Guitarists are some of the most respected people in rock music. However, there are some that don’t get the credit they deserve. Whether it’s them being more on the unknown side or being associated with bands not universally liked, it has meant that some guitarists don’t always get the praise they should do. So, we thought we’d do a lost of ten of the most underrated guitarists of the rock world. Check it out down below and let us know if you agree!
10: Wes Boreland
Starting out with a slightly more obvious one. I have seen praise for the guy, just nowhere near as much as there should be. Yes, the riffs he writes for Limp Bizkit aren’t the most technical of things. But damn if they aren’t all great. Just have a look at the video below and tell me that this isn’t damn impressive and entertaining. And that isn’t even mentioning his solo stuff, which is just as weird but just as damn impressive. The whole band get far too much hate considering how talented each individual member is.
9: Kirk Hammett
I thought I’d get the most hated on guitarist out of the way early. Whether it’s him using too much wah, having to live up to Dave Mustaine or just generally being a part of the worlds most-cool-to-hate metal band, poor Kirk drew the short straw for sure. But the man is far too heavily criticised. He has written some of the best solos in metal history. From the likes of ‘The Unforgiven’, ‘Fade to Black’, ‘One’ and even more recently with stuff like ‘Judas Kiss’, all have been great. Yes, he likes to use the wah peddle a lot, but it does give him his own distinctive sound and honestly it works perfectly. While not being one of the core songwriters of the band, his contributions to the biggest band in metal are still legendary, and he deserves a lot more credit for them.
8: Myles Kennedy
Do I need to say any more than that solo in ‘Blackbird’? The rhythm guitarist of Alter Bridge often gets overshadowed by arguably one of the best guitarists of the current era in Mark Tremonti, but to sleep on Myles is a big mistake. His blues playing is off the charts and makes for a really interesting writing style when it comes to their hard rock/metal music. And he’s show plenty of versatility too, playing with Slash live at most of their shows as well as releasing two completely different solo albums. The man is insanely talented and not talked about enough when talking about great guitarists.
7: Mick Mars
While Motley Crue are another band that are rather unjustly hated on, it can be said that they are not nearly as talented as Metallica. However, Mars is definitely the most talented member of the glam band. I mean heck, just listen to the intro of ‘Live Wire’ and tell me he isn’t fantastic. While he isn’t hated on anywhere near as much as some of the others on this list, he simply isn’t talked about at all, which is a real shame.
6: Michael Paget
A more modern guitarist now, and one from a rather intriguing band. Exploding onto the scene in the early 2000s with some blistering riffs and solos, Bullet for my Valentine were touted as the next big thing. However, after a couple of dud albums (and a couple of great ones) they have cooled off dramatically. However, what has never changed is Page’s incredible playing. Whether it’s the punchy riffs and breakdowns of ‘Scream Aim Fire’ or ‘Knives’ or his amazing soloing on ‘Alone’, ‘Army of Noise’ or their iconic ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, the guy is a massively underappreciated technical player. If only the band hadn’t taken a hit in popularity, he may have had the respect he so sorely deserves.
5: Phil Demmel
Joining Machine Head after the questionable Nu-Metal days of the band was always going to be a hard thing, but to say Demmel made the most of it is a massive understatement. While 2003s Through the Ashes of Empires was already written by the time Demmel joined the band, he sure put on one hell of a performance in the studio. And from there he went to feature on a run of albums that is hard to rival in terms of quality. The praise heaped on The Blackening speaks for itself while Unto the Locust is a worthy follow-up from a songwriting perspective. Meanwhile, Bloodstone and Diamonds remains my favourite album the band have put out, a versatile, underrated gem (pun intended). And I haven’t even mentioned his early work with Vio-lence yet! A true underrated guitar god. The whole track below is a guitarist’s wet dream.
4: The Trivium Guys
Okay so a slight wildcard entry here as it’s a twofer, but it’s hard to say just the one of the Floridian metal titans. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu complement each-others playing styles perfectly at this point, and Triviums albums prove that. Just go and listen to any of their last three albums, or any of their albums at all in fact, and tell me that they are not both incredible players. We all know The Crusade set them back in popularity in a lot of the fans eyes (I don’t know why, it’s a great album) so much like Bullet they are simply not as popular as they should be. But their guitar work on In The Court of the Dragon alone is some of the best I have heard, and the fact that no one is talking about it is why they make it onto this list.
3: Dan Sugarman
The most relative newcomer on this list. He makes it so high up due to the fact that a lot of people I talk to don’t know of him. I have raved that much about Ice Nine Kills recently that I shall spare you another lecture, but their newest guitarist is VERY good. Just check out this video of him shredding to Assault and Batteries. The guy isn’t currently playing live with them but I can already tell he’ll knock it out of the park, if his studio stuff is anything to go by. Everyone go out and listen to Horrorwood now, you won’t be disappointed.
2: Mick Thomson
Not even being the most appreciated guitarist in your own band must be hard. While Jim Root is a phenomenal guitarist and songwriter who definitely deserves all the praise he gets, his bandmate often gets overlooked. However, just listen to his solo on ‘Psychosocial’ or that BEAST of a riff to open ‘Surfacing’ and you will understand just how good he is. For a guy who seems to be the least appreciated out of EIGHT other band members, he is far too good to not get any credit. The video below of him recording some of the stuff for their 2008 album speaks for itself.
1: Jake Pitts
Yes, I know, but before you go hear me out. Yes, Black Veil Brides get a LOT of hate online, and for some parts rightfully so. The band are forever-pandering radio rock, trying to appeal still to this day to the disenfranchised teenagers of the world, the ones who hate mummy and daddy especially much. However, beneath all the edgy lyrics and makeup is a damn good guitarist, and one who is almost wasted in BVB. Jake and Jinx are both fantastic rhythm players, but Jake’s soloing in the likes of the video below is fantastic. It really goes to show why the band get as much hate as they do. It certainly isn’t because they write bad music. It’s a real shame because it makes the rest of the band underrated, hence why Jake is at the top of our list!
And there we have it, our list of the top ten most underrated guitarists in rock. Did we miss any? I imagine we missed a bunch and can’t wait to be told about it! You can do so on our Facebook here or our Instagram here. And do let us know if you enjoyed this list and want to see more. I enjoyed the hell out of writing and researching this and if you want more I’ll gladly make it a regular feature! Heck, I’ll even do video ones, if you really want…