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

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Tom Morello

26. Tom Morello

In the early days of Rage Against the Machine, Morello watched local California metal guitarists play "as fast as Yngwie Malmsteen" and realized, "That wasn't a race I wanted to run." So he began to experiment with the toggle switch on his guitar to produce an effect like a DJ scratching a record. The result was true rap metal and a redefinition of the guitar's potential. Morello absorbs hip-hop mixology as a true son of Grandmaster Flash and the Voodoo Child, making his riffs rumble and boom like crosstown turntable traffic.

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