Trying to draw up a list of good guitar players to look up to when you are beginning playing electric guitar is a tricky process. There are so many famous guitar players out there. Some are famous for having mastered the art of guitar and have really become someone of note through their playing. Others have gained notoriety through their antics on and off the stage completely separate from their playing abilities and inevitably there are those hybrids that live somewhere in the middle and have perfected their craft but are also loud characters to boot.

Sitting down and really thinking about the reasons why any player would want to take notes based on the influence of another player is an interesting journey. I have got a shortlist of a few names that I think any electric guitarist should look out for:


Tommy Emmanuel

Best guitarists to learn from - tommy

Although tommy is a predominantly acoustic player I really think he deserves his place on this list. He is one of the most technically gifted players yet is still beautifully melodic and musical which isn’t always the case with the technically gifted players. The reason I have put him on the list though is his sheer work ethic. He became the best player in his field by working extremely hard. He has said in interviews that he spends practically every waking hour playing his beloved instrument. He really buys into the idea that 10,000 hours of practice in anything is what is required to be a master of it and Tommy is certainly that.


John Mayer

Best guitarists to learn from - John Mayer

John is a slightly younger name on this list but is by no means lacking in experience or talent. John is one of the best electric guitar players in the world right now. John has already been credited by huge names in the guitar playing world such as Eric Clapton and BB King.

Throughout his career John has endeavoured to explore every musical avenue he can. He has never been forced into one genre that he has to play for radio’s sake. He has played lots of genres and continuously changes his style with every new album.

His sound is always refreshing and new. Even though he is a very gifted player with a similar work ethic to Tommy and having spent a year at Berkley School of music his main aim in music is not to be the “best”, but to be listenable. This is great advice. Music is not a competition.


Stevie Ray Vaughn

Best guitarists to learn from - Stevie Ray Vaughn

His is a name that is synonymous with great blues music, always spoken in the same breath as BB King, Albert King and the likes as well as names as Hendrix. A player does not make it into the same sentence as such players without having something special and Stevie had that on tap. Like both the previous names mentioned on the list Stevie was a great student of guitar and music in general. Any energy he had would be spent learning about music from other great musicians. This is the best trait to have as an electric guitar player. Spending time with better players will improve your playing quicker than any other method out there.

If Stevie wasn’t with better players he was practicing on his own or playing a live show with his band. This constant immersion in the instrument is what drove him to greatness.


Malcolm Young

Best guitarists to learn from - Malcolm Young

Malcolm is the lesser famous brother that played in the great rock band AC/DC. While his brother Angus was far more famous that he is with his wild solos and crazy onstage dances. The band would have fallen apart without Malcolm. He was the silent assassin, somewhat of a genius with a guitar in hand. His ability to play great rhythm lines as well as write great music was profound.

He never got involved in anything. He was never in the limelight on or off the stage, because of or away from his music. This is what is so great about Malcolm, he only cared about music. As a result however, many do not recognise how great he was on the electric guitar. But he well deserves a place on the watch list of any guitar player.


Although this is only a short list of players to watch and learn from as you move through your journey deeper into the world of guitar it is a very good list. These great players show what is possible with some practice, hard work and determination. If you are like Malcolm and play guitar for the love of the instrument and for the love of music as a whole you will end up becoming a better player than you ever thought imaginable. Keep that idea in mind next time you are practicing and keep learning and growing!


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