A Rock/Metal Poll: Who Is The Best Rhythm Guitarist of All Time?

I have written much about guitarists during the two years I have been blogging, but it has all been about the great lead guitarists who have graced us over the years. So today, I thought it would be a grand gesture to pay homage to those unsung heroes, the rhythm guitarists. These are the ones who, while their much more noted and worshiped lead guitarists are cranking out the solos, are playing power chords in rhythm with the music that allows their compatriot to work their magic. Once in a while, they may be allowed to play the occasional solo, but often times just keep striking their chords without any adulation.

So I will not only honour these unsung heroes, I would also like to know who you, my readers, consider to be the best rhythm guitarist. I have put forward a number of candidates but by no means is this list exclusive.

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

James Hetfield- Metallica

James Hetfield- Metallica

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Scott Ian- Anthrax

Scott Ian- Anthrax

I know there are many more out there so all you have to do is comment who your favourite or favourites are. Meanwhile, when you listen to an album from any of the great bands these guys are from, strain your ears for the efforts they are putting in.

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33 Responses to “A Rock/Metal Poll: Who Is The Best Rhythm Guitarist of All Time?”

  1. Malcolm Young, all the way for me.

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  2. Malcolm for me too.

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  3. Brad Whitford! He’s such a great humble guy and obviously he kicks ass! “Last Child,” is one of my all time favorites.

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  4. All great selections! I choose Mustaine. And I’d mention Dimebag and Iommi as great riffers (even if they are the only guitarists in their bands). I’d throw in Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer too.

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  5. I don’t consider Dave Mustaine a strict rhythm guitarist, because he can shred with the best of them. I’m picking James Hetfield, although just by the slimmest margin over Malcolm.

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  6. Very cool list!

    Dave Mustaine from this list due to his overall lead and rhythm prowess. Paul Stanley has given many a KISS album untold amount of rhythmic licks in his day too. 🙂 \m/

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    • Boy do I feel like an idiot! How dare I not include Mr Stanley in that list. Thanks for bringing him into the fold.

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      • Don’t feel bad at all… there are so many excellent rhythm guitarists both past and present! Your list is a grand starting point for future lists you’ll (hopefully) post on this topic \m/\m/

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      • I don’t feel bad, I just felt that I missed the obvious with Paul. I will be doing more lists in the future, especially with all the response with this one. This was something I had been thinking about for a long time because of my belief that rhythm guitarists always seem to be missed out.

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  7. scarlettsands Says:

    Hetfield all the way.

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  8. Hey Mike, good poll. I’ll have to go with Malcom Young. Thinking about the music I listen to I couldn’t find (m)any Prog bands with rhythm guitarists. Although the last couple of Rush albums haven’t had much soloing from Mr. Lifeson so maybe……….

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  9. Yup – it’s Mustaine and Young for me too.

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  10. i will challenge you and tell u the name of Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth.If u dont know him just check some Lives on Youtube.The best right hand in metal way far from the second.

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  11. I also think is a bit funny some people to say that hetfield is the best even if metallica is the best band of all times for me.

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    • I asked this question on another site and Hetfield was overwhelmingly number one so it is an opinion hugely shared. I have heard Iced Earth in the past and I can say that I liked most of what I heard. But I will re-listen with the intent of concentrating on Jon Schaffer.

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