Wednesday Question: Best Guitar Shredder?

Who can melt faces with the craziest, fastest guitar shredding known to man? Place your nominations and votes here.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
32

There's a field of guitar playing that can put others to shame. It might take hundreds of guitar lessons, and an intricate knowledge of guitar scales, but those who nail it have officially found the zen of guitar playing and beyond.

That's right: we're talking about guitar shredding.

It can take many forms and include sweep-picked arpeggios, finger tapping and sometimes wailing whammy bar action, but ultimately it has to melt faces and impregnate women. That's the mark of a true axe-smith.

This week we're asking you to identify who can shred faster than any other:

Who is the best guitar shredder of all time?

To make things more interesting, they don't have to be a celebrity guitarist. If you find someone awesome on YouTube, post a link to their video and they might even get enough up votes to appear on our list this Friday.

Otherwise, just place your nominations like usual and upvote those you agree with. YouTube links to the best examples are welcome. It could be cool to post links to your favourite shred-worthy guitar tabs too.

We'll compile your results in a top 10 post this Friday. Thanks!

689 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi Im Alex
    Skwisgaar skwigelf
    revin214
    The bestests band ever of all, other bands is dildoes
    blinkdragonid
    THATS DOABLE!
    GasPipe
    Absolutely. What other guitarist has a $10 billion insurance policy for their hands?
    Whiteboy_az
    Paul Gilbert
    ZeligtheAxMan
    This! Paul is a god! Not only does he shred like a beast, he's got amazing tone, touch, and style! He can rock blues, funk, frikin disco!
    Vicious_Turtle
    his tone is horse shit....really. ear piercing
    ZeligtheAxMan
    Well to get technical, which tone? His late 80s? Mr. Big? Early 2000s solo or current?
    Vicious_Turtle
    pretty much all of his 80's stuff. i still hate his tone now, but atleast he rolled some treble off that bitch
    ZeligtheAxMan
    lol, well I dig it, but to each there own.I hope you don't think his playing's shit tho...
    Shotgunmerc
    No one's said Guthrie Govan yet? For shame UG, for shame. He doesn't usually shred, and he isn't a fan of the movement, but he can absolutely out-shred 99.9% of all guitarists out there
    Filipus
    I freaking love this one...
    GasPipe
    Oh wow. Never heard of this guy before, but I'm definitely looking him up. That lick at 1:22, I actually made an audible sound of pleasure at that hahaha.
    Sampy
    And the best thing about him is that while he's got those amazing shred skills he can still write something musically interesting and doesn't feel the need to play a million notes a second for the whole song. He gigs in my town every Thursday and I still haven't gotten around to seeing him
    Shotgunmerc
    Check out his solo album "Erotic Cakes" as well as the album he did recently as a member of "The Aristocrats". His phrasing and ability are just beyond comparison.
    RndyW0
    Such an well-spoken man, with so many styles that he has mastered so perfectly. Not to mention one hell of a hairstyle and beard combo
    Jyrgen
    1. Would also recommend Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal for anyone who digs Guthrie (they're friends btw). Bumblefoot happens to be a lead guitarist in Guns N' Roses, although his best work is his solo material. I'm only linking the below video because it's in pretty good quality and gives you some kinda idea what Bumblefoot does.
    Jesus_Dean
    Bob Dolan :D
    Considering that seems to be one bass string on an acoustic guitar... Well done Sir!
    deadlydictator
    I heard of him a few days ago. he puts soul and feeling in his music, i don't care if he has 1 string.
    MetalFriend
    I thought this was fake but, it's not. I really don't know what to think about it. He's not bad.
    mastodude13
    Tosin Abasi trancends shred. The dudes a god.
    Slash-96
    Jason Becker is definately near the top. His Sweeping was crazy.
    pfinnegan
    Petrucci.
    )v(egaFan90
    MARTY FRIEDMAN. There is no whammy bar in the world that can compete with his bends.
    Mikethespud
    Chris Broderick
    My Last Words
    Best guitarist in what ? Writing or technique ? I'd say both.. well, Chris is one of the greatest guitarists to ever walk the planet, undoubtly - technique-wise, that is. When was the last time you heard chris play something which really gave you goosebumps, made you emotional, touched your soul ? No offense to Broderick, but I have yet to discover material like that. (Not saying he has no feel, but writing is a different aspect). In my opinion, a great shredder harbors technique, feeling and writing ability, and above all, character (Bye bye Yngwie). If I had to choose one, I'd pick the great Jason Becker , not just for his supernatural musicality or technique, but overall for his loveable character. My opinion though, you can have yours and I can have mine.
    L.T Kickass
    Oh great, another popularity parade. *Only replied to you because nobody reads comments at the bottom, the message wasn't directed at you
    L.T Kickass
    I know it's a shitty thing to do but if the comments were shown newest first we wouldn't have this problem
    PoorePlaysBass
    Youtube for example. You can reply directly to a comment and have a link to the original comment in your reply, but it doesn't place your comment right next to the one you replied. That'd be a happy medium between this mess and the old quoting method.
    PoorePlaysBass
    Agreed. We all need to go and downvote any unrelated replies toward the top. Chris Broderick is good, but I want to stop the popularity parade.
    Most_Triumphant
    Wrong, it's obviously Nigel Tufnel.
    xerox594
    It's funny to say Nigel Tufnel because he's from a comedic band, but if you actually listen to the music of Spinal Tap, it's actually really good and I think Tufnel should honestly be on this list anyway.
    iammclovin
    Petrucci for sure, don't forget about Jason Becker!!
    Samhuinn
    Wholeheartedly agreed! Jason Becker was an absolutely gamechanging guitarist, and is a greater composer paralyzed than 90% of the guitarists in their full health.
    Maiden95
    Agreed, he isn't your average shredder. He does so much more. And when he does all out shred it has feeling.
    RJ13
    Chuck Shuldiner
    qrEE
    Chuck Schuldiner* While I generally love Chuck, I have to say Buckethead. Nobody else in the Shred community has performed on over 200 albums. Nobody else in the Shred community can write albums like "Electric Tears" (look it up). Nobody else in the Shred community do the techniques that he does, including this one really incredible technique where he holds the pick with his middle finger and thumb, sweeps, and then taps notes with his pinky and index, as seen in songs like "Soothsayer" and "The Ballad of Buckethead". Buckethead can do anything that anybody else mentioned can do, so I think he deserves to be number one. That's just me though.
    My Last Words
    Nobody else in the Shred community has performed on over 200 albums. Yeah ? I can write 99999 shitty songs if you want, does that make me a great musician ? (Not hating on BH here, just pointin out your logic being off).
    fraberjam
    definitely Buckethead. Him and Alvin Lee.
    fraberjam
    also, I know no one here will agree, but Jeff Hanneman. He may not be the greatest in the world, but him and King should definitely be in this list. They, as a friend said "have the ability to perform planned chaos." They both play insane shred and, from my experience and research, play almost every solo perfectly live. Just my opinion though.
    Kyleisthename
    Their solos is just random garbage. Don't lie to yourself
    fraberjam
    Matter of opinion, my friend. I personally find their "random garbage" much more spine chilling and interesting than anything Petrucci, Malmsteen, Vai or Satriani have done. I also think Andreas Kisser should be one here, despite his current offerings, and lets not start the whole "are you even a guitarist" bit, I am and I still find Hanneman and King to be stellar shredders.
    fraberjam
    also, Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) from the band Macabre. In fact, every member of the band is greatly talented.
    TheEternalJew
    In terms of "controlled chaos" you might want to study some Azagthoth solos and then rethink your comment. King & Jeff are ok but most of their solos sound very uninspired and uncreative. (I do like some of them, mind you)
    fraberjam
    You know, it had totally slipped my mind on Azagthoth. He is quite the guitarist. Also, I posted the wrong video for Macabre. I meant to post the song "What the Hell Did You Do?" Acoustic shred.
    xonty
    Buckethead must win! He's an insane shredder in Jordan, Nottingham Lace, Soothsayer, Big Sur Moon, etc. but he can still do every other genre in songs like Padmasana, Aunt Suzie, and What Kind Of Nation. He needs to win.
    Schofey
    Josh Middleton from Sylosis is a fantastic shredder. If you love metal you should definitely give them a listen. Also anyone lucky enough to be living in America, Sylosis are touring with Lamb Of God very soon!
    JMZ08
    Buckethead, uses all sorts of complex techniques and maintains a very unique tone and writing style. His technicality and speed are unmatched, very emotional player also. Bring on the hate!
    latinromans
    one of my favourites would be petrucci mostly because he's amazing at composition as well which I consider an essential skill for a shredder, if your not going to focus on having a catchy groove or emotional playing then you better be giving my ear consistently interesting rhythms and scales, there's more to being a good shredder than just speed, if there isn't cool sounding techniques or rhythmic diversity then I'm just listening to a guy who learnt how to play a scale fast not a great musician.
    TJWhonley
    Andy James from sacred mother tounge. his solo work is amazing. if you dont know who he is, google him
    kLeft
    My favourite being 331Erock
    Also, Buckethead.
    Jay/Dee
    agree with buckethead. listen to the shredding on 'Jordan'-its out of this world
    iammclovin
    What's with the down-votes, E-Rock is one of the sickest shredders out there. Watch a bunch of his videos, he's mind blowing.
    kLeft
    I seriously can't play guitar anymore without attempting to mimic one of many of his ingenious techniques I've never previously seen before... failing miserably of course, but the influence is there!
    pantallica87
    DIMEBAG DARRELL
    EpiExplorer
    Nuno Bettencourt.
    saint_berzerker
    We're talking about SHREDDERS here people! Why is the conversation even going to "best songwriter" or "best phrasing"????
    Blew1
    Shredder fom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!! The hint is in the name!!!
    Firewind Raging
    I'm gonna say someone that NO ONE has said yet, Syu from the J-metal band Galneryus. His shredding is musical, melodic and amazing to hear. Skip to about 4 minutes in if you can't wait
    Gabezor
    Rusty Cooley!
    Ottmeister
    A lot of speed, no emotion.
    whywefight
    who cares? its best shredders, not best shredders who can make people cry.
    dewitt
    True, but 'best' is an all-encompassing term. It doesn't mean only the fastest. To keep it speed-related, I could compare it to calling someone the 'best' racecar driver. That's not to say he's got the fastest car or that he's got the heaviest foot, but it's saying he's the most capable person on the track to use what he's got at hand to raise himself above the competition. If he just floors it and keeps it there, he's gonna hit a wall sooner or later (the wall this guitarist hits is a wall of unappealing boring sounds that are really fast).
    deathofarev
    Devin Townsend, give me no shit I've seen him do it and he's ****ing epic at it.
    xplosive59
    Dev is an anti-shredder, he prefers melody over wanking the fretboard. That being said, he can shred like the best when he wants to but he doesn't like doing it. Which is Ironic since he won Shredder of the Year in Metalhammer this year!
    little_boy
    I'm going to say Guthrie Govan because he is awesome, and he is probably God himself.
    hotdogs585
    Oh yeah? Well I think Guthrie Govan FUCKING SUCKS WOO DEE WOO WOO. Wesley Willis is the best shredder in all existence