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Top 10 Guitarists You Don’t Know

by Moe Shinola
fact checked by dickensgirl

We have a few pretty good guitarists and musicians that frequent the List Universe, so I am expecting this list to garner a lot of interest – and maybe even some criticism. Here is a list of the ten best guitarists you probably don’t know.


Michael Lee Firkins

Michael is a shredder with soul. He was one of Mike Varney’s group of technique-obsessed monsters at Shrapnel Records. He has this really cool country-blues thing going on as well. Here he is live doing “Runaway Train”.


Emily Remler

Emily Remler is known in Jazz circles, and was actually a friend is my old jazz teacher here in Kansas City. Her thing was straight tradition Wes-influenced jazz and she was great at it. Unfortunately, she died of an overdose far too young at the age of 32. This is from one of her instructional videos, John Coletrane’s “Afro Blue”.


Dave Hole

Dave is from Perth, Australia. His first record that I was aware of was “Ticket To Chicago” recorded live in Chicago. He plays slide in the unusual over-the-neck way that Danny Gatton used to. He demonstrates it brilliantly here on “I’m A King Bee”.


Rory Block

Rory is a great blues guitarist. All that I know about her is from having seen her picture along with Artie Traum in one of Stefan Grossman’s instructional books. The pics were from the 60/70s, so she has been around awhile, and is very respected in blues circles. Here is a kickass version of “Crossroads Blues” by Robert Johnson.


Oz Noy

Oz is a guitarist from Israel, now living in New York. He is a very well-established studio player who has worked with, among others, Anton Fig & Will Lee from David Letterman’s show band. I think he has a really original sound. Here he is with Adam Nussbaum & Bann playing “Way Out Willy”.


Scotty Anderson

Scotty is one of those players that makes your jaw drop. If you have been looking for the logical heir to Chet Atkins, here he is. In this clip you hear him playing a jazz standard, “Caravan”.


Jennifer Batten

Jennifer was an instructor at Guitar Institute of Technology on L.A., then went on to play in Michael Jackson’s touring band for a hot minute. She is one of the best-ever exponents of the 2-hand tapping style. Here’s an impossible-sounding “Fight Of The Bumblebee”.


Reverend Gary Davis

Here is the all-time king of ragtime guitar. The Rev. Gary played on the streets of New York for decades, then was noted instructor Stefan Grossman’s teacher in the 60s. Stefan used to go to Gary’s house for lessons. The tune he’s playing here is “Slow Drag/Cincinnati Flow Rag”.


Shawn Lane

Hailed by many as the world’s fastest guitar player, Shawn was a working musician from his early teens with Black Oak Arkansas, followed by many years in obscurity playing in local Memphis bands to feed his family, then to his most successful gig with Jonas Hellborg. Shawn was exploring traditional indian music shortly before he died of a lung ailment at around age 40. Here is his “savitri” which must have been recorded shortly before his death. It is really weird and cool.


Allan Holdsworth!

That’s right, the greatest electric guitar player of all time. There has never been a player who combines great technique with artistic integrity and commitment to vision the way Allen does. I think that history will definitely give him the crown of All Time Greatest. The tune he is playing here with his band is “Three Sheets To The Wind”.

Contributor: Moe Shinola

fact checked by dickensgirl