There are many prominent guitarists around. Some skilled, some lacking. But what about those that are extremely skilled in their craft yet are relatively unknown in comparison to the 'big guns' of their respective genres? Such musicians exist, and listed below are a few examples.
Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge/Slash)
One of rock's most praised modern vocalists and a man who has previously described himself as a "guitarist first and vocalist second." Unbeknownst to many, Kennedy is an esteemed guitarist and his playing can on occasion be overshadowed by the lead guitarists in his current projects - Mark Tremonti and Slash, respectively. While in more recent Alter Bridge releases, he has played leads and solos on a handful of songs such as "Cry of Achilles"; it is within his projects prior to Alter Bridge and Slash's solo band - alternative rock quartet The Mayfield Four and jazz-influenced outfit Citizen Swing - where his lead playing has been prevalent, and at times, soared.
Luke Hoskin (Protest The Hero)
Canadian Hoskin has, for four albums, utilised Protest The Hero as an outfit for his technicality. Their intriguing blend of djent and progressive metal allows him to play at breakneck speeds, yet he does so with terrifying precision. Interestingly, Hoskin has stated in past interviews that unlike some guitarists he does not take advantage of a large pedal-driven stage setup and does not enjoy "hiding behind effects," as such. Despite the speed of his shredding and other techniques being almost obscene; his playing is, in actuality, very real.
Honourable mention to rhythm guitarist Tim Millar whom also possesses a ton of skill with the instrument.
Russ "Satchel" Parrish (Steel Panther/Fight)
Even before taking up the mantle of lead guitarist in glam parody foursome Steel Panther, Parrish proved to be a versatile axeman. He has worked closely with virtuoso Paul Gilbert and received writing credits on several of his tracks; and recorded guitars on the debut album of Fight - a project formed by Rob Halford just before leaving Judas Priest in 1992. Fight showcased the direction Halford wanted to take Priest in - heavier music with lower guitar tunings, baring similarity to Pantera. At times, the soloing provided by Parrish even seems to channel Dimebag Darrell.
Claudio Sanchez (Coheed And Cambria)
Vocalist and guitarist of prog rock juggernauts Coheed And Cambria, Claudio's mastery of the axe remains a little known fact. From when he and second guitarist Travis Stever started trading leads on Coheed's third album "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness" it became clear that his riffs and solos alike are particularly intriguing, and that he is very much the eccentric performer both live and in the studio - his half of the solo in "Guns of Summer," for example, is recorded by pressing a power drill against his guitar strings. Crazy.
Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage/Times of Grace)
As one of the founding fathers of metalcore, Killswitch Engage have forged many a powerful riff. After switching out from behind the drums after sophomore effort "Alive and Just Breathing," Adam D scribed numerous captivating riffs with the band. His ability to shred with the best of them, though, remained mostly unexplored - with some exceptions such as "Breathe Life" and "Never Again" - until recent years - a planned solo album that was eventually released as Times of Grace's only album thus far, "Hymn of a Broken Man" started to feature solos more prominently in his work. This trend continued with Killswitch's 2013 release, "Disarm the Descent," in which soloing is plentiful.
Jack O'Shea (Bayside)
While lacking the technicality of some other axemen listed; O'Shea provides catchy riffs and solos which on occasion ooze technicality - a rarity amongst the genres of alternative and punk rock. Truly talented guitarists within this genre are a rare find - analysis of other bands who may fit into the "alternative and punk" genre, such as veteran musicians yet guitar novices Linkin Park - live performances prove that lead guitarist Brad Delson has about as much skill on the axe as a duck - show that by comparison O'Shea is a virtuoso.
Justin Hawkins (The Darkness/Hot Leg)
The Darkness, despite their wildly British nuances and ventures into comedic material - songs such as "Holding My Own" and "Growing on Me," are in actuality far more sexually ambiguous than they sound, for example - carry serious talent. Justin Hawkins' playing seemingly emulates an amalgamation of Angus Young and Brian May; in such a way that even in 2014, it feels as if The Darkness' debut release, "Permission to Land," is a long forgotten '80s release. Powerful stuff.
Honourable mention to second guitarist Dan Hawkins, whom often trades lead and rhythm with his brother - such as the first solo and half of the second solo in the tune below.
Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson/The Aristocrats/GPS)
Described by virtuoso Paul Gilbert as a "breath of fresh air," Govan is known for his ability to play various styles of music - including ruthless shredding - with insane amounts of soul. Hailing from Essex, UK, Guthrie has played with various artists; including a brief stint with prog rockers Asia. His jazz fusion instrumental project, The Aristocrats, which features drummer Marco Minnemann, and bassist Bryan Beller of Dethklok fame; is also an excellent opportunity for him to show off his proficiency in various styles. He recently performed on the 2013 Steven Wilson album "The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)"; one of the year's biggest prog releases.
Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe)
Often hailed as the most mature member of Mötley Crüe and a guitarist with a fair amount of technical prowess, Mars has composed monster riffs and a fair amount of great solos consistently throughout their career. Diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at the age of 17, Mars' movement has become increasingly impaired to the point that the pain is agonising and constant. Yet, despite this obvious decline, Mick Mars plays just as proficiently as he did at the peak of Crüe's popularity; an astounding achievement often overlooked by most considering the severity of the condition from which he suffers.
Josh Rand (Stone Sour)
A lot of people seemingly forget about Josh Rand. A guitarist as technically proficient and creative as fellow Stone Sour axeman Jim Root, Rand has previously claimed to bring "all the heavy stuff" to Stone Sour and brings in the majority of riffs - his influence on the double album "House of Gold and Bones" is particularly obvious. Duelling solos in particular are a large feature within the double album along with some of Stone Sour's previous works, and this brings further clarity to Rand's often overlooked technical prowess.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments - is there anyone else you feel should be included?