10 Best Classic Rock Guitarists

Shaping rock and roll one riff at a time.

LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AP

The guitar has always been the quintessential element of what makes rock and roll as big as it is. More than just an instrument, the use of the guitar in rock music from the 60's onward felt like a weapon of resistance against the traditional values of generations past.

While the guitar may hold a lot of power, it's the person behind the fretboard that works the real musical magic. Throughout rock's glory days from the Swinging 60's to the hard-edged 80's, musicians were bringing new innovations to the guitar that helped re-contextualize the instrument for different styles of rock and roll.

The best guitarists are the ones who looked at the instrument not as a writing tool but rather an extension of their physical being. Even if the guitarists on this list aren't shredding solos across every track, their playing always has the passion and unfiltered aggression that makes you jump out of your skin whenever you hear them.

Whether it be through influence, innovation, or general badass status, the guitarists in rock's golden age wrote the licks that made rock and roll sound so exciting.

 
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