Back in 2002, I had the opportunity to personnaly thank Mr (PhD) Brian May. I shook his hand and said "Thank you for the inspiratiion". He was a total guitar gentleman.
Back to the main topic I would also like to thank Jeff Beck, Wes Montgomery, SRV and Jimmy Page.
Leo Fender- for obvious reasons
Russ Shipton- for getting me started
George Harrison- for being exactly what his band needed
Johnny Marr- not every guitar hero plays solos
Joe Bonamassa.. we Brits LOVE to root for an underdog!