Mount Rushmore needs no introduction. However, the term is often thrown around to represent the ‘top four’ of anything particular thing. For example, the Mount Rushmore of Major League Baseball would feature Babe Ruth, Micky Mantle, Willie Mays, and maybe Hank Aaron. Debatable? Of course! I’m taking a shot at narrowing down the four best guitarists in metal history… you might not agree, so tell me yours!
I think Dime is a given. He was an amazing rhythm and lead player–not many guys can excel at both styles. From crushing riffs like ‘Cowboys From Hell’ to the epic solo on ‘Floods,’ Dimebag single-handedly kept metal guitar alive in the mid-nineties when grunge rock was dominating the music scene.
There never will be a better strictly rhythm guitar player than James Hetfield. He has mastered the art of the pure riff. Heavy and catchy are what he does best. He created a down-picking style that has been imitated by millions–not to mention his skills as a lyricist, singer, and his exceptional stage presence.
There would be no metal without Tony Iommi. Black Sabbath essentially created metal with their fearless, dark, music. Iommi’s guitar lines had a lot to do with that. Songs such as ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Iron Man’ are instantly recognizable and paved the way for future generations of aspiring guitarists.
This spot could have gone to his former bandmate Marty Friedman. Newer shredders like Synyster Gates and Matt Heafy are some of my personal favorites, but can’t hold a candle to the legacy Mustaine has created. We all know the story and the music. He’s written so many classics, from the early days of ‘Peace Sells,’ to the stripped-down headbangers found on ‘Countdown To Extinction.’