Randy Rhoads, Jake E Lee, and Zakk Wylde

I realize one must always tread lightly when invoking Randy's name, but here goes.

Randy Rhoads:

I love the guy (rest his soul) as a composer, but not so much as a player if that makes any sense. I love his riffs and solos, but I never really cared for how he played them. I'm not saying I think him a bad player—he was awesome no doubt—it's just that his touch on the instrument isn't to my tastes. Some of my perception of his playing could be colored by his awful guitar tone.

Jake E Lee:

I like his riffs the best of the big three Ozzy guitarists. The use of pedal tones are a big thing on Ozzy's albums, and I believe Lee did those the best, a la "Bark at the Moon". His lead playing is fine, though it never really blew my hair back.

Zakk Wylde:

My favorite lead player of the bunch, keeping in mind I'm speaking of No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears Wylde. I frankly think he's awful these days. He used to pick from his wrist with machine gun articulation—now he spazzes out at the elbow in a muddy mess with an overabundance of pinch harmonics, and his current soloing lacks imagination. But back in the day? Man . . . no other player gave me as many "F*** yeah!" moments with his hyper-aggressive and articulate pentatonics. And his early guitar tone was the best metal tone ever, in my opinion. Regarding the degradation of his technique and moving his fast picking from the wrist to the elbow, I've often wondered if it is due to physical problems brought about by how low he keeps his guitar. That can really do a number on your wrist.

Your thoughts on the big three Ozzy players?


Zakk Wylde just cuz he's so cool :bounce

Although he could back off thepinch harmonics just a little


Silver Supporting Member
Randy is King, IMO. He has the most quintessential Ozzy tunes to his credit, and probably the most unique single piece in the Ozzy solo with Diary of a Madman(song). He's the one by which all others are measured. I think he has great tone and wicked playing for the time.

Zakk definitely took stuff to another level. Had a great run with Ozzy, but took Ozzy's advice on the "pings" a little too often. It doesn't get much more dastardly than the playing and overall tone in Perry Mason. I don't think his work stands up with Rhoads' song for song, but a lot of great stuff.

Not gonna comment on Lee. I think it's really Rhoads and Wylde, then everybody else.

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
zakk on no more tears.
otherwise Jake's playing and tone.
Randy's playing and composition.
Would've loved to hear him recorded with a better tone.

John Hurtt

Platinum Supporting Member
Favorite Ozzy guitarist is Jake E. Lee, followed by Randy Rhodes and Zakk the least....and by quite a lot. Though, one of my most favorite Ozzy guitar moments was the work by Zakk on S.I.N. of off....No Rest for the Wicked?


Silver Supporting Member
All three have excellent songs, with emotion and technique to their credit.

Randy: Diary of A Madman, Flying High Again and You Can't Kill Rock and Roll....just
Jake: Killer of Giants, Lightning Strikes Again, Bark at the Moon
Zakk: Fire in the Sky, No More Tears, Miracle Man

As a composer, I think Randy was the best.

The song Diary of a Madman was hugely influential in creating the "acoustic-opening-leading-into-massive-distortion" songs that have arisen from artists such as Periphery, Bless the Fall, Demon Hunter, Opeth, ad infinitum.

If I HAD to only listen to ONE album by any of these three guys forever, it would be Tribute or Diary of a Madman. Because as fantastic as the songs Jake and Zakk wrote are, they still get old to me, unlike Randy's stuff.

Sean French

Silver Supporting Member
Never understood the distain for Randy's tone.
I've always found it awesome and very fitting for the music.
Perhaps because I got the Blizzard album right when it came out when I was 14. I was blown away.
Then saw the Blizzard tour the following year.

To this day I put on Blizzard and Diary and am always transported back to '80/'81.


Tomo El Gato

While I've never been a huge follower of solo Ozzy, I have to say I like Randy's tone and playing the best out of the three. The tone is dark and thick, and think his playing was the most individual and recognizable.


Never understood the distain for Randy's tone. I've always found it awesome and very fitting for the music. Perhaps because I got the Blizzard album right when it came out when I was 14. I was blown away. Then saw the Blizzard tour the following year. To this day I put on Blizzard and Diary and am always transported back to '80/'81. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47W3Z0QK4SA">YouTube Link</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTR5dWhZjtY">YouTube Link</a>

Agreed. For those of us who were there... there were no Ozzy albums after those, and yes, I wrote 'albums.'


Silver Supporting Member
Randy was far and away the best of the group. His understanding of the instrument is still, to this day, far more than the other two combined. Listen to the lesser known tracks from the Bliz and Mad albums. Like Revelation Mother Earth or Believer. There isn't a bad song on those albums. Randy had great live tone. His technique was flawless on the live recordings. I think the recorded tones are good but sometimes get over produced. You can't deny the lead tones on Over the Mountain.

Jake is a great player but by that time Ozzy had lost his songwriter. While Ozzy had some comercial success with a few songs he has never recaptured what he and Randy did on those first two. Jake's best work is in Badlands. Bark at the Moon and Ultimate Sin were stinkers. Everyone knew it at the time. However they are way better than the 2 decades of crap that followed with the Zak era. I do believe that Zak could bench press more than the other two though and probably slam more beers.


Randy by far the was best of the three. Then I would have to say Jake. Zakk last his first few albums were cool but I lost interest after that. I could listen to Blizzard, Diary and Tribute all day and never be bored.


Randy all the way but i enjoy albums from all 3 guitarists.

Songs like Waiting for darkness,never,killer of giants,centre of eternity,ultimate sin,shot in the dark so many killer songs with jake too!

Zakk has no rest/tears and most of ozzmosis are good but i lost interest after those albums. Sharon took over and reduced zakks role with studio guys.


What, no love for Brad Gillis? j/k

I dig all 3 players for different reasons. All three guys wrote songs in Ozzy's catalog that have stood the test of time, but the edge goes to Randy. His songs were so fresh and original for the time. I couldn't really hear his influences . . . it was all him. And his solos were songs within songs. Just iconic.

Randy's recorded tone was a little too trebly for my taste but the live tone I've heard was bitchin.


When people criticize Randy's guitar tone I believe they are in fact referring to Max Norman's production techniques on the Blizzard album.
It always sounded to me like Max was going for a "Boston" guitar sound to help songs like Crazy Train receive air play, which in fact it did. Randy's tone on the 2nd album is truer to his live sound by a mile.
It's hard to compare players to Randy because he was so talented and unique; his playing was filled with beauty and savagery all at the same time. The guy was clearly a musical prodigy and exhibited flashes of genius on both Ozzy albums.

However, Jake E Lee is possibly my favorite rock player of all time. On a technical level, he plays things that no one else can. He blends this whole Hendrix-ian rhythm feel and swagger with jazz-inspired lines that still sound ROCK. He's so good that I honestly think most people don't get it, it just goes right over their heads.

Zakk is very talented and has killer chops but for some reason it seems like he can't put all the ingredients together. Not in a way that works with Ozzy anyway. Maybe his solo albums are a different story...


Randy's my pick as #1! Then it's early Zakk, love his Pride & Glory stuff then Jake. All 3 are monster players.

Gus G is cool too, I like his Firewind stuff more then Ozzy

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