The Top 10 Richest Guitar Players

Ever wonder who the richest guitar players are? Wonder no more, my friend – here they are, from “poorest” to richest.

Photo by David Shankbone / CC

Photo by David Shankbone

David Bowie (Approx. Net Worth $150M)

A man of many talents, Bowie is one of the most eccentric, iconic and influential figures in rock and roll. The release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars with it’s singles, Starman and Ziggy Stardust, cemented Bowie’s place in music history. Bowie remains a presence in the music world as a composer, producer and performer.

 

 

Photo by Yummifruitbat

Photo by Yummifruitbat

Eric Clapton (Approx. Net Worth $200M)

Now a guitar legend, Clapton rose to fame as the guitarist for the 1960s rock band Cream. In 1970 Clapton would earn his place in music history with the release of the legendary song “Layla” with his band Derek and the Dominoes. For years after he would battle with addiction before continuing one of the most successful solo careers ever.

 

 

Photo by Gina Benedettie

Photo by Gina Benedettie

Sean Lennon (Approx. Net Worth $200M)

As the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sean’s music career was launched through the success of his parents. Through the 90s Sean collaborated with many musicians before releasing his solo debut Into the Sun in 1998. Spike Jonze directed the music video for his successful single “Home.” Sean continues to collaborate, as a guitarist and musician, with various artists.

 

 

Photo by Craig ONeal

Photo by Craig ONeal

Bruce Springsteen (Approx. Net Worth $200M)

The now legendary Bruce Springsteen, was not an overnight success. He struggled for nearly a decade, playing small time shows and receiving little acclaim. In 1975 he broke into the pop world with the release of Springsteen and the E-Street Band’s Born to Run. The band would go on to produce one of the best selling records of all time: Born in the USA. The album contained seven singles that reached the Top 10 on Billboard.

 

 

Photo by Lindsay from Pittsburgh

Photo by Lindsay from Pittsburgh

Dave Grohl (Approx. Net Worth $225M)

Grohl got his start as the drummer for the grunge rock band Nirvana. Following Kurt Cobain’s death, Grohl embarked on a solo venture at Robert Lang Studios. He recorded a fifteen song album in which he played nearly all of the instrumentals. In 1995, after the album received interest, Grohl drafted a band to support his lead vocals and guitar. The Foo Fighters began touring in spring of 1995. The band has experienced considerable longevity, releasing their most successful album Wasting Light in 2011.

 

 

Photo by Scott Penner

Photo by Scott Penner

Prince (Approx. Net Worth $250M)

This eccentric pop legend has released ten platinum albums and thirty top 40 singles. Prince has had one of the most successful music careers of all time. In addition to his solo success he has contributed songwriting and guitar playing to Madonna and other superstar musicians. “When Doves Cry” on the album Purple Rain spent five weeks at the top of the charts.

 

 

Photo by Susan Beals

Photo by Susan Beals

Dhani Harrison (Approx. Net Worth $275M)

Another Beatles’ progeny, Dhani Harrison is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. In 2001, following the death of George Harrison, Dhani completed his fathers album Brainwashed. In 2006 Dhani formed the band, thenewno2, and he continues to contribute to various music projects.

 

 

Photo by Artur Bogdanski

Photo by Artur Bogdanski

Jon Bon Jovi (Approx. Net Worth $275M)

Jon Bon Jovi has released eleven albums with his band Bon Jovi in addition to producing two solo albums. He was once ranked 50th on Billboard’s “Power 100” as one of the most influential figures in the music business. The release of Slippery When Wet with single “You Give Love a Bad Name” was the first in a series of hugely successful music projects.

 

 

Photo by Anthony Chu

Photo by Anthony Chu

Keith Richards (Approx. Net Worth $280M)

The Rolling Stones, with lead guitarist Keith Richards, are one of the most famous bands of all time. Formed in 1962 with front man Mick Jagger, the band has possibly been seen the longest runs of success in the history of Rock and Roll. The band released 20 studio albums from 1964-2005, cementing Richards as one of the guitar greats of all time.

 

 

Photo by The_Admiralty

Photo by The_Admiralty

Paul McCartney (Approx. Net Worth $820M)

Paul McCartney is probably the greatest living icon in the music world. As a bass, acoustic and electric guitar player for The Beatles, McCartney helped to start the “British Invasion” and the proliferation of Rock and Roll in the United States and abroad. McCartney wrote “Yesterday” that has been covered an incredible 2,200 times by various artists. In addition to his success with the Beatles, McCartney has also remained a huge presence in music with The Wings and through his solo career that continues to the present day.

 

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37 Responses to “The Top 10 Richest Guitar Players”

  1. Manhattan Mark May 9, 2014 at 5:36 am #

    Funny thing.. I went to a jam on Weds. night and told a story about my dog eating the first $20 I ever made as a musician in 1980.. A friend commented..
    “Hey… These days there’s DOZENS of Dollars to be made playing music out there.” … LOL

    • circlej May 9, 2014 at 5:38 am #

      Not exactly great guitarists there, and the Beatles offspring most likely inherited their wealth, I don’t think they earned it playing guitar.

      • skattech May 9, 2014 at 5:53 am #

        Terrible list!
        I agree – only three credible guitarists…definitely don’t think of Bon Jovi or Bowie as guitarists…really…c’mon…
        And while I’m being my cynical self, maybe there should be separate list: richest off-spring of guitarists!

        My guitar playing is therapeutic for me, and I don’t ‘play out/perform’. It would probably take me years to break even as far as the cost of my guitars, amps, replacing stings and PUPs here and there, and all other accessories. I play ’cause I LOVE to play!

        • tilghman55 May 9, 2014 at 7:08 am #

          The amount of money they make. Did you read???

        • Skr8pr May 9, 2014 at 8:42 am #

          No one cares why you play. And I’m sure if you could make 200 million dollars playing you would take the money you self righteous d-bag.

          • Ruth February 24, 2017 at 7:23 am #

            HAHAHAHAHAHA. ..LOL.? !!
            KUMBAYA I!! ??

      • tilghman55 May 9, 2014 at 7:08 am #

        You would be very surprised at the talent at the level of talent that those kids have.

      • Jonathan Boettcher May 9, 2014 at 7:54 am #

        That may be a fair point!

        On that note… I recently heard Joe Bonamassa tell a story on his podcast/radio show: he was participating in an auction for a bunch of rare Eric Clapton memorabilia, including one of his guitars.

        Unfortunately for Joe, so was a particular Russian billionaire who happened to be in an Eric Clapton tribute band!

        So, no matter how much Joe was willing to throw at that guitar, the billionaire just outbid him… and he took the whole lot, everything that was at the auction.

        So there’s one incredibly well setup Russian Eric Clapton tribute band running around out there… and none on this list has a “B” in front of their net worth, their guitar player is actually richer than Clapton himself!

    • swamfox April 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

      Not very humerous or else I missed something

      • swamfox April 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm #

        My reply wss not for your comment jonathan. It was was for the dog eating 20 bucks story.

  2. roughrufus May 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    Kinda strange, John Mclaughlin, arguably the best guitarist in the world, is not even rated with the top 10 richest.

    • Jonathan Boettcher May 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

      With the *possible* exception of perhaps Eric Clapton, I don’t think any on this particular list would actually have a shot at being present on a “Top 10 Guitar Players” list.

      That sort of list would indeed be quite a different one, though of course far more subjective than a simple one such as this.

      As others have noted, most of these are better known as artists/performers than “guitar players” per se, although all undoubtedly play guitar, and quite well too.

      • Django Smooth May 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

        Hold on Jonathan; Prince can play his ass on. Check him out playing purple house: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVspVHcIgFw

        • Get Blind May 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

          He may not have been wealthy. But Gary Moore could kill them all except for Prince. No brag, just facts….
          End of story

          • Lowell Smith September 1, 2016 at 11:37 am #

            i like what you got going on there..although Mr Moore is one kick ass ax handler..look at Frank Zappa..hell he made up his own chords..Stevie Vie..etc ..etc..Rory Gallagher..Roy Buchanan..Mark Knopfler…list keeps going..

      • Jim Conlon March 14, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

        Hi Johnathon,

        Here you are again!
        I used to think that if anybody wanted to know what type of guitar player I was somehow remotely like, it would be Eric Clapton Particularly so on acoustic.

    • Unc_George May 10, 2014 at 12:44 am #

      If Mahavishnu got paid per the amount of notes he plays, one could line up the dollar bills from New York to the planet Saturn and still have enough left over to pay for one of Santana’s Dumble amps.

    • Billy October 17, 2015 at 3:54 am #

      Imagine that, an accomplished artist who has not managed to become rich! This must be a first.

      • Rmw January 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

        Hahaha. .So funny, huh. ? And it’s a shame. ..most of these early bands, re: Beatles, Etc…, were “ripped off ” by Music Industry and Taxman, ..!!! ( Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath. …) !! LOL.? Plus, I agree on the “inherited “part, as a lot of FANTASTIC GUITAR PLAYERS , are deceased ( SRV, JIMMY, …). Unfortunately, a lot of “genius”, was ruined by people ( leeches), and drugs !! Either to their demise, or bankruptcy.
        We’ll never know the $ worth, these musical geniuses, would have achieved.
        A quote from Sir Paul McCartney : ” To achieve success, you have to survive it “!

  3. Devilscucumber May 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    Strange, no mention of Jimmy Page, rumoured to be worth between 125 and 275 million

    • mjt11860 May 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      i was surprised too. it could b that he contributes a lot of his money to worthy causes.

    • Rmw January 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

      Exactly! ! Was wondering that, too. Come on. ..it’s The Who !!! Maybe, it’s his lifestyle.

  4. Mike D. May 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    When You said “Top 10 Richest” I thought the list would be of the “Top Ten Richest Sounding”, guitar players? The Guitar Players that can make their guitar sing and wail !!!!

    But this is for their money, I find it hard to believe that the sons of John and George are making that kind of money, making music.

    Paul he’s an icon, but concert wise its the same old songs over and over, I Love him, but paying to see him more than once, not!!!!

    Rich Guitar Players: Carlos Santana, Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Howe, Neal Schon??????

  5. Unc_George May 10, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    Corporate manufactured images, parasites, posers, talent and all of the above.
    The exceptions, IMHO are Keith and EC. Paul deserves equal credit, but not for guitar playing.

    I think Springsteen came from the Village People, originally hired to play the homosexual contraction worker. Soon, he mastered three chords, the pentatonic scale, posing for the camera, got the grunting, drooling, screaming and yelling down, made easy passages look difficult, and the rest is history.

  6. Farley Fox May 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Well, didn’t say most accomplished, just the wealthiest. No mention of Leo Kottke, John Fahey, or Carlos Santana.

  7. cush December 3, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    I haven’t made nearly that much money and I’m a super star on the flute circuit here in Boise.

  8. blonuck February 7, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    What about Mark Knophler. Surely one of the world’s best guitarists. But for me unfortunately can’t sing half as good

  9. blonuck February 7, 2015 at 1:07 am #

    Also how about Hank B Marvin. What a player

    • Jim Conlon March 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

      I was surprised to see Hank B Marvin mentioned. I liked his playing way back when and often wondered what became of him over the years.

  10. Lee March 28, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    How about dead guitarists as in Jimi Hendrix. I m sure his estate has to be on this list somewhere. The city of Seattle, who have claimed him now, arrested him then, are gathering money to build a memorial to Jimi, who incidentally my own father shared a plot right next to in Greenwood memorial park in a Seattle suburb, Renton, WA. also known as the practice field of the SEAHawKS 2ND GREATEST NFL TEAM, 1ST IN BAD DECISIONS. I sincerely doubt whether my father who also died tragically via the drug alcohol at age 50, which I myself passed 15 years back, was terribly enamored with having Jimi as an eternal neighbor, The first time I brought a friend home in 65 with long hair, he was flabbergasted even sober. At any rate they moved Jimi to a cooler spot as he was making my DAD’s neighborhood look like the Woodstock mess, with beer bottles, joints left for Jim to smoke in the afterlight (very soggy joints) and constructed a memorial of sorts, which matters not to him I am sure. Nor does his money for that matter. Interesting aside to a conversation that has little meaning in their guitar playing. Elvis wasn’t even mentioned and if you look closely in his lamer movies his guitars, acoustic look like something from JC Penneys or SeARS & FUNNY THEY ARE MAGIC, NO STRINGS. Bossa NOVA HOOTCHIE KOO!

  11. John Alder January 1, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Oh, come on . . . John mclaughlin! Hasn’t anyone heard: Yngwei Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan and the list goes on.

  12. brian t bayer May 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    first off bowie was worth well over a half a billion . whatever mclaughlin makes he keeps
    as monaco is a tax free country. the numbers thrown around here have little i common !
    would you rather make lets say 50 million and keep all of it or live in the uk and lose
    90% of it ? its not what you make its what you keep that’s the important part of
    the equation !

  13. theloveman02 January 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Ernie Isley is better than them all but not as rich as none of them

  14. Ruth February 24, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you, Jonathan Boetcher !! I follow you on my Gmail and took the free courses you provided. …!! Always lookin’ for a challenge, too !! I don’t know, but I think I have ” song block ” !! LOL.? Any remedies for that ?? Have much enjoyed your emails and have learned a lot from your instructions, tips, and funny stories. ..
    Thank you for sharing !!. Ruth Watson

    • Jonathan Boettcher February 25, 2017 at 2:16 am #

      Hi Ruth, glad to hear you’re enjoying the lessons! I’m not sure exactly what you mean by song block – do you mean in regards to learning new songs, or to writing your own? I suppose the answer would be quite different, depending on which it is.

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