For no particular reason here’s a personal list of inspirational guitarists.
Made Me Want To Play
Inspired My Style
Make Me Smile
UPDATE: Re-reading this list in early 2022 it was surprising to see Chuck Berry, and Santana featured so prominently. It must’ve felt true in 2006 but it feels less true now. Folk guitarists like Cat Stevens and Don McLean drew me to guitar as a kid even before I started playing electric. It’s also surprising there’s not room on the lists for Eddie van Halen or Steve Vai. I’ve also become more aware of guitarists whose work influenced me even if I wasn’t thinking about them much at the time, like Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake. And of course, I’ve become a fan of several guitarists since writing that list, like Cory Wong and Annie Clark (St Vincent).