James Marshall Hendrix (1942-1970) is considered to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time. In my opinion, he is the very first of the electric guitar virtuosos.
He was influenced by blues guitarist such as B.B. King and Muddy Water so his sound is rather bluesy. But he is also experimental, the first one to use stereo "phasing" effects on guitar. Famous of playing "Star Spangled Banner" in Woodstock '69, using drugs especially LSD and amphetamines even on stage and mostly his "lefty" Stratocaster. It was in fact a regular right-handed Strat but he prefers to restring it and use it as a lefty one. This had an important effect on his guitar sound; because of the slant of Strat's bridge pickup, his low-E string has a bright sound while his high-E has a mellow one.
He was a real show-man on stage. Playing his guitar with his teeth or on his back.
Died in London, Notting Hill on September 18, 1970. His reason of death was not revealed. But police found simply red wine in his vomit. Sad story...