Looking back it’s hard to believe how far we’ve all come in this guitar journey. Remember being 13 and buying that one album that you learned front to back?

There are a few albums that have this status in almost every guitarist’s mind, but we’re willing to bet we can name a few.

Allow us to take you on a nostalgic trip of preteen idol worship. Here are 5 guitarists that we all listened to with our jaws on the floor!

Joe Satriani

If you somehow lived without listening to 1987’s “Surfing With The Alien,” you’ve likely also never seen or heard of a guitar in your life.

Satriani burst onto the scene in the 80’s with the beginning of an extensive discography, but one album truly set him apart. The title track is by far one of the most popular instrumental tracks of all time, and easily one of the most searched guitar tabs!

Joe may be responsible for inciting more desire for a tremolo than anyone else in human history. Well, except maybe…

Steve Vai

The musical recipe that created Steve Vai is so complex and eclectic it would require a team of top scientists to deconstruct.

From immensely intricate classic compositions to straight-forward(ish) 80’s shred, Vai has covered an astonishing amount of ground since his humble beginnings at Berklee College of Music.

No matter what era of Vai tickles your fancy, there’s no arguing the man has a place in nearly everyone’s iTunes library.

John Petrucci

Speaking of Berklee grads (man, that school sure turns out shred-legends…), John Petrucci is considered not only one of the greatest guitarists alive, but possibly one of the farthest-reaching sources of inspiration for an entire generation… of metal artists.

Petrucci’s technique and approach to guitar didn’t just contain itself within his own stomping grounds of early prog, it trickled down into every facet of metal and its subgenres, inspiring key artists in progressive metal, death metal, metal fusion, and countless more territories.

Whether it’s his technique, his music, or his almighty beard that gives you inspiration, we’d be lying if we said he hasn’t left his mark on a generation.

Eddie Van Halen

If you didn’t play “Eruption” on guitar, you sure wished you could.

Few guitarists have created as much of a stir through innovation as Eddie. From his tapping, to natural harmonics, to his iconic tone, no one can say that Eddie didn’t change guitar forever.

These days the first guitar “trick” kids learn is sweep picking, but back in Eddie’s day, every kid in North America was sitting in their bedroom practicing their two-handed tapping skills to impress all their friends at school the next day.

If nothing else, I can admire a man who can play like a god while still running around on stage like a chicken with its head cut off. If there was a guitar playing Olympics, I tell ya…

Who Else?

This is just a tiny snapshot of a long list of groundbreaking guitarists who continue to impact the world. However, we all can agree on one thing: we owe these gentlemen a well-deserved “thank you.”

What players did we miss? Who did you listen to growing up that you feel every guitarist learned from at some point?

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