Best Acoustic Guitar Players Of All Time?

Piggybacking on the unique guitar theme, I thought it might be fun to get your list of acoustic masters.

Here is my list:
1. Michael Hedges - This will more than likely be a controversial #1 choice, because I know Michael was heavily influenced by Leo Kottke, but I think Hedges took all his influences to a higher compositional level. He was a total freak on the acoustic guitar and paved the way for so many of the new fingerstyle players. He may not be the best of all time, but he gets my vote anyway.
2. Andres Segovia
3. Leo Kottke
4. Chet Atkins
5. Al DiMeola
6. John McLaughlin
7. Tommy Emmanuel
8. Duck Baker
9. Doyle Dykes
10. Don Ross
11. Antoine Dufour
12. Andy McKee
14. Preston Reed
15. Peppino D'Agostino
16. Pierre Bensusan
17. Billy McLaughlin
18. Tim Sparks
19. Mark O'Conner
20. Tony Rice

I'm sure there's many more I've missed, but I'll leave those gems up to you guys!

Other than Chet Akins I do not know one name. Guess I'll have to look into acoustic guitar musicians further. Thnx.
Matty one good place to start is! You can find several videos of Don Ross, Antoine Dufour, Andy McKee, Michael Hedges, Tommy Emmanuel, Preston Reed, Eric Mongraine, Doug Smith and others. Another place is If you like acoustic guitar these previously mentioned players are the bomb!

The Tommy Emmanuel videos are fun to watch... the man is totally into it.
I didn't see Kelly Joe Phelps on your list. Perhaps not the best, but one of the most enjoyable to.
Segovia? Never heard the name? Wow.

Metralla; I assume (hope) you're kidding.

Dawgbyte; I think you accidently left out Joe Pass and Christopher Parkening - in that order.
I think Antonio Forcione is worthy of consideration as one of the best current players (time will tell the rest). He is a true joy to listen to.

Chet Atkins - Maybe the best pure tone of all time?

My 2 cents anyway...
Jorma Kaukonen
Willie Nelson
tommy smothers
Michael Hedges is my favorite.

Andy Mckee was just recently a "featured video" on youtube. IMHO...he seemed like a Michael Hedges ripoff.
Please add:
Laurence Juber, Doug Smith, Lindsey Buckingham
steve howe
Charlie Byrd
Richard Thompson
Jerry Douglass

A sleeper - Marshall Crenshaw; maybe not in quite the same league as some listed here, but continues to hone his technique over time. If you can find his acoustic greatest hits, you'll hear him show off a bit.

Don't forget Steve Howe. Originality counts largely. Not all the above can write.
Some great picks so far. I think Ry Cooder's acoustic work certainly deserves mention. Also, one of my lesser known favorites would be Ed Gerhard. His "Live Album" should be in EVERY audiophile's collection - an amazing recording.
Ry Cooder
Richard Thompson
Ali Farka Toure
Raphael Rabello
Jack West
Django Reinhardt
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Robert Fripp
...and many, many others.
I'll throw Ian Anderson into the mix. Yeah, the guy from J Tull.

By the way, Jaybo's choice RULES!
Not necessarily the best but a few you might enjoy by the looks of your list ...

early Bruce Cockburn
Richard Ruskin
Stefan Grossman
Dave Evans
Peter Lang
Davey Graham
Bob Hadley
Happy Traum

Was my post too cryptic?

I was responding to Mattybumpkin with surprise that he had not heard of Segovia. Hence the question mark.

John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey John Fahey
Seriously though. Was that an oversight?
Add Jim Hall. Double add Joe Pass.
Maybe not best of all time but how about:

Merle Travis.
Phil Keaggy
I would also add Paco de Lucia.
Tiny Tim.
In no particular order; Kelly Joe Phelps, Segovia, Rory Block, Joe Pass, Robert Johnson, Julian Bream, Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole (Slack Key), Carlos Paredes (Portugese Guitar), Tim Reynolds ....oh, I'm sure I can think of more, but that's all for now...

No mention yet of Martin Simpson? Tsk, tsk.
Other than Segovia, none of these is even close to Paco de Lucia. If you haven't heard him, you haven't heard the greatest living guitar player on the planet.
I too would have added in a living time frame Paco de Lucia, Antonio Forcione and I am surprised no one has mentioned -Martin Taylor- just amazing and available on Linn records. One wonders how there are no over dubs on his playing- as it sounds like he has four hands!
I was trying to remember Paco de Lucia, when I put Al DiMeola on the list. I agree, he's magic on the guitar.

If you're going to suggest Joe Pass, you might as well add Pat Martino to the list. Might as well add Jonas Helborg while we're at it. Saw him open up for John Scofield a few years ago.

PS - I highly recommend checking out video of Doyle Dykes. I true master.
kudos to the paco guys need to hear the
assad brothers!
Doc Watson
I can't figure why Doc Watson isn't on this list??? No Tony Rice, Norman Blake??? Clarence White?!? Flat pickers of the world rebel!

Ma'God.. Then there's Eddie Lang,Lonnie Johnson... Oh, That gypsy guy... Django something..

Robert Johnson.. Could be.. Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis (he was blind too).... Least we got Ry listed up above...

There's that Bhatt guy too..

20. Tony Rice.

I'm glad he was there as I was listening to one of his albums at the time.

Nice list. Hedges is easily my number one too.

I saw someone else mention Dave Evans, and that was nice to see. If you are into to acoustic fingerstyle guitar his album "Sad Pig Dance" is an absolute must have. It can be hard to find, but it is worth the effort of tracking that one down.

there are a few other people that I also dig but didn't see on the list:
Peter Finger
John James
John Renbourn
Leo Wijnkamp jr
Pat Metheny, Jerry Garcia (I love his style & tone) & John Carlini (one of Tony Rices' sidekicks)
Don't forget Alex Degrassi, William Ackerman and Andrew York
-Mantas Di Plata was pretty astounding (Paco fans will probably dig him, unfotunately the recording quality is generally not real spiff... still worth checking out)

-Uwe Kropinski, So Oder So and Berlin Concert are both way more psyco-active and head warping than most electric guitar records, (extremely percussive).

-Larry Coryell did some good stuff w/ Phillip Catherine and Steve Khan

-Derek Bailey may be tough to absorb, but was still a #$%^!! giant!

-Sylvain Luc, first Trio Sud disc is great

-Egberto Gismonti's use of harmonics alone on the Fantasia record sets him apart from anyone else.

-Bernd Steidl put out a good acoustic hair metal shred record

U.Srinivas/Dream w/ Michael Brook holds up pretty well

-Fred Frith has invented some cool acoustic things that got recorded

-Eddie Van Halen Spanish Fly does not suck, same w/ Allan Holdsworth's acoustic work on on Velvet Darkness and with Gong.
I can't believe I forgot Uwe Kropinski. Good call, Duane. That guy is incredible.

Mark Knopfler

And one my favorites, whether electric or acoustic, Nuno Bettencourt. Excuse the poor quality, but this video of Nuno is purty darn good.
Nuno can smoke!... Kind of wondering about the earlier mention of Jonas Hellborg; As far as i know he's a bass player. Buckethead did some fantastic acoustic guitar playing on Hellborg's Octave Of The Holy Innocents disc and Shawn Lane also delivered some excellent acoustic guitar work on a couple of Hellborg discs. Are there some other Hellborg discs w/ acoustic guitar out there anyone can recommend?
Hey Howard - Can you recommend a good Nuno CD? All the selections on Amazon were priced at $34 and above...WTF? Here's one for this thread: Guitar Wars

Hey Howard - Can you recommend a good Nuno CD? All the selections on Amazon were priced at $34 and above...WTF?
Criminy, I don't know why they would be so much. $92 for Guitar Wars...sheesh! As for Nuno stuff, you may/may not like the music. I'm not too into the band Extreme, but his guitar work is amazing. I like Schizophonic a lot, his solo album, though I'm not sure if it would be your thing. I'll see if I can send you one for a listen. I'm not familiar with his Drama Gods stuff. His new project should be stellar: Satellite Party, with Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction).
Here's a video of Rory Block, since women seem to be a minority in this thread. I saw her play locally in a small venue and can tell you, if you are a fan of the guitar, and or the blues, do not miss her if she plays nearby you.

Another great, cut short in his prime, Chris Whitley (and another terrible-quality video).

I agree with Cmo that the bluegrass/flatpickers appear to be underappreciated. Check out this guy, for example.

Go to the "media" page for sound clips.
yes Grier is great, also Bryan Sutton is an excellent bluegrasser...
Helborg is a bass player. Look at the context of the post.
Joe Pass plays only acoustic guitar on at least one album, (Songs For Ellen).

Pat Martino has recorded acoustic guitar on a couple of albums that i know of, (All Sides Now, and Starbright).

Not saying either one is primarily an acoustic player, (I wouldn't have thought to list them)... i did miss the jab that was aimed at Jax 2 for picking Joe Pass. I guess Marco could jump you for misspelling Hellborg.
I didn't read through every post here as it is a rather dated list. I was happy to see many of the stalwart players, especially John Fahey (leading to Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho--where is the latter?). But there is a glaring omission on the British side: Davy Graham who pretty much defined the direction British fingerstyle would take for a generation. Bert Jansch (not mentioned anywhere) and John Renbourn both acknowledge this. Paul Simon's version of Graham's Angi (on Sounds of Silence) was perhaps the first highly popularized fingerstyle piece on American shores. All of Davy Graham's studio recordings have at one time or another been re-released and 2012 saw the release of the 3 disc Lost Tapes set with some previously unreleased work although not real high on the sonic quality side. There's been a number of archival releases of DG performances as well. He passed away in the last year or two and left behind an incredible body of work.