I'd say it's a guitarist who, when playing, everbodies jaw just drops and they never fail to impress. Someone who's insanely good and they know it. To me, that's what would define a virtuoso anyway. In lamen's terms, anyway :P

edit: previous post is a more literal definition for you
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Last edited by M.B.MetalTabber at Jul 3, 2011,
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Wikipedia (and many people) would have you think that technical skill is the only thing that makes a virtuoso, I disagree.

While someone can have "virtuosic" technique and can play "virtuosic" pieces, it is not the mere technique that transforms them from "good technician" to "virtuoso"

Here is what I believe to be a much better definition of a virtuoso. A virtuoso is someone who has full (or nearly full) control over what he or she is performing. He or she is able to control the music itself to communicate the idea he or she intends to express.

Control is an important aspect often overlooked in the definition of virtuosity. However this definition also encompasses the technical skill most often associated with the term. A virtuoso (by my definition) has the technique required to be secure and in control of a passage of any degree of difficulty.

However it is the control required to communicate the idea that distinguishes a virtuoso from just a good technician, in my opinion. Virtuosos do not just wow an audience, they say something. They have a significant personal statement or interpretation (or whatever you wish to call it) and they are successfully able to convey it to their audience. This requires a degree of control over much more then just the technical side of the work in performance, it requires a control of the form, of the motion of the individual lines as well as the cohesion of these lines into an overall texture. All these elements are, I feel, as crucial to the label "virtuoso" as any degree of technical skill.

A person who is flashy but who doesn't control the other aspects of the music =/= a virtuoso.
A person who has good dynamic control but who makes so many mistakes as to obscure the meaning of the music =/= virtuoso

A person who controls all aspects of a composition to convey a specific idea = a virtuoso.
To me, a virtuoso is simply one who has absolute control over their instrument. Whether they can say something with their prodigious technics or not is up to the artist side rather than the virtuoso side.
unfortunatly, no one can give you an answer because everyone has a different opinion on the matter. i kow plenty of people who call clapton and hendrix virtuosos and even though i love both of them, i wouldnt consider them to be such. maybe if you wanted to get into sub genres of virtuosos you might call them "blues virtuosos" or something.

to me, to be a virtuoso you need to play very clean, and have a good understanding of music and a wide array of techniques you can use. but to me i dont think someone who is only really good at one thing is a virtuoso. to me, they should be one of those players that seem to be able to play just about anything. i dont know, its kind of one of those words that doesnt really have a clear definiton. i mean, sure there IS an actual one you can draw up in a dictionary or on the web or whatever but in music there is too much personal opinion that goes into play. its hard to be completely objective.