Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt: the 10 guitarists that blew my mind

1. Ritchie Blackmore

"This has to start with him. 

"Ritchie Blackmore is my hero, but not just for his guitar playing. His persona fascinates me. I love his audacity to just change whenever he wants, without taking any care or note of the people around him, not his label or fans. He just does what he wants to… that’s how I want to be. That’s how I am, I think. He is a magnificent guitarist, though his best work was early on, up until Deep Purple mk.3, which was around 1974. After that, even in Rainbow, he got a bit sloppy… and yet also wrote a lot of his best music.

“We supported him in Spain earlier this summer. I was so nervous and excited that I missed my flight the next morning, though I think it had a little bit to do with drinking beer too! We were main support that night so I sat around outside our little cubicle, waiting for him to arrive. Then came what looked like an armoured car with blacked out windows, he was only a few metres away from me but drove back into his own sealed-off area…

“Which was probably for the best, as I would have ‘accidentally’ run in saying, ‘Oh hello!’ I really wanted to take my first selfie together but was told he doesn’t care to meet anyone. I would love to meet him though; he’s my idol in so many ways. I’m infatuated with him.”

Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences. He's interviewed everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handling lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).