The guitar has been a vital part of music in Mexico, thanks to the influence of Spanish music. In central Mexico, guitars and other stringed instruments are an integral part of popular and modern music. The Mexican charo roamed the country playing guitar all over Jalisco, bringing the music to the masses.
All over Mexico, mariachi groups played guitars and sang songs about heroes, love and life. Famous Mexican guitarists have continued to play popular music, dance music, modern rock, and pop.
1 – Carlos Santana (1947-)
Carlos Santana is best known as an American guitarist, but he was actually born in Jalisco, Mexico.
He is best known for being the guitarist for the band Santana, who blended rock and roll with Latin American sounds. His blues-based compositions demonstrated his ability to control guitar chords.
In 2015, he earned the distinction of being one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists, ranking 20th. He has several Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards.
He was inducted – along with his bandmates from Santana – into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fans can recognize the crystal clear sound of the guitar in a handful of musical notes.
2 – Sergio Valen (1972-)
Sergio Valin is the guitarist for the Mexican band, Mana, along with lead singer Fer Olvera.
Besides being a prolific guitarist, he has played everything, from his unique compositions to the covers of bands like Led Zeppelin and Los Banchos.
He also co-composed music with Carlos Santana, a guitarist who has been like him most of his life.
He has two solo albums and several albums with the band Maná. He has written many noteworthy songs that have connections to classic Mexican flamenco and other styles such as cumbia.
3 – Fer Olvera (1959-)
Fher Olvera is one of the most famous Mexican guitarists of all time, but is best known as the lead singer of the band Maná which has sold over 40 million albums. He sings alongside guitarist Sergio Valin.
Olvera first achieved success in the 80s, playing in a band called Sombrero Verde. In 1987, the band changed its name to Maná.
Due to his fame in a successful Latin American band, he had opportunities to collaborate with world famous musicians such as Carlos Santana, Luciano Pavarotti, Shakira and Miguel Rios.
4. Ed Maverick (2001-)
Ed Maverick was born Eduardo Hernandez Sosedo. The young guitarist plays Mexican folk music, and his fans first got to know him through his social media platforms.
He is a self-taught guitarist who started writing his music at the age of sixteen. Fans soon loved his music due to its romantic melancholy.
He signed with Universal Music Group in 2018 and quickly became a popular rising artist on Spotify. No Mexican musician sold concert dates faster than Ed Maverick. his first album, Mix crying in your roomGold gone.
5 – Gabriela Quintero (1973-)
Gabriela Quintero is the only female guitarist on this list. She is one of the famous guitarists of the duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.
The couple released more than a dozen albums, and they sang in front of President Barack Obama.
She has been playing for Rodrigo y Gabriela since 2000, and she first met Rodrigo Sanchez when she was 15 years old. They dated for several years and broke up in 2012.
Their album Mettavolution won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Music Album in January 2020.
She is a professional guitarist who plays a unique style that is a mixture of flamenco nuevo, rock and roll and heavy metal.
6- Abraham Laboriell (1947-)
While Abraham Laboriel may not be a household name, his music has been played all over the world with the Mexican-American guitarist performing over 4,000 recordings.
He grew up in a musical family with Honduran parents, immigrants from Garifuna.
Labruriel is a classically trained guitarist but switched to playing guitar in the 1970s.
He has played with musicians such as Henry Mancini, Olivia Newton-John, Al Jarrow, De Barge, Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones.
He recorded several albums with the two bands he founded: Al Sadaqa and Kounonia. When he’s not playing the bass for famous musicians, he’s recording Christian music.
7- Shamin Korea (1929-2020)
Chamín Correa was a well-known guitarist who was a member of Los Tres Caballeros in the 1950s.
He was from a talented family of musicians and started playing guitar at the age of five. He learned classical guitar and started playing when he was 11 years old.
He played Korea on more than 150 albums. He became a professional in the Requinto guitar, playing in front of fans for over 60 years.
He played with musicians such as Dave Brubeck, Joan Baez, Gloria Estefan and Luis Miguel.
Besides performing, he has also directed and produced other famous Latin artists, including Julio Iglesias, Fleur Silvestre, and José José.
His music album demonstrated his skills on many guitars, including electric guitar, fave, electric guitar, classical guitar, and steel guitar – to name a few.
8- Hugo Fernandez (1945-)
Hugo Fernandez was born in Mexico, but he is a popular guitarist in Europe.
He first found fame at the age of 18 playing Mexican pop music, then studied jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Before the turn of the millennium, he studied guitar in Mexico City, then moved to the United States to obtain his master’s degree.
In 2001, he formed a quartet of Hugo Fernandez called jazz bebop. A few years later, he moved to Spain and played jazz with singer Lola Botelho.
Since then, he has participated in several jazz festivals and moved to Berlin, where he continues to play and record.
His most recent record was Naualli, which was registered with Hugo Fernandez Quintet in 2018.
While best known for the sound of jazz, he also adds classical, pop, rock and folk music to create his unique sound.
9 – Rodrigo Sanchez (1974-)
The other half of the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rodrigo Sanchez started his career in Ireland but now resides in Mexico City.
They have five studio albums, and they have played Hans Zimmer soundtracks as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The pair plays their own original songs and covers from bands such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd and Megadeth.
They have played live on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
One of their songs was featured in an episode of Breaking Bad, and it was featured on MTV in the United States.
10- Saul Hernandez (1964-)
Saúl Hernández is a Mexican guitarist who also sings and writes music and poetry.
He is the lead singer of the bands Jaguares and Caifanes. Caivannes made their debut in 1987 with Hernandez playing alongside Sabo Romo, Diego Herrera and Alfonso André.
After the Caifanes split, he and Andre formed the Jaguares band in the mid-1990s. Both bands played “Rock en español” that made them famous and commercially successful.
The Caifanes band met in 2010, and in 2019, the Jaguares played together at Machaca Fest in Monterrey, Mexico.
As the guitarist for two of the most popular Spanish rock bands, he has become an icon for young musicians looking to make their name in Spanish rock and roll.
11. Sabo Romo (1943-)
Sapo Romo was one of the founding members of the band Caifanes with Saúl Hernández. He also plays guitar, bass and drums.
His first band was a light jazz band called Manhattan. When he founded Caifanes in 1987, he and his colleagues toured the world playing live.
Known as the best bass player in Latin America, he and Caifanes and other musicians have sold over 10 million albums.
Although considered a Mexican guitarist, he was born in Chile. He no longer plays often but is still involved in producing artists.
12 – Charlie Montana (1961-2020)
Charlie Montana was born Carlos Cesar Sanchez Hernandez. He became famous in the 1980s as a singer and guitarist on the urban rock band in Mexico City.
It was easily recognizable by its attractive rock design with leather, lace and large hair.
His original songs were humorous with their lighthearted titles such as “Por Qué El Amor Apesta” (“Why Love Stinks”) and “Vaquero Rocanrolero” (Rock And Roll Cowboy).
He eventually set up a charitable foundation that donated time and money to support homeless children and the elderly.
Summing up the list of the greatest Mexican guitarists
Famous Mexican guitarists play a variety of music styles.
From classical folk music to flamenco to Spanish rock and roll, Mexican guitarists offer something to suit all musical tastes.