Wednesday Question: Most Underrated Guitarist

Name an axeman who's criminally underrated.

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Ultimate Guitar
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The rock domain can be a cruel place. Despite having both talent and skills, so many fine axemen out there don't get the respect they deserve.

A lot of it comes down to either having signature style or a hit single, or both. A lengthy debate can be started on the matter, but to focus on this week's Wednesday Question, it goes something like this:

Who is the most underrated guitarist ever?

Any guitar-related style applies, as long as the underrated factor is present. There's a vast array of obscure top-notch guitarist out there, so there's plenty to choose from here.

Same rules as always apply - only one suggestion per comment, 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 10. Show us what you got!

893 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Floyd Phoenix
    I always found Richie Sambora pretty underrated as a guitarist, maybe because a lot of people dismiss Bon Jovi as shitty pop rock music, regardless of Richie's awesome playing ability
    entropicxdisson
    Euronymous, he invented a whole new way of approaching metal guitar, and created the razor sharp (no pun intended) icy black metal guitar tone. I really wish that he wasn't crazy so he would still be alive. Just listen to this guitar solo. It's at the 20 mark. Varg says it was played "just for fun" because Euronymous was in the studio at the time helping him record Burzum's first album.
    voleurz
    Man I dont know how people can listen to that for any extended period of time.
    westley23j
    i was about to post the same thing. good god, even just from a production standpoint, saying that sounds AWFUL is an understatement.
    jvokes
    I remember the first time I tried to shred. I'd been playing guitar about 5 minutes. And I sounded just like that! That is some of the worst playing I've ever heard.And I like shredders. Listen to Trey Azagthoth if you want to hear it done properly.
    the_bi99man
    Invented a whole new way of approaching metal guitar, eh? Pretty sure there was sloppy shredding and bad tone before Burzum.
    kmitchell74
    Lindsey Buckingham is missing from this thread. The guy shredded electric guitar solos WITHOUT USING A FREAKING PICK. He is really underrated
    PoloSG68
    Satchel from Steel Panther? This probably isn't the best overall solo, but the third bar or so of the chorus is the most beautiful arp phrase I've heard in aages.
    entropicxdisson
    Ihsahn from Emperor, the guy doesn't get enough credit becuase hurr durr "black metal is just playing sloppy and bad production".
    Izzyplatypus73
    Billy Corgan... He's always recognized for his songwriting, not his guitar. At least in my experience.
    smittyanthrax
    Jerry cantrell.
    Magnum5x9
    I nominate Mark tremonti. Absolutely stunning soloist and I don't see many talk about him here.
    yogosan
    Jerry Cantrell is not underrated.
    yogosan
    "In July 2006, British hard rock/metal magazine Metal Hammer awarded Cantrell the title of Riff Lord, at its annual Golden Gods Awards show, held at the London Astoria. He was apparently thrilled at winning the title, over several famous artists such as Slash, James Hetfield, and Jimmy Page." "He is ranked #38 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of all time by Guitar World and recently ranked #37 out of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time also by Guitar World." Alice in Chains, the band he is the heart of, have won and been nominated for a tonne of awards, they have a massive fanbase which I am happy to be a part of, and finally they were massive in the 90's because of his distinct, bone-crunching riffs and Staleys vocals. How can you say that Jerry Cantrell is the [b]MOST underrated guitarist! The man has had an extraordinary career and has enjoyed the heights of fame that most people couldn't even fathom.
    smittyanthrax
    Ok going by your logic then another guitarist on here who has alot of votes is Johnny Greenwood.He plays in one of the biggest bands ever.He has also won awards and has made best of lists in guitar magazines.Should he be excluded too?I dont know where your from but where i come from alice in chains arent known at all.I think Jerry deserves a place in this list maybe not number 1 but at least in the top ten.
    yogosan
    I'm from Ireland, and losts of people know Alice in Chains over here. In the early 90's their music was played in clubs here! He is world renowned. You could say Cantrell has been too professional a musician. People like Hammett, Mustaine and Slash have earned extra notoriety because their bands are constantly in the public eye for all the WRONG reasons. People are constantly bickering over GnR, Metallica and Megadeth so it might seem as if they are more popular than Cantrell. Nobody has has a bad word to say about Cantrell, that's how good he is. Also, people are constantly comparing the likes of Metallica and Megadeth, constantly saying Zeppelin ripped off songs, etc. But Cantrell undisputedly created his own sound, genre even, that couldn't be compared to anyone. So you won't find fanboys having to defend Alice in Chains. And that's another reason his name doesn't crop up alot. Everyone knows Cantrell is f*cking baddass. But you won't find articles in UG saying, "Cantrell hasn't made a fool of himself in the last month" or "We are just reminding you that Cantrell is a guitar god". He has been a pro, and a role model who hasn't resorted to the lows that some bands/celebs have to stay in the public eye. In that sense, he is underrated. But as a musician he has inspired so many artists around the world, that I think it's wrong to say he is underrated. It's not fair on him and other lesser known musicians who havn't sold 25 million albums worldwide to say he is the most underrated guitarist ever. Phew!
    yogosan
    Also, "Greenwood was also ranked number 48 in Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Not underrated.
    darrenram1
    Richie is an awesome guitarist. He's the one who inspired me to pick up the guitar in the first place.
    N-D
    Hm, why downvotes? Inspiring someone to play a music instrument is a good thing.
    inflames66676
    Guthrie Govan
    SleepFan
    Totally Guthrie. For amazing tone and playing I might suggest Jonatan Ramm of Graveyard.
    peachesenregali
    Who underrates Guthrie Govan? The man is an animal. Even people who hate his music would admit the guy is a beast, even if he is a cut and paste of all his favourite guitar players, showing no originality whatsoever.
    little_boy
    I don't think Govan is underrated, just unknown to many people. After hearing something from him, I highly doubt anyone would dare to say he isn't one of the most talented guitarrists in the world.
    jonathan.keeler
    I think if you look at 'underrated' as talent divided by popularity then Guthrie wins by default for being the most talented guitarist.
    metallideth88
    George Harrison
    mrageinthename
    Mike McCready from Pearl Jam. Really, both him and Stone Gossard are underrated.... Let the PJ hate and the downvotes begin.
    yogosan
    George Harrison is not underrated. The Beatles are one of the most popular bands that has ever been. Surely by extension of that fact, George Harrison could not be deemed underrated!
    theclassicrock
    Yeah but everyone thinks of McCartney and Lennon. People think of the Beatles as a songwriting band not a guitar band.
    yogosan
    But surely the amount of album sales they have is the proof that he was well rated. When I think underrated, I think great guitarists who never became recognised. And for me, the Beatles does not fit the bill! We'll have to agree to disagree on this.
    leighfuge32
    I saw him play in London last weekend and he was incredible
    mop10893
    Dan Spitz from Anthrax. He is never talked about among the Big 4 guitarists but he's great.
    cm-thrashing-45
    Gotta agree with Dan Spitz. No one ever talks about him despite being one of the only thrash guitarists back in the day who actually played in key.
    jaybrink10101
    His guitar playing is top kek, and his vocals...he can out-sing Jon Bon Jovi. In Wanted Dead Or Alive, I always sit their waiting for his backings.
    Krieger91
    Mike Einziger as well. Kind ofkept in Brandon's shadow, and just underrated in my opinion. His use of effects in unique, he can write some awesome riffs, his chord voicing can be awesome, and, from the Crow Left of the Murder album, writes some refreshingly different and immaginative solos.
    Smigzy
    Larry Lalonde-primus
    GrahamDowney
    Ricky Wilson - The B-52's
    entropicxdisson
    just for the whole removing the d and g strings and tuning down to play bass lines and guitar leads because the B-52's didn't have a bassist, that's innovation. Always loved his surf rock vibe too.The B 52's - Private Idaho ( Original Video Clip )
    GeriatricNinja
    Bruce Bouillet - the other guy in Racer X
    FingerFud
    John 5.
    60s&70s
    Guthrie Govan
    Jimjambanx
    Guthrie Govan is hardly underrated. Pretty much everyone who knows him agrees he's on of the best, when you got Paul Gilbert as your biggest fan you can't really say you're underrated.
    damillion
    How the hell is Guthrie Govan underrated? He's featured in almost every guitar magazine I own and he plays with Steven Wilsons band. He's a big name. Great guitarist, but hardly the most underrated.
    TaV0
    This is amazing. Bloody hell, it's been quite a while since I discovered someone this talented.
    bangbang!!
    Johnny Marr. LOVE the magic jangly sound he creates.
    Crone Filler
    Johnny Marr has to be on the Top 10 for sure! Anti Guitar Hero, and unique style of playing!
    metaldalz
    APC - Billy Howerdel
    Abacus11
    Yes! His name always pops in my head first when I think of underrated guitarists. His work with A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide is BRILLIANT. Billy Howerdel isn't flashy but his songwriting, sense of melody and layering make for some absolutely beautiful guitar playing. He always made me think of a 2000's version of David Gilmour - tasteful, imaginative and with a little bit of a metal edge thrown in for good measure. Yeah, I'm a fan.
    Kornholic
    Wes Borland
    N-D
    As I alrready said below - absolutely agree. Just because he plays in LB most people thinks he's bad, but actually he is a very talented guitarist with his own view on playing.
    robo37
    Definitely. Shame to see that something like this can only have 17k views.
    jordo246
    The whole Cruel Melody album is amazing, that little guitar solo he does in Coward gives me shivers.
    peachesenregali
    I'm only replying to this comment because I was waiting so long for the page to scroll down. Charlie Christian biatch.
    TomasVerdejo
    Jonny Greenwood
    conorpatt
    Ed O'Brien. Plays only one note, but still manages to remain far more original than any metalcore band:
    jainsley
    agreed, I think a lot of people overlook him because of the huge amount of processing they use.
    robo37
    Steven Wilson.
    TheLiberation
    I think it's arguable whether SW is underrated, but still he's definitely got my vote. On a loosely related note, my nomination is by far Anders Nyström of Katatonia. An absolute genius in combining heavy riffing with cleaner playing and atmosphere (particularly with the use of space effects). The lack of recognition for him as both guitarist and songwriter is terrible.
    nicholas72611
    I'm gonna have to agree with Steven Wilson and Anders Nyström. Mikael Åkerfeldt and Devin Townsend too.
    Human371
    Yes! Steven Wilson even underrates himself, he's good! Such tasteful solos and a nice mixture of heavy riffs, clean chording, and psychedelic effect-y sections
    knator22
    ian D'sa
    krustofisky
    That's my first thought right there, check out his live solo for Devil on my Shoulder around 3:22, is sick
    #t=200
    lg187
    not even that, but just what chords he uses...look at the riffs of Saint Veronika and Sympathy
    ETID666
    ty segall
    enquencle
    Definitely! Great solos, some pretty good riffs, and an amazing tone (These days). Just listen to the solo on Dry County. And his bluesy stuff is awesome. One of the top 3 guitar players of the 90's, for sure.
    dawgzfan66
    Al Di Meola
    SilverSpurs616
    Steve Vai.
    AlexGreat123
    How has nobody said Izzy Stradlin
    zenbone
    Rocky George from Suicidal Tendencies, cro-mag and Fishbones. But mostly from Suicidal.
    J-E-M
    Andreas Kisser
    yuyinyu
    Syu from Galneryus
    sweathog14
    Satchel!
    irs8686
    Mick Mars is the most underrated guitar player of all time.
    stefanozurich
    Kyle Gass from the D.
    parker_924
    Alex Lifeson.
    RATMfan420
    Chuck Berry!
    bluesgirlsw
    Have to nominate Neil Schon. He is too frequently dismissed because of the pop/rock style of Journey. Really clean use of distortion, and his hands move so fast you can't even follow it. Very unique style, regardless of who he plays with, you always know it's him on guitar.
    bahast
    jon schaffer
    farzan_20
    Jake e Lee
    farzan_20
    Steve Clark -def leppard
    farzan_20
    Andrew Latimer-Camel
    nicholasp248
    Chris Shifflett
    joshstewart111
    I would have to say James Hetfield is pretty underrated. And also Joel and Adam from Killswitch Engage!
    billabong3150
    Reb Beach, sure he was in Winger, but he still tears it up.
    chamiller005
    Matt Pike or Brent Hinds/Bill Kelliher
    splitopenandjam
    Victor Villareal
    OllieSevenfold
    Brent Hinds?
    MarkyMark15
    Neal Schon
    Rajah
    He's the first player I thought of. He may be in Journey but he can shred with the best of them and he is so melodic in the slower songs.
    MarkyMark15
    Yea man, when Santana and, according to Schon, Eric Clapton want you at 15, you have some major talent.
    auric11
    Rick Parfitt
    MarkyMark15
    Kerry Livgren
    GenerationKILL
    Since this list is so long and filled with tons of obscure guitarists nobody even cares about, I am sure nobody will even see this, But my vote is for Steven Clark, the guitarist from Def Leppard who died. His tone and writing skills where absolutely out of this world. He doesn't get enough recognition these days in my opinion. People bring up Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman a lot when they're talking about legendary guitarists that passed away, but I think Steven Clark should also be worth mentioning in the same sentence as them.
    ewolf5150
    in the words of kid rock from the movie joe dirt i believe " DEF LEPPARD SUCKS!"
    Redfinton22
    My vote goes to Jakub Zytecki, the guy is totally unreal and he's just a kid
    auric11
    Rick Parfitt
    motortallica
    Brad Delson from Linkin Park
    auric11
    PETER GREEN!!!
    TheLukeMaxfield
    Martin Barre from Jethro Tull!
    chamiller005
    Matt Pike or Brent Hinds/Bill Kelliher
    lifeinshambles
    Roy Buchanan
    TJ1991
    James Dean Bradfield.
    quo-veritas
    John Butler
    quo-veritas
    alex skolnick (Testament)
    ironmanben
    Mick Mars.
    yogosan
    Parker Griggs shreds!
    Slash-Hudson
    roman panchyrz
    jled81
    Nick McCabe of The Verve
    TwisterAce
    Kim Thayil of Soundgarden.
    jled81
    Peter Hayes of BRMC
    Antpetitt
    Brad Whitford
    cool_hand_luc
    Rory Gallagher is a legend!!
    Vampire_State
    Jade Puget, seriously, the guy's sense of melody and technical ability (when he wants to use it) are fantastic.
    Quicksand15
    Charlie Hunter This guy plays bass and guitar at the same time, grooves like hell and all that without ever being a bland showoff:
    oliwilton
    Brent Hinds.
    azanderjames
    Travis Stever from Coheed and Cambria.
    PatrixMatrix
    Josh Klinghoffer, he hasn't shown his potential on the last RHCP album, so he was kinda underrated by everyone.
    Quicksand15
    Dylan Carlson of Earth In my opinion, he was the one who really defined guitar-driven drone and doom metal: