Much of rock and metal’s roots can be easily traced back to classical music. These guitarists made that well known while ushering in a unique style of heavy guitar playing. These are our picks for the 10 Greatest Neoclassical Guitarists!

Make no mistake, you don’t need to be in a neoclassical band to be a neoclassical guitarist. Neither Deep Purple nor Rainbow are true neoclassical bands, but guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore is well-known as a pioneer of the neoclassical style. Heavily influenced by Bach, Mozart and others, Blackmore utilized diminished sevenths and switching between pentatonic scales to help develop the style, which would later be refined by musicians like Yngwie Malmsteen.

Yngwie has risen to become the king of neoclassic guitarists. His debut solo album, Rising Force, marked a shift in what a heavy metal guitarist could accomplish. Twenty albums later, Malmsteen’s influence can be heard in the style of modern shredders and even thrash giants.

Before delving into pure neoclassical shred, Marty Friedman became a thrash god with Megadeth. Between his and Dave Mustaine’s refined playing, Friedman brought Megadeth’s sound to a more sophisticated place than their thrash contemporaries. It’s no wonder why Friedman is often thought of as the most missed member of Megadeth.

Check out the 10 Greatest Neoclassical Guitarists in the Loud List above!

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