Favorite Solos

Here are a bunch of my favorite guitar solos… about 50 of ’em.

What makes a good guitar solo? The answer different for everyone. For me a good solo is musically interesting and fits the song well. The best solos will add to the song by providing emotion and/or variation without being totally overpowering or distracting. I have tried to avoid including solos that encompass the entire song or most of the song. The best solos are just part of the song but the song comes first.

These are all the ones I can think of for now….Im sure I forgot some and will add them later.

There is a mp3 clip of each solo. (56k mono) Most files are pretty small and quick to download.

band: Van Halen
guitarist: Eddie Van Halen

song: Ice Cream Man album: Van Halen, 1978
comments: Absolutely one of the best solos ever recorded. Groundbreaking. Eddie baffled everyone in ’78.

song: Somebody Get Me A Doctor album: Van Halen II Year: 1979
comments: Another great solo very typical of early Van Halen. Just about every solo on the first 4 VH albums is amazing. It was tough to pick just two.

band: Rush
guitarist: Alex Lifeson
song: Bastille Day album: All The World’s A Stage, 1976 (Caress Of Steel, 1975)
comments: Alex IS my favorite player and this shows why. He was using a lot of the Mixolydian scale earlier in his career and I dont know of anyone who got a sound even close this. He uses a similar style on songs like Lakeside Park and Anthem, Bacchus Plateau.

song: Freewill album: Permanent Waves, 1980
comments: Great solo very typical of alex’s late 70s early 80s style: Spacey and modal. Cool atypical riffs with big bends and a little whammy bar. He uses a similar style on Limelight and Spirit Of Radio.

song: YYZ album: Moving Pictures, 1981
comments: Lots of hammers and pulls here. Natural minor key with a switch between B and C. Love it!.

band: Eddie Money
guitarist: Jimmy Lyon
song: Two Tickets To Paradise album: Eddie Money, 1976
comments: I can not find much information on Jimmy Lyon but he was clearly was an Allman brothers fan. For some reason I find this solo breathtaking. Major Pentatonic all the way with lots of pull-off and a few big bends.

band: Black Crowes
guitarist: Mark Ford
song: Sometimes Salvation album: Southern Harmony, 1992
comments: There are a ton of Crowes solos that I love but this solo beautifully highlights the emotion and tempo of the song. Mark Ford is an outstanding player. Minor pentatonic with some incredible bends and intricate stops make this one put chills down your spine.

band: Cry Of Love
guitarist: Audley Freed
song: Peace Pipe album: Brother, 1992
comments: Great sound. Great technique. Audley is one of my favorite axe-men!

band: Queen
guitarist: Brian May
song: Killer Queen album: Sheer Heart Attack, 1974
comments: Brian May is a fantastic player with sophisticated phasing and a great melodic scene. Simple beautiful solo that always gives me chills.

band: Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
guitarist: Stevie Ray Vaughan
song: Voodoo Child album: Couldnt Stand The Weather, 1984
comments: So hard to pin Stevie down to a favorite solo. He is much more of a jammer that a melodic solo guy. I love it every time he takes a solo but what he does to this Hendrix song is simply breathtaking.

band: Steely Dan
guitarist: Larry Carlton
song: Kid Charlemagne album: The Royal Scam, 1976
comments: Nice and jazzy! Most of the Steely dan solos are sophisticated and tasty. Larry does a great job on this one.

guitarist: Jay Graydon
song: Peg album: Aja, 1977
comments: A very difficult song to solo to. They went through 4 studio players before Jay put down this gem.

guitarist: Elliot Randall
song: Reelin’ in the Years album: Can’t Buy a Thrill, 1972
comments: Eric clapton was blown away by this solo. For good reason. Elliot Randall was asked to join the band after recording this track.

band: Allman Brothers
guitarist: Dicky Betts
song: One Way Out album: Eat A Peach, 1972
comments: Duane and Dicky can really play! I believe this is Dicky but I am not sure. I know that Duane plays slide throughout the tune and Im guessing that Dicky does this solo. Great use of the A minor and major pentatonic scales with a sprinkle of country charm. The fast tempo approaches”swing” which makes these solos difficult to play.
Jessica album: Brothers And Sisters, 1973
comments: Duane was gone but Dicky stepped up to the plate big time. .

band: Chuck Mangione
guitarist: Grant Geissman
song: Feels So Good album: Feels So Good, 1977
comments: I hate to venture too far into Jazz territory but this has always been a favorite solo of mine.

band: Boston
guitarist: Tom Sholtz
song: Hitch A Ride album: Boston, 1976
comments: Tom Sholtz has a true gift with solos. Melodic and powerful. The also manage to sound completely unique. Actually, I find his solos similar in feel to Brian May of Queen..

band: Blue Oyster Cult
guitarist: Donald Roeser “Buck Dharma”
song: Dont Fear The Reaper album: Agents Of Fortune, 1976
comments: A overplayed song but a really great minor solo featuring great bends and pull-offs..

band: Eagles
guitarist: Joe Walsh
song: One Of These Nights album: One Of These Nights, 1975
comments: Unique and powerful! Walsh bends these notes into a furious furvor.

band: Cars
guitarist: Elliot Easton
song: Just What I Needed album: The Cars, 1978
comments: Elliot has a great combination of rockabilly and new wave. Great player!

band: Peter Frampton
guitarist: Peter Frampton
song: Show Me The Way album: Frampton Comes Alive, 1976
comments: Frampton loves the mixolydian mode (scale) which is what he used exclusively. The talk-box was also one of his favorite tools. Nice and pretty which a touch of blues.

band: Free
guitarist: Paul Kossoff
song: All Right Now album: Fire And Water, 1970
comments: Another one we have heard many times. This solo is actually more difficult to play than it sounds. Paul had a way with huge bends and seamless delivery. The vibrato touch reminds of Angus young.

band: Aerosmith
guitarist: Joe Perry
song: Walk This Way album: Toys in the Attic, 1975
comments: A rocker that highlights the tune nicely.

band: Yes
guitarist: Steve Howe
song: Ive Seen All Good People album: The Yes Album, 1971
comments: Typical Steve Howe – jazzy, clean and technical.

band: Journey
guitarist: Neal Schon
song: Lights album: Infinity, 1978
comments: This is clearly a Hendrix influenced solo. Major pentatonic that changes with each chord change. This makes for a very melodic and pretty solo.

song: Stone In Love album: Infinity, 1978
comments: High energy with a little bit of shredding. I think most everyone can hum this one in their sleep.

band: Led Zeppelin
guitarist: Jimmy Page
song: 10 Years Gone album: Physical Grafitti, 1975
comments: One that just hits you. Very melodic and emotional.

guitarist: Jimmy Page
song: Heartbreaker album: II, 1969
comments: Yes, youve heard this one before. Highly influential solo. This is where Eddie Van Halen got the idea to fingertap.

song: Stairway album: IV, 1971
comments: One of the most famous solos of all time…and for good reason. A Minor and F Major all the way. Great feel!

band: Lynyrd Skynyrd
guitarist: Alan Collins, Gary Rossinton
song: Freebird album: Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973
comments: Duh! Another one the all-time best solos ever. Great interplay lots of bends, hammer-ons and pull-offs. These guys are just plain good.

guitarist: Ed King, Gary Rossinton
song: Sweet Home Alabama album: Second Helping, 1974
guitarist: Ed King, Gary Rossinton
comments: Love the chicken pickin country flavor of this solo. Very tough to play and get right. D & G pentatonic mostly.

band: Police
guitarist: Andy Summers
song: Driven To Tears album: Zenyatta Mondatta, 1980
comments: Any rarely did solos but this one really smokes. So different and frantic!

band: Jimi Hendrix
guitarist: Hendrix
song: All Along The Watchtower album: Electric Ladyland, 1968
comments: Hard to pin him down to one solo. From a fits-the-song point of view and influence, this one is huge.

band: Rolling Stones
guitarist: Keith Richards
song: Sympathy For The Devil album: Beggars Banquet, 1968
comments: Another very famous solo that can not be overlooked. Raw energy, emotion a great piercing guitar sound.

band: Spin Doctors
guitarist: Eric Schenkman
song: Jimmy Olsen’s Blues
song: Two Princes album: Pocket Full Of Kryptonite, 1991
comments: Eric is a fine player who can jam with the best of them. He puts together a couple of memorable and technically challenging solos that are always fun to hear.

band: Triumph
guitarist: Rick Emmit
song: Fight The Good Fight album: Allied Forces, 1981
comments: Nice solo in D minor. Fits well into the song.

band: U2
guitarist: The Edge
song: New Years Day album: War, 1983
comments: The Edge is not known for his solos but this one is incredible. Very slow delivery but the sound, sustain and note choice are beyond description.

band: The Who
guitarist: Pete Townshend
song: Join Together album: The Kids Are Alright, 1979
comments: Pete is a very under-rated soloist. Who tunes are filled with great riffs which never sound typical and are always melodic. Listen to Live at leeds to hear Pete really jam.

band: AC/DC
guitarist: Angus Young
song: You Shook Me All Night Long album: Back In Black, 1981
comments: Angus is the king of vibrato and pieces together a very nice solo. Yes, we have heard this song many times but the solo holds up well. He uses a mixture of G Minor and Major pentatonic moving seamlessly between the two.

band: ZZ Top
guitarist: Billy Gibbons
song: Tush album: Fandango, 1975
comments: Billy is one of the great blues rockers and this slide piece is one of the most famous slide solos of all time. Not really complicated but oh so goood!

band: Judas Priest
guitarist: Glen Tipton
song: Another Thing Comin album: Screaming For Vengeance, 1982
comments: Wow. Glen really kicks in this solo. Great energy and note choice.

band: Scorpions
guitarist: Matthias Jabs
song: No one like you album: Blackout, 1982
comments: Matthias played all the solos for the scorps’. Great melodic player with plenty of metal flavoring.

band: Forigner
guitarist: Mick Jones
song: Hot Blooded album: Double Vision, 1978
comments: A very unique solo. Lots of pull-offs to open strings, double stops and bends.

band: Loverboy
guitarist: Paul Dean
song: Turn Me Loose album: Loverboy, 1980
comments: Dont laugh too hard…Another guilty pleasure. What can I say, Paul Dean is good and puts together a great solo. I like a lot of other of Paul’s solos as well.

band: Styx
guitarist: Tommy Shaw
song: Renegade album: Pieces Of Eight, 1978
comments: The band the critic love to hate but the guitar playing was always top-notch. Great sounds. Great solos.

band: Grateful Dead
guitarist: Jerry Garcia
song: Casey Jones album: Workingman’s Dead, 1970
comments: There are so many Jerry solos which are incredible, but this one really integrates with the song melody. So simple and so cool. Great subtle touch.

band: Huey Lewis
guitarist: Johnny Colla
song: I want A New Drug album: Sports, 1983
comments: This is another guilty pleasure song of mine. I really like the feel of the solo.

band: Creamengine
guitarist: Anthony Ferrari (Hey that’s me!)
song: Shuteye album: Creamengine, 1996
comments: OK..so Im a loser by posting my own solos but I believe that my solos are a big mix of all the solos I dig. This solo is one of my best recorded solos and rocks pretty good. If I do say so myself ;).
song: Transparent album: Sunny Side Up, 1994
comments: A fun solo for a happy song.
Well Enough Unknown album: Mercury Sessions, 1999
comments: Simple and Melodic with a touch of feeling.