100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

From Jerry Garcia and Joan Jett to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone critic chooses the best and most influential guitarists in rock

Load Previous
Jack White
100
Winter/Getty17/100

17. Jack White

White has become the hottest new thing on six strings by celebrating the oldest tricks in the book: distortion, feedback, plantation blues, the 1960s-Michigan riff terrorism of the Stooges and the MC5. Onstage, decked out like a peppermint dandy, he violates classic covers (Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Bob Dylan's "Isis") with fireball chords and primal, bent-string scream. He is also an acute orchestrator in the studio, stirring the scratchy-78s atmosphere of Blind Willie Johnson sides, 1970s punk and Led Zeppelin-style drama into his own howl. Don't pay attention to the notes; White is not a clean soloist. He's a blowtorch.

Back to Top