Meet the 30 Best Guitarists Under 30, Part 1

These 30 guitarists are alive, they are under 30, and they are the best. Today, the first 15.

Haim at Bonnaroo
Haim© Catie Laffoon/Red Bul

Jimmy Page. Lita Ford. Jimi Hendrix. Prince. Annie Clark. Sonny Sharrock. Billy Corgan. Thurston Moore. Carrie Brownstein. Jack White. Slash. BB King. Pete Townshend. Marnie Stern. All of these guitarists are amazing – they are legends. But none of them made this list because they are either too old or too dead (RIP).

The guitarists here are under 30 years old. Some of them are household names (or are in bands that are household names), others are unknown. Some play rock music, some do not. Some are virtuosic, others are less concerned about speed and precision, and more into noise or attitude or something else. Some think solos are cool, others think they are passe. But these 30 alive and young guitarists represent The Guitar Right Now.

Ten years ago, a guitar was likely the first instrument people picked up when they made the decision to play an instrument. Now people are reaching for laptops and synths and samplers, and there is nothing wrong with that. These 30 young musicians, however, are carrying the guitar into the future and they deserve your attention.

Will the guitar survive? Will the electric guitar become the next lute? We do not know. In the meantime, these are the 30 Best Guitarists Under 30. We start with 15 today, and then finish up the final 15 tomorrow.

JACK ANTONOFF, 29

  • Known For: Dating the creator of HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham, and for being the epically powerful power-pop guitarist with the band Fun.
  • Essential Listening: That short but ripping solo from 'Carry On.'

DANIEL BACHMAN, 23

  • Known For: Bringing new energy to the American Primitive style of John Fahey and Jack Rose with his melodically robust, whiskey-soaked and always-furious playing.
  • Essential Listening: 'Seven Pines,' the title-track from Daniel Bachman's spell-binding 2012 album on Tompkins Square.

DYLAN BALDI, 22

  • Known For: Crafting dirty, bouncy, fuzzy songs with his band Cloud Nothings.
  • Essential Listening: 'Stay Useless,' a slacker anthem from Cloud Nothings' 'Attack On Memory' LP, out last year on Carpark.

DENNY BOWEN, 28

  • Known For: The thrashing, jabbing, Nirvana/'Bleach'-era riffs he makes with Roomrunner.
  • Essential Listening: 'Ideal Cities,' Roomrunner's new album through Fan Death.

BRETT CAMPBELL, 26

  • Known For: Singing and playing guitar in the sludgy, Sabbath-loving metal band Pallbearer.
  • Essential Listening: 'Foreigner,' the heroic opener from Pallbearer's 2012 Profound Lore debut, 'Sorrow & Extinction.'

GARY CLARK, JR., 29

  • Known For: Sharing stages with BB King, Alicia Keys, and the Rolling Stones, and having the mayor of Austin, Texas declare May 3 to be Gary Clark, Jr. Day.
  • Essential Listening: 'Ain't Messin Round,' the big single from his hit album, 'Blak and Blu.'

KATIE CRUTCHFIELD, 24

  • Known For: Crafting catchy, grungy, heartfelt indie-rock tunes with her band Waxahatchee.
  • Essential Listening: 'Coast To Coast,' from her band's new Don Giovanni / Wichita Recordings album, 'Cerulean Salt.'

DAVE DAVIDSON, 27

  • Known For: Unforgivingly brutal, dizzying shredding with the metal band Revocation.
  • Essential Listening: 'The Hive,' the wicked single from the band's new self-titled album on Relapse.

MAC DEMARCO, 23

  • Known For: Goofing off a lot, writing smart pop songs, and having one of the cleanest guitar tones in indie-rock.
  • Essential Listening: 'Ode To Viceroy,' Mac DeMarco's laid-back ode to a bad habit that ends with a slick, wiry solo.

SADIE DUPUIS, 25

  • Known For: Grungy riffs recalling '90s alt-rock radio and the golden days of indie with noise-pop band Speedy Ortiz.
  • Essential Listening: The sick feedback and nasty squeals on 'Tiger Tank,' from her band's debut Carpark album, 'Major Arcana.'

MIMI GALBIERZ, 26

  • Known For: Overblown buzz-saw rock riffs that ooze venom and attitude via her band Heavy Cream.
  • Essential Listening: 'John Johnny,' from Heavy Cream's most recent album, 'Super Treatment,' which was produced by Ty Segall and released last year on JEFF the Brotherhood's Infinity Cat label.

BEN GREENBERG, 28.

  • Known For: Making rock music with the Men, and much, much weirder sounds with his one-man shredding project Hubble.
  • Essential Listening: The ferocious 'Hubble Drums,' released in 2011 through Northern Spy.

DANIELLE HAIM, 24

  • Known For: Making irresistible, agile pop with smart guitar lines with Haim, the band she started with her two sisters.
  • Essential Listening: The rock and dance synthesizing title track from the 'Falling' EP.

PHOEBE HARRIS, 23

  • Known For: Playing brilliant and simple melodies as the lead guitarist for rising punk band Potty Mouth.
  • Essential Listening: 'Damage,' the first single from Potty Mouth's debut album, 'Hell Bent,' out last month through Old Flame.

ANDREW HOCK, 25

  • Known For: Punishingly exact playing with art-metal band Castevet and in Psalm Zero.
  • Essential Listening: 'As Fathomed By Beggars and Victims,' the new single from Castavet's 'Obsian,' out next month through Profound Lore.

Check back tomorrow for the second part of our 30 Best Guitarists Under 30 list. And please tell us who should have made today's cut in the comments.

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