Paul Gilbert on Zep, Samantha Fish on Tom Petty, Marty Friedman on Sabbath, and more players share stories of how and when the guitar rocked their worlds.

10. Destroy Boys' Violet Mayugba on Fugazi's "Furniture"

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How a fateful ride to school opened this riot grrrl punker's eyes to a life beyond the power chord.

9. Sammy Boller on Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train"

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The instrumental phenom "blames" Randy Rhoads' pyrotechnics and the iconic music video for sparking his move to electric guitar.

8. Alex Skolnick on Van Halen's "I'm the One"

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Testament's shredder recollects how EVH's swinging, sneering ripper redirected him down the path of a hard-rock lead guitarist.

7. Imogen Clark on Led Zeppelin's "Over the Hills and Far Away"

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The Aussie indie rocker connects how being raised on a healthy diet of Zep—including her father performing in a cover band—influenced her to combine gentle folk stylings with the need to rock.

6. Fat Mike on RKL's "Blocked Out"

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NOFX 's comedic leader and low-end anchor recalls the ripping bass line that motivated him to be a better player.

5. Myles Kennedy on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"

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Find out why Jimmy Page's playing saved the Alter Bridge frontman and Slash collaborator from a life of selling shoes like Al Bundy.

4. My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero on Black Flag's "Rise Above"

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The MCR rocker remembers being sucked into Greg Ginn's diagonal riffs from a friend's mixtape and retells creeping out the punk-rock legend.

3. Samantha Fish on Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "American Girl"

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The blues-rock star revisits the American storyteller's song that spoke to her as budding songwriter and showed her the magic of layering and mixing memorable guitar parts.

2. Marty Friedman on Black Sabbath's "Into the Void"

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The former Megadeth lead guitarist and shredmeister remembers being dumbstruck by Tony Iommi's imposing sound.

1. Paul Gilbert on Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker"

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The Mr. Big shred hero vividly recalls "the best day of his guitar existence" and illustrates how the whole body needs to work in unison to match Pagey's vibrato.

Pop Evil’s Nick Fuelling on Why James Hetfield Is “the Man”

Meanwhile, coguitarist Dave Grahs—the band’s resident punk rocker—reveals a surprisingly roots-y side.

See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

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Submit your own artist pick collections to for inclusion in a future gallery.

Luthier Dave Helmer shows you how to cure buzzy strings, bad intonation, gnarly frets, high action, and other common troubles with off-the-shelf axes.

Guitars are the best. We love them. It’s fun to fall in love with a guitar at a store, buy it, and proudly bring it home. But we’ve all been there … where after a month that new guitar is just not playing as good as it was before. As guitar players, we know what feels good and what feels bad when it comes to playability. Maybe you have setup preferences that you like on all your guitars, or maybe you want to experiment with changes to your setup?

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