Ask any rock fan to name the genre’s greatest guitarists, and chances are you’ll be handed a list that’s fairly predictable. But beyond the obvious choices of Clapton, Hendrix, Page and the like lurk a range of worthy players who seem never to get their proper due. Perhaps they were overshadowed by a dynamic frontman, or maybe they simply preferred to station themselves outside the limelight. In any case, below we’ve attempted to give due credit to 10 players who are often unfairly overlooked.

Terry Kath (Chicago)

Terry Kath served as the backbone for Chicago’s innovative jazz-rock style throughout the band’s ‘70s glory years. A pioneer of hammer-on harmonics, Kath powered classics such as "25 or 6 to 4," "Make Me Smile" and "I'm a Man" with skills that, years earlier, had earned praise from Jimi Hendrix. In addition to his trusty SG, Kath often played a rare 1969 Les Paul Professional. Tragically, Kath died in 1978 from an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music)

Phil Manzanera

Bryan Ferry (and, early on, Brian Eno) received most of the attention, but Phil Manzanera's stylishly innovative guitar work was always an indispensable part of Roxy Music’s distinctive sound. Often turning to a Gibson Firebird VII as his go-to guitar, Manzanera exhibited remarkable range on his instrument--sometimes offering up wild, free-from improvisation, other times expressing himself through subtle, sophisticated soundscapes. In a word, Manzanera could (and still can) do it all.

Ollie Halsall

First with the ‘70s cult band Patto, and later as a sideman for a plethora of top-tier artists, guitarist Ollie Halsall forged a progressive style that deeply impacted that likes of Alvin Lee, Allan Holdsworth and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen. It’s a little-known fact that the Rolling Stones briefly considered recruiting Halsall as their replacement for Mick Taylor. His legendary white SG--a 1967 “Type 2” three-pickup Custom model--has long been a source of fascination for guitar aficionados. You can check out Gibson’s in-depth profile here.

Randy California

Randy California

It’s not hard to understand why Jimi Hendrix was such an ardent fan of Randy California. Much like Hendrix himself, California could reel off soaring jazz-rock instrumentals, stinging Chicago-style blues and otherworldly six-string pyrotechnics with equal ease. Much of his music was made as a member of Spirit, one of the most sophisticated ensembles to emerge from rock’s ‘60s psychedelic era. Sadly, California died in 1997 in a tragic swimming accident, at the relatively young age of 45.

Jan Akkerman (Focus)

Had he done nothing further after serving as the driving force behind Focus’s 1973 hit “Hocus Pocus,” Jan Akkerman’s place in progressive guitar history would be assured. Following his departure from the band in the mid ‘70s, the Dutch guitarist went on to release several acclaimed solo albums. Readers of Britain’s Melody Maker magazine voted him “Best Guitarist in the World” in 1973.

Peter Banks (Yes, Flash)

Peter Banks

Yes fans rightly hail Steve Howe as one of the greats. Still, it’s important to note that original member Peter Banks helped established the template for progressive rock guitar. Artistic differences between Banks and singer Jon Anderson prompted Banks’s departure from Yes in 1970, but in his little-known ‘70s band, Flash, Banks used an ES-335 to create several should-have-been prog-rock classics. “Lifetime,” from Flash’s In the Can album, is his tour-de-force.

June Millington (Fanny)

Bands such as the Runaways, the Go-Go’s and the Bangles owe an incalculable debt to June Millington. As co-founding guitarist in the all-female ‘70s rock band Fanny, Millington forged a powerful musical template that all women-in-rock could aspire to. In 1970, Fanny became the first all-female rock band to release an album on a major label. David Bowie lavished praise on the group, once saying, “[Fanny was] extraordinary. They are as important as anybody else who's ever been, ever. It just wasn't their time."

Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

Greg Lake

Greg Lake was often praised for his songwriting and bass talents, but the late musician also employed superb fingerpicking skills to provide ELP with some of its best moments. Acoustic pieces such as “From the Beginning” and “Still …You Turn Me On” have become standard fare on classic rock radio. The lesser-known piece “Daddy,” from ELP’s overlooked 1994 album, In the Hot Seat, is nearly as good.

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren’s immense talents as a producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist have generally overshadowed the fact that he’s a sensationally gifted guitar player. Both in Utopia and in his solo work, Rundgren’s six-string style has often steered toward Hendrix-like psychedelia, as exemplified by much of his 1974 2-LP opus, Todd. Few artists have combined the exquisite use of synthesizers with kaleidoscopic guitar sounds as effectively as Rundgren has.

Jimmy Nolen

Okay, so he’s not exactly a rock guitarist. Still, Jimmy Nolen deserves special mention. A key sideman for the James Brown, Nolan developed his funky “chicken scratch” style by focusing on light chops and rapid strumming, and playing near the bridge. Nolan often used an ES-175 hollowbody or a Les Paul, setting up the instrument with extremely low action and heavy gauge strings in order to achieve his distinctive sound. That sound can be heard in all its glory on tracks like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).”