Any hard rock band worth their salt knows the power behind a good guitar riff. No matter how intense you think the subject matter is or the heaviness of the drums, no song can truly come alive until it has an actual chunky guitar behind it. Even though some bands fluke their way into rock history, other six-stringers seem to have a bottomless well of great material.
From the sounds of grunge in the '90s to the glory years of hard rock in the '70s, plenty of musicians have come to the forefront brandishing riffs that could cut through any soundproof equipment you can get your hands on. \
It would be one thing for these guys to be in their element onstage, but the true power came when they went to solo, which made for some of the most transcendent musical passages the rock world had ever seen.
As opposed to sweating their asses off every night, these maniacs of the hard rock genre somehow make these impressive feats of human endurance look easy. Whether you're from the world of rock, jazz, or even blues, one look at these guitarists shredding their instrument will definitely make you want to step up your game.
10. Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Once the '90s started to get underway, the era of flashy guitar solos was officially dead. Even though you had guys like Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert firing off lightning fast licks, what was the point when you had the grunge bands of Seattle playing with more soul than anyone else? While the more dexterous guitar players may have gone out of style, Tom Morello arrived on the scene to redefine the six string once again.
On the surface, Rage Against the Machine seemed primarily considered with Zack da la Rocha's lyrics, but every music nerd had to figure out one question: "what the hell was that noise?" Instead of hiding beneath a distortion pedal, Morello's complex technique put a different spin on the traditional guitar hero role.
Despite being able to play different neo classical solo techniques, the real strength came through Morello's inventive use of different audio effects, ranging from DJ scratch noises to what sounds like aliens trying to communicate through musical instruments.
The actual innovation ended up being so different that some of Rage's records had to specify in their liner notes that every weird sound was only being created through his guitar. It's always hard to find your voice on the guitar, but Tom Morello is one of the few guitarists who has been a true original from day one.