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

Kim Thayil
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100. Kim Thayil

Soundgarden didn't set out to destroy metal — just take it back to basics. Thayil updated the forbidding sludge and tweaked-out solos of prime Zep. His fondness for the drop-D tuning, in which the low E string is loosened a whole step for maximum heaviosity, still resonates throughout hard rock.