The 10 Fastest Guitarists In Classic Rock
What Technical Excellence Looks Like
We’ll say it first so you don’t have to, it’s not always about the speed. But just like in everything, it still counts for something. Besides, the following guitarists whose fingers basically fly with every note have clearly made their own mark in rock ‘n roll. Being a fast guitarist isn’t easy – if it was, everyone would be doing it.
They need to be recognized because the sheer amount of talent displayed with every performance just melts our faces off.
10. John Petrucci
He can blow anyone out of the water. He’s a guitar athlete and while he may not exactly be the fastest in this list, he still does well for himself given that aside from the speed, he also has an impeccably clean technique. He’s versatile, innovative, and soulful too!
9. Marty Friedman
Marty Friedman at his best was an absolute beast on the guitar. He may be known for being part of Megadeth but before he landed that gig, he used to play alongside Jason Becker. He’s a virtuoso. And more than a fast guitarist, his riffs are melodic too.
8. Michael Angelo Batio
He’s a shredding master. His speed and accuracy remain unmatched. He truly is quite a sight on stage. If shredding was a sport, he’d take home the gold medal for sure. He’s a legend even among his peers.
He’s eccentric and an absolute enigma at that. But even with his lighting fast fingers, he plays with so much soul too. His speed is almost otherworldly. He may wear a KFC bucket on his head but in the company of other great axeslingers, he can definitely hold his own.
6. Chris Impellitteri
His riffs are almost impossible to play unless you’re Chris Impellitteri himself. It’s like you need inhuman levels of technical excellence to pull it off. To top it all, he makes his guitar playing look easy.
5. Jeff Loomis
You’d have to be a robot to play his solos. And yet he remains under-appreciated. He’s blistering fast and yet impressively clean on the guitar. Also, his sweeps are incredibly flawless.
4. Alexi Laiho
He was ranked by Guitar World as one of the fastest guitarists in the world. His guitar work is nothing short of stellar. He’s fast, creative and as if those aren’t enough, he sings too! The speed, accuracy, power and technique are all on point. Alexi Laiho is the real deal.
3. Steve Vai
His technical proficiency is unrivaled. And his mastery of the guitar is always showcased with every live performance. He pours so much emotion and soul in every riff. It’s unarguable – Steve Vai is one of the most skilled guitarists of all time.
2. Yngwie Malmsteen
Yngwie Malmsteen is a force to be reckoned with. We can’t talk about speed and not mention him. He’s impossibly fast and accurate that several other guitarists have attempted to dethrone him but not surprisingly, none of them ever came close to him. He’s precise and melodic. And the cherry on top? He’s a master showman too.
1. Joe Satriani
If there’s only one thing you need to know about Joe Satriani, it’s that he mentored Steve Vai. Satriani is technically proficient, melodic, and he knows how to pull out magical sounds from his guitar.