Well there we have the comprehensive Eric Clapton contribution. What a load of old nonsense. I tell you, Joe Satriani gets my vote followed by Steve Vai. They are the best man.


·        Tex Mex  (7/19/2004 13:07:04 PM)


Eric Clapton me student in North Carolina, US – concert saw in Chapel Hill 1998. Fender Stratocaster is guitar mine. ‘I Shot Up The Sheriff’ track my is favourite. Vote is my always list in yours. Eddie van Halen good also is.

Playing love I in song ‘Jump’. God of Guitar website is favourite love much very. Eric Clapton vote you now will.


·        Doylie  (7/19/2004 17:12:14 PM)

I can honestly say that this debate is going nowhere. What I hear so far is that Blackmore wears a wig, and that Steve Vai and Joe Sat are the best players around. Give me a break guys, what on earth are you talking about? I thought this forum was supposed to be the most comprehensive debate on who is the greatest guitarist of all time. Just admit it, Clapton is the best, followed by Blackmore and then Stevie Ray Vaughan. I think that guy Dragon hasn’t got a clue. I don’t know where you’re from man but you sound to me as though you can’t play the guitar for xxxx. Have you got ears? Tell me honestly what you hear when you play this stuff. It’s a pile of twiddly rubbish! Where is the feel and emotion? Oh yeah ‘Surfin with the Alien’ – a bit of whah whah and the guy thinks he’s the best ever. Total crap. Clapton has been doing this for over 40 years. He still rocks and he can blow away all you other guys.


·        Trojan (7/19/2004 18:43:23 PM)


Let’s all try to calm down here – I agree this is the first site in the world that is trying to have a serious debate on the subject. May I add in a few points. Clapton can still play the big arenas so he has the commercial success, however all the other guys are now little league. In reality one has to say that commercial success does not mean that he can play the guitar the best, however it is an important factor to consider. Secondly, Blackmore is still a fine player. Now that he’s moved onto the renaissance rock side of things, he’s had to radically alter his playing style. I think he should be applauded for this, however I think deep down his ego would probably still prefer to play the big arenas. The North American players such as Vaughan, Vai, Satriani, van Halen and Slash are all capable players and without doubt can be seen as influential in their own right. On top of this you can probably add Gary Moore (as long as he doesn’t sing) and Brian May. Spice this up with Jimi Hendrix and you have a pretty much comprehensive top 10-guitarist list to cover this type of comprehensive discussion.


So far I see that the voting is drifting towards Blackmore. All in all this is not an unreasonable state of affairs. Blackmore has had the commercial success, he’s without doubt an influential player and he has a loyal following. I hope this insight will be seen by all participants as positive and thought provoking


·        Dragon Man (7/19/2004 19:16:35 PM)
You tosser!! What a name is Trojan by the way? My ears only hear the best. Satriani is god. Come on everyone, vote for Joe and then Stevie Vai. 
I see we’re only up to about 2% of the vote so far, so come on, Pleeeeeease, vote for Joe. Blackmore is a bald headed moody old sod, who can play 3 notes in the key of G with no effort. Anything above that he has no idea.


·        Cortez (8/20/2004 01:34:23 AM)
Hi, this is Frank from Alabama.  I liked some of the debate so far, however what about Neil Young?  I know the singing is known as a bit wobbly, but the guitar playing is wonderful.  Listen to Like a Hurricane, it completely blows you away.  He often gets into near-fit type trances when he is playing this kind of track, often with the Crazy Horse outfit.  I saw him at the Alica Springs Convention Auditoriom last year and he was stunning.  He did a 50minute solo acoustic version of  Down by the River, it was amazing, really.  Much of the time he was just standing there playing one note, but the emotion that was coming out was stunning.  Lets vote for Neil everyone.


·        Dragon Man (8/20/2004 16:34:32 PM)
Neil Young?  Are you kidding?  I don’t think we can open up this debate to this kind of artist.  We are supposed to be talking about Rock Guitarists surely?

·        Ralpin (8/20/2004 18:01.56 PM)
Blackmore is God.


·        Ralpin (8/20/2004 18:06.43 PM)
Blackmore is God


·        Ralpin (8/20/2004 18:14:13 PM)
Blackmore is God.  Sorry I didn’t think the last two had got through!


·        Jenn (8/20/2004 18:56:12 PM)
 Thank for that Ralpin.  I do not think that Blackmore is that big well that.  His playing on the “abandon” album by the Deep Purple is really completely poor.  My favorite one is Jeff Beck, especially to play it on “Hi ho silver lining” and “the Black Dog “, really good.  Please to give us more Jeff Beck!


·        Cortez (8/21/2004 03:23:32 PM)
I would agree with Jenn that Blackmores playing of late with the Purple team has not been really that great.  I saw them just last year when they played with Lynyrd Sknyrd, and Blackmore seemed to want to play his all within the first solo.  I mean he played very well, and it was very technical, but it was so so fast and furious that he might as well had left the stage after the first track.  Still I liked their new song “Ted the Mechanic”, very chunky.  The thing about Neil Young, when you go to see him live, is that he increases the intensity of the performance as the evening draws on, climaxing in a glorious rendition of Cortex the Killer. Amazing.  Neil gets my vote still, and he is a rock guitarist, of sorts.


·        Trojan (8/21/2004  19:01.32 PM)
So lets get this right.  Jeff Beck played on “The Black Dog” and Ritchie Blackmore played with Deep Purple last year.  Come on chaps, lets get real and get some facts right.  And as for Neil Young, well I can understand the songs are interesting and very laid back, but this forum is supposed to be about great rock guitarists, and surely Neil is not one of those.


·        Yazto (8/21/2004 19:01.56 PM)
My favourite guitar player is Steve Morse of Deep Purple.  He has Deep Purple a tremendous since Blackmore leaving made.  Its games on "fools" on the last trip amazed simple.  He has technique and that I think in time that he as an of it best ever will conscience become, of everybody regulates.  Steve is also a beautiful fellow, not as other guitar players that I would be able to mention.  I met was him in Brazil single years ago and he ever so beautiful and gave at me a plectrum.  Its plectrum hangs on my wall, next to my image of Joe Lynn Turner that also signed.  As that my vote to Steve Morse goes. 


·        Ralpin (8/22/2004 20:23:01 PM)
Blackmore is God.  Steve Morse is a good player yes, but do you feel his presence when he is on stage.  Do you get that nervous feeling before he takes to the stage.  Do you remember him for years and years after he has left the stage?  No you don’t.  He’s good whilst he’s on stage, but instantly forgetful afterwards.  Ritchie however plays with his soul and although not always consistent, can evoke musical moments that Steve can never produce simply by playing a single note.  Blackmore gets my vote 10 times over.


·        Dragon Man (8/22/2004 21:43:33 PM)
You’re only allowed to vote once!   And you vote by going to the website not through this forum.


·        Captainjjb (8/23/2004 09:22:10 PM)
My vote goes to Bernie Marsden.


·        Mekong (8/23/2004 22:07:52 PM)
I hope you allow me to ejaculate into the discussion. I have been monitoring the current intercourse between the various contributors but I am very confused. I live in Vietnam and of course we are now very much in the commercialised world. I am big guitar fan and my hero is Andy Scott of ‘The Sweet.’ His playing on Hellraiser and Set Me Free remind me very much of Ritchie Blackmore but I do not know who is copying who.  Can you please give me your comment on this, as you probably know more about these players in the USA and UK than I do.


·        Rainer Toss (8/23/2004 22:45:09 PM)

Blackmore is the main man – as we joke here in Germany ‘black is more; who says ve hav no sense of humour! No, it is definitely Mr Scott who is copying the style of Ritchie Blackmore. I do not wish to sound like a fanatic (which I am, of course), but if you do not vote for Mr Blackmore we will line you up against a wall and………… sorry, that is from another era. I do apologise (not for the war, of course) but that I become too excited whenever I discuss anything to do with Ritchie Blackmore. I think I now need to log off and pour iced Wasser over my Steifen.


·        Cortez (8/23/2004 23:02:19 AM)

Sorry Mekong, here in the Deep South, we don’t get much access to the Sweet, but Blackmore has definitely disappointed. Also what kind of wacko guitar does he play these days? What happened to his Strat? When he played ‘Sometimes I Fell Like Screaming’ it sounded OK, but give me ‘Burn’ anyday. Also, I know he’s lived in the States for thirty years but his Texan accent was awful. People say he has a cultured English accent, but it didn’t sound like that to me. Also the look he gave me when I shouted out ‘Ritchie we love you’; if looks could kill, I tell you! Anyway the old style Blackmore (pre Perpendicular, Abandon and Bananas) is hot as hell, but in the last eight to ten years, he’s definitely dropped the ball, in my book.


·        Sorrento Man (8/24/2004 11:39:41 AM)

Hi – my name is Paulo from Italia. I notice that earlier this year Ritchie Blackmore won a major vote in Italy as the greatest guitarist. He is my hero and, yes, please add my vote for him to your site. I love him very much. I also am big fan of Gary Moore. His vocals on ‘Still Got the Blues’ are very emotive. I have also followed his career very much and it hurts me that he doesn’t play in the Mediterranean area, however we do understand that as he sweats so much, that if he comes to the hot countries it could kill him. The sooner he sorts out his sweat glands the better it will be for everyone. Gary, please, please keep on singing and come to Italy as soon as your sweat glands have improved. By the way, when will you get back with ‘G-Force’? They were the best!