Who is your overall favorite guitarist?

At 44 years of age, I personally feel fortunate to have lived in an era along with some of the finest guitarists who have ever lived. I have always had an overwhelming love of music. As I look back to my earlier years of music appreciation (I took formal piano training for 17 years) I remember how my instructor would suggest exposing myself to the many different styles and disciplines of music.

These were such valuable words of wisdom. Considering the fact that this suggestion, more or less, forced me to be more open to musicians other than those that played in strictly rock and roll bands.

Wow, was I surprised to find that I could be as entertained by Chet Atkins and Les Paul as I could be by Ritchie Blackmore or Carlos Santana. Just think about some of the finest from our time. Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Robin Trower, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, Steve Howe, Al DiMeola, the list could seem almost endless. All such incredible musicians.

Although it's very hard to pick one person or style in particular, let's remember the key words, "overall favorite".
I would probably have to say that my overall favorite would have to be Steve Morse (from Dixie Dregs fame).

Who is your favorite?
Mood dependent: Julian Bream for reflection, Sonny Sharrock to exorcise demons, Buddy Guy to shake the monkey bone, Grant Green for getting the groove on.
Key is orginality as there are so many technically proficient. Orgniality in their solos, or a distinct style/sound...at least to me. That's what truly distinguishes the great from very good

Jimi Hendrix (the baddest of them all), Stevie Ray Vaughn (among all his impersonators only the guy in the band Indigenous can hang), Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Edge, BB King, Buddy , John McLaughlin, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield.....still so many!

So all time favorite....have to go w/ Jimmy

among the living: John Scofield
Henryhk, I like your thinking...

Technical poriciency is no small feat!
It is the product of prodigious talent, excellent teaching, and a lifetime of hard work - the kind of work which would earn a fortune in almost any other endevor.
Perhaps you need to be a (classical) guitar player to really appreciate it, but there are some guitarists, like Jorge Caballero, Tilman Hoppstock, Pepe Romero or Denis Azabagic, who are really sooooo proficient that it is an art in itself. These guys really seem so free of technical problems, even on very difficult music, can simply flow through them unfettered. They are like a really good pre-amp!
Boldstrummer: I am not saying technical proficiency is easy at all...but I still think an artist has to go beyond that to be great. Classical guitarists should be no different...its the case in any art form.