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

George Harrison
Famous As: Musician
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

Brian May
Famous As: Musician
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 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page
Famous As: Musician, Record Producer
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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 4 Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton
Famous As: Singer, Musician
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.

 5 Slash

Famous As: Musician
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 Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: August 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow

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.

 7 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Roger Taylor soared to fame as the drummer of the iconic rock band Queen. A Planet Rock poll named him the eighth-greatest classic rock drummer. Taylor also became known for his falsetto vocal range and co-wrote hits such as Innuendo and Under Pressure. He also appeared on Pop Quiz.
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 8 Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

British singer, Cat Stevens, has released more than 15 studio albums and has churned out many hit songs. He converted to Islam in 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam. He was slammed for reportedly backing the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie. He has also been accused of allegedly having ties with terrorist organisations, a charge he has vehemently denied.

 9 Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 10 Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
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.

 11 Peter Green

Peter Green
Famous As: Musician & Songwriter
Birthdate: October 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bethnal Green, London

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.

 12 Brian Jones

Brian Jones
Famous As: Founder of the Rolling Stones
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.

 13 Roger Waters

Roger Waters
Famous As: Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer
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

 14 David Gilmour

David Gilmour
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer
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.

 15 Ritchie Blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore
Famous As: Guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: April 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weston-super-Mare

 16 Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood
Famous As: Musician & Songwriter
Birthdate: June 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hillingdon, Middlesex, England

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.

 17 Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Musician, Composer, Songwriter
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.

 18 Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood
Famous As: Musician
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 Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor
Famous As: Musician
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.

 20 Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist
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.

 21 Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi
Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Songwriter
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.

 22 Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan
Famous As: English singer-songwriter known for his acoustic guitar-based songs.
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.

 23 Andrew Ridgeley

Andrew Ridgeley
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: January 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Windlesham

 24 Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr
Famous As: Guitarist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: October 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England

 25 Jamie Campbell Bower

Jamie Campbell Bower
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 22, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London

Jamie Campbell Bower is an English actor, model, and singer. He is known for playing important roles in popular films like Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and The Twilight Saga. He is also credited with founding the popular punk rock band Counterfeit.

 26 Robert Smith

Robert Smith
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist
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 Donovan

Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer
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.

 28 PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Artist, Singer, Guitarist
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.

 29 James Bay

James Bay
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hitchin

 30 Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp
Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Motivational speaker, Record producer
Birthdate: May 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wimborne Minster

 31 Nick Drake

Nick Drake
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer
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.

 32 John Entwistle

John Entwistle
Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: October 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chiswick, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 27, 2002

John Entwistle was an English singer-songwriter, bass guitarist, and music producer. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Who, for which he served as the original bass guitarist and backing vocalist. Nicknamed Thunderfingers, Entwistle was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Bass Players list. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 33 Matthew Bellamy

Matthew Bellamy
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

 34 Paul Weller

Paul Weller
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter, Musician
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.

 35 Rex Orange County

Rex Orange County
Famous As: Recording Artist
Birthdate: May 4, 1998
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grayshott, Hampshire

 36 Adam Ant

Adam Ant
Famous As: Guitarist, Actor, Singer
Birthdate: November 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marylebone

 37 Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood
Famous As: Guitarist, Banjoist, Composer, Ondist, Multi-instrumentalist, Actor, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 5, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford

 38 Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck
Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Jazz guitarist, Songwriter
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.

 39 Oliver Sykes

Oliver Sykes
Famous As: Musician
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.

 40 Keith Richards

Keith Richards
Famous As: Musician
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.

 41 Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Guitarist, Musician, Model, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh

 42 Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher
Famous As: Musician
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.

 43 John McVie

John McVie
Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: November 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ealing

 44 Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim
Famous As: Disc Jockey
Birthdate: July 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England

 45 Greg Lake

Greg Lake
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Parkstone
Died: December 7, 2016

 46 Mike Oldfield

Mike Oldfield
Famous As: Composer, Guitarist, Songwriter
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 Dhani Harrison

Dhani Harrison
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Composer, Pianist, Model
Birthdate: August 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Windsor

 48 Marcus Mumford

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

 49 John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin
Famous As: Guitarist, Bandleader, composer
Birthdate: January 4, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Doncaster

 50 Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 11, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

A Guinness record holder for the most-watched leading man on TV, three-time Golden Globe-winner and two-time SAG Award-winner Hugh Laurie has also dabbled in blues music and written a novel. From starting his career with sketch comedy, to winning the OBE and CBE, the actor/comedian has come a long way.