Guitarist of the Year – 2012 Loudwire Music Awards
You know them, you love them, and though the singer may get most of the spotlight, we all know that a good guitarist is what typically drives a band. Whether it be a flashy solo or just keeping time with the band, hanging on a heavy chord, the guitarist is one of the most key elements to a group, especially when it comes to hard rock and heavy metal.
This Loudwire Music Awards category of Guitarist of the Year to narrow down to 10, as there are simply a lot of great guitarists out there, but here are the nominees for the Best Guitarist of the Year. Check out each and our argument for them, and then let your voice be heard by voting in the poll below:
Alex Skolnick, Testament
As far as thrash metal goes, there aren't many guitarists that are held in as high regard as Testament's Alex Skolnick. This year he got a chance to shine again on the band's 'Dark Roots of Earth' album. Frequently working in tandem with Eric Peterson, Skolnick's runs and riffs remain as fresh today as they did way back when.
Jacky Vincent, Falling in Reverse
One of the emerging guitarists on the scene is Jacky Vincent, who is getting plenty of notice for his work alongside vocalist Ronnie Radke in Falling in Reverse. Vincent's riffing helps make 'The Drug in Me Is You' album really go.
Jim Root, Slipknot / Stone Sour
Onstage this year, Jim Root brought his energetic licks to Slipknot's North American trek, and he further showcased his axe skills in 2012 on Stone Sour's latest disc, 'House of Gold & Bones, Pt. 1.' Working opposite Josh Rand, Root delivered some of the most in-your face licks on the singles 'Gone Sovereign' and 'Absolute Zero.'
Herman Li, DragonForce
It was a welcome return in 2012 for Dragonforce's Herman Li, whose band got back in the game after changing vocalists. 'The Power Within' album got the group back out on tour and refreshed in the minds of fans exactly how quick and masterful that the guitarist is at his instrument.
Kim Thayil, Soundgarden
Kim Thayil has been largely out of the spotlight since the late '90s, when Soundgarden went their separate ways, but the time apart allowed Thayil to replenish his riff bank and it's the fans that are reaping the rewards on the stellar new disc, 'King Animal.'
Kurt Ballou, Converge
Hardcore rockers Converge returned after a three-year absence with 'All We Love We Leave Behind,' an aggressive collection featuring the superb guitar (and production) work of Kurt Ballou. Ballou gets bonus points for doing it all organically, rocking without artificial distortion, triggers or Auto-Tune.
Mark Tremonti, Tremonti / Alter Bridge / Creed
We knew Mark Tremonti was a great guitarist before this year, but the Creed and Alter Bridge member showed he was a true artist with his 'All I Was' solo album. If anything, it allowed Tremonti rock even harder than he usually does and show off more of his metal side.
Paul Waggoner & Dustie Waring, Between the Buried and Me
Between the Buried and Me's 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' would not have been the standout set it was without the talents of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring. The pair perform in tandem for the majority of the 2012 record, making it nearly impossible to choose just one of the two.
Siouxsie Medley, Dead Sara
While Emily Armstrong is getting the bulk of the attention for her powerhouse vocals, Dead Sara's Siouxsie Medley is the perfect compliment on guitar. It's her mesmerizing guitar lick that pulls listeners into the lead single 'Weatherman,' and her bluesy work on 'Sorry for It All' and 'Timed Blues' show her versatility.
A perennial favorite for Top 10 lists anytime he's involved with a record, Slash got to put more of a stamp than ever on his music with the 'Apocalyptic Love' disc. Whether it was the chugging 'You're a Lie,' the hard-driving 'Standing in the Sun' or the groovy 'Bad Rain,' Slash got a chance to show his range with no real restrictions.
Voting for the 2012 Loudwire Music Awards closes on Jan. 15 at 11:59 PM EST. Fans can vote once per hour, so keep coming back to make sure your favorite guitarist wins!