Eddie Van Halen was ranked fourth on the list of the 50 best rhythm guitarists of all time by Guitar World readers.
“As voted for by you, here are the players who don’t necessarily need 16 bars and a spotlight solo to rubber-stamp their greatness,” wrote Jonathan Horsley in a recent article posted to Guitar World’s website.
Here’s what Horsley wrote of Eddie, who finished fourth behind Keith Richards (#3), James Hetfield (#2) and Malcolm Young (#1).
You can learn as much from Eddie Van Halen’s rhythm guitar playing as you can from his leads. Naturally, the two-hand tapping and proto-shred methodology of the latter gets a little more attention, with “Eruption” a solo that became a signature piece of music that offered a blueprint for the Shrapnel generation and beyond.
But mastering EVH’s riffs, the rhythmic quirks in tracks such as “Unchained” and “Panama”, and the dynamic to and fro of “Runnin’ With the Devil”, is a more involved enterprise.
This was what separated EVH from the legions of imitators, players who could shred the guitar from nut to bridge but who failed to command our attention during a verse. The Van Halen groove was untamable. Famously, “Runnin’ With the Devil” plays fast and loose with rhythmic propriety but it offers a case study in how the pocket works. Van Halen, led by their irrepressible and revolutionary guitar player, knew how to work the pocket as well as anyone.
Below are the guitarists who ranked in the top ten as voted by Guitar World readers:
- Malcolm Young
- James Hetfield
- Keith Richards
- Eddie Van Halen
- Jimi Hendrix
- John Lennon
- Pete Townshend
- Jimmy Page
- Dave Mustaine
- Izzy Stradlin
To find out who made the rest of the top 50 list, head over to Horsley’s Guitar World article HERE.