Top 10 Most Overrated Guitarists

According to UG, these guys get way more props than deserved.

Top 10 Most Overrated Guitarists
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Switching from underrated to overrated, this week's Wednesday Question saw you guys debating about the too highly praised axemen of the rock realm. We summed up your votes (Mike McCready tried to make it to this list also), check out the final list below.

10. Santana

Kicking off the list comes guitar master Santana, along with an important note - his early work shouldn't be included. Based on your votes, "his earlier stuff is just amazing and you can tell he has lots talent, but seriously, in recent years all he does is play very similar solos in similar scales with ridiculous guest stars, as if he has lost all of his creativity."

9. Kerry King

#HailToTheKerryKing. But seriously, dive bomb master Kerry King continues the countdown, making the list mostly for his solo parts. "I mastered all his solos the first time I dropped my guitar on the floor," one of you guys cleverly noted.

8. Synyster Gates

Up next is Syn Gates of Avenged Sevenfold. However, a nice debate was stirred up, as not everyone agreed about Synyster being overrated. Check him out performing some gypsy jazz during a recent masterclass, might change you opinion.

7. Matt Bellamy

Back in 2010, Muse frontman was named the third greatest guitarist of the past 30 years, a title he's most definitely not worthy according to you guys. You do give him props for being a top-notch vocalist and an overall musician, but the strict guitar department just isn't Matt's forte.

6. The Edge

"Too much effects, too little technique," most of you agreed. However, a portion did point out that it's not The Edge's job to be flashy, even calling him underrated, pointing at "Until the End of the World" solo as a point of reference.

5. Jack White

Ted Nugent recently stirred up a debate regarding Mr. White's latest endeavors, calling one of his recent performances boring and lacking Motown soul. You guys seem to somewhat agree with the Nuge for once, placing Jack at the very middle of the list.

4. Dave Navarro

Jane's Addiction cofounder and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro is up next. Dave also performed with a vast array of stylistically different artists, ranging from Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson to Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera and P. Diddy.

3. Kirk Hammett

Once again we have a debate - one side bashing Kirk for sloppiness and overusing was and the other one pointing at such blistering solos as those in "The Unforgiven," "One" or "Fade to Black." Hammett lands at No. 3. so it goes to show without saying that the first side was the predominant one.

2. Slash

With some of you going far enough to call him a "cheap knock off of Dave Navarro," Slash was mostly criticized for the lack of versatility. "It's as if a cook can only do one dish well, and is constantly named one of the best cooks ever," you neatly summed it up.

1. Kurt Cobain

First comment among the comment suggestions, a gold medal and a No. 1 spot for late great Kurt Cobain. Although not many will argue with Kurt being a songwriting genius, there's quite a few of those insisting that as a guitarist, Nirvana frontman is overrated.

414 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Cryptikal
    My jaw still drops when i listen to the solos from Ride The Lightning, the fact that Kirk was 21 when he wrote them, is just insane. He's definitely overrated now but back then he was a force to be reckoned with.
    metallideth88
    Well they claim that Dave wrote most of the riffs but I believe Kirk wrote his solos when he came. The solo for Ride The Lightning is jaw dropping. I think overall Kirk is better than Dave. If you compare the solo in the four horseman vs the mechanix I think it is a no match
    ScottStewart1
    There have been better guitarist in Megadeth than Kirk, but I agree Mustaine isn't all that great on lead in general
    Badass UltraMan
    I've always shared this view and it seems to get people very antsy. Mustaine is a fantastic rhythm guitarist but his lead guitar work is very sloppy and his solos sound terrible. They are a stark contrast to the solos of pure quality that his various band mates have pushed out over the years.
    Democrab
    Dave wrote like, 2 riffs in Ride the Lightning as far as I know. Kirk used the start of his solos for Kill 'em All but then improved them. He's also a far better guitarist with James actually being better these days, even at soloing.
    satansnachos
    I've always respected Kirk. Granted,lately it seems that he has kind of ran out of tricks, but the one thing you can say about him is he has always seemed to lay low outside of Metallica, and has steered clear of all the Napster and hunting show drama that has seemed to plague 'tallica
    Abacus11
    Absolutely! I personally feel like Kirk's leads were really good up until the Black Album... where they sounded good but started to sound too similar to each other - like slight variations on the same solo. I blame Bob Rock!
    slipdisk
    I agree too. Metallica where all young dudes when they defined the sound of metal back in the day.
    prssecustum
    totally agreed man, while I do think he is overated in general, the Ride the lightning solo is absolutely incredible.
    Downfault
    Nice list. I can agree with most of it. Keep this going UG with most overated frontmen, drummers, etc.
    metallideth88
    I thought Kerry King played the chainsaw!
    KerryKing01
    Dnt u meen PLAYS da chainsaw? #ReturnOfTheKerryKing
    siamesedream777
    Let's hope for the bellend guy to return and it's on baby!
    Dannym95
    Sup bellends! Sorry I'm quiet these days. I've kind of gotten bored of ultimate guitar. These days I go to Blabbermouth for my rock and metal news. I find that on UG, the news they choose to post is a bit more select, at least compared to Blabbermouth. If anyone else goes on it, my name is Danny Mail in case anyone wants to look for any of the comments I've posted there. I do check back on UG on occasion, but in general I'm kind of bored of it. I don't even play an instrument so it's not like I would still want to use it regularly for guitar tabs and stuff. tl;dr: UG is a bellend. I love you guys. (P.S. Bellamy isn't just an overrated guitarist. Muse is an overrated band.)
    metallideth88
    How about a list of most over-rated UG users?
    Scarface88
    I think it's unusual that The Edge is here; I thought most people considered him a bit average?
    AlexRibeiro333
    Honestly I like The Edge a lot, and as someone commented and it's on the news here, his job isn't to be flashy, instead filling the space with more focus on the arrangements than virtusity. But Rolling Stone magazine made a list of 100 best guitarists and he was above nÂș 25. I think that's a lot, even for Rolling Stone. , so you can tell he's a bit overrated.
    chancellor46&2
    He's way better than Hendrix and he isn't even on this list. Look up overrated in the dictionary and see Jimi hendrix's face. I get it he died young so people feel the need to false idolize him. The garbage that came out of his guitar makes me want to vomit. No question Jimi Hendrix should be number 1 on this list. He MAYBE has one or two good song. Machine gun and maybe something else. God do people not listen to what he's doing? I also heard he was so messed up on drugs that he didn't actually play live, they dubbed his guitar tracks and let mitch mitchell and noel redding do their thing... The real talent in The Experiance
    UncleBluck
    Spoken like many of the children on this blog that knows nothing.....
    chancellor46&2
    i know that pretty much everyone on this list is a way better guitar player than Hendrix could ever imagine being... Kurt Cobain would blow the doors off hendrix. If he was still alive and could hear the guitar players on this list he would completely agree with me
    JimDawson
    Yesterday I watched a Hendrix show he played on the last July he was alive, so it's fresh in my memory. I agree with you mostly, but I think Hendrix was a pretty skilled guitarist. His biggest problem IMO is that he got really sloppy a lot. However, I wish I had his skill with chords- I'm impressed by guys who play lead parts while fingering chords if you know what I mean. While he does have lots of skill on the guitar, I find a lot of his improvisations sound like random notes. Then he has his "noise making" parts, and I don't find them musical at all. I find SRV to be a much better guitarist based on hearing both of them play the same songs; he's sort of like Hendrix if Hendrix played much cleaner I think. I'd argue that Hendrix and SRV have similar enough styles for this not to be an apples and oranges argument.
    chancellor46&2
    Jim Dawson has the right idea. Hendrix is Garbage and should be number 1 on this list. Hendrix wouldn't even exist without Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding.
    tonello
    ----> The Point ----> Your Head Hendrix would not be as widely recognized as a great guitarist if he came around in the 90's or so. But he was the first of his kind to do something like that and for that he's not overrated. Adam Jones is though.
    cRACk mONKEyTTU
    What? Where did Adam Jones come into this? I somewhat agree with your point about Hendrix but then you say Adam Jones is overrated. The ONLY time I have ever seen him be overrated was by that metal guitarist poll on Loudwire. Other than that, Id say not many people really think he's that great and rightly so for the most part, but he's not trying to be. Id say that him and The Edge are similar players in what they do for their respective bands, and Im very surprised to see him on here too because the only place Ive ever seen praise for him is on Rolling Stone and everyone knows how unpopular their lists are.
    latinromans
    He doesn't shred because he chose's not to for musical reasons, if you look at him playing live his hand practically teleports and the quieter part of the double solo in third eye establishes he can fly over the fretboard at impressive speed, and for a lot of songs he's triggering all the synths as well. Very few guitarist's are able to create as distinctive tones strong enough often to support a solo with a few well placed passionate notes. As for hendrix try actually learning one of his songs, a lot of times due to his brilliant use of ghost notes and transition tones where it sounds like he's playing 5 notes he's really playing 20.
    Shadow914
    I agree that Hendrix is one of the most overrated guitarists of all time. But Cobain wouldn't blow the doors off, however he was a lot cleaner of a guitar player than Hendrix.
    gianluca.strato
    You are one of the greatest idiots, mother****ers, and presumptious men i have ever seen. I won' t even reply to your humanity-insulting comment because those would be wasted words. And because Tonello striked the point. Ah, **** you.
    MaggaraMarine
    Obvious troll is obvious... But Hendrix deserves all the praise. He was one of the guys who revolutionized guitar playing. I would say he's the most important guitarist. He influenced so many great guitarists to start playing. It's hard to find a guitarist who doesn't mention Hendrix as their influence. Hendrix is not the most technical guitarist. He's not even my favorite guitarist. But even if you don't like his playing, you need to appreciate him. It's the same as The Beatles. You don't need to like their music but their influence to music is so important that you can't call them overrated. They are rated so high for a reason.
    RemiRandall
    Hendrix is not overrated at all. The fact that you need to compare with the way others guitarists played at that time. Jimi Was the first to use plenty the electric sound of the guitar. Moreover he was one of the first to put jazz elements in his playing and in his songs. He was a very complete guitarist, a master of funk rythm and good lead sections. At that time he was the best (and he would have become far better if he had been alive) and even today not everyone can be that skillfull in the way he was. Let's not forget that before his death he signed a contract with Little Richard, which would have forced him to work some jazz stuff (and IMO jazz guitarists are far better than rock guitarists ON AVERAGE) what, I think, would have made the jazz/rock reach a hole new level that I think we don't know yet.
    joee75
    ...see...you are the main problem with the internet...give any arsehole a keyboard and they think they are an expert on everything...you sir are fool.
    ianharv
    This list does step into 'guitarist in an overrated band' territory at times. Most players do think the Edge is average I think - but the world seems to bum his band. Same goes for Avenged, personally I like them but they are overrated too, which to me is why Syn is here. He's a sh*t hot guitar player though.
    slipdisk
    I don't think people really know the meaning of the term overrated. I mean Edge is on the list and I have honestly never heard anyone talk up how good he is on guitar.
    latinromans
    He was on a guitar documentary with Jack White and Jimi Page, while he is an genius with his use of effects particularly delay he does not come off well when jamming with those to beast's on a acoustic. Heck after seeing Jack white pound two nails on a board, wire a string (think it was guitar but it cold have been for a piano) across them, set up a pickup and do a wailing slide solo even Jimi's cred seemed challenged at bits.
    metalmaniac90
    The only thing I see here is a list of the most recognized guitarist. I'll admit, there are definitely guitarist on the market that are better than everyone on this list, and its not exactly fair that no one knows who they are... but still, this list just adds to my statement that musicians are overly-opinionated, and overly butt-hurt when our favorite guitarist, vocalist, drummer, band est are not as recognized as these individuals. When in fact, we should be happy that there are people who are influential enough to bring what attention they can to rock, and metal.. because the genre is lacking enough of that as is.
    Everlong729
    I love Dave Grohl, but he's not the BEST drummer in the world. I ****ing love his style and think it's amazing though
    mp8andrade
    No musician can be "the best", since music is a matter of taste.
    Benjumanji
    We can objectively rate musicians based on things like talent, skill, charisma, and whether or not they write the same song/solo 50 times (Angus Young) or go to great lengths to explore different styles and vary the songs they write (Brent Hinds).
    Shadow914
    Right, however that criteria can be subjective as well. What you may think takes skill or is charismatic I may not and I may think expanding to different styles doesn't offer a credential for 'the best' and you do.
    schirripar
    Actually I'm pretty sure scientists confirmed he's factually the best around the time "The Colour and the Shape" was released
    UncleBluck
    Grohl should be on this list as well...guy plays no more solos than the edge.....
    Chickendirt
    yeah but nobody really rates him as a great guitarist. Most just love him because he's a cool dude who writes cool tunes. He's talented, but at a range of instruments. He's more known for his drumming than his guitar work
    latinromans
    Also judging someone based on their solo's alone is stupid, Adam Jones got brought up and while most of his solo's are slow and involve the repetition of simple (albeit somewhat interesting) melodic figures this is a reflection of his sense of taste not a limitation in his ability (check out the solo on third eye if your doubtful). Likewise if I was writing for my band based on my ability we would have multiple songs in 13 time with a constant flow of polyrythms and numerous beats taken away or added in here and there.
    Abacus11
    Yeah, not a bad list! These have been going better and more fun lately. No one will ever agree 100% but I'm definitely enjoying these Wednesday Lists on UG.
    filipe26
    Amateur musicians and people who don't play instruments judging professionals? I don't think so.
    sweenster
    Josh Homme should be on this shit. Dave Navarro could play circles around him. Listen to the masterpiece that is "three days" by Jane's Addiction.
    latinromans
    I've never heard anyone rave about his abilities, heck I didn't even know he was the one doing the solo's till I saw a live video.
    BjarnedeGraaf
    they quoted me on the edge and saw that I said matt bellamy is better known as a vocalist than a guitarist... I'm so proud right now
    GodzillaRAWRRR
    Hey at least Kurt does something different with his solos instead of 100mph sweeps constantly. His solos sound unique and awesome much better than anything Yngwie Malmsteen has done