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This is from my 45 + years of closely analyzing guitar solos for my own education in my guitar playing.

I've decided to post some of the great rock/blues guitar solos I've ever heard. A few are from well-known songs where the guitar solo has been somewhat overlooked due to the popularity of the song as a whole.  These are all solos within songs; I've excluded instrumentals.

They share these qualities:

Imaginative, creative, unexpected, knowing when to hold back, great blend of staccato, legato, use of rests, sounds, medody, phrasing, and so forth.

In other words, they stand out and hold up among the multi-thousands of others I've heard and analyzed since I was 12. I'm 59 now and still analyzing and playing.

Anyway here, in my opinion, are the best of the best (in no particular order):

The whole songs should be heard for context and buildup of tension.  However, the solos are at the times noted, if you wish to go right to them.

Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower

0:09 - 0:19; 0:52 - 1:10; 1:43 - 2:48

Extraordinary, fluid beauty. The solos are so melodic that they are almost a separate melody.

Jeff Beck - Blues Deluxe

4:45 - 5:50

Impossibly original blues licks; never even attempted before or since, even by Beck himself.  The only electric blues licks I have never been able to duplicate.

Eric Clapton (Yardbirds) - I Ain't Got You

1:00 - 1:27

Short but a perfect killer for this song and very original.

Mark Knopfler (w/Dire Straits) - Sultans of Swing

2:42 - 3:16; 4:12 - fades too early - get another)

Beautifully melodic and lyrical.

Jeff Beck - It Gets Us All in the End

3:30 to end

Beck himself had to do this dozens of times before he found a take he liked.  I understand he was on the verge of exhaustion when he finally pulled out all the stops.

Jimmy Page - Think About It

1:58 - 2:49

Pure, raw, unadulterated and original Page.

Jeff Beck (with Eric Clapton) - Further On Up the Road

1:50 - 2:30; AND 3:23 - 3:44

Clapton and Beck trade solos.  Clapton is good but Beck reached for things never before heard on a Telecaster.

James Burton (w/Ricky Nelson) - Hello Mary Lou

1:05 - 1:30
Brief, spare and dead-on perfect.

Mike Mitchell (w/ the Kingsmen) - Louie, Louie

1:24 - 1:50

I really believe this solo went very far towards making this song the classic that it was, even though most only recall the lyric-controversy and the singing.

Dave Davies (w/The Kinks) All Day and All of the Night

1:20 - 1:37

Nothing like it - a timeless classic of a short, killer, couldn't-be-better rock solo. Some controversy over whether Jimmy Page did this.  But then I saw Davies do it live (on a video).  It was really him - plus he made a few mistakes that I picked up that absolutely convinced me.  

Eric Clapton (w/Cream) Crossroads

1:29 - 2:12; 2:32 - 3:37

The second solo takes this into uncharted territory and proves that this was Clapton at his absolute peak.  He was never better; arguably not even close.

Obviously I haven't heard everything; so please add your own; I'd love to hear some new ones.


Wow - fantastic response.  I have to go offline for a while but I will listen to every single solo you put up and try to comment on them - even after this scrolls off - so stick around. Many that you offer up I haven't heard and I'm very excited to hear them.

I was able to get in several listenings and made some replies. Some might think I'm being too critical of favorites, but I have to be honest. Of course it's just my opinion. And I fully respect all of yours.

I have to go offline again for much of the evening, but I promise to respond or at least listen to everything.  So plan to keep checking in long after this scrolls off. I'll keep this up as long as y'all keep this up.

Also I see there are many new replies - I will get to yours as soon as I can.  Thank you for stopping in and offering a lot of fascinating music.

Originally posted to dov12348 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 02:41 PM PDT.

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