Welcome to Round 3 of the best guitarists to ever pick up the instrument. For the past two days, we've climbed the ranks from #50-41 and then #40-31. See which of your favorites are featured in this batch, and then join the debate in the comments section below.
Check back each day this week, as we count down 10 more of the greatest pickers, pluckers and shredders in music history, with the Top 10 arriving on Friday morning.
30. Roy Buchanan
This Arkansas native was a blend of transcendent technician and hillbilly. Buchanan's interest in steel guitar led him to develop a singular vocabulary of sleight-of-hand volume effects, radical string-bending, artificial harmonics and other tics that he wove into one of the most soulful and dynamic guitar tones ever developed. Declining an invitation to join the Rolling Stones, Buchanan crafted a deep legacy of American roots music – cut short by his death in 1988 at age 48. – Ted Drozdowski
29. Duane Allman (The Allman Brothers, Derek and the Dominos)
Though he died young – in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24 – Duane Allman made terrific use of the time he did have on earth, co-founding The Allman Brothers Band and establishing himself as a preeminent session guitarist. Known for his searing slide work on a Les Paul, Allman also was famously recruited by Eric Clapton to contribute to Derek and the Dominos' top-notch Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. – Ellen Barnes
28. Ed O'Brien and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
Radiohead's dynamic duo were the only guitarists to receive votes as a pair in this poll, let alone the only two-member entry on this list. That fact speaks to the inseparable nature of these two musicians, known as much for their abusive guitar playing as they are for ambient approaches to Radiohead's ethereal material. With a mile of effects pedals at their feet, Greenwood and O'Brien are as versatile as any duo in rock, with the ability to crunch out “Just” (and its rush of chords) or twinkle their way through “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” – Bryan Wawzenek
27. Danny Gatton
Gatton is one of the most eclectic and far-reaching guitarists who ever lived – an innovator in rockabilly, country and jazz. There was nothing my dear friend couldn't master. He played “Tequila” with me on my Toolin' Around album and performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with me. Also, he made two Hot Licks videos for me, and was the nicest guy in the world. Fantastic ideas all the time, and a guitar style that was full of personality and humor! – Arlen Roth
26. Neil Young
Another one of those players who isn't that technically proficient but still manages to make the heart thump by channeling every one of his emotions into a massive guitar blowout. His best songs – epics like “Cortez The Killer” and “Cinnamon Girl” – all lead to that moment when you know it's all going to spill over in one of those fuzzy, galvanizing one-note solos that has served as a blueprint for countless indie rockers over the years. When Guitar Player magazine asked him what he looks for in those instances, Young said, “You can feel it. That's all I'm looking for. You can tell I don't care about bad notes.” – Aidin Vaziri
25. Angus Young (AC/DC)
What a warhorse. The AC/DC guitarist is responsible for some of rock and roll's most familiar riffs from the past four decades – from “Back in Black” to “You Shook Me All Night Long.” It's impossible to pick a favorite, but rest assured every one of his blues-drenched chords is guaranteed to make people jump on tables and swing from chandeliers. And the fact that he's done it all in an English schoolboy uniform makes it all that much sweeter. “From the beginning we always wanted to make good rock and roll,” Young once said. “We've stuck to that all the way through. The challenge is still coming up with rock and roll nobody has heard before, but they can still put it on and say that's AC/DC.” – Aidin Vaziri
24. Ron Asheton (The Stooges)
Would punk rock have ever materialized without Ron Asheton? His caveman riffs and hallucinogenic roaring predated punk by nearly a decade, giving his followers a wall of mud to grab from. The Stooges, and Asheton in particular, reduced rock and roll to its primal elements long before sex found a pistol or anyone changed their surname to Ramone – heck, Asheton basically played variations of the same riff throughout The Stooges' 1969 debut album. It was so dumb, it was genius. And when The Stooges reformed in the 2000s, Asheton proved he was just as brutally brilliant as he was decades ago. – Bryan Wawzenek
23. The Edge (U2)
U2's guitarist has created a sound that is distinctly his own – no small feat when you consider he's had to do it in the course of three decades while working shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the biggest personalities in rock, Bono. The Edge responded not by playing louder or flashier, but creating a dynamic mood using heavy reverb and delay. Despite his minimalist style, his songs have easily managed to fill stadiums and radio playlists. “I'm a musician,” he says. “I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do.” – Aidin Vaziri
22. Les Paul
The architect and grandfather of rock and roll, Lester William Polfuss (a.k.a. Les Paul) was a unique figure in the history of 20th Century music. As an inventor, he revolutionized the way we record music and the way we play it, pioneering such developments as the solid-body electric guitar. Beyond that, he was an almost terrifyingly brilliant player, whose speed and phrasing influenced the likes of Jeff Beck, Duane Eddy and Charlie Byrd. – Michael Wright
21. Johnny Marr (The Smiths)
An innovative post-punk guitarist, Marr has had a long career as guitar guru to a host of artists and delivered superbly on his own diverse projects. But it's his groundbreaking work with one of the most significant bands of the '80s, The Smiths, which marks him out as a great. Using open tunings and even pushing his guitar up a step to accommodate singer Morrissey's vocal nuances, he applied a sweeping, '80s twist to the jangly Byrds/Neil Young sound he loved so much, and in doing so inspired a generation of chiming guitarists. – Andrew Vaughan
Votes for the Top 50 Guitarists of All Time were included from Michael Wright, Bryan Wawzenek, Andrew Vaughan, Sean Dooley, Arlen Roth, Aidin Vaziri, Russell Hall, Ted Drozdowski, Paolo Bassotti, Dave Hunter, Jeff Cease (Black Crowes), James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges), Steve Mazur (Our Lady Peace), Martin Belmont (Graham Parker & The Rumour) and the Gibson.com Readers Poll.