Can You Name These Legendary Guitarists?

By: Olivia C
Image: PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Guitarists have made it big on their own or with a band. Regardless of what genre they might be into or whatever they could play, their strokes -- or shall we stay strums -- of genius always shine through those riffs.

In many cases, musicians who can play the guitar could already pursue a solo career. It's a huge plus if they also compose their own songs. Worldwide pop culture has many examples of this kind of talent.

Another kind of talent is the guitarist who starts a band. Often, it's the one who plays lead guitar who also takes charge of the band. He or she is usually the main composer of the songs, and then the bandmates add in their own expertise or magic touch to these songs. And then, they all play beautiful music together, so to speak.

In the past decades, though, it's also not so uncommon for a guitarist to be a member of more than one band. If he or she is a guitarist in one band, he or she could also be the band leader of another band. It could play that way.

These realities are but some of what our legendary guitarists have also experienced in their lives and in their careers. You think you can identify this list of greats? Then play that funky music, legendarily!

Jimi Hendrix is one of those legendary musicians who died at that strange age of 27. Many other musicians went at that age. Such a mystery...

B.B. King is the renowned blues singer-guitarist who first became popular during the late 1940s. He is one great legend.

Before Eric Clapton became a successful solo guitarist, he was with many bands. He was with The Yardbirds and Cream.

Chuck Berry is one of the iconic names behind the evolution of rock and roll. Of course, that also branched out into the rhythm and blues genre, or what we call R&B today.

Keith Richards is the legendary guitarist of the equally legendary group called the Rolling Stones. It won't be the same without this guy!

Jerry Garcia is known as the vocalist and guitarist of The Grateful Dead. But he also released solo projects and had his own band named after him.

Carlos Santana might be more popular with the younger generation due to his collaboration with younger artists such as Rob Thomas in "Smooth" and Michelle Branch with "The Game of Love," but this legend is already solid before that. For instance, check out his big '70s hit called "Black Magic Woman."

Stevie Ray Vaughan sadly had a short career, but his influence was far-reaching enough to influence generations after him. He died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35.

Eddie Van Halen is the guitarist of the band Van Halen. David Lee Roth used to be their vocalist. He left, then returned again lately.

Jimmy Page is the founder of Led Zeppelin. He was a former member of The Yardbirds, too, but Led Zep was a greater rock enigma altogether!

Brian May is the legendary guitarist of the iconic band called Queen. They're worldwide faves until now.

Joni Mitchell helped define a musical era with her folk-pop rock music. She's originally from Canada.

George Harrison was indeed legendary as part of The Beatles. But he also achieved success as a solo act and with other collaborations.

Muddy Waters was originally from Mississippi. But his move to Chicago was a great achievement in the development of the blues in that area.

Lou Reed was the singer-songwriter of The Velvet Underground. His contribution to music is undeniable.

Pete Townshend is a legendary guitarist who also had some controversial run-ins in his life. But that's the rock and roll life, perhaps...

Frank Zappa is one of those musical geniuses who experimented with the art of sound. His early band was called The Mothers of Invention.

Bo Diddley influenced a lot of musicians that came out during the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s. But later generations also discovered him, making him a real legend.

Perhaps Roy Orbison is best remembered for the hit "Oh Pretty Woman." That song was huge back in 1964, more so when Julia Roberts' film of the same title came out in the '90s.

Duane Allman is identified with the Allman Brothers Band, even though it's only him and another brother who is an Allman there. But his life was cut short at age 24 due to a motorcycle accident.

The Ramones is the plural form of the band led by Johnny Ramone. They're very instrumental in the punk rock movement in the US.

Jeff Beck was also a member of the band The Yardbirds. Members of that band seem to be great, but they left...

Joe Strummer was the identified lead of The Clash. He died at age 50 in England.

The happy rockabilly '80s group Stra Cats was led by Brian Setzer. But he changed gears in the '90s and established the retro swing group called The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Mark Knopfler gained early fame with the group Dire Straits. But when they disbanded, he also worked on other things, such as musical scores for films.

Neil Young had successful solo career moves as well as collaborations. In particular, he's the Young in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Joe Perry is from Aerosmith. He's such a talented guy, even if he gets overshadowed at times by the more flamboyant Steven Tyler.

Slash was actually born in the UK but is now based in the US. His real name is Saul Hudson, if you're curious.

Joan Jett has a great line-up of classic rocker songs. An example is "Cherry Bomb."

Kurt Cobain and his Nirvana band helped propel grunge into the mainstream music world. Sadly, he took his own life when he was only 27.

Deep Purple has Ritchie Blackmore as a co-founder. He is already included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After gaining rock and roll cred during the 1970s, James Williamson focused on earning a degree in electrical engineering. He also had a good career as a Silicon Valley tech guy.

Billy Gibbons established the unusual-looking band called ZZ Top back in the late '60s. They're from Texas.

John Fogerty's band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, was instrumental in contributing to the musical culture of the late '60s and early '70s. They are now included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Edge is with U2, and is also as recognizable as their lead singer Bono. His real name is David Howell Evans, if you're curious.

In the late '60s, Robbie Robertson was in the group named The Band. He wrote a lot of songs.

Buddy Guy is also instrumental in the Chicago blues sound. He is a huge influence among many of our known musical legends, even the ones on this quiz!

Stephen Stills is the S in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young that got popular during the '70s. He's still active in the music biz.

Mickey Baker is one legend who helped in intersecting varied musical formations back in the '50s. There's rock and roll, there's rhythm and blues, and there's Mickey Baker playing at its crossroads, which influenced many great guitarists as well.

Heavy metal with a heart and a mind, as well as great music, is how Metallica is remembered by Generation X fans of the '80s and '90s. We have James Hetfield to thank for that, as their main songwriter, singer and guitarist.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes