Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is one of the most influential guitarists of the last decades and in an interview with Esquire magazine back in 2014 he listed the 12 guitarists that in his opinion were the best of all time.
The 12 guitarists that for Slash were the best of all time:
Joe Perry and Brad Whitford (Aerosmith)
“Joe and Brad, those two guys just have always personified rock guitar to me, and the kind of phrasing and attitude and aggression that appealed to me when I was just picking up the guitar. I heard the Aerosmith Rocks record, and that was the catalyst for the direction that I went as a musician.”
“That kind of raunchy, barely-holding-it-together, loud, boisterous, frenetic sound.That was the biggest influence on me at the time. And it still is a huge influence on me. And I’ve been playing with these guys every single night and they’re such fukin’ great musicians and they have such a groove in that band,” Slash said.
Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
“There’s a bunch of British guitar players I grew up listening to who were really the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll lead guitar in the seventies. Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, they’re just real identifiable personalities on guitar. I really identified with Jimmy Page’s techniques and a lot of his phrasing when I was a kid coming up, and still to this day. I first became aware of Led Zeppelin when I was probably seven years old.”
“And the sound of “Whole Lotta Love,” that introduction where the guitar comes in and then the bass and the drums and everything, was definitely the most primal and most sleazy, sexy kind of thing that I’d ever heard up to that point. And it was such the introduction to the hedonism that would be the seventies. I was only seven. I didn’t know that I was going to be playing guitar way down the line. But that sticks out to me as the most influential moment that Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin ever had on me. And Jeff Beck to me is hands-down probably the best lead guitar of all time.”
Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)
“Billy is somebody I know. But first and foremost, way, way before I ever actually met him, he was one of the tastiest sort of rhythm, blues, and electric-blues guitarists who I had ever heard. As far as me identifying with a certain tone and a certain style of putting notes together, he’s got so much soul. And he’s got such a great guitar sound. He is obviously very, very well-known in every circle as far as musicians and fans of ZZ Top, but sometimes I think he’s underrated for just how great he really is,” Slash said.
Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones)
“The thing with the Stones is the Stones have such an ensemble sound that a lot of the times you don’t really differentiate between Keith [Richards] and who’s playing lead guitar. You just sort of listen to the Stones as a whole. Which in a way is a great thing as a statement of a band.”
“It should be like that. But the period that Mick Taylor was in the band, as far as lead guitar was concerned, that was my favorite Stones period. That was very much the background of my youth. But when I started playing guitar I recognized how wonderful the lead guitar was and a lot of that Stones material that I loved so much, a lot of it had to do with Mick Taylor’s voicing.”
B.B. King and Albert King
“With all the great blues guitar players I’m aware of and have grown up with over the years, B.B. and Albert were the two guys I most identified with from a phrasing point of view and from a choice of notes and certain kinds of sounds. Both their styles just really spoke to me,” Slash said.
“He’s one of the guitar players I got turned on to at a pretty young age. Nobody else I knew was really too hip to him, at least in Hollywood. But then they were sort of all into Randy Rhoads, anyway. Rory didn’t sound like anybody else.”
“There are a million guys who sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I never heard anybody who could really pull off sounding like Rory Gallagher. He had a very individual, independent kind of tone and approach and everything. He’s always been a big hero to me.”
Pete Townshend (The Who)
“He’s not even a lead guitar player, really. Or doesn’t consider himself as such. But he had a big impact on me from day one. When I was living in England as a kid, my dad’s favorite band out of all the British bands was the Who. And a lot of it had to do with Pete Townshend and the aggressive nature of his playing.”
“So I always identified with the Who and with that sound. And as I started to play guitar I really started to pay attention to how he played. He’s one of the best rhythm guitar players, along with Keith Richards. Just somebody who really has a fucking feel for playing around the beat and having great impact. Great dynamics, really soulful. Everybody’s tried to sound like Pete Townshend at some point or another and failed. Nobody can play like Pete,” Slash said.
Joe Walsh (James Gang/The Eagles)
“Joe’s probably one of the tastiest lead guitar players around. From way before he was in the Eagles, when he was in the James Gang and even in the Eagles, he’s just got such an understated but great, nasty way of playing.”
“He was the pioneer for electric lead guitar. Even the guys before him — like Clapton and Beck and all that — but the thing about Jimi is he came along and he was definitely the primal wild man, shit coming out of his pores.”
“It was the extremes of all the different nuances that all the different guitar players before him had and just coming out in droves and saying it in a certain way that was uniquely Jimi and nobody else. Jimi’s still the man. It’s funny because you hear about him so much but he was that great. And his material stands the test of time all these years later,” Slash said.
Slash has received critical acclaim as a guitarist since the beginning of his career, receiving several awards and honors to this day. Time magazine named him runner-up on its list of “The 10 Best Guitarists” in 2009, while Rolling Stone placed him in sixty-fifth place on its list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2011.
Also, Guitar World ranked their solo in November Rain in sixth place on their “The 100 Best Guitar Riffs” list in 2008, and Total Guitar placed their Sweet Child o ‘Mine riff first on their ” 100 Greatest Riffs “in 2004. In July 2012, Slash received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, where the musician grew up.