Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen has been named the greatest guitarist of all time in a new poll sponsored by Guitar World magazine. Almost half a million votes were cast in the survey, which was the first ever commissioned by Guitar World on this subject. The tournament-style poll began in April with a total of 132 guitarists that were gradually winnowed down to the final match-up between Van Halen and Queen axeman Brian May, with Van Halen beating out May with 62 percent of the vote.

May was no slouch, creating an upset situation by knocking off Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Les Paul, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix before going head to head with Van Halen. The latter also polled against contenders like Slash, Joe Satriani and Randy Rhoads on his way to the top spot.

27,000 people voted online in the final round between Van Halen and May.
Eddie Van Halen has appeared on the cover of Guitar World 21 times.

Van Halen is currently recuperating at home after having intestinal surgery last month. The band came off the road midway through a summer tour and will resume its live performance sometime in 2013.

Eddie's son and bass player, Wolfgang, has been keeping busy by playing in Mark Tremonti's touring band, while singer David Lee Roth has been amusing himself by making videos in which he speaks on a number of topics.

Guitar World's Top 50:

1. Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)

2. Brian May (Queen)

3. Alex Lifeson (Rush)

4. Jimi Hendrix

5. Joe Satriani

6. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

7. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)

8. Steve Ray Vaughan

9. Dimebag Darrell Abbott (Pantera / Damageplan)

10. Steve Vai

11. Randy Rhoads

12. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

14. Les Paul

15. Duane Allman (Allman Bros Band)

15. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)

16. Robert Johnson

17. John Petrucci (Dream Theater)

18. Zakk Wylde

19. James Hetfield (Metallica)

20. Ritchie Blackmore

21. Angus Young (AC/DC)

22. Slash

23. Paul Gilbert

24. Buddy Guy

25. George Harrison

26. Vernon Reid (Living Color)

27. Frank Zappa

28. Eric Clapton

29. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)

30. Chet Atkins

31. Dickey Betts (Allman Bros Band)

32. Django Reinhardt

33. Mark Morton (Lamb of God)

34. Mark Tremonti (Creed / Alter Bridge)

35. Warren Haynes (Allman Bros Band / Gov’t Mule)

36. Kirk Hammett (Metallica)

37. Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)

38. Buckethead

39. Jeff Beck

40. Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)

41. Michael Schenker

42. Carlos Santana

43. Yngwie Malmsteen

44. Chuck Berry

45. John Frusciante

46. Jason Becker

47. Eric Johnson

48. Joe Bonamassa

49. Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom)

50. Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)