Famous British Guitarists

Strings of nylon or steel bound together on a wooden device when strummed with fingers or a pick create music that is food for the soul! Confused? Well, it’s the music by a guitar that we are talking about! Guitarists are people who are well versed with the technique of playing a guitar. Broadly divided into the category of classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitar, the genre of guitar music has greatly evolved since its emergence. Guitarists have seized quite a sizeable popularity when it comes to music fan following, with their rock, metal, jazz, folk, classical and acoustic forms. While Americans are credited with popularizing guitar music, it were the Brits’ who refashioned the music style to make it edgier, harder, inventive and melodic! Spearheaded by Sir Paul McCartney of The Beatles fame, British guitar players pushed the art form to celestial heights with their inventive technique and powerful play. Laced with soulful renditions, dazzling technique and quality content, British guitarists helped the instrument rise up to monumental standards. Some of Britain’s ace guitar legends include Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Steve Howe, Angus Young and so on. Check this section and find out more about the life and works of greatest British guitarists. Find out what they have to offer from their musical arsenal!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
George Harrison
(Achieved Fame As the Lead Guitarist of the Beatles)

George Harrison
10
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: November 29, 2001

Gaining fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band, the Beatles, English musician, George Harrison, helped broaden the scope of popular music in the Western world. He was also successful as a solo performer and released many best-selling albums. He was named in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

 2 
Brian May
(Lead Guitarist of the Rock Band 'Queen')

Brian May
8
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton, London, England

Queen guitarist and singer-songwriter Brian May is also a PhD in astrophysics. One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Guitar World’s second-greatest guitarist, he received a CBE. He was a Chancellor of Liverpool at John Moores University, has worked with NASA, and fights for animal rights.

 3 
Eric Clapton
(One of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time)

Eric Clapton
13
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ripley, England

Eric Clapton, the rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time. In the 1970s, he recorded a number of successful solo albums and continued to do so over the next several decades and is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has had issues with alcohol and drugs.

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 4 
Jimmy Page
(Guitarist and Founder of the Rock Band 'Led Zeppelin')

Jimmy Page
5
Birthdate: January 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heston, Middlesex, England

An English musician, songwriter, and record producer, Jimmy Page gained international recognition as the founder of the popular rock band Led Zeppelin. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest guitarists of all time, Jimmy Page was ranked third in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Jimmy Page has influenced several popular guitarists.

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 5 
Slash
(Musician)

Slash
12
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hampstead

Slash is an English-American songwriter, musician, and record producer. After achieving popularity as the lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses, Slash left the band to form Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock, Slash is often named in lists, such as the Top Guitarists of All Time.

 6 
Barry Gibb
(Member of the Music Group "Bee Gees," One of the Best-Selling Groups of All Time)

Barry Gibb
4
Birthdate: September 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees is known for his versatility. Barry ranks second on the Guinness World Records list of successful songwriters and has gifted his fans cult classics of pop/disco music of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Stayin’ Alive.

 7 
Mark Knopfler
(Former lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of the rock band Dire Straits)

Mark Knopfler
8
Birthdate: August 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Best known as the lead guitarist and singer of the popular rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler is one of Britain’s most celebrated guitar icons. Known for hits such as Sultans of Swing, he and his band also released Brothers in Arms, one of the best-selling albums of all time.

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 8 
Pete Townshend
(Co-Founder and Lead Vocalist of the Rock Band 'The Who')

Pete Townshend
5
Birthdate: May 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

Pete Townshend is an English guitarist, composer, and singer. He is credited with co-founding and leading one of the most influential and important rock bands of the 20th century, The Who. Also an influential guitarist, Pete Townshend was ranked 10th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time list published in 2011.

 9 
David Gilmour
(Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer)

David Gilmour
4
Birthdate: March 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge ,England

Pink Floyd guitarist/singer David Gilmour helped the band become one of the best-selling acts ever. One of Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest guitarists of all time, he has also been an advocate of animal rights and other causes. He once auctioned off 120 guitars, including his iconic Black Strat, for charity.

 10 
Brian Jones
(English Multi-Instrumentalist, Singer and Founder of the Rock Band 'The Rolling Stones')

Brian Jones
7
Birthdate: February 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Died: July 3, 1969

Brian Jones was an English musician credited with founding the world-renowned rock band, The Rolling Stones. He was also considered the original leader of the band before his fellow band members, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, took over the musical direction of the band. Jones became the first member of the infamous 27 Club, when he died at age 27.

 11 
Roger Waters
(Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer)

Roger Waters
6
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Surrey

Co-founder of the rock band, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is celebrated singer, songwriter and composer. Beginning his career with rhythm guitar, he initially served solely as a bassist in Pink Floyd before emerging as their lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader. Later he left the group due to creative difference and embarked on his solo career, releasing numerous albums and singles

 12 
Peter Green
(Musician & Songwriter)

Peter Green
5
Birthdate: October 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bethnal Green, London, England
Died: July 25, 2020

Peter Green was an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Green is credited with founding the popular British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Named in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, Green has influenced many other guitarists like Joe Perry and Gary Moore.

 13 
Syd Barrett
(Singer-songwriter)

Syd Barrett
7
Birthdate: January 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 7, 2006
Pink Floyd co-founder and frontman Syd Barrett was known for his contribution to psychedelic rock and experiments with studio effects such as echo and distortion. He was removed from the band due to his drug addiction, following which he began a solo career. His final years were spent in privacy.

 14 
Ritchie Blackmore
(Guitarist, Songwriter)

Ritchie Blackmore
4
Birthdate: April 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weston-super-Mare

 15 
Tony Iommi
(Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Songwriter)

Tony Iommi
4
Birthdate: February 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham

Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi was named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Known for his signature black leather jacket and silver cross neckpiece, he is fond of playing dark guitar tones. While he successfully beat lymphoma, the cancer was in remission later.

 16 
George Ezra
(Best Known for His Hit Single 'Budapest' & Debut Studio Album 'Wanted on Voyage')

George Ezra
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hertford, Hertfordshire, England

George Ezra is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He achieved popularity after releasing his debut album Wanted on Voyage, which peaked at number one in the UK. It was also one of the best-selling albums in the UK in the year 2014. In 2019, George Ezra was honored with the Brit Award under the British Male Solo Artist category.

 17 
Ronnie Wood
(Best Known as a Member of the Rock Band 'Rolling Stones')

Ronnie Wood
4
Birthdate: June 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hillingdon, England, United Kingdom

Ronnie Wood is a musician and songwriter. Over the years, Wood has been an important member of popular rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck Group, and Faces. He is one of the few musicians to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A cancer survivor, Wood serves as an inspiration to those fighting cancer.

 18 
Steve Winwood
(Musician)

Steve Winwood
5
Birthdate: May 12, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Handsworth, Birmingham, England
Two-time Grammy-winning artist Steve Winwood experiments with a variety of genres, including rock, blues, and jazz. He has been part of groups such as Traffic and Blind Faith, and has delivered Billboard-topping hits such as Roll with It. He is one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

 19 
Dido
(Singer-songwriter)

Dido
4
Birthdate: December 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

 20 
Gavin Rossdale
(Best Known as the Lead Singer and Rhythm Guitarist of the Rock Band 'Bush')

Gavin Rossdale
4
Birthdate: October 30, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England

Gavin Rossdale is a British singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band Bush. In 2013, he was honored with the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to music. Although he identifies himself as heterosexual, Gavin Rossdale admitted to having a liaison with Marilyn and called it experimentation and part of growing up.

 21 
Mick Taylor
(Musician)

Mick Taylor
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Welwyn Garden City, England

Mick Taylor soared to fame as the guitarist of iconic rock band The Rolling Stones. He has also been part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Named to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, he was also declared one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

 22 
Damon Albarn
(Guitarist, Singer, Musician, Composer, Songwriter)

Damon Albarn
8
Birthdate: March 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Whitechapel

Grammy-winning English singer Damon Albarn has previously been part of two major bands, Blur and Gorillaz, as their lead vocalist and primary songwriter. He has also performed as part of the supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen. His solo album Everyday Robots was nominated for a Mercury Award.

 23 
Andrew Ridgeley
(Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician)

Andrew Ridgeley
7
Birthdate: January 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Windlesham

 24 
Marc Bolan
(English singer-songwriter known for his acoustic guitar-based songs.)

Marc Bolan
5
Birthdate: September 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 16, 1977

Marc Bolan was a British singer, songwriter, poet, musician, and record producer. Best remembered for his association with the rock band T. Rex, Bolan is often counted among the pioneers of the glam rock movement. Bolan is also credited with founding the band Tyrannosaurus Rex. In 2020, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 25 
Joe Strummer
(Singer, Guitarist)

Joe Strummer
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
Died: December 22, 2002
Joe Strummer is remembered for his memorable performances with the punk rock band The Clash, with whom he delivered hits such as London Calling and Train in Vain. He was known for his rebellious and politically charged lyrics. He also experimented with acting and hosted on a BBC radio show.

 26 
Robert Smith
(Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist)

Robert Smith
5
Birthdate: April 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blackpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician Robert Smith gained fame as a co-founder and member of the rock band, The Cure. He was also the lead guitarist for the band, Siouxsie and the Banshees, for a few years. He became an influential figure in the goth subculture in the 1980s and was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 27 
Jeff Beck
(Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Jazz guitarist, Songwriter)

Jeff Beck
7
Birthdate: June 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: England

Jeff Beck is a British rock guitarist renowned for his association with popular rock bands like The Yardbirds, Beck, Bogert & Appice, and The Jeff Beck Group. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential players in history, Beck has won several awards like the Grammy Awards. He has also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine thrice.

 28 
Donovan
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer)

Donovan
5
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

 29 
Johnny Marr
(Guitarist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer)

Johnny Marr
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England

 30 
Mick Ronson
(Guitarist)

Mick Ronson
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England
Died: April 29, 1993

 31 
Paul Weller
(Singer, Songwriter, Musician)

Paul Weller
5
Birthdate: May 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sheerwater

Paul Weller is an English musician and singer-songwriter best known for his work with the popular band, The Jam. Referred to as The Modfather, Weller played a significant role during the mod revival of the 1970s and 1980s. In 2006, he was honored with the Brit Award under the Outstanding Contribution to Music category.

 32 
PJ Harvey
(Singer-songwriter, Composer, Artist, Singer, Guitarist)

PJ Harvey
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bridport

Tinged with themes of female sexuality, the lyrics of PJ Harvey have redefined the place women occupy in rock music. While she was initially part of a musical trio named after herself, she later charted her own path as a solo musician. She is only artist to have earned the Mercury Prize twice.

 33 
Robert Fripp
(Guitarist, Composer, Motivational speaker, Record producer)

Robert Fripp
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wimborne Minster

 34 
James Bay
(Singer and Guitarist Best Known for His Single "Hold Back the River.")

James Bay
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England

 35 
Jonny Greenwood
(Guitarist, Banjoist, Composer, Ondist, Multi-instrumentalist, Actor, Songwriter)

Jonny Greenwood
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford

 36 
Nick Drake
(Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer)

Nick Drake
5
Birthdate: June 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yangon, Myanmar
Died: November 25, 1974

Nick Drake was a British singer-songwriter best remembered for his acoustic guitar-based music. Although he failed to achieve popularity during his lifetime, Drake's music has achieved recognition in recent times. He suffered from depression throughout his life and died at the age of 26 from an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant called amitriptyline.

 37 
Rex Orange County
(Recording Artist)

Rex Orange County
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1998
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grayshott, Hampshire

 38 
Keith Richards
(Musician)

Keith Richards
2
Birthdate: December 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom

Keith Richards is a musician and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular rock bands ever, The Rolling Stones. Also a guitarist, he was ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 best guitarists list in 2011. Richards' look and characterization inspired the character of Captain Teague who appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

 39 
Adam Ant
(Guitarist, Actor, Singer)

Adam Ant
5
Birthdate: November 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marylebone

 40 
Oliver Sykes
(Musician)

Oliver Sykes
4
Birthdate: November 20, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ashford, United Kingdom

Oliver Sykes is an English singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-forming the popular rock band Bring Me the Horizon, for which he also serves as the lead vocalist. Also an entrepreneur, Sykes founded and owns a clothing line called Drop Dead Clothing. A vegan since 2013, Oliver Sykes supports organizations, such as PETA.

 41 
Tom Fletcher
(Musician)

Tom Fletcher
5
Birthdate: July 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London Borough of Harrow
Tom Fletcher, lead vocalist and guitarist of the band McFly, has also written for several artists and bands, such as Busted, One Direction, and The Vamps. A successful YouTube vlogger, too, he has documented and shared all three pregnancies of his wife, Giovanna. He has also written several children’s books.

 42 
Shirley Manson
(Actor, Singer, Guitarist, Musician, Model, Songwriter)

Shirley Manson
4
Birthdate: August 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh

 43 
Greg Lake
(Former Singer-songwriter who gained prominence as a founding member of the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP))

Greg Lake
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England, United Kingdom
Died: December 7, 2016

 44 
John McVie
(Guitarist)

John McVie
4
Birthdate: November 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ealing

 45 
Fatboy Slim
(Disc Jockey)

Fatboy Slim
5
Birthdate: July 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England

 46 
Mike Oldfield
(Composer, Guitarist, Songwriter)

Mike Oldfield
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reading

Best known for his hit album-length conceptual piece Tubular Bells, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mike Oldfield experimented with a whole range of musical genres, such as progressive rock, folk, and new-age rock. His music was also featured in the cult horror film of the 1970s The Exorcist.

 47 
Ray Davies
(Guitarist, Composer, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer)

Ray Davies
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

 48 
Andy Summers
(Guitarist)

Andy Summers
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England, UK

 49 

Marcus Mumford
5
Birthdate: January 31, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yorba Linda, California, United States

 50 
Steve Jones
(Guitarist)

Steve Jones
3
Birthdate: September 3, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shepherd's Bush, London, England