ProGuitarShop

The Best Guitar Solos of All Time

July 2, 2013

 

Hendrix versus Hammett, Vai versus Vaughan, Gilmour versus Greenwood, Clapton versus King—PGS is down the rabbit-hole of guitar solos and we want you to tell us what you think is the greatest guitar solo ever! Over the next week, we’ll be taking your entries for Greatest Guitar Solo of All Time and tabulating your responses for publication, so put on your fret-hand’s thinking cap and start sorting through your favorite solos to pick your all-time favorite. “Greatest” is of course totally subjective, so don’t hold back—if you think it’s the greatest? It probably is.

To enter, simply fill out the form below, then sit tight while we crunch the data (and have several heated water cooler arguments over our own personal favorites!). You’ll hear from us with the results next week. Let the wailing begin!

 

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Comments

  1. Dan LoVullo says:

    Comfortably Numb-David Gilmour

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 4:57 am
  2. Theron Smith says:

    From the “Tripping the Live Fantastic” (1990) Paul McCartney Tour.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:01 am
  3. Maurício Coimbra says:

    The first that comes to my mind is Ride The Lightning (Kirk Hammett/Metallica).

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:02 am
  4. Bruce Fontaine says:

    Hotel California

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:03 am
  5. PRS513 says:

    I voted and looked down and saw I was duplicated by Dan!  Comfortably Numb - one of the greatest!

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:03 am
  6. Andy says:

    Randy Rhoads on Ozzy’s “S.A.T.O”.  It’s got a bit of everything that gives me goosebumps.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:03 am
  7. Bizono says:

    Really digging Tom Verlane’s solo in Television’s “Foxhole” lately.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:04 am
  8. DC says:

    Hands down, Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, either “Beyond the Realms of Death” or “All Guns Blazing.”

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:04 am
  9. Rodrigo says:

    Little Sister - QOTSA

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:05 am
  10. Doug McElfresh says:

    Was a close tie between this and Steve Howe / Awaken.  Both raise the hairs on my neck still, maybe because of the way both these solos just sail over breakneck rhythms by the rest of the band.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:06 am
  11. Bob says:

    Hendrix…all along the watchtower. Comfortably Numb is also right up there.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:06 am
  12. terryg says:

    This is tough - I have several equal favorites, all hitting strongly on creativity, context and emotion:

    Neal Schon - Chain Reaction (Journey)
    Warren DeMartini - You’re in Love (Ratt)
    Fredrik Thordendal - Elastic (Meshuggah)
    Jeff Beck - Ambitious (Jeff Beck)
    Randy Rhoads - Over the Mountain (Ozzy)
    Chris Poland - Devil’s Island (Megadeth)
    ...... and likely lots others once I even look at my iPod….....

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:06 am
  13. UnderTheBlueSky says:

    There are so many simple yet perfect solos, such as Jimmy Page’s studio version of Whole Lotta Love, and more complex yet equally perfect solos, such as in The Eagles’ Hotel California. But if forced to choose my favorite, as opposed to “the best,” I would probably choose Steely Dan’s Reeling In The Years.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:07 am
  14. Doug McElfresh says:

    My vote didn’t make it into my comment!  My #1 is Jimi Page / Achilles Last Stand,  #2 Steve Howe / Awaken.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:07 am
  15. Budgie says:

    It all depends what you consider a great solo. Some people might think the fastest solo is the best. Others might think, the prettiest is it. Personally, I think what makes a great solo is one you can sing. I picked Hotel California, but there are simply so many incredible solos that it is extremely difficult to pick one.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:09 am
  16. Greg Allen says:

    Jimmy Page- Achilles Last Stand

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:10 am
  17. tswrench says:

    Jeff Beck - The Golden Road

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:11 am
  18. Thad says:

    I’ll probably get flamed for this one, but to me, it’s the perfect solo. Such tasteful licks and tone to the bone. Simply iconic.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:12 am
  19. Caio Mistura says:

    Jimmy Page - No Quarter , The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack . that just blows me away, the whole song

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:13 am
  20. Adam O. says:

    Allman Brothers whipping post from Live at Fillmore East :)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:13 am
  21. Thad says:

    uh….sorry….Stairway to Heaven.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:13 am
  22. Paul says:

    Hands down, Hotel Cali by Eagles!

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:14 am
  23. JmicLS says:

    Tough!
    Marc Ribot’s solo on Tom Waits’ “Clap Hands” is pretty hugely stellar!
    Larry Carlton’s solo on Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” always blows my mind.
    Wes Montgomery’s solo on “No Blues” from Smokin’ at the Half Note…Yikes!
    Pete Townshend for the entire song “Sparks” from Live at Leeds…the whole thing is one big solo!

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:14 am
  24. Billy Blaze says:

    I love all the classics such as Cross Roads, Anything by classic Lizzy,  Allman Bros, etc. I just thing that Zakk Wylde takes all of that influence and puts a new, modern twist as far as tone and phrasing.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:14 am
  25. Chris Pickenpaugh says:

    The Cars (Elliot Easton)—“Best Friend’s Girl”

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:15 am
  26. -jim says:

    So many great solos, I tried to think of one that usually gets forgotten and it is Ten Years Gone by Zep http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYpydtdlWxA

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:15 am
  27. Les Meeking says:

    There is only one Guitar God, and his name is David Gilmour.But all you out there should that.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:15 am
  28. Brian says:

    Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) - Aqualung

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:15 am
  29. Dirty Mac says:

    Rory Gallagher Live in Europe: Laundrymat
    The Allman Bros Live at Filmore East: One way out (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)
    Led Zeppelin Live at Royal Albert Hall: We’re gonna groove (Jimmy Page)
    Cream: Crossroads live (Eric Clapton)
    Pink Floyd Ummagumma: Careful with that axe Eugene live (David Gilmour)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:16 am
  30. Mike Cusson says:

    The one song that really gets me smiling and cranking up the volume is Deep Purple’s Highway Star. Pretty simple but very infectious!

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:16 am
  31. Steve C says:

    ....another vote for Stairway…

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:16 am
  32. patrick says:

    Jimi hendrix,machine gun.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:16 am
  33. Todd says:

    Many of you may not be familiar with my selection, but check out “Riot Squad” by Bad Brains off the album “Rock For Light”. In 1983, there were few (if any at all) hardcore/punk bands that had the intensity and talent that the Bad Brains had. While you’re at it, check out the bass solo on “Big Takeover” from their 1987 live album “The Youth Are Getting Restless”, recorded at the Paradiso in Amsterdam.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:17 am
  34. Eduardo Guerrero says:

    Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:17 am
  35. Lou M says:

    Danny Cedrone ripping it up on Rock Around The Clock

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:18 am
  36. Bill says:

    Leslie West is often overlooked as a soloist. On the Mountain album Nantucket Sleighride he played a number of excellent solos, but the solo on Don’t Look Around is superb. Another is Angus Young’s solo on the AC/DC song You Shook Me All Night Long. Well constructed, great tone, well played.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:20 am
  37. John Welter says:

    Hendrix, All Along the Watchtower.  It has so many different tones, clean, wah, overdrive.  Every lick in that song is as tasty as it gets.,  remember, this was over 40 years ago.,

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:21 am
  38. Earthling says:

    Hands down, Danny Gatton playing Harlem Nocturne.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:21 am
  39. Dan says:

    THIS was a tough one. Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Jeff Beck,Gilmour. It’s tough to choose just one. But, if I had my druthers, I would LOVE to learn Comfortably Numb, note for note. That’s a blaster and irritate the neighbors. Voodo Chile (Slight Return), Since I’ve been Loving You, Stormy Monday Cream 05/2,3,5,6/2005,Jeff Beck ANYTHING.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:21 am
  40. SpoonWood says:

    Tommy Bolin on Billy Cobham’s Spectrum “Quadrant 4”..

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:23 am
  41. Fabiano Bittencourt says:

    Five to One from The Doors. Was copied on She from Kiss and on Alive from Pearl Jam.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:23 am
  42. efp says:

    So this will be a ranking of David Gilmour solos…

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:24 am
  43. Anthony says:

    Crossroads - Live at Winterland by Eric Clapton (Cream)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:24 am
  44. Christo2112 says:

    so subjective…we could talk about this on and on. But I voted for Hotel California. Not the most technical, mind blowing or influential but it just “sings” like no other, is so recognizable and such a fav, especially with the dual guitars. Don Felder is a great player and often overlooked….
    Gilmour may be my favorite, so hard to argue with any of his solos (for rock)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:24 am
  45. Pedro Brum says:

    Nels Cline on Impossible Germany (Wilco). Superb.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:25 am
  46. Zach Bauman says:

    LImelight -seeing Rush live last night may have had an effect

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:25 am
  47. Kyle B. says:

    Love Richie Kotzen’s solo on Payin’ Dues. That dude has been payin’ dues for years and years and is probably one of the best under-rated guitarists on the market now.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:26 am
  48. Jeff says:

    Robert Fripp - Baby’s On Fire

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:26 am
  49. Jonathan Farias says:

    you want to hear the greatest guitar solo, check Liquid Tension Experiment - Live In N.Y.C. and see John Petrucci do the best guitar solo ever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPya80o-xyA&feature=related

    Indeed the best.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:26 am
  50. Guilherme Braune says:

    Randy Rhoads - Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:28 am
  51. Ted says:

    Terry Kath (Chicago) 25 or 6 to 4

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:29 am
  52. Gene says:

    Deal by Jerry Garcia Band

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:29 am
  53. Guilherme Braune says:

    Another one is Eddie Van Halen’s solo in Beat It (Michael Jackson)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:29 am
  54. Michael says:

    Allman Brothers ; One Way Out.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:30 am
  55. Willybee says:

    Nels Cline-Ashes of American Flags (live)-Ashes of American Flags DVD

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:30 am
  56. jasonrmcn says:

    Hendrix, Machine Gun.  I don’t think anyone else will ever come up with something like that one.

    But I have to agree with Mike C: Deep Purple with either Blackmore or Bolin is mind-blowing.  Just listen to Burn..

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:32 am
  57. Bruce Miller says:

    Larry Carltons solo on Steely Dans song “The Caves Of Altamira” off the Royal Scam album..sweet..

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:32 am
  58. John says:

    My vote is for some old band that you can’t stand listening to any more.  (Stairway, Floyd, Hendrix)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:33 am
  59. Rob B says:

    Hotel California by the Eagles but Comfortably Numb by David Gilmour is so close it hurts to choose.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:33 am
  60. Diego Crego says:

    Stevie Ray Vaughan - Little wing…..

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:33 am
  61. Nuno Carmona says:

    Kirk Hammett - One (Metallica)

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:34 am
  62. Michelle Rose says:

    Which is best of “all time”? Gotta be kidding. Some are subtle and bring tears to your eyes, others are so anthemic, you feel like standing on a table and cheering.

    I picked “Hitch a Ride” by Tom Scholz. Yeah, it’s triple (maybe quadruple) layered, but it still gives me goosebumps when I hear it and my fingers unconsciously move along with the notes. But holy cow, there’re so many others!

    Polls like this are necessarily reductionist. They take a lot of things out of context, mostly the setting or the form. The intent here seems to determine whether that solo defines an artist or a whole genre. Big mistake. Compare Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti” against “Les Brers in A Minor”. Functionally, they follow very similar forms, but one is a ballad,  the other a rave-up jam. Is one “better” than the other? No, of course not!

    So why do we participate in these polls? Because it gives us an opportunity to express our choice of our favorite solo, perhaps the one that influenced our own particular styles. Put in that context, I’d probably pick Joe Walsh’s amazing (and admittedly overdubbed and edited together) solo from “The Bomber” on “James Gang Ride Again”, which is in turn snippets of space-rock, classical, and Latin jazz, all twisted out of shape by Walsh’s instantly identifiable style. But that’s pretty esoteric, innit?

    There really isn’t a “best”. It’s a mistake to try to pick one as best. Play that game and we wind up excluding or marginalizing some wonderful music.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:37 am
  63. Ryan says:

    SRV-Lenny

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:37 am
  64. Frank P. says:

    Alvin Lee & Ten Years After, I’m Going Home. Woodstock Version….

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:37 am
  65. Clinton Medicine Crow says:

    David Lindley on Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty”....

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:38 am
  66. Brian Diller says:

    Waddy Wachtel’s solo in “Johnny Strikes Up the Band” by Warren Zevon is beautiful.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:39 am
  67. Jim says:

    A Great song by a Great guitarist

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:39 am
  68. James Cashin says:

    Today I have to say: Johnny Winter “Still alive & well (studio version), ask me tomorrow & it will be something else…......

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:41 am
  69. Joe P says:

    Alex Lifeson - Xanadu

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:41 am
  70. Scott says:

    I’m going with Jimi Hendrix “All Along The Watchtower”.  It is melodic and powerful, creative and memorable, and it used every ounce of technology available at the time with effects then never over-powered the solo.  It took the song and brought it to a new place.

    But if you want just pure emotion and artistry I’m going completely for the Knebworth performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird”.  Nothing has ever topped that.

    Also Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” for just beauty.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:42 am
  71. Tim Burge says:

    I love Donald “Buck Dharma” Roesser of Blue Oyster Cult on “Dominance and Submission”.  Favorite all time.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:42 am
  72. celticgods says:

    Greatest Guitar solo ever?  One?

    So then….. Charlie Christian? Tal Farlow? Joe Pass? Wes Montgomery? Grant Green? Kenny Burrell? Take your pick careful now…

    Rock guitar? Eddie Cochran? Cliff Gallup? Dick Dale? Scotty Moore? James Burton? The Colonel? CHUCK BERRY!!!!????!!!!???? Where to start? Hendrix? Jeff Beck?  (don’t even mention Page that overrated pilferer) Clapped-Out? KaNopfiller? How about Mickey Baker, yeah Love Is Strange baby!

    Blues? T-Bone? Elmore? Hubert Sumlin? Spoon? Otis Rush? Buddy Guy? Freddy? Albert? B.B.? SRV?

    Any choice of a single moment could be wrong and right, none would satisfy all, no single on would satisfy me.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:43 am
  73. Dan says:

    THIs is why I LOVE playing. Diversity. Along the Terry Kath line: Has anyone thought of “I’m a Man”? Terry was so underrated. This solo is blistering. It’s great everyone is chiming in(no pun intended). It would be cool for those who aren’t aware of some of the solos listed here to post them for those of us uneducated to sample them? Hey, Pro Guitar shop: Any Ideas or do we just aimlessly scan You Tube? Thanks, Dan.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:43 am
  74. Scott Bartel says:

    Slash’s Sweet Child O’ Mine is still one of my favorites.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:43 am
  75. Scott says:

    I went with Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold As Love.  My next three would probably be Jimmy Page, Achilles Last Stand and the live version of No Quarter.  Finally Michael Houser (Widespread Panic) for C. Brown.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:44 am
  76. Echoes says:

    Fat Old Sun (live between 70-71) - Pink Floyd/David Gilmour
    Cymabline (live between 70-71) - Pink Floyd/David Gilmour
    Killing Floor (Moneterey or Winterland) - Jimi Hendrix
    Phantom of the Opera - Iron Maiden
    Astronomy Domine - Pink Floyd
    Stranglehold - Ted Nugent
    Search & Destroy - The Stooges
    Black Napkins - Frank Zappa

    Just to name a few

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:45 am
  77. tftdguru says:

    This is a unsettleable argument.

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:47 am
  78. Ed says:

    Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:48 am
  79. Nico says:

    For me, the best solo is from Time, Pink Floyd . I can’t explain why, but It’s just beautiful

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:48 am
  80. John says:

    Just picking out of the hat, because if you asked me ten minutes from now it would be something totally different, and again ten minutes after that.  But (and it’s actually like four solos, because he takes numerous breaks in the song), Jeff Beck’s sweet fire on “Going Down” is something I could (and have) listened to millions of times without ever getting tired of it!

    posted on July 2, 2013 at 5:49 am

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