5 Guitarists Who Made Rock History

by Alain Abou Atmeh, May 26, 2017 . 3 min read

5 Guitarists Who Made Rock History

The history of rock music is filled with influential guitarists whose distinctive techniques and styles have contributed to the development of the ever-expanding body of music we identify as rock and roll->.The list of rock guitarists who have revolutionized the genre since its dawn in the late 1940s is impressive.

 

Here, we take a look at five iconic guitar players who made rock history.

 

1. Jimi Hendrix

 

During his short career (he died at age 27), Jimi Hendrix invented a new vocabulary of electric guitar techniques and sounds. He combined the innovative use of feedback, distortion and chord voicings with intuitive soulfulness while pushing the envelope of live performance with his flamboyant stage presence.
He made history with hits like “Hey Joe“, “Purple Haze” and “Foxy Lady,” along with his psychedelic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

 

“Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio and the stage.” – Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine

 

2. Eric Clapton

 

Eric Clapton was a groundbreaking blues stylist playing with the Yardbirds and then John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before establishing himself as a guitar superhero playing with Cream and Derek and the Dominos. His signature vibrato technique, wah-wah pedal artistry, and melodic solos have made him one of the most influential guitarists in history.
He burns it up in riffs in “Crossroads“, “White Room” and “Have Your Heard” while baring his soul in “Bell Bottom Blues.

 

According to Guitar World magazine, Eric Clapton is “one of the most lauded guitarists in the universe.”

 

3. Jimmy Page

 

Jimmy Page pioneered power riffing before heavy metal was ever a thing.
Wanting to explore his ideas for improvisation and acoustic texturing, in 1968, he formed a new guitar-focused band called Led Zeppelin that would be “a marriage of blues, hard rock and acoustic music topped with heavy choruses.”
Guitarists today hold up “Dazed and Confused“, “Heartbreaker” and “Kashmir” as prime examples of Page’s genius.

 

“Listening to what Jimmy Page does on guitar can transport you… He had this vision of how to transcend the stereotypes of what the guitar can do.” – Joe Perry, Aerosmith

 

4. Keith Richards

 

As the stoic alter ego to Mick Jagger’s loose-hipped strut onstage, Keith Richards developed his iconic sound by laying his lean, muscular riffs on top of powerful themes and using open-chord tunings borrowed from the Delta blues.
Classics like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Gimme Shelter” showcase what famed sessions guitarist Chris Spedding calls “direct, incisive and unpretentious” playing.

 

“Keith finds the tuning that allows the work – the fretting, muting strings – to get out of the way of what he’s feeling.” – Nils Lofgren, E Street Band

 

5. B.B. King

 

Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King is thought by many to be the most influential guitarist of all time, having introduced solo techniques such as string bending and the “butterfly” vibrato that would help define the rock and roll guitar sound.
Listen to his solos in “Three O’Clock Blues“, “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Sweet Little Angel” for the epitome of blues perfection.

 

“He plays in shortened bursts, with a richness and robust delivery. And there is a technical dexterity, a cleanly delivered phrasing.” – Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top

 

Well, it was nearly impossible to pick only 5 guitarists. We’re sure that you’ve got many more names to add to our list! Let us know who else you think made rock history.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit
Get Roadie Tuner

Check out some other similar articles

Today’s Roadie Spotlight series will introduce Adam Nitti, a world-renown bassist, music teacher, composer, and recording artist.

Randall Nashleanas
Aug 9, 2019 . 3 min read

Roadie Tuner has received much support from musicians all over the world, as they share their personal preferences and opinions on how they use Roadie products.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 10, 2019 . 2 min read

While it’s true that the music industry can often seem like a young person’s game, there are more than a handful guitarists who made it later in life.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 4, 2019 . 3 min read

Western and non-western civilizations across the globe contain a plethora of various genres of music. Although these cultures aren’t universally on the same page – music is the universal language.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 21, 2019 . 5 min read

Ice-T is a legend. Not only can he claim to be the Godfather of Gangsta Rap, but he’s also very convincing as a TV cop.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 11, 2019 . 3 min read

The beauty of being a musician is that the only musician you can be…is you. Jimi Hendrix left-handedly pioneered blues and rock guitar styles of playing with a head full of lucy.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 10, 2019 . 3 min read

Happy Father’s Day! Hopefully you’ve got a really cool present (like a Roadie 2) from your kids,

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 9, 2019 . 4 min read

The variety of guitars available goes far beyond acoustic or electric. From its humble beginnings as a lute,

Natalie Hagen
Apr 13, 2019 . 1 min read

We have received a lot of love from Roadie fans over the past years, so we thought we would give some back. We’ll put the

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 11, 2019 . 2 min read

Although women by no means are under-represented in the music industry, female instrumentalists are not quite as common as we’d like them to be –

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 7, 2019 . 4 min read

Grunge is not dead! It’s been almost three decades since the heyday of ‘90s grunge. But, grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam

Alec Plowman
Mar 1, 2019 . 3 min read

One more time then! We’ve already outlined six of the best albums of 2018 in the previous entries to this series. But, the party ain’t over yet!

Alec Plowman
Feb 21, 2019 . 4 min read

Developed in Hawaii during the 19th century, the ukulele has been riding a big wave of popularity since the 1990s.

Abir H. Farha
Feb 15, 2019 . 4 min read

The term guitar tunings may refer to pitch sets other than standard tuning, also called nonstandard, alternative, or alternate.

Alain Abou Atmeh
Feb 5, 2019 . 4 min read

This week, “Vicious,” the new record from Halestorm has featured heavily on the Roadie office playlist. If you’ve

Alec Plowman
Aug 10, 2018 . 3 min read

Musicians like Joni Mitchell are a dying breed. Although I’m not big on folk myself, I have a soft spot for Joni.

Frederik Nielsen
Aug 8, 2018 . 3 min read

We’re huge fans of Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti here at Roadie. Not just because of his prolific use of alternate tunings

Alec Plowman
Jul 24, 2018 . 3 min read

Few groups can claim a half-century of excellence in the field of rock and roll. But The Who is one of them.

Alec Plowman
Jun 26, 2018 . 3 min read

This blog has already covered jazz extensively, and no wonder. Jazz players are

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 20, 2018 . 4 min read

“It’s not about the money, money, money.” But yes it is, Jessie J, yes it is. This week in music has been mostly focused on how little money

Frederik Nielsen
May 31, 2018 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!