100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitar Players from the 80s and 90s

Heavy Metal has been a popular genre since the late 70s. However, it was the 80s and 90s that led to the explosion of heavy metal bands and guitar players. Since then the number of subgenres that have emerged quite literally makes the jaw drop. This article is an in-depth perspective on heavy metal guitarists from the 80s and 90s.

While the roots of Heavy Metal emerged in the 70s, it was the 80s that helped heavy metal spread its wings. Many heavy metal bands came into being during the 80s. Guitar solos became hugely popular in the heavy metal context. Guitarists in heavy metal bands in the 80s raised the benchmark in guitar playing with their guitar histrionics. Heavy metal songs in the 80s and 90s had rhythmic structure that helped guitarists break into extended solos. Heavy metal bands took soloing to the next level in the 80s and 90s.

As Heavy Metal subgenres emerged the guitar world witnessed some of the best days in guitar playing.

Heavy Metal guitarists in the 80s and 90s

The 80s and 90s were decades that gave Heavy Metal a new sound. The raw polished distorted guitar sound in the 80s became what can be called standard in the 80s and 90s. Guitar players started experimenting in various contexts of metal. Guitar tapping styles in Heavy metal became a rage in the 80s and 90s. The world witnessed a new breed of guitar players emerge. The shred guitarists from the 80s and 90s influenced the next wave of instrumental guitarists; bringing in an amalgamation of various styles that were the need of hour.

Many heavy metal guitarists from the 80s and 90s worked on side projects and released solo albums. Though heavy metal was not considered a mainstream genre, the 80s and 90s showcased Heavy Metal in an avatar the world had not seen. Teenagers globally took a liking to the heavy metal sound and guitar playing. Record companies made huge profits promoting and releasing heavy metal albums. It was a win-win situation for heavy metal bands and record companies. Guitar players from heavy metal bands signed record deals with established record companies to release solo albums. The 80s and 90s build the bridge for various heavy metal subgenres that emerged in the 2000s.

The list below showcases some of the finest heavy metal guitar players from the 80s and 90s. Mentioned in bracket is the band/s/Artist with which guitar players grew in popularity. Want to say something about guitar players for the 80s and 80s…say it loud. Feel free! Keep Rocking!

  1. Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)
  2. Marty Friedman (Megadeth)
  3. Alex Skolnick (Testament)
  4. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
  5. Steve Vai (David Lee Roth)
  6. Reb Beach (Winger)
  7. Jason Becker (Cacophony)
  8. Yngwie Malmsteen ( Alcatrazz)
  9. Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel)
  10. Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro)
  11. Randy Rhodes (Ozzy Ozbourne/Quiet Riot)
  12. Paul Gilbert (Racer X/ Mr. Big)
  13. Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
  14. Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
  15. Lee Atlus- (Heathen)
  16. Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.)
  17. Glen Tipton (Judas Priest)
  18. Vito Bratta (Whitelion)
  19. David Chastain (Chastain)
  20. Chris DeGarmo (Queensryche)
  21. Eddie Clark (Motorhead/Fastway)
  22. John Christ (Danzig)
  23. K.K. Downing (Judas Priest)
  24. Michaeal Schenker (Michael Schenker Group)
  25. Jake E. Lee (Ozzy Osborne/Badlands)
  26. Ted Nugent (Damn Yankees)
  27. George Lynch (Dokken/ Lynch Mob)
  28. Dave Meniketti (Y&T)
  29. Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme)
  30. Tony MacAlpine- (Tony MacAlpine)
  31. Chris Oliva (Savatage)
  32. Vernon Reid (Living Colour)
  33. Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
  34. Steve Lynch (Autograph)
  35. Denis D’ Amour- Voivod
  36. Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions)
  37. Joe Striani (Joe Satraini)
  38. Ron Jarzombek- (Spastik Ink/ Watchtower)
  39. Akira Takasaki (Loudness)
  40. Joey Tafolla (Jag Panzer)
  41. Angus Young (AC/DC)
  42. Vivian Campbell (Dio)
  43. Vinnie Moore (UFO)
  44. Russ Parrish (Steel Panther)
  45. Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate)
  46. Tracii Guns (LA Guns)
  47. Michael Wilton (Queensryche)
  48. Warren DeMartini (Ratt)
  49. Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake/House of Lords)
  50. Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick)
  51. Frank Hannon (Tesla)
  52. Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)
  53. Andre Olbrich (Blind Gurdian)
  54. Wolf Hoffman (Accept)
  55. Steve Stevens (Billy Idol)
  56. John Sykes (Thin Lizzy/ Blue Murder)
  57. Jeff LaBar (Cinderella)
  58. Andy Timmons (Danger Danger)
  59. Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius)
  60. Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
  61. Kee Marcelo (Europe)
  62. Michael Bruce (Alice Cooper)
  63. Rick Neilson (Cheap Trick)
  64. Adrian Vandenberg (Whitesnake/Vandenberg)
  65. Jim Matheos (Fates Warning)
  66. Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne)
  67. Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine)
  68. Uli John Roth (Scorpions)
  69. Frankie Sullivan (Survivor)
  70. Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
  71. Ace Frehley (Kiss)
  72. Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray/Helloween)
  73. Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate)
  74. Jeff Watson (Night Ranger)
  75. Gary Holt (Exodus)
  76. James Murphy (Obituary/Testament/Death)
  77. Mick Mars (Motley Crue)
  78. Nick Bowcott (Grim Reaper)
  79. Phil Collen (Def Leppard)
  80. Oz Fox (Stryper)
  81. John Norum (Europe)
  82. Jeff Waters (Annihilator)
  83. Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)
  84. Vinnie Vincent (Kiss/Vinnie Vincent Invasion)
  85. Brian Tatler (Diamond Head)
  86. Glen Buxton (Alice Cooper)
  87. Karl Sanders (Nile)
  88. Tommy Victor (Prong)
  89. Ronni Le Tekro (TNT)
  90. John Schaffer (Iced Earth)
  91. Mark Kendall (Dante Fox)
  92. Michael Romeo (Symphony X)
  93. Dave “The Snake” Sabo (Skid Row)
  94. George Bellas (George Bellas)
  95. Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo)
  96. Chris Risola (Steelheart)
  97. Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot)
  98. Butch Walker (SouthGang)
  99. Steve Turner (Mudhoney)
  100. Bill Steer (Carcass)

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