Best 15 Greatest Rhythm Guitarists Of All Time
Greatest Rhythm Guitarists of All Time are Malcolm Young, Nile Rodgers, and Keith Richards among the 15. The greatest in rhythm guitar is subjective.
With every passing year, new talent emerges, for example, the front-runner of Polyphia, Tim Henson.
However, every artist follows the blueprint laid by their predecessor and makes something of their own to be considered the greatest, for example, Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page.
Page is known for playing a spectrum of complicated chords, solos, and rhythms for the band. He is widely considered as the greatest guitarist of all time.
Moreover, musicians like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Eric Clapton are among the few stars with similar talent levels. Here we have compiled some of the biggest names in Rock.
Best 15 Greatest Rhythm Guitarists Of All Time
|Guitarist Name||Active Years|
|Eddie Van Halen||1964-2020|
1. Malcom Young
Malcolm Young is one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in Rock. Young was a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter in AC/DC.
The band has won multiple awards including APRA, Grammy, and ARIA.
"Back in Black" the band's song co-written by Malcolm was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. AC/DC became one of the best-selling rock bands of all time.
Young was known for his guitar tone & gear, along with his power chords for songs like MeanStreak, AC/DC, TNT, and many more.
2. Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers is a familiar name among the best guitar players of all time. He is also known for composing, producing, and songwriting.
The artist was awarded Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rodgers has sold more than 500 million albums and 75 million singles globally. The musician's autobiography Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.
Due to his immense contribution, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013 by Bernard Edwards.
Rogers is known for playing multiple-string instruments like the clarinet, cello, flute, and guitar. He has worked on the songs of Madonna, Biggie, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, and many more.
3. Keith Richards
Keith Richards is one of the Best Guitar Players from the 60s. Richards was the rhythm guitarist of the band The Rolling Stones.
The music magazine of the same name has listed fourteen of their songs on the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Richards took inspiration from his maternal grandfather who taught him guitar. He also looked up to artists like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
In his early career, he played both lead and rhythm guitar for the band, the artist's music contributions include Paint It Black, Start Me Up, I Can't Get No Satisfaction, and many more.
4. Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana is one of the greatest Latin American guitarists. Per Rolling Stone, he is listed in no. 20 in the list of 100 Greatest guitarists of all time.
Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. The artist started playing guitar when he was eight years old.
According to the artist, he was influenced by the 50s musicians like B. B King, T-bone Walker, and John Lee Hooker. The artist is known for songs like Smooth, Maria, Maria, Corazon Espinado, and many more.
5. Bob Marley
Bob Marley is the best reggae guitarist of all time. The pioneer in reggae music is known for a plethora of the best reggae songs of all time.
Marley learned guitar from Jamaican reggae duo musician Joe Higgs who also inspired him to record and play music. According to Rolling Stone, Marley's group was honored with Band of the Year in 1976.
During the height of his popularity, the artist also collaborated with Johnny Nash and Jimi Hendrix. After a nearly two-decade-long career, the artist passed away at the age of 36 in 1981 due to skin cancer.
6. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton is the best English rhythm guitarist. According to Rolling Stone, he was ranked in second position in the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Gibson also listed him in the fourth number in the " Top 50 Guitarists of All Time." The singer has multiple albums, singles, and live performances including the cover of Bob Marley's I Shot The Sheriff.
Clapton was influenced by Blues music at an early age, he picked up guitar at the age of 15 and has not looked back since. Due to the artist's distinctive style, he quickly gained fame in the British music scene.
The singer's best songs include tracks like Wonderful Tonight, Cocaine, Layla, and Tears in Heaven.
7. Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page is the greatest guitarist of all time, he is also both a solo and rhythm guitarist for his band Led Zepplin.
According to Rolling Stone, Page is listed in third position in "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." The artist is listed twice in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame first as a member of Yardbirds (1992) and Led Zepplin (1995).
Page started picking strumming guitar at the age of 12, he is largely self-taught. The artist is also known for playing double-neck guitar in his concerts.
Zepplin's member has inspired a new generation of artists like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Kirk Hammett, Steve Vai, and Alex Lifeson according to Mojo Magazine.
8. Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson is a country rhythm guitarist. The solo country singer is one of the best-selling artists in outlaw country music.
Nelson's grandfather was the one who taught him a few chords and guitars when he was only six years old. The artist wrote his first song when he was only seven.
While still a student at a school, he started singing and playing guitar in the band called "The Texans." Later, Nelson formed a band with Jennings, Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash named "The Highwaymen."
The artist is known for his songs like Always On My Mind, Just Breathe, Highwayman, and Seven Spanish Angels.
9. Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen is a popular rhythm guitarist from Van Halen. He is widely considered the greatest guitar player in terms of tapping guitar technique and hand movement on the fretboard.
Halen's first musical instrument was the piano, his parents wanted him to become a classical pianist but he gravitated towards the rock music.
The artist was inspired by 1960s British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five. Halen started playing guitar when he was in his teenage. He used to heavily modify his guitar in order to sound like Eric Clapton.
Valen is known for songs like Jump, You Really Got Me, Panama, and many more.
10. Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt is a rhythm guitarist and blues singer from Burbank, California. She has won 13 Grammy awards from 30 nominations.
Raitt was also ranked at no. 50 in the list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time."
Initially, Raitt started playing piano but at the age of only eight years old's, she changed her mind and started picking up the guitar.
After debuting her first album "Bonnie Raitt" in 1971. She gained a strong reputation as a female guitarist where there were quite a few female musicians.
She collaborated with multiple artists like Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carly, Simon, and Doobie Brothers.
11. John Lennon
John Lennon is one of the best singer-songwriters and rhythm guitarists of all time. Lennon was selected in the 38th position of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" by Rolling Stone.
Firstly, Lennon started out as a co-vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the band The Beatles. However, after the breakup of the Beatles, he pursued his solo career releasing his best-performing album Imagine.
Lennon's mother Julia gifted him a guitar, but she passed away in a car accident in 1958. To pay homage, to his mother, he wrote a song about missing her titled "Julia" in 1968.
12. Joan Jett
Joan Jett is a popular punk rhythm guitarist and singer. She is the founding member of the punk band Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
At the age of 13, Jett started taking guitar lessons but soon quit. However, she later picked up a guitar and played rhythm for her first band "The Runaways" in which she was also a founding member.
After dabbling in her solo career, she formed a band with three good men. After, the formation of the band, she recorded her first album with her new label titled "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" which went on to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.
According to Rolling Stone, she is ranked number 87 in the list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
13. John Mayer
John Mayer is one the best rhythm guitarist of the current period. The pop singer was inspired by Michael J Fox's guitar performance to pursue playing guitar.
Mayer also looked up to artists like Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, and other blues guitarists. He has shown great performance with his guitar in songs like Gravity, Fool to love you, and Clarity.
In 2002, the artist won an Orville H. Gibson Guitar award for the category of most promising and coming guitarist. He has also won seven Grammy awards and nominated for more than dozens of them.
14. Kaki King
Kaki King is a female rhythm guitarist and composer. She was the only woman and the youngest artist on Rolling Stone's list of "The New Guitar Gods."
The artist has received a nomination for Sean Penn's Into the Wild by Gloden Globe Award for Best Original Score. King is a skilled guitarist known for playing fingerstyle with fret-tapping and slap bass techniques.
Kaki has released nine studio albums including a live album at Berkles (2017). The forty-three-year-old singer is compared to musicians like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed.
15. Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani is one of the best guitarists of all time. Joe is a mentor to artists like Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, and Steve Vai.
Kirk Hammett went on to lead guitarist at Metallica alongside James Hetfield as the rhythm guitarist. That said, Satriani is a 15-time Grammy nominee artist who has done sales over 10 million albums.
Satriani was inspired after watching the guitar played by Jimi Hendrix. However, after the death of Hendrix, he was heartbroken and was not able to perform well and thought of quitting guitar.
Therefore, he stuck to it and was able to play and pursue his passion wholeheartedly.
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