Got the urge to type something, and I'm taking a page from Ultimatums book.
Without further adeu, here they are.
When I was a wee lad, Metallica was all I knew. My manager threw albums at me left and right, and I soaked it all in, so it was natural for me to start with the riffing chops that James has. The man has....well had.... one of the heaviest, most effective use of the palm mute. My hats off to him.
Kerry King/Jeff Hanneman-Slayer
Granted, these guys suck at solos. I mean when you solos are used as a joke with guitarist around the world, you're pretty bad. But there's no denying that they have mad riffing chops. If it wasn't for their War Ensemble, I would've never gotten past tricky riff patterns.
Speaking of tricky riff patterns
He's the reason why I eat up picks like there's no tomorrow, and my eventual jump to sharp picks. If I have to point an obvious influence to my tremolo (Speed) picking and finger dexterity, it'd be him (and not Abbath/Demonaz).
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott-Pantera
Pretty obvious, but Dimebag put some cleanliness to my playing, with him playing some tight riffs throughout the madness. His playing motivated me to play groove oriented music, becoming more relaxed while playing with others, and quite honestly, my guitar hero.
Stevie Ray Vaughan.
...BUT WAIT!!!! I thought Dimebag was your hero.
Yeah, but this man, is my god. Never has anybody cheered me up just by listening to him. When I think of Stevie, I think of not just a man, but a force, a model of a player, who should play with what different paths he can take musically live, instead of one. Never does he stick with the same solo, it's like everytime you see a different part of him, be it sad or happy. I always though you can tell a musicians mood by listening to what he's playing, since they're playing from the heart, and there's no denying that Stevie always played from the heart.