Why Do So Many Guitarists Have Long Hair?

If you’re passionate about guitars and guitar players, you may have noticed that many of them have a typical quality regarding their appearance: they have long hair. This trend is quite common and transcends genres, but how did it begin in the first place, and why is this still the case?

Many guitarists have long hair because this hairstyle is seen as an expression of freedom and rebellion, which are essential cornerstones of rock music. Rock musicians always preferred long hair in the past as it looks cooler and practical on long tours.

In this article, I’ll dive deeper into the reasons why numerous guitarists sport long hair and trace the origins of this trend. Moreover, I’ll highlight the significance of appearance for musicians, especially guitarists.

Why Many Guitar Players Have Long Hair

If you’re a rock fan, you may have noticed that the members of some of the most famous bands in history have always had long hair. Guitarists, in particular, have always had long hair, whether it was a trend at the time or not. Some of the most famous guitarists with long hair include:

  • Jimmy Page
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Jeff Beck
  • Keith Richards
  • Slash
  • David Gilmour
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Ritchie Blackmore
  • Geroge Harrison
  • Marty Friedman
  • Brian May
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Tony Iommi
  • Kirk Hammett
  • James Hetfield
  • Marty Friedman
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Dave Mustaine
  • Adrian Smith
  • Janick Gers
  • The Slash
  • John Petrucci

And the list goes on and on…

While most of the guitarists on this list are rock n roll, you will notice that plenty of other guitarists in other genres, such as country and jazz, also have long hair. There are several reasons why this may be the case.

Long Hair Used To Be More Practical

One of the reasons why this trend started in the first place is that guitarists and other band members weren’t able to cut their hair continuously. When rock n roll first became popular in the 1950s, rock bands and musicians had to tour to promote their music constantly. As they toured, they had no time or opportunities to cut their hair, so it became easier to let them grow simply.

In the 1950s, long hair was not trendy at all for men, but rock n’ roll musicians found it more practical than the alternative. As a result, followers of these musicians also started to grow their hair to resemble them, which is part of why the following generations kept their hair long.

Long Hair Symbolizes Rebellion and Freedom

Rock ‘n roll is quite passionate and rebellious in nature. Long hair, for men in particular, hasn’t always been trendy or even acceptable, which is why you can typically see this hairstyle in members of nonconformist movements and protests.

As a result, it makes sense that the pioneers of this particular genre wanted their appearance to reflect their ideals. Rock n roll meant rebellion but also the freedom to express oneself. Long hair was one of the ways rock musicians wanted to show their freedom.

In the 1960s and 1970s, long hair became trendy, especially in Western cultures, so plenty of musicians of different genres adopted the same style. However, rockn’roll musicians kept this style even after this period, as they did not conform to new standards of beauty and style. As a result, you can see long-haired musicians and guitarists commonly to this day.

Long Hair Makes It Easier To Express Yourself

One of the reasons why guitarists specifically prefer longer hair is that it makes it easier to headbang and express your emotions. While vocalists can speak and use their arms to express everything they want, guitarists’ hands “are tied,” in a way, since they need to play their instruments. As a result, they need something to express their enthusiasm.

Long hair makes a difference because it helps a guitarist headbang to a song while playing their instrument. Headbanging is a staple, especially in rock and particularly for instrumentalists. Understandably, it’s a great way for guitarists to show their emotions while playing.

Long Hair Looks Cooler

Let’s face it: long hair can make a rock ‘n roll guitarist seem cooler. Because of everything I have mentioned above, long hair is associated with rock ”n roll and makes you look more rebellious. No matter the current trends, longer hair looks effortlessly cool and rock n roll.

Even if you’re not a rock’ n’ roll guitarist, you can still choose to grow out your hair because it will look better for you as an individual and also for your performances. Long hair may also make you stand out among other guitarists if you’re auditioning for a band. While your skills will do all the hard work, your looks can help.

But, jokes aside, this is all about personal taste. Some people look cooler bald, some look cooler with mohawk punk hair, and some look cool with Slash-style long hair. It is totally about personal taste and preferences.

Should I Grow My Hair Out if I Want To Become a Guitarist?

While before, rock music and rock guitarists were heavily associated with long hairstyles, after the 90s, it transcended to something else. Now, there are rock players with any style. So, there is no need to grow hair to become a guitarist for any genre. The style should not dictate the music or the instrument you play. The primary goal is music; aesthetics is only part of the show.

There’s no right or wrong answer in this case. If you want, you can grow your hair to help you achieve the look you want and help you headbang while playing. Long hair may be helpful if you’re considering becoming a rock guitarist.

However, short hair can be more practical now since touring has become much more comfortable, and there are plenty of other ways to promote your music. If you feel you look better with short hair or find long hair impractical, you can still have a great career as a guitarist.

So, in the end, it comes to practicality and how you feel more comfortable. But, there is no necessity or a guide you should follow about your hair or body to become a musician of any kind.


Most guitarists in the past and present seem to prefer long hair, no matter what’s trendy at the moment. This choice has several reasons, from practicality and rebellion to the expression of freedom. Longer hair also looks pretty cool and unique compared to other male hairstyles.

You don’t need long hair to become a good or well-known guitarist, so you can do whatever you want with your hairstyle.

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I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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