The Greatest Guitar Solos Of All Time

What's The Best Guitar Solo?Ahh, beautiful, another one of those “greatest of all time” things. I already told you what I think about these assessments. But don’t worry, I’m not going to vent again. Instead, let’s look at what the editors of Guitar World determined to be the 10 greatest guitar solos of all time and then I will take the liberty to share with you my personal top ten. And surprisingly, there are actually a couple of ‘almost overlaps’. Okay, but we before get into that, we should probably narrow down the scope a little bit and stay within the Rock guitar department and not include classic, jazz or any other types of music.

So this is what the renowned magazine shared with their fellow readers – as matter of fact, the came up with a list that included the Guitar World greatest 100 guitar solos, but for the sake of keeping it simple, let’s stay with number 1-10.

1. Stairway to Heaven, Guitarist: Jimmy Page

Of course, I would have been disappointed if that one wouldn’t have come in as no.1. Not because I agree, but this guitar solo seems to be universally accepted as the best one ever. So what can you do.

2. Eruption, Guitarist: Eddie Van Halen

I can actually see that one taking a spot all the way at the top. After all what Eddie did here was revolutionary and to some extent unheard of. I’m not a huge VanHalen fan but I think we should give credit to where credit is due.

3. Freebird, Guitarist: Collins/Rossington from Lynryrd Skynyrd

Okay, yeah, that’s a real good one. I personally sometimes lose the connection when I listen to it, but that might just be me. Definitely a fine arrangement.

4. Comfortably Numb, Guitarist: David Gilmour

I know that I will not make any friends with my next comment, but I simply don’t get Pink Floyd. I can’t listen to their albums, they bore me. I know I’m probably the only person in the world with this blasphemous world view, but Pink Floyd to me is a major turn off. I know the solo a little bit, but then again, since I don’t really get the whole thing it certainly doesn’t stand out to me as extraordinary.

5. All Along the Watchtower, Guitarist: Jimi Hendrix

Yes, I’m a huge Hendrix fan, but I don’t think that this particular one deserves a spot in the top ten, especially bearing in mind the millions of other great Jimi solos.

6. November Rain, Guitarist: Slash

Seriously? No comment.

7. One, Guitarist: Kirk Hammet

Alright, why not. No doubt that Kirk’s solo qualities are killer, so I can see why they put it into the top ten best guitar solos.

8. Hotel California, Guitarist: Don Felder/Joe Walsh

Yes, definitely a classic, even though I wouldn’t put it into the top 10.

9. Crazy Train, Guitarist: Randy Rhoads

Total agreement here.

10. Crossroads, Guitarist: Eric Clapton

Yes, yes and yes. Absolutely, no question. Now we are talking. I’m not into the Clapton solo stuff, but I can listen to Cream tunes all day long without ever getting tired of it. If this solo doesn’t touch you on some level, well, then you probably also don’t like puppies. And then I don’t like you.

Okay, so that was the public opinion even though I have no clue what criteria they used during their evaluation process. Anyway.

My personal selection of the greatest guitar solos of all time

What's Your Favorite Guitar Solo1. A bit of finger/Sleeping village/The warning – Tony Iommi

I’m not going to elaborate on as to why. It is what it is and it is my all time favorite guitar solo, that’s what it is. So now you know what it is…

2. Dazed and Confused – Jimmy Page

Holy shit. For the life of me, I will never understand why this one never ever gets mentioned in any polls. I think it’s outright brilliant.

3. Red House – Jimi Hendrix

There are about two million versions and I will admit that the majority of them are actually pretty bad. But some of the are absolutely incredible, pure guitar solo gold.

4. Tin Pan Alley – Stevie Ray Vaughn

Another pearl that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

5. Messin’ with the kid – Rory Gallagher

Pffff…not even sure which Rory solo to pick here, so I went with that one. But to be honest, I don’t think I don’t have a favorite Rory Gallagher guitar solo – I love them all.

6. In memory of Elizabeth Reed – Duane Allman

It’s pretty clear why, ain’t it?

7. Magic Sam – Lookin’ Good

Here is the link to the video, the part I’m talking about starts at 3:27.

8. Paranoid – Tony Iommi

I like this guitar solo because it’s perfect in a way that everything just fits together. Of course it’s not the most technical one, but the phrasing, the perfect number of notes and the dynamics are forming this immaculate piece.

9. Sultans of Swing – Mark Knopfler

It’s just beautiful, especially the second part. For some reason unbeknownst to me, radio stations always fade out of this song right before the solo starts. Idiots!

10. …..

No, I leave the “last place” open. As you know, I don’t take these things too seriously. My personal top ten greatest guitar solos of all time are actually always subject to change, except for a couple that will always be up there.

So, now it’s up to you, let me know your top choices and leave some comments – it’s about time!

Godspeed.

Published date: May 11th, 2013 by Ulrich Peise

This article has 2 comments

  1. Nice list. Tin pan alley is awesome. And I wholeheartedly agree with your #1. That was the 2nd album I ever bought, and I still listen to it decades later.

    FYI – Pink Floyd is not made to be listened to straight – maybe that’s your issue? 🙂

    • Hey Dave,

      Ahhhh, you know what? I think you hit the nail on the head with Pink Floyd. There definitely seems to be a connection between getting stoned and listening to Floyd. Maybe I should start drinking again…..nah, just kidding ;-). But seriously, I can actually understand why so many people love them – it’s just not my type of sound.

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