Top 10 Guitar Shredders

Who can pull off the fastest face-melting solos? Hundreds of you voted, and the results are in. So who won the poll?

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On Wednesday we asked you to nominate and vote for the best guitar shredders in history.

Shredding has a loose definition, but it can include sweep-picked arpeggios, finger tapping and wailing whammy bar action. Ultimately, is has to kick ass.

Hundreds of you nominated, and the results have been counted. Thanks for taking part.

Here's your official UG top 10 guitar shredders. Enjoy!

10. Al Di Meola

The bespectacled jazz player favours Spanish guitars and latin rhythms. Be sure to check out his amazing duet with Paco De Lucia too.

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9. Joe Satriani

Joe is one of the best known guitarists in the world for a good reason, namely his ability to make guitars sound like alien spaceships. He currently plays guitar in Chickenfoot.

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8. Guthrie Govan

The mild mannered English man can shred in any genre (though there's no record of him nailing down dubstep, yet).

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7. Dimebag Darrell

This stunning micro-shred is one of many reasons why the late Pantera guitarist is sorely missed.

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6. Steve Vai

Steve started out working with Frank Zappa, and went on to win Grammy awards for his solo work. Because he's rad.

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5. Jeff Loomis

The former Nevermore guitarist has a series of instructional videos on YouTube called "Super Shred". No sh-t.

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4. Jason Becker

So good that he can fling a yo-yo while melting the faces of the first five rows in the audience. Tragically, a degenerative disease means Jason can only communicate with his eyes now, but continues composing music using a computer.

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3. Marty Friedman

The former Megadeth guitarist apparently has an unorthodox picking technique, where he often uses upstrokes which can make it harder to emulate his techniques.

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2. John Petrucci

One of the best known prog guitarists of all time, thanks to his role in Dream Theater which has been rocking since 1985. You thought he'd come first, didn't you?

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1. Paul Gilbert

Even by the age of 15, Paul was impressing label folk like Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records when he asked to join Ozzy Osbourne's band. Paul frequently appears on lists of the best guitar shredders of all time, but today he's your favorite.

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Thanks for your votes! If you can find better videos of these guitarists in action, be sure to share them in the comments.

323 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Drm316
    Decent list. Still missing
    )v(egaFan90
    Way to troll us UG with the picture of Herman Li. Almost made me mad there.
    jeleopard
    I saw Guthrie Govan and it didn't mention Herman Li. I almost screamed when I was at number 2 and still didn't see Li. I was like "NO WAY IS HE NUMBER 1." Got trolled hard.
    pcb1992the2nd
    buckethead.
    rocker222
    Yea he is amazing have you ever listened to His album entittled peppers ghost. Its was brilliant every song was special in its own way.
    andyo_77888
    you might enjoy this, they are a band from denton texas
    fastfingers10
    This movie brought back so much nostalgia for me. Thanks!
    Slaytan666
    How do you bring back nostalgia?
    BassFishin
    This one time I had a total nostalgia overload when watching a video of Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It was overwhelmingly awesome. Seeing this video again reminded me of that feeling.
    goremetal22
    No Skwisgaar!? This is totals dildoes!
    Slash-96
    The Audience ams a fickles mistress, Toki, The audience ams a fickles mistress...
    whywefight
    It honestly makes me mad because he actually is good, even if he is fake. The guy that plays for him I mean (can't remember his name)
    marijuanaman420
    his name is Brendon Small and in my opinion him or Skwisgaar should be number one on tht list.
    whywefight
    Brendon Small, that's it. I wrote that comment when I was already late for a drawing class. I didn't have time to google it haha
    purplexing
    honestly wtf, I was waiting for him to get #1 after all of the upvotes yesterday!
    CronoMagus
    Maybe Jeff Waters will get the rspect he deserves...one day...
    jonathan.keeler
    i was expecting to see Tosin Abasi on here. he was getting good votes when i saw. ibn4 'stop sucking tosin's dick'
    mastodude13
    Yeah, I can't believe Tosin is not on this list. He is, in my opinion, the most creative, talented shredder around right now and even Steve Vai agrees.
    EyesWideOpen
    Totally agree. Waters has some of the most tasteful, melodic and just enjoyable solo's I've ever heard.
    TheNameOfNoone
    YEAH I TOTALLY AGREE WE SHOULD HAVE SEEN SOME TOTALLY UNKNOWN UNDERGROUND GUITARISTS WHO CAN SHRED 1000 NOTES PER SECOND WITH LEFT HAND WHILE PLAYING GUITAR HERO II WITH THE RIGHT HAND NAILING JORDAN 100% ON EXPERT THIS STUPID LIST WHICH IS SHOWING THE UG FOLKS' VOTES IS SOOO LAME RIGHT
    EyesWideOpen
    I think that Shawn Lane deserves to be on hear more than everyone else. Unfortunately barely anyone knows who he is.
    kratos379
    I couldn't quite get into him. Maybe I'll just have to give him another shot. Paul Gilbert just had to win this anyway. He is the guitarist's guitarist. The biggest exemption on this list was Tosin Abasi, but I'm pretty content with the list otherwise.
    x0vincent0x
    Wow... a proper list of shredders. On UG...
    gkex
    I know right, my guy actually won for once. Remember this day, children, for it may never come again.
    Charlie4
    Lists will ALWAYS be subjective on this site. Shawn Lane is an absolute must , I mean if Paul Gilbert think his stuff is intense than it is plain impossible for a mere mortal.
    shumpitostick
    How come Buckethead is not on the list?
    Camron62\m/
    yeah, 10 and 8 should be replaced with Skwisgaar and Buckethead, they had many more votes i believe.
    qrEE
    Well Buckethead should be at number 1, that's for sure. Buckethead is the greatest guitarist who ever lived, and I doubt anybody who didn't vote for him has ever been to a concert of his. One show, and your life is changed forever. Buckethead > guitar itself. He's that good.
    CronoMagus
    I love the pic of Herman Li btw haha
    fromzero
    Haha, when i seen his pic before clicking the post I freaked like omg ug, did you guys take some joke too far? Who even likes Herman Li's playing except dungeons and dragons enthusiasts. Even my right hand is faster than his and I didn't start playing until I was 22.
    RealUnrealRob
    The whole problem with Li is that they play too fast, and sacrifice the quality and depth of what they're creating. Congratulations, you have compounded their error.
    L.T Kickass
    Um... Guthrie Govan is the best guitarist in the world, but Dimebag (PH) Darrell is apparently better? Fuck. That.
    gypsyblues7373
    That's what I immediately thought...I like Dimebag and Pantera, but when I saw he was above Guthrie I almost shit myself.
    TheNumber6
    its all subjective man, im a huge Dime fan myself, but honestly, everyone has their own top 10. no need for soiling your pants over a little list
    mayslash
    UG STAFF, IT WAS A GREAT IDEA TO ALLOW EMBEDDING IN THE FORUMS, BUT IN THE NEWS ARTICLES, IT IS A NIGHTMARE TO READ THROUGH COMMENTS WITH EVERYONE SPAMMING VIDEOS IN EVERY ARTICLE. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU COULD MAKE IT A RULE NOT TO POST VIDEOS IN NEWS ARTICLES COMMENTS SECTION!
    Ximich
    Thanks for feedback, we will try to solve this problem.
    EpiExplorer
    Would like to thankyou for that Captcha addition, tired of seeing spam for TV channels and sportswear in UG.
    Kueller917
    I don't mind videos, but I think the embedding by default is a bit annoying. Maybe just keep them as URL's.
    mayslash
    Thank you. I also forgot to add, it makes people not want to even scroll down to read more comments because it takes a lot longer to load because of the videos being spammed.
    svelle
    just put the videos in a spoiler. so if someone wants to see them they can click on them and they get loaded.
    red_hot_chili18
    **** knows why Herman Li is the picture for this when he's not even in the list, ah well, cool list guys!!!
    QuantumMechanix
    The fact that Dimebag is ahead of Guthrie Govan makes me really sad. Also, Shawn Lane and Alan Holdsworth should be on it.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    switch dime for buckethead for dime, i wouldn't consider dime a "shredder" any more than zakk wylde or kirk hammett
    MaggaraMarine
    I would. His solos are much more shred than Zakk's, let alone Kirk's. Though Dime isn't that kind of shredder as Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Joe Satriani and that kind of G3 guitarists.
    Archer250
    Angus Young? Shredding? What is this... I don't even. He's not even half as good at shredding as Van Halen.
    deadlydictator
    Good list I noticed nobody mentioned Ron Jarzombek
    Shotgunmerc
    huh, didn't mean for that to be a reply. My bad. Regarding Jarzombek though, the dude is incredible but unfortunately no where near known enough to make any list
    Drm316
    Well man, sorry if it is not plainly obvious to you but 10 "slots" or "places" are not enough to number all the great guitarists out there. You don't like that the vast majority of people think others rank above certain others then that's a bummer. But it was vote based by readers. Just because other guitarists did not make the list it does not mean that there should be discredit towards the ones that did. I could've go on the whole day naming guitarists that "should've" made the list too. But that would've gotten nothing accomplished.
    MetalRock4ever
    I wish you can just copy and paste that into every single article where there's a list. Nominee's, Greatest Bands, etc. Everyone has different opinions and it's harder to get everyone to agree when so many people see it...
    Wininacan
    weeeell for one, jeff loomis made the list and pat o'brien played in his band and jeff loomis has said that pat o'brien is better than he.
    metallica_102
    That Friedman video is exactly why I love his playing so much. His style is just so exotic and stylish while still sounding completely badass. If I could one day play with one tenth of his creativity I'll be satisfied with my guitar playing journey.
    on3andth3sam3
    Not a big fan of this list, but I didn't vote at all, so I have no right to complain....
    Deathlock257
    Dimebag is a dumbass and a mediocre guitarist. If he hadn't of gotten murdered he wouldn't be a "Legend"
    townes420
    I was momentarily horrified when I saw the top picture depicting Herman Li, thank you for not including him.
    AKPacifica
    Where is Yngwie Malmsteen - first , and one of the best and original shredder?!
    imspazzen
    I'm pleasantly surprised at the lack of Petrucci hate. His solos with LTE (particularly in When the Water Breaks and Kindred Spirits) had a huge impact on my playing. Maybe not top 10 material, but mention should be given to Chris Poland and James Murphy. Specifically the work on their solo albums.
    Wayfærer
    Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis make this list good enough for me. Malmsteen should be there though, considering at least half the guitarists in the list have cited him as an influence. Also, while we're at Al Di Meola, I would have added the first known shredder in history: Paco de Lucia.
    Pitwulf
    Very typical list although it is nice to see Loomis and Di Meola.
    bösepriester
    Tommy Emmanuel! His guitar playing is incredible. He is one of the most creative guitarist I have ever listened to.
    zimoupouf
    Whao, thanks, I didn't know that guy. I just check some of his songs on youtube: As you said: Incredible !
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    Uli Jon Roth should at least get a mention for inventing shred, he took Hendrix to the next level
    pwrmax
    What's the point of calling these lists "top 10"? It's just subjective anyway, better off calling it "10 awesome shredders"