Lot's of people have their opinions as to who the greatest guitarists were. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Pete Townsend, Brian May, Ritchie Blackmore.... the list goes on and on. The three greatest in my opinion are also three of the most overlooked guitarist in Rockdem, Dick Dale, Link Wray, and Davie Allan.
Dick Dale is the pioneer of the Surf Sound with staccato rhythm and thundering reverb. A lot of generation X and younger know him only by the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and some of his appearances in various Beach Party movies. He's influence many musicians but hasn't really been given a lot of credit, Jimi Hendrix is rumored to have been influenced by Dick Dale playing a right handed guitar left handed.
He's also been an influence on heavy metal as far as the sonic volume of his live shows, he is the king of loud!
He continues to tour every year and I've seen him 3 times myself and look forward to seeing him in July when he blows into town again. I got the chance to meet with him a chat briefly even getting an autograph, which was a real treat!
Link Wray was one of the first to use distortion, by messing up his speakers by stabbing it with pencils or knives to give it that dirty fuzz tone sound that is synonymous with rock music today. He's most well known for the song "Rumble" which was also featured in Pulp Fiction and also "The Swag" that was on Pink Flamingos soundtrack. My personal favorites are"Comanche" and "Chicken Run" ! I got the chance to see him in 2003, what a great show that was! Unfortunately he passed away in 2005, but we've always got his music to remember him by.
Davie Allan is the most fuzzed out musician hands down. I've always been amazed at the sounds he's able to get out of his guitar, it's almost supernatural! He's really well known for his work on Biker Movie soundtracks from the 60s like "The Born Losers", "The Glory Stompers", "Devil's Angels", and "Wild Angels". When you listen to his music you can just imagine yourself cruising the desert on a vintage Harley.
I've yet to see him live but it's on my priority list!