The 10 Most Influential Guitar Players Of The Modern Era of Heavy Metal

Doc Coyle complied a list of the 20 most influential metal guitarist of the modern era, which I think misses a handful of guitarist that I believe were even more influential than some listed in the mentioned VH1 list. Of course, this is a subjective matter, and therefore, I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes. Nonetheless, I have created a list with 10 guitarists that I personally think should have made that list.

First, we need to define what the Modern Era of Heavy Metal is. In my humble opinion, the Modern Era of Heavy Metal starts with the birth of thrash metal in the early 1980s. With that said, these are my 10 Most Influential Guitarists Of The Modern Era of Heavy Metal. Which are yours?

Zakk Wylde Vinnie Moore Steve Vai Steve Morse Scott Ian Michael Weikath Jeff Waters Jeff Hannemann Dimebag Darrell Dave Mustaine

***From Hero To Zero: A show about the misconception of the demise of the music industry

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer

  • :l

    Where’s Petrucci?

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      You’re right. Petrucci is definitely a very influential guitarist. Really like what he does. So are Marty Friedman, Michael Amott, Eddie Van Halen, or Alex Skolnik. Unfortunately, I limited myself to 10 spots to assign and these are the ones that made my top 10. Which guitarists would make your top 10?

  • Annika Keres

    Could you pick a few more americans? Because obviously the best metal is from the US… right…

    • MattiSixx

      i was expecting Alexi to be on this list too

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      Hey Annika! Thanks for the comment. Didn’t realise that I chose that many American guitarists. FYI, I’m from Switzerland and not Americanised at all. Therefore, pure coincidence in that regard. Well, at least Jeff Waters is Canadian and Michael Weikath from Germany.

      I agree with you. There are a bunch of other guitarists like the one’s you mentioned and more that could have made the list and I would have happily included. Was hard for me to cut out some guitarists that I truly admire and know that they have influenced thousands. Such lists are always very subjective and I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes 🙂 just my perception (and preference). What would your top 10 be?

  • Federico Eric

    Randy Rhoads??? Marty Friedman??? yngwie malmsteen???

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      Ciao Federico, the names you just mentioned would definitely also be legitimate for this list, and they were actually on my short-list. Unfortunately, I gave myself only 10 spots. But the list is subjective nonetheless 🙂

  • Matt

    The most influential guitarist for me is Paul Gilbert. I wouldn’t be at my level if I hadn’t spent my early years playing trying to learn how to play PG songs

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      Hell yeah! PG is phenomenal. Saw him up-close at a workshop in Japan. What a great guy. Also saw him live as a teenager with Mr Big on their Lean Into It tour, as well as on their What If (reunion) tour. Such a great and fun guitarist.

  • David Patrick Rogness

    Why isn’t hetfield on here

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      Hetfield was on the short-list for being such a kick-ass rhythm guitarist, but unfortunately didn’t make the top 10.

  • Salvo Villilapsi Messi

    Hannemann is not so influential as Yngwie J. Malmsteen or Alexi Laiho.

  • Cihan Koseoglu

    really? scott ian, dave mustaine and michael godknowshisname from helloween are influential ?

  • Warlord Nygard

    You could focus less on US. Come on, you could put Alexi Laiho or at least Mikael Akerfeldt.

    • Sebastiano Mereu

      I really didn’t think about nationalities. Just turned out to be like this 😀 I’m Italian living in Switzerland and have very little touch-points with the US. But I surely see your point now.

  • Alex

    Steve Vai Heavy Metal? ¡You say Heavy Metal!

  • OldNerdBrasil

    chuck schuldiner, john petrucci