Top 10 electric guitarists who you’ve probably never heard of

Another Friday, another Musicroom Top 10!

After last week’s look at the best Gotye covers around, this week we present you with: the top 10 electric guitarists who you’ve never heard of—a bold name and one we’re immediately back tracking on.

Readers who know their niches will of course recognise some if not all of the names lined up below, but for those not so clued up we hope you can find a new cult hero or obscure name to impress your peers with over the weekend.

It would be some effort to describe our list as easy listening, so if a noise does fly out of your speakers and offend your ears, please feel free to jump down to the next guitarist and tell us all about your disgust in the comments section below.

Who have we missed that deserves a spot? Who is too popular already to be here? Jot down your thoughts in a comment at the bottom of the article and let us know what you think!

1. Doyle Dykes

Regularly cited as one of the world’s best finger-style players along with Tommy Emmanuel, Doyle Dykes is a guitarist’s guitarist whose incredible talent is yet to be met with the recognition enjoyed by other more mainstream players.

2. Greg Koch

Koch is an entertainer, tutor author, on-stage comedian and most importantly, an exceptional guitarist who blends brilliant technique and impressive versatility with a disarming, well-humoured charm.

3. Glenn Branca

Look away now if the idea of noise music does not appeal to you.

Branca rose up through the post-punk No Wave scene of New York, and became notable for his experimental improvisations and compositions. His later work includes the ambitious 100 Guitar Orchestra, a work that has been performed in cities across the USA and Europe.

This article’s header image also features Glenn Branca playing his double bodied harmonic guitar. Check out this video of the unique instrument in action.

4. Nathan Williams of Wavves

Nathan Williams is the front man, principle songwriter and guitarist of surf-punk upstarts, Wavves. His guitar playing is comprised of retro surf riffs, lo-fi textures and a knowing eye for ridiculously hip, tongue-in-cheek pretentiousness.

5. Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor

Lead guitarist in Indian Djent band, Skyharbor, Dhar’s work can be found across YouTube, not just in his music, but also online seminars created to help aspiring players understand his approach and technique.

6. Adrian Belew of King Crimson

Robert Fripp may be the first name to mind when thinking up a guitarist from King Crimson, but Adrian Belew was arguably equal to the celebrated prog legend. Belew also played with Talking Heads, David Bowie and enjoyed a successful career as a prolific session player.

7. Felix Martin

An innovative player from Venezuela, Felix Martin composes and performs with a custom-built 14 string guitar. Besides being a professional guitarist, Felix also works as a sound engineer, teacher and arranger.

8. Jim Campilongo

Justinguitar’s Justin Sandercoe is fan of Jim Campilongo, and if that isn’t enough of a recommendation for you then check out his beautiful tone, touch and musicality in the clip above to hear his playing for yourself.

9. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley of Sun O)))

This one is sure to be divisive pick. Sun O))) certainly aren’t for everyone. Their nail bitingly slow, droning doom metal can almost be hypnotising at times, and has been described as sounding like some sort of primal, trance-like ritual.

Whether you’re a fan of their music or not, Anderson and O’Mallery’s approach is certainly distinct and different compared to most of what’s out there.

10. Ron Jarzombek of Blotted Science

At number ten (or should that be eleven, Nigel?) is Ron Jarzombek of Blotted Science, whose video clip says it all: “Ron Jarzombek is not human.”

Face meltingly good, eye poppingly tech, impossibly tight—you can throw down all the stock guitar clichés you could want and the resulting mass of hyperbole would still be an apt description of this machine of a guitarist.

Who have we missed? Who doesn’t deserve to be on our list?
Who is your obscure cult guitar hero?

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    Share Your Thoughts

  1. Guitarmony says

    Excellent list although Greg Koch, Adrian Belew and Ron Jarzombek shouldn’t even be on it – they should be household names!

  2. Dave says

    Adam “Nolly” Getgood of Red Seas Fire is an incredible guitarist in addition to being an excellent producer.

  3. Sauce says

    What about Tony MacAlpine, Allan Holdsworth, Greg Howe, Guhrie Govan, etc? I approve with a couple of names but not the whole list seriously

  4. GregJohnson says

    Thank you to everyone for all your comments!

    There’s been some great suggestions so far – with so many great guitarists out deserving of a mention we’ll need to put a part two list together soon.

    • BucketHead says

      No-one .. however ‘ guitar literate’ has mentioned the awesome Monte Montgomery … who has no peers .. no-one uses a fretboard like him … check out Little Wing by him … unrivaled. ( no Buckethead either )

  5. Patrick Diver says

    Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention fame, and currently The Richard Thompson Band.

    A guitar god among guitar heroes!

  6. Guitar-tech says

    I can’t understand noone mentions Terry Kath of the original Chicago, he definitely belongs there, so cool, so versatile and so ahead of his time!

  7. Ian says

    Am I the only one here who has heard of Andy McKee and is shocked he’s not on the list?! I’m into tech metal by the way, and dude is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but as far as musicians go…holy shit, the guys a monster.

    • Johnny says

      I saw Andy McKee live with Preston Reed and Jon Gomm, and as good as McKee and Reed are, Jon Gomm simply blew them both out of the water. He can do anything that they can do, but they couldn’t do the things that he can do. The man is astonishing.

  8. Name Required says

    Not featured on this list is Shawn Lane, Tony MacAlpine or Derek Taylor; three fairly under-appreciated axemongers considering the quality of their musicianship and wealth of material… Redd Volkaert is another underrated guitarist for country fans.. As for acoustic talent, I’d recommend Jason Mcguire, Bob Brozman and Steven King. Why these guys aren’t marquee names is beyond me…

  9. andrew nichols says

    Tr Stan the man from ROCK SOLID yorkshire.

  10. jaratekid says

    I agree that Ben Monder is excellent, also Tim Miller should be on the list, he has liquid fingers and melody to go with it

    This video of Tim is astounding