Wednesday Question: Loudest Guitarist of All Time

Name the one who cranks it up to 11...

Ultimate Guitar

For this week's Wednesday Question, we would like you folks to focus on guitarists who like to rock LOUD and answer this:

Who is the loudest guitarist of all time?

THE RULES - post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).Multiple nominations of one musician create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given act to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same guitar player, it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.

Finally, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG top list. Show us what you got now!

279 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nigel Tufnel, his amp goes up to eleven
    thats awesome, is that just a guitar? or is there a small amp speaker built in to it too do you know?
    It's just a guitar. When he played it at their 1992 Royal Albert Hall gig, it started out with just one "cab", but it wasn't loud enough, so a tech came on and attached the other one. Coincidentally, I think the sound guy turned him up at the same time.
    That one kid at guitar center who just learned Sweet Child O' Mine
    Oh my god last time I stepped into a Long And McQuade, some dad was attempting Journey's "Who's Crying Now" and it was like the sound of every cat in my city being crushed to death very slowly. And he HAD to do it at max volume. Almost made me consider putting back the overdrive pedal I was about to buy and just run.
    Yeah- a kid learns Sweet Child O' Mine, and they play nothing else. Same with Enter Sandman and Black Dog in my experience.
    Carbin Monoxide
    Pete Townshend made himself deaf didn't he?
    The Who had the world record for the highest concert ever played (126 dB) for somewhere between 10 and 20 years. It should also be noted that Pete Townshend is the person who ordered the Marshall stack to be made, when he wanted to play louder than John Entwistle in the 60's.
    The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association measured a performance of “Heartbreaker” at 130 dB in 1969. But that's not a Who song:o
    The performance where The Who played at 126 dB was measured about 50 meters from the stage. Everything will depend on how far away from the stage, amps, PA, etc, you're measuring.
    I thought Manowar broke that record... And then KISS broke Manowar's record.
    Manowar is loud as tits but Dir En Grey was so loud my balls jingled and I had a headache for like 2 days.
    AC/DC held the title of loudest band in the world for quite a while. So Angus should probably be in there, too.
    Technically it was Keith that made him deaf when he exploded his drum kit next to Pete's head.
    Pete said he was deaf for a month on one ear after the incident. And that it was probably the reason for his tinnitus.
    Holy crap, no one in here has any idea what they're talking about. Anyone who plays in a rock band all their life with no ear protection will go deaf. The loudest live show was kiss in 2009 around 136db I think. The loudest band on average though has to be between sunn O))), Swans or Earth. ---edit--- Actually, I'm not done. People have fainted at Sunn shows. People throw up at Swans shows and I read that someones water broke at a swans show because of the vibrations. I think My Bloody Valentine were pretty loud too, but not loudest. Also these are not nominations, these bands are mentioned bellow, vote on them not me.
    implying the fourteen year olds here care about drone and noise Swans put on a really good show though really loud
    *fourteen and forty year olds. This question is just another one of these "make up a reason to nominate the same 5 guitarists as always"
    Seconding. You don't get louder than Sunn or Swans without going into noise music.
    Nah, it's any guitarist that's played in a band (according to the other members). You do a sound check and the rest of band screams "Turn the fuck down!" Then when you start the gig your volume is way, WAY too low!!!! grrrr
    Yeap, but that was on purpose so he can't listen to his crap music no more!!
    i think pink floyd once played a gig that all the fishes in a nearby pond died
    Bass guitar counts? If so Lemmy!
    On that same note, Geddy Lee - anyone who's been to a fairly recent rush show knows what i'm talking about
    On that same note again I'll add Ben Shepherd. Had an ear ache for 3 days after Lolla '10
    What the fuck does this even mean?
    It means they've run out of ideas and CeruleanBlue didn't make a suggestion this week. I'm not sure where the proper place is to make a suggestion, but I don't think they would use anyone else's ideas anyway.
    Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson?
    This. It's going to end up downvoted but seriously. White1 is considered one of the loudest albums of all time. Also they will implode your eardrums if you see them live.
    Bedside Shred
    Need to be on the list - you literally can't see a sunn o))) show without earplugs lest you risk permanent hearing damage
    Honestly these comments are awful, the three loudest acts I know factually are Sunn, Swans and Earth.
    Now Earth 2 era Earth? Or The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull/Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light era Earth?
    Thank you! When I saw Sunn O))) I went all the way to the emergency exit door (50-60 yards back) across from the stage and my stomach was still hurting from how loud they were. Was sweet.
    Ive heard Manowar had retarded volume norms for their shows, heard the same about Motorhead so im not sure who would be the loudest and i honestly don't care. Thank god for modern day sound regulations, because nothing feels better than watching a band without earplugs or massive hearing damage.
    I'd never watch a band without earplugs. I did once (plug dropped down halfway through a slayer gig) and have had tinnitus ever since.
    If we're talking about actual volume then it has to be Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine. It's well documented that the sheer volume at their live shows frequently made members of the audience physically sick. Legend has it, one guy actually shat himself at a gig in '91.
    Kevin Shields
    Yes, this is the correct answer. I doubt many of these names mentioned consistently played at 130db like Mr. Shields has.
    This for sure. My Bloody Valentine are known for having disgustingly loud concerts. There's even parts of their concerts called "holocaust sections" due to being loud, 30-minute walls of seering noise.
    Definitely. If MBV don't make the list then the list is plain wrong.
    The fact that MBV started to hand earplugs out at their concerts says it all, I guess.
    I've experienced the holocaust section of You Made Me Realise live. This is the correct answer.
    At least from what I've seen, this takes it personally. I was front row on Shield's side of the stage too. Ears rang for days.
    Like I Is
    I dunno if I'll get flak for it, but Billy Corgan's sound during the Siamese Dream/Mellon Collie shows were hands down the loudest tones I've ever heard. Although I feel like the results may skew in favor of guitarists who tune two octaves down and just make a wall of sound, Corgan's searing tone was both furious and melodic. Really something to behold.
    Jimmy Page
    Gray Lensman
    Since my ears are still ringing from a 77" Zeppelin concert I've gotta vote Jimmy up. But Ritchie Blackmore was on the same level back then.
    Dick Dale: Leo Fender gave the Fender Stratocaster along with a Fender Amp to Dale and told him to beat it to death and tell him what he thought of it. Dale took the guitar and started to beat it to death, and he blew up Leo Fender's amp and blew out the speaker. Dale proceeded to blow up forty nine amps and speakers; they would actually catch on fire. Leo would say, 'Dick, why do you have to play so loud?' Dale would explain that he wanted to create the sound of Gene Krupa the famous jazz drummer that created the sounds of the native dancers in the jungles along with the roar of mother nature's creature's and the roar of the ocean. Leo Fender kept giving Dale amps and Dale kept blowing them up! Till one night Leo and his right hand man Freddy T. went down to the Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula in Balboa, California and stood in the middle of Four Thousand screaming dancing Dick Dale fans and said to Freddy, I now know what Dick Dale is trying to tell me. Back to the drawing board. A special 85 watt output transformer was made that peaked 100 watts when dale would pump up the volume of his amp, this transformer would create the sounds along with Dale's style of playing, the kind of sounds that Dale dreamed of. BUT! they now needed a speaker that would handle the power and not burn up from the volume that would come from Dale's guitar. Leo, Freddy and Dale went to the James B. Lansing speaker company, and they explained that they wanted a fifteen inch speaker built to their specifications. That speaker would soon be known as the 15'' JBL -D130 speaker. It made the complete package for Dale to play through and was named the Single Showman Amp. When Dale plugged his Fender Stratocaster guitar into the new Showman Amp and speaker cabinet, Dale became the first creature on earth to jump from the volume scale of a modest quiet guitar player on a scale of 4 to blasting up through the volume scale to TEN! That is when Dale became the "Father of Heavy Metal" as quoted from Guitar Player Magazine. Dale broke through the electronic barrier limitations of that era! Dale still wanted to go further, and as the crowds increased, Dale's volume increased, but he still wanted a bigger punch with thickness in the sound so that it would pulsate into the audience and leave them breathless. The JBL-D130 was doing its job until Dale froze it in the frame that held the speaker, the speaker cone would twist from the heavy playing from Dale and it would soon twist and stop to fluctuate back n forth. Leo, Freddy and Dale went back to the JBL speaker company and told them to rubberize the front ridge of the speaker allowing it to push forward and backward from the signal of Dale's guitar without cocking and twisting. The new updated version was called the JBL D-130F; the F stood for Fender. Leo, Freddy and Dale designed a speaker cabinet and in which they installed 2 -15''-JBL-D130F's. This caused Leo Fender to have to create a new and more powerful output transformer, they would call it the Dick Dale Transformer and it was made by the Triad Company. This became the 100 watt output transformer that would actually peak 180 watts. Nothing like this had ever been done before in the world of guitars and amplifiers. This became known as the Dual-Showman Piggy Back Amp. This is why Dick Dale is called the Father of all the power Players in the world!
    I'm not fucking reading your comment. It starts with: Dick Dale: Leo Fender gave the Fender Stratocaster along with a Fender Amp to Dale... and goes on for se7en paragraphs. You're not Grandpa Simpson and this ain't a War story.
    There have been reports that Kaoru and Die from Dir en Grey have been cranked up so loud on their last few tours that even their live shows have been totally brickwalled. So yeah Kaoru and Die from Dir en Grey get my nomination.
    I personally find their albums and live shows so unbelievably crisp audio wise. You can hear and distinguish each and every instrument, I love it. Really well engineered. I have only seen them twice in a club show setting, the audio levels were good, not screaming loud. But I do wonder how they would sound in a big stadium show in Japan where they have their own gear and full crew. When abroad they hire a lot of gear.
    That's interesting to know. I haven't personally experienced a Dir en Grey gig yet, but hearing that they were super loud and painful had me scared to try. But I guess their quality varies from gig to gig. Which album were they touring at the time? :O
    Dum Spiro Spero in 2011 and ARCHE in 2015. Both shows were normal loudness for a metal show. Go check them out if you can, they put on a really good show!
    Kaoru is very loud on studio records too, he cranks up his VH4 to get his signature thunderous tone. And BTW as you propably know, he's got a pair of monsterous 6*12 cabs he uses live and in the studio, he gotta be obsessed with big sound.
    On the records, while they're definitely loud enough to ruin the dynamic range, I actually quite enjoy the band's guitar sound.
    I partly agree with you, while their earlier albums have a quite compressed and muddy sound, later albums (Uroboros onward) are very dynamic and the instruments sound lively more than ever. And I really like the fact that Die and Kaoru both use very few effects, their sound is raw as it should be.
    Tom Morello, a very dynamic player, can be quiet, but man his riffs man are loud.
    Every time I see a Rage video out of the blue, I feel a little sad... Like seeing a picture of your childhood family dog who died - and then your house was robbed while you were at the store - because your dog wasn't there to make a noise and raise the alarm - and your mom gave you a cat to fill the hole - but cats are quiet and kinda self-obsessed - and you just wish you could find a dog as cool as "Fluffy".
    Ritchie Blackmore. I got to experience it first hand when Deep Purple reunited in 1985. (Perfect Strangers tour) I could hardly hear anything for several days after. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely have worn ear plugs.
    Ted Nugent
    Loudest concert I've ever been to. Political views aside, the guy knows how to entertain like few other people.
    Back in the day when Ted would stand facing his wall of 6 fender super twins on top of 6 dual showman cabs and work that feedback to ear splitting levels...he was king of loud.
    Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine), Sunn O))) (they're a duo), or Michael Gira of Swans. All three are notorious for shaking buildings and causing physical sickness. For better or worse, they've made sounds that have outmatched the volumes that Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Blackmore etc have played at.
    The Judist
    Macauley Culkin at the start of Michael Jackson's Black Or White video... sends his dad into space
    This far down in the comments section, you'll never get the tidal waves of praise you deserve. Thank you for this.
    Zakk wylde
    This should probably get a few more votes. If you see Black Label live, the man's guitar is ear-splittingly loud, especially on his nine-minute solos.
    Spinal Tap. Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten? Nigel Tufnel: Exactly. Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder? Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Marty DiBergi: I don't know. Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven. Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder. Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
    Darrel Dimebag! not in a negative way but he was loud en heavy! his typical style with the scooped out mids and (realy) high gain ! love it though, RIP Darrel Dimebag
    King Buzzo. Heard stories from some bands saying that they had a jam spot next to Melvins back in the 90s and heard them over their own band.
    Must have been the thunderous sound of Buzzo whining about NIRVANA hitting the bigtime and leaving the Melvins in the dust.
    The Edge Idk if anyone has ever been to a U2 concert, but he's the only guitarist and they play stadiums, so his guitar is turned up really high. Heck the got fined in Europe for playing too loud