Best Rock and Metal Guitarists

And NOW for my favorite part of metal… The guitarists! I’m a little biased since I’m a guitarist myself, but nothing says metal to me like a huge guitar riff. I’m going to give you a list of the best guitarists in the rock and metal scene, and why they deserve the place in metal history that they do!

Brian Welch

Brian Welch is a controversial pick for a “best of” list; he left the metal scene for a long time due to his conversion to Christianity. Welch started out as the guitarist for Korn from 1994 to about 2005, then started his own band called “Love and Death.” He rejoined Korn in 2012, and continues to make music with Love and Death. Welch’s style is amazing, because he uses the guitar in unusual ways to get amazing sounds. Sometimes his riffs are heavy and low, but sometimes he makes odd, siren-like noises with his 7-stringed guitar. Listen to “Falling Away From Me” to hear both sounds at the same time!

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates is a very underrated guitarist in the rock and metal scene; he plays lead guitar for Avenged Sevenfold. His guitar style is very influenced by Guns ‘N Roses; his solos have the same blues influence that you can find in most Slash solos. However, Gates plays a more metal-oriented sound with his band; his solos feature more flashy playing than even Slash would have played. However, Gates’s style brings a “classic metal” sound to modern metal that is sadly absent from most modern metal recordings. His style also takes influence from classical music; many Avenged Sevenfold songs have a very orchestral sound, made with instruments that you would find on sites like

Dimebag Darrell

The guitarist for Pantera and Damageplan had a career that was cut short by an unexplainable assassination. Dimebag had an amazing style that was rooted in blues playing and a love for heavy riffs. He often downtuned his guitar to give it an even heavier sound, but he could me beautiful music as well! Listen to “Walk” and “Cemetery Gates” for two examples of his style.

 Tony Iommi

I ALMOST put Tony in the top spot. His playing for Black Sabbath has influenced more metal bands than I could ever write about. There are two types of metal bands: bands that were influenced by Iommi’s playing, and terrible bands. Iommi invented the sound of menacing electric guitar; “Iron Man” and “War Pigs” set the best prototype for metal that you could ask for.

Angus Young

And now the master: Angus Young of AC/DC. Without Young, metal style as we know it would not exist. Even punk takes a lot of influence from energy of AC/DC’s riffs. However, the most important contribution that Young has made to guitar solos. During the 80s, many guitar solos were too self-indulgent and long (I’m looking at you Eddie Van Halen!) and people usually did not care about them. However, short and sweet solos like the “Highway to Hell” solo made people care about the power of the rock guitar.

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