Rock and roll history is rife with great guitar albums, but every once in a while, a record comes along that actually expands the possibilities for the instrument. Below are 10 albums that broke fresh ground for rock guitar, and created new paths for players to explore new styles and genres. Feel free to chime in with albums we missed, in the comments section.

Blow By Blow (Jeff Beck, 1975)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

Few would have predicted, in 1975, that this Jeff Beck tour-de-force would connect as solidly as it did with record-buying public. Regarded today as a classic, the all-instrumental LP fused rock, jazz and funk in ways that had never been done before, and in the process paved the way for a new type of player. The album cover art, which featured a painting of Beck playing his beloved ’54 Les Paul “Oxblood,” was a nice touch as well.

Paranoid (Black Sabbath, 1970)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

Tony Iommi may not have invented heavy metal guitar, but until he came along, no rock player had dared paint with such minor key colors. Rife with some of the most menacing riffs ever committed to vinyl, Paranoid opened up dark, portentous passages through which future players could pass. “Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and the title track established a new type of music, one that guitarists as varied as Kirk Hammett and Kurt Cobain later drew.

Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

No one pushed the possibilities for electric guitar to greater heights than Jimi Hendrix did. Using blues and jazz as his springboard, Hendrix crafted a multi-faceted rock guitar sound that was often luminous, sometimes ominous, and always dazzling. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend—all of whom saw Hendrix perform in London—are among the many players who admit to being awestruck by the music Hendrix coaxed from his instrument.

Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, 1969)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

So pervasive is Led Zeppelin’s influence today, it’s easy to forget just how innovative the band’s music was when the group emerged in the late ‘60s. Versatile beyond measure, Jimmy Page shifted with ease between psychedelic blues, epic folk balladry and thunderous rock and roll. A strong case can be made that the ‘70s spawned rock’s greatest riffs--with Page at the forefront.

Van Halen (Van Halen, 1978)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

If Jimi Hendrix broke down the doors for ‘70s rock guitar, then Eddie Van Halen did the same for the ‘80s. Blessed with (and having developed) exquisite technical skills, the six-string maestro employed a trove of newfangled techniques to wrestle extraordinary sounds from his instrument. The shredder movement might never have gained a foothold were it not for this pioneering album.

After School Session (Check Berry, 1957)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

If rock guitar can be said to have an architect, that designation goes to Chuck Berry. Utilizing the most basic techniques—double-stop riffs, memorable intros, and strategically placed slurs and bends—Berry found endless permutations in what seemed, on the surface, like a rudimentary style. With a new album of original material slated for 2017, Berry remains a wonder of nature.

The Inner Mounting Flame (Mahavishnu Orchestra, 1971)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

If guitar-based jazz rock—fusion, in a word—can be said to have a ground zero, then this album is precisely that. Utilizing a Les Paul and an EDS-1275, guitarist John McLaughlin crafted a high energy, intricately conceived roadmap for future “fusion” players to follow. Along with its follow-up, Birds of Fire, The Inner Mounting Flame remains essential listening for any player interested in erasing the lines that circumscribe “conventional” rock guitar.

Surfing with the Alien (Joe Satriani, 1989)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

What Van Halen did for the ‘80s, Joe Satriani did for the ‘90s. Boasting dazzling technique, Satriani nonetheless kept his eye firmly on the song at-hand—proving himself as a composer-- throughout this seminal LP. “I was blessed that [Surfing with the Alien] was the album people took note of, because I really liked that album, and it had a positive vibe to it,” he later told M – Music & Musicians. “That record was totally the truth.”

Boston (Boston, 1976)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

Who could have predicted that one of rock’s most influential guitar albums would land smack in the middle of disco’s reign of terror? Boston—or, more specifically, Tom Scholz—retooled and reshaped the guitar’s role as a majestic force in rock. His innovations with regard to effects gear slapped an exclamation mark on his extraordinary playing. “I was basically a dork who hit the books and liked to build things,” he later told Guitar World. “We stumbled onto a sound that worked, and soon everybody was imitating it.”

At Fillmore East (Allman Brothers Band, 1971)

Albums that Changed Rock Guitar

This tour-de-force of southern-based blues rock forged a template from which bands have been drawing ever since. Fresh off his star-making turn with Eric Clapton, Duane Allman partnered with Dickey Betts to help craft perhaps the greatest dual-guitar album ever made. The Allman Brothers’ late manager, Phil Walden, proclaimed At Fillmore East “one of the foundation albums of modern music.” It’s hard to disagree.