The Top 10 Solos Of All Time (Picked By You!)

July 9, 2013

Last week, we asked you to vote for your favorite guitar solo of all time.  We were overwhelmed by the response.    Overall, the votes ranged from metal to acoustic, and it was very cool to see how diverse the tastes of our followers are.  Thousands of votes came in, but unfortunately we can only put the top 10 in this spotlight.

10. Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Ozzbourne)– Mr. Crowley

9. Mark Knopfler (Dire Straights) – Sultans of Swing

8. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood

7. Steve Vai – Tender Surrender

6. Slash (Guns and Roses) – Sweet Child o Mine

5. Brian May (Queen)– Bohemian Rhapsody

4. Don Felder (The Eagles) – Hotel California

3. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

2. Jimmy Page – Stairway to Heaven

1. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) - Comfortably Numb


Comfortably Numb winning didn't bring too many surprises around here.  Were all pretty huge Pink Floyd fans at Pro Guitar Shop.  We were however surprised by the margin of victory.  Gilmour’s masterpiece beat Stairway to Heaven by a margin of almost 2:1.  Thanks for taking the time to vote everyone.   Did we pick your favorite solo?


  1. Jorge says:

    Yes indeed.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:03 am
  2. FeverDog says:

    All Great Choices.. by the way, which ones pink?
    hey how come you guys show jimi playing right handed?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:04 am
  3. Luis Claudio says:

    Yes, Totally agreed,

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:07 am
  4. Dave says:

    Yeah, didn’t need to tally votes to make this list!  My favorite of the bunch did make #1.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:07 am
  5. Mark says:

    Yeppers… This was my vote as well.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:09 am
  6. Jeff Beck says:

    Ridiculously absurd mates.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:09 am
  7. Jonas says:

    I like the fact that not fastness (virtuosity) but tone and feel wins.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:10 am
  8. Didier says:

    Cimtortably numb was my choice, i’m not surprised! David Gilmour’s solo is a true masterpiece !!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:10 am
  9. BG Yarbray says:

    Finally…...A “Top Ten” list that’s dead-on!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:11 am
  10. Binesh Maharjan says:

    As long as David Gilmour is number one, I agree. Having said that I would want Jeff Beck on the list too.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:12 am
  11. PRS513 says:


    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:15 am
  12. Dino Crestouve says:

    Yep! =D

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:17 am
  13. Fletch says:

    This list merely shows the narrow tastes of the people who voted.

    What about the solo from Reelin’ In The Years? Far better than half the solos mentioned here, particularly “Sweet Child”, which is good, but #6? Sorry.

    Les Paul’s solo in “Hear Them Bells” beats half the solos listed here, too.

    Yes, the people here need to expand their tastes to include far more styles than they appear to embrace as typified by this list.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:19 am
  14. celticgods says:

    David Gilmour? Seriously??  Randy Rhoads? Steve Vai?  Yawwwwwwwnnnnnnn

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:21 am
  15. Andrew Hornback says:

    Not a single Telecaster player in the list… what’s up with that?  No one’s heard of Roy Buchanan or Danny Gatton?!?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:23 am
  16. Bob says:

    Hard for me to pick one solo better than another, especially with the incredible list mentioned above. I must say, however, that I am pleasantly surprised. Great names with some great solos. Kind of wish Brian May was a little higher, but I can’t really argue with the other names on here. Sweet list, indeed.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:24 am
  17. Igor says:

    my. god. I was going through the list and kinda frowned at Tender Surrender being in front of Texas Flood and Brothers in arms, but FINALLY! Comfortably numb won!!? Can’t believe I actually got to see the song that got me into the guitar world win a solo contest! pardon my excitement :D

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:24 am
  18. asatluvr says:

    With all due respect..fav guitar solo of all time…completely left out some amazing country , blues and jazz solos…i didn’t notice the question as being fav rock guitar solo…I love all the solos above as well; but the history of guitar there have been some pretty amazing solos in other genre’s that were totally ignored..yes I know..Stevie Ray was a bluesman….

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:26 am
  19. Bradster says:

    So for Hotel California, the nod goes to only Don Felder’s parts and not Joe Walsh’s?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:26 am
  20. Shawn says:

    “Andrew Hornback says:
    Not a single Telecaster player in the list… what’s up with that?  No one’s heard of Roy Buchanan or Danny Gatton?!?”

    The Stairway to Heaven solo was on a 59 telecaster.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:27 am
  21. Andy says:

    Joe Walsh needs to be listed in the “Hotel California” entry.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:28 am
  22. Mark says:

    Mark Knopfler’s band is spelled “Dire Straits” rather than “Dire Straights.”

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:33 am
  23. DreamTheaterRules says:

    Machine Gun from the Band Of Gypsys album is BY FAR the greatest solo of all time. 

    Just sayin’

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:33 am
  24. Igor says:

    Fletch, why would we HAVE TO DO anything? We do not NEED to expands our tastes, we could expand out knowledge of the songs and performest, but my taste is as it is, I cannot expand it deliberately just cause you want me to. I would not include Slash for instance, or Steve Vai and I would add Jeff Beck and Les Paul, but there IS a reason some of those people and their work is perhaps more widely recognised than other’s and not in a “it’s just crap for the masses” kinda way, cause Dave Gilmour and SRV are really anything but that. Of course these lists or top tens really don’t mean anything, the point is to see what people like, not to decide what guitarist is better or which song is the “best”. People simply LIKE these and you can’t like something else if you don’t. I can RESPECT other types of music and I really do, but I can’t listen to what I don’t find, well, likable to me. I’ve tried, for instance jazz. Just can’t. It’s great, it takes skill and everything, but I can’t. Ain’t gonna vote for jazz. Doesn’t mean I hate it.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:34 am
  25. Brian says:

    Can’t help it, but I wish something from the Cars would’ve made the list—like Shake It Up or Bye Bye Love.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:35 am
  26. Roz says:

    John Sykes, Whitesnake, “Is this love”.l A simple, tasteful and amazing solo from one of the most underrated guitar players of the 70s and 80s!!! More soul in his ring finger then most guitar players.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:36 am
  27. Ivan says:

    David Fuck*ng Gilmour, ladies and gentlemans!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:38 am
  28. mike beckon says:

    Chicago 25 or 6 to 4??

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:38 am
  29. Wolfboy1 says:

    Great list. I would have added EVH Eruption but with Gilmour at #1 I can’t complain.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:39 am
  30. Riley says:

    Well, sort of.  I would say Sultans should be up higher.  But my current fav is The Rover.  no one ever gives it a second thought

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:40 am
  31. Red says:

    Gilmour’s end solo on “Comfortably Numb” always grabs me.  It’s a great one, as are all the others.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:44 am
  32. tony white says:

    well spotted Feverdog,good on ya!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:46 am
  33. Shtew says:

    Yawn indeed…zzzzzzzzzzz….well, aside from Jimi…
    “I don’t know if I should laugh or vomit”
    Sounds like listening to a classic Rawk radio station for about an hour…you’ll hear all these….over and over again.
    Ever hear of a guy named Les Paul…?
    How High The Moon…or Lover…

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:47 am
  34. Matt H says:

    Randy yes, Stevie yes, Jimi and Jimmy of course…. my fave solo changes weekly, at the moment its Eric Johnson’s ‘When the sun meets the sky’, check out the version from the 2009 Fender kickoff event on Youtube.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:47 am
  35. Christo2112 says:

    Can’t argue with Comfortably Numb. I voted for Hotel Cali, which by the way, was ALL written (music), including solo,  by Don Felder. I love J Walsh, but that was Felder’s baby!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:47 am
  36. Jonas says:

    The order in which the solos were listed may have come as a surprise, but not the solos themselves - possibly with the exception of Steve Vai. I find that a bit sad, really, since we don’t seem to see beyond the classics.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:51 am
  37. MurryW says:

    I picked Echoes by David Gilmour, but I am not at all surprised that he won with Comfortably Numb. The Powers That Be have their own way of reckoning things, but I consider David Gilmour perhaps the greatest guitarist of all time. It isn’t because he is fast, and not because he rocks, although he may be both things, but no, his greatest quality is that he is elegant.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:51 am
  38. Ed says:

    Not such a surprising list. Also not very diverse. Stacked in favor of classic rock, but that’s to be expected I suppose. It is a popularity contest after all. Two quick notes.

    One- there’s a lot of slamming of speed when the topic of solos comes up, and I think that’s a little misplaced. Yeah, we all know there are mindless shredders. But to my mind when you say that playing at a certain speed means you don’t have feel or soul, you’re committing the same sin as the shredder. Fast solos can speak just as much as slow ones- some players just express themselves that way sometimes. It’s every bit as valid. I think a lot of us that don’t bust out 64th notes at 200bpm tend to get a tad defensive and jealous of the speed demons- I mean I know I’ll never be that fast. That’s no reason to hold it against someone who can, or place artificial limits on what is and isn’t artistically valid.

    Second, much shorter note: why the heck did you guys feel the need to mirror edit the Hendrix pic? I’m not a lefty, but don’t they have it hard enough without taking him away? Guitars don’t always need to point to the right, guys…

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:56 am
  39. Keith says:

    Good list but have never even HEARD the Vai song.  Would have rather seen EVH make the list as I don’t think there are many people out there (musicians or otherwise) who haven’t heard EVH’s work either with VH or with MJ (biggest selling single ever, right?).  N-E-Way… Gilmour deserves the win… nobody can touch that majestic soaring tone of his!!

    PS: Surprised EC didn’t have a showing…

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:56 am
  40. John Boston says:

    Somebody want to tell me why Esteban did not make #1?????????????????!!!!!!!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:58 am
  41. syd says:

    robert fripps’ solo on baby’s on fire.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:58 am
  42. Ashoke Bhattacherjee says:

    or fender
    tender surrender?
    your cash on slash
    he thinks it’s trash
    voodoo child is wild
    page was the rage
    you forgot the tele
    country & rockabilly
    what’s in a solo
    when the world is hollow
    shallow & dark
    true music is left
    only in the lark
    his pick is sick
    your thumb is dumb
    time for comfortably numb

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:00 am
  43. Francisco Andre says:

    I voted for a PF solo but not Comfortably Numb. But it’s a deserved winner!
    Btw: all the solos are winners!
    Proud to be a guitarrist!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:05 am
  44. robert fargarson jr says:

    I thing this is a great culmination of some of the best playing man has to offer. One person mentioned the solo to “the Rover.” I have to agree with this. Though Page is best known for the more commercially successful stuff, the more obscure “Rover” has a feel and texture that rivals, and at times, exceeds all others. There is nothing like Page at the top of his game.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:06 am
  45. Cosmiccowboy says:

    Andy says:

    Joe Walsh needs to be listed in the “Hotel California” entry.

    Theres a few individuals commenting on here that need to educate themselves a little bit about artists, their solos and axe of choice for it.  Don Felder wrote and played the Hotel California album cut not Walsh and for the lova Pete EVERYBODY knows about Pagie and his love of Telecasters (especially the “Dragoncaster”)

    Tighten it up people, spend a little time at the library.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:07 am
  46. WholeLottaLove says:

    What? No EDDIE VAN HALEN? WOW. Although I agree with this list, I’m surprised. Maybe it should have been the TOP 20. I also agree with FeverDog, Why is Jimmi playing right handed? Nice work PGS!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:09 am
  47. Bradley Shuppert says:

    I would have kicked out Bohemian Rhapsody for EVH Eruption ANYDAY of the week….maybe even Sultans too!!!! WTF!!!!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:10 am
  48. JFC says:

    Hendrix’s solo on the version of Machine Gun which is on the original Band of Gypsies album is in another league from these efforts, worthy as they are.  It completely humbles the stuff in this list. 

    But you guys all know that and put it to the side as an unfair participant, right?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:11 am
  49. DreamTheaterRules says:

    Fletch, yeah, I don’t see how it shows “narrow tastes.”  I vote Machine Gun for # 1 solo of all time.  That doesn’t even give you a clue as to how much other stuff I LOVE.  Remember, Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, John Sykes, EDDIE VAN HALEN (for gosh sakes!), Yngwie, John Petrucci and numerous other KILLER players weren’t on “this” list either.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:12 am
  50. Michael Jahn says:

    FAIL ALERT - you flipped Jimi picture - it is flipped horizontally ( note the word FENDER on the head is mirrored ! )

    SHESSH - fix it !!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:12 am
  51. Adrian says:

    not a single solo from KISS?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:13 am
  52. Mario Bohorquez says:

    I’ve never understood why David Gilmour is always on these lists?? Besides, Steve Vai and Stevie Ray have many better solos in my opinion.
    These are the kind of lists guitar and rock magazines always put out and they’re always the same.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:14 am
  53. john porter says:

    Very Good Choices!!!! I agree with your #1. Sir David is the greatest!!!!!!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:14 am
  54. tony white says:

    anyway you lot,WTF is wrong with Blackmores highway star from made in japan?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:15 am
  55. Michael Jahn says:

    Here - on this web site - is the same picture, only displayed correctly !

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:17 am
  56. Don says:

    No, unfortunately mine didn’t win but if you have another I will be sure to vote next time! Cheers!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:17 am
  57. randy leach says:

    larry carlton - kid charlemagne belongs on the list

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:21 am
  58. marcel says:

    Yes, that’s my vote!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:23 am
  59. john duval says:

    no complaints with the winners and i was indeed surprised by Gilmour as the winner . happily so I might add. He is the most under rated guitar in all of rock. Outside of that this whole list is very subjective and has little to do with the primary consideration for best guitar solo which is,: does it fit the song in such a way as to almost define the song. In other words is it the only possible solo that could be in that song? That may seem nerdy and egg-headed but this is music not a chops contest. In that light David Gilmour does get the nod from the guitarists who made the cut but with the exception of Mark K and Jimmy Page I don’t see anyone on the winners list who put in a definitive solo. The the omission of EVH’s solo on either Beat It or Jump defies logic at all levels and I’m not even a fan. I did enjoy seeing what other people like, or listen too but the guy who mentioned that the range of players was rather limited was right on.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:25 am
  60. Jeff McDonald says:

    Ah, Comfortably Numb, was my choice. However, it was such a hard one with guitarists like Jeff Beck, Jimi, Eric, Joe Walsh (um, maybe a mention on Hotel California for him?) Roy Buchannan, SRV….just too much to pick from. For me, Comfortably Numb just has a couple things to put it to the top….the dynamics of the work and, of course, Gilmour’s TONE to die for…..

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:28 am
  61. Chris says:

    Here is a list which could have been compiled in the early ninties. The top two showed up in a similar list published by GT mag about 12 years ago. Can we move on from those frigging tunes. Aaaagghh. (To qualify my exasperation.. my pick was recorded in the seventies, Inca Roads. FZ&M)

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:32 am
  62. Kso says:

    This list is hilarious. Pack of old fogies, the lot of ya! Since when did rock guitar only exist in this tiny little historical, ossified bubble of classic rock? Evolve already ...

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:33 am
  63. telepath says:

    any poll for ‘the best’ is inevitably going to conclude with most widely acknowledged / popular suggestions.
    The fact that neither Les Paul , nor Danny Gatton made the ‘top 10’ is no slight on them.
    Nor should it be used as a slight on those who apparently chose ‘obvious’ offerings.

    They have become ‘obvious’ choices for good reason.

    We all have a lifetime in which to piece together the ‘soundtrack of our lives’.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:37 am
  64. DJ Serrato says:

    The Edges lead on Until the end of the world has always been a fave of mine.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:38 am
  65. brucead says:

    Yes it is my favorite. Gilmour’s tone , timing and emotive expression grabs at my soul.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:49 am
  66. George says:

    You know how some things taste good, but they aren’t good for you… and some things are good for you, but they don’t taste good.
    Well, this contest isn’t like that!
    Turns out there’s no accounting for taste

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:53 am
  67. Monte Albon says:

    Walter Becker from Steely Dan should have made this list.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:56 am
  68. Mark Holt (aka Reverend Slim) says:

    What about George Lynch?

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:56 am
  69. FretilinFan says:

    The results, I’m sure, mirror the demographic of the voters, and maybe that of PGS’ subscribers.  If more C%W fans or jazz enthusiasts had voted, the results might have been quite different.
    And let’s not forget that we are only looking at the top ten vote-getters.  There are probably a gazillion solos that have at least one person who considers it the ultimate performance.  Beauty, as has been said, is in the eye, or in this case, ear, of the beholder, er, listener.

    Oh, by the way, although Walsh did do echo solos in H.C, the song was Felder’s, so the credit is rightly his.  Don gets too little credit for making the Eagles what they became.  The remaining bandmambers kept the faith for a while, but they have become like the Stones, just rehashing for bib bucks… little or no creativity.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:06 am
  70. Mark says:

    As stated above, I did vote for Comfortably Numb, however, I do agree with Roz (above) in that John Sykes is one of the single most under-rated soloists I have ever heard. Especially on Blue Murders first album. Un-Freakin-Real.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:08 am
  71. Paddy D says:

    Surprised to see voodoo child by Hendrix. These are all great riffs however I have yet to hear anyone reproduce Machine Gun by Hendrix,and I doubt anyone could have done it back in 70

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:24 am
  72. Mike G says:

    no accounting for lack of taste here… call me a bigot (or a patriot), but there is just no F’N WAY that a brit deserves to be #1… not saying that Gilmour can’t play, but he sure as hell can’t touch SRV or Jimi when it comes to jamming it out IN THE MOMENT.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:27 am
  73. david ernst says:

    Anyone here ever hear Jimi’s rendition of Jonny B Goode played at the Berkeley Community Theater or any of the songs from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s concert at Carnegie Hall?

    Either of those two blow away any and every solo listed, even their own two songs included on this list.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:29 am
  74. charles says:

    Somebody loan me a dime ......

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:35 am
  75. Elizabeth Rupe says:

    I didn’t see any of my guys on your chart, David Lee Roth and Eddie VanHalen of VanHalen or Eric Clapton mister slow hand or B.B King your list should’ve been longer and why was Stevie Ray in only eighth place and doesn’t Glen Frey also play guitar for the Eagles least we forget about Peter Frampton or Barry Gibbs of the Bee Gees.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:41 am
  76. JAMES GREEN says:

    There’s nothing here that can touch Jimi Hendrix on Band Of Gypsies MACHINE GUN…check out the live Band Of Gypsies .....RIP JMH…

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:43 am
  77. Hue Nery says:

    Gotta agree with “Jeff Beck” ridiculously absurd. The fact that Steve Vai placed so low and that Hotel California placed so high. Please. This isn’t a best solo poll. It’s a most popular solo poll. There’s no room for great solos here. Where’s Allan Holdsworth? Where’s Frank Gambale?  I suppose this might be considered a best blues solo poll? And to be totally honest if that is the case, where the hell is Jeff Beck on this list? Ever hear Jeff’s rendition of Goodbye Pork Pie Hat? If soul is the main ingredient here, the result are horrendously flawed.

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:53 am
  78. Jim M. says:

    Randy Leach offers up one of the most appropriate choices for “Worlds greatest Solo” with Larry Carltons’ solo from Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan - Royal Scam). It’s Rock and with a strong Jazz with attitude.
    Legend says that he recorded this solo, which is both elegant and fluid, in one take,...
    It lasts for 50 seconds and sends shivers up my spine every time I hear it….
    Alternatively, Jeff Beck’s rendition of Charlie Mingus’ “Good Bye Pork Pie Hat is my warm-up song and I’ve spent 30 years trying to get it note and technique perfect,.... I’m still trying !!

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:54 am
  79. kvltwalter says:

    I would’ve loved to see Alex Lifeson’s La Villa Strangiato solo on this list (live version off of Exit…Stage Left)

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:56 am
  80. Robert Neale says:

    The perfect result but I would have liked to have seen Eric Clapton in there. Maybe next survey we could vote for best Guitarist

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

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