YetiDude Productions presents: The 101 Greatest Guitar Solos OF ALL TIME ! ! ! ! !

So here’s my criteria:

1. It must be played within the context of a song with singing and lyrics – NO INSTRUMENTALS! Thus no Cliffs of Dover, Satch Boogie, Eruption, etc, etc, etcetera. That is getting old anyway. This basically kills my lack of jazz background as well, which is nice.

2. No live performances – no, I am not going through every bootleg of Highway Star to figure out which one’s the best. Everything here is recorded in studio.

3. I am not a musician – I don’t care what mode, scale, or key a solo is in and that all they do use recycle pentonic scales or whatever. I go by how the solo makes me feel and how it fits into the context of the song they are playing. I always ask myself: does it blow my mind and/or how much skill did they display within the frame of the given solo (I understand skill is just one aspect of guitar playing). Yes, I do emphasize skill, and that is just one aspect of greatness.

4. This is really not about which guitar solo is most historically significant or influential. But – I do throw a few bones here and there when a guy comes up with a solo out of nowhere that was head and shoulders above what was being done in the era.


Jeff Beck – Superstition (Beck, Bogart, & Appice Beck, Bogart, & Appice)
Bruce Franklin/Marty Friedman – Convoluted Absolutes (Tourniquet Where Moth and Rust Destroy)
Carl Johann Grimmark – Inner Sanctum (Narnia Desert Land)
Reb Beach – Witness (Winger Karma)
Angus Young – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
Wally Farkas – Ranch On Mars Part 2 Set Me Free (Galactic Cowboys At the End of Day)
Vitto Bratta – Little Fighter (White Lion Big Game)
Zakk Wylde – Fire In the Sky (Ozzy Osbourne No Rest For the Wicked)
David Gilmour – Pigs (Three Different Ones) (Pink Floyd Animals)
Yngwie Malmsteen – Queen Is In Love (Yngwie Malmsteen Trilogy)
Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry Rock, Rock, Rock)
Piggy – None of the Above (Voivod Angel Rat)
Criss Oliva – Legions (Savatage Hall of the Mountain King)

Leslie West – Mississippi Queen (Mountain Climbing!)
Steve Stevens – Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson Bad)
Jason Becker – It’s Showtime (David Lee Roth A Little Ain’t Enough)
Carlos Cavaza – Bang Your Head (Quiet Riot Metal Health)
Kerry Livgren – Carry On My Wayward Son (Kansas Point of No Return)
Roger Fish – Magic Man (Heart Dreamboat Annie)
John Petrucci – Lie (Dream Theater Awake)
Synyster Gates – Afterlife (Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold)

Matthias Jabs – Rock You Like A Hurricane (Scorpions Love At First Sting)
Steve Vai – Elephant Gun (David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em And Smile)
Ritchie Blackmore – Stargazer (Rainbow Rainbow Rising)
Billy Gibbons – La Grange (ZZ Top Tres Hombres)
Reb Beach – Madelleine (Winger Winger)
Paul Gilbert – Dr. X (Racer X Getting Heavier)
Vinnie Moore – Blitz the World (Vicious Rumors Soldiers of the Night)

J/K – These are just solos in consideration at one time or another. Some in serious contention, others just for posterity’s sake.


101) Scott Gorham – “Angel of Death” (Thin Lizzy Renegade)

Great song that doesn’t get its due and Scott Gorham’s solo fits it beautifully. Gorham is a more influential guitar player than anyone will know, especially since Iron Maiden aped Thin Lizzy’s harmony guitar attack to a tee.


Yup, Chris Impellitteri is all about speed, but he has his own tenacious way of pulling off incredible speed runs that boggle the mind. This one engulfs almost everything he does and even starts out with a bluesy jam before getting to the wicked licks.

99) Marty Friedman – “Poison Was the Cure” (Megadeth Rust In Peace)

Friedman is the god of heavy metal solo’ing, seemingly to come up with scales that no one in metal has used or heard before. His awkward picking style and three finger technique, which makes him look like he has cerebal palsy, enables him to also come up with a unique tone and texture to his brilliant sound. This solo is a good intro to the amazing Marty.

98) George Lynch – “Til the Livin’ End” (Dokken Under Lock And Key)

If Lynch is a Van Halen clone, then he is the best one there is. The song is standard boogie rock metal, but this solo by Lynch is catchy, inventive, and extreme.

97) Carl Johann Grimmark –“Pray” (Grimmark Grimmark)
You don’t know who he is, but the guitar player for the neo-classical metal band, Narnia, is one of the best solo’ers to come out the past 10 years. Carl started as a Yngwie clone, but he has certainly found his own voice in recent years. This solo encompasses a plethora of styles and illustrates how well he can construct a searing performance.
Oops, wrong link *fixed it*
96) Marco Sfogli – “Drained” (James Labrie Elements of Persuasion)
Never heard a’ this guy ’til I got Labrie’s solo album and was thankful that Sfogli played on it rather than John Petrucci (which was the original plan). Guy just has incredible phrasing and vibrato. Plus he can lay down the licks like a mad dog.
95) Trevor Rabin – “Calling” (Yes Talk)
Great song by one of the most incredible bands. A song that more people should appreciate. Here Trevor lays down some sweet chicken-picken before lambasting the listener with some heavy string solo’age, showing off his versatility and tone, elevating an already gorgeous song to new heights. Brilliant song. Transcendent band.
94) John Petrucci – “Fatal Tragedy” (Dream Theater Scenes From A Memory: Metropolis part 2)

More of a solo that shows off his technique as he string skips to utopia, but it’s rather clever and tasty.

93) Synyster Gates – “Lost” (Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold)

I had my doubts when I first heard that this band had a good guitar player – they look like just another flavor of the month metalcore band or, even worse, scream-o. Then I heard “Afterlife” and my skepticism was quickly dispelled – this guy had incredible dexterity and was more creative than the average shredder. This solo here is a bit different from his usual stuff and, thus, stands out – it’s wacky, skillful, and oh so delicious. This dude is the new wave of metal shred and represents his era splendidly.

92) Roland Orzabal – “Shout” (Tears For Fears Songs From the Big Chair)

Usually I’m not a fan of reiterating the main melody for a solo (think Smells Like Teen Spirit solo – *yawn*), but Roland hits just the right notes and adds a lot of twists to the song’s flavor with this solo. He creates another level of tension to an already magnificent song during the song’s fade out climax. When one thinks “80’s”, one should think Tears For Fears (or possibly Flock Of Seagulls – I haven’t decided yet). Tears have the more bountiful ouevre though. Okay, it’s decided, Tears For Fears are THE band of the 80’s when it comes to capturing that 80’s mystique.

91) Nuno Bettancourt – “He Man Woman Hater” (Extreme Pornograffitti)

Nuno just makes it look so easy – he could play all of Eddie’s stuff and look bored doing it. One of the most blessed players with every trick and guitar feat at his immediate disposal. He was/is completely fluid and precise in all his movements and doesn’t break a sweat. In my opinion this is his best solo off of Extreme’s best album.

90) Randy Rhoads – “S.A.T.O” (Ozzy Osbourne Diary of A Madman)

Randy was just simply ahead in the game above all the competition. Not only were his chops beyond most at that time – he was an incredible songwriter. I love how he structures this solo and creates a take off point then launches into a series of screeching notes. One of the better early Ozzy songs that no one seems talk about.

89) Criss Oliva – “Conversation Piece” (Savatage Edge of Thorns)

The now deceased Oliva had what few metal guitarists owned: soul. He just simply had a great feel for the instrument and developed his way bending notes just at the right time after years of developing his improvisational style. Like “S.A.T.O.” this song creates a launchpad and Criss immediately goes to work once the time change kicks in with the drum and bass to a slower tempo at 2:44. This sets the tone for something jawdropping is about to happen – like Jaws is about to devour another victim.
88) Eddie Van Halen – “One Foot Out the Door” (Van Halen Fair Warning)

Sort of a B-side that the band probably jammed out real quick in the studio to fill out the end of the album, but the outro just goes and goes. You get to hear Eddie go off like never before with no restrictions. Unfortunately the engineer fades it out and cheats us out of another 45 seconds of jamming. Anyway, here is Eddie at his most unrestricted and honest, pushing himself to the limit.

87)Fred Schendel – “Arianna” (Glass Hammer Evermore)

Glass Hammer is that type of band that creates concept albums out of Tolkien’s works. They are comprised of two multi-instrumentalists (I can’t even find a pic of Fred playing guitar), who share the duties. Although they are primarily a moog prog band, Fred can really handle the axe, and they both used to be in a metal band called Wyzards.
Once you make it through this 16 minute epic Fred ends it with an emotional Gilmour-esque solo that caps it off perfectly. More of a solo that heightens an already great song and it works just that well within the context. Drat, no link. Here’s a good song from the same album though: “The Conflict.”

86) Carlos Santana – “Primevera” (Santana Supernatural)

The solo simply smokes, despite all the over-exposure of the album. You can’t deny the power of Carlos and his unique sound. See, the latin explosion of the late 90’s/early 00’s wasn’t all that bad.

85) Kim Thayil – “Like Suicide” (Soundgarden Superunknown)

I think Thayil is a better riff writer than soloist, but here his style fits the mood of the trippy Like Suicide. This is another example of where the solo meets the song and that’s where it exudes greatness. The tone and texture of Thayil captures the trance-like mood of one of the Seattle project’s best songs.

84) Joe Satriani – “Big Bad Moon” (Joe Satriani Flying In A Blue Dream)

Joe made the switch to vocals and the response wasn’t favorable, but this is one of the better songs on the album. He really blitzes the listener on this solo with a speedy blues approach then goes all honky tonk in quick bursts. Not much else to say but that Satch is one of the most untouchable guitarists of all time.

83) Adrian Smith/Dave Murray – “Seventh Son of A Seventh Son” (Iron Maiden Seventh Son of A Seventh Son)

During this rather laborious title track – the band decides to shift gears and just lets Adrian and Dave exchange leads. The result can’t be argued with: it’s the most intense playing by the two metal giants. The rhythm changes from trudge to uptempo jam and they throw every guitar trick in the book at you.

82) Jeff Waters – “Road To Ruin” (Annihilator Never Neverland)

Got to find a spot for my man Jeff Waters, who I think is the overall best thrash guitarist of all time. His solos may not be as tasty as Friedman or Skolnick, but he has his own unique style of thrash, which sounds like a little girl’s nightmare – a motif he’s frequently explored with Annihilator. He is Annihilator and Annihilator is him, which has been somewhat of a flaw with rotating members, but they do have a handful of classic thrash albums. This is his best solo, but not the best song. Starting with one of his patented tightly wound bridges leading up to a punchy solo, which bends the mind as usual.
There’s no upload, cuz of ECM, but here’s some dude playing it, showing how tough it is to execute:

81) Paul Gilbert – “Attitude Boy Will Overcome” (Paul Gilbert Alligator Farm)

Paul Gilbert may be the best working guitarist today. Starting out as prodigy shredder in Racer X, he has redefined his tone and adopted many styles into his playing. And, unlike a lot of 80’s guitar players who haven’t evolved, has become a better player for it. The man can do it all and do stuff that no one can do (he’s got a lengthy, freak-ish pinky).

80) Alex Skolnick – “Malpractice” (Testament Souls of Black)

The jazz-fusion metal giant has a lot of work to choose from, but I think this is his most complete work. Incorporating jazz still doesn’t hold back Alex as this is undoubtedly metal and shredder-riffic.

79) John Sykes – “Cold Sweat” (Thin Lizzy Thunder And Lightning)

John Sykes is one of the most underrated guitarists ever. The effort he exerts into playing is incomparable. He doesn’t really do anything new, but the steam and passion comes out of his playing is like no other. This solo even has a little Eruption to and it doesn’t bother me just because John plays it with so much tenacity. And how cool is this song? Phil Lynott singing about gambling over that riff? You can’t beat that in hard rock.
78) George Lynch – “Kiss of Death” (Dokken Back For the Attack)

For a guy who doesn’t know jack about theory and just wings it, he certainly is a musical genius. He is one of the more imaginative shredders and the lick that comes at the end of the solo just puts it over the top for me, otherwise it’s just another brilliant day on the fretboard for Mr. Scary.

77) Michael Romeo – “The Odyssey” (Symphony X The Odyssey)

Somewhere in this 24 minute colossus contains a grand solo (the last minute of my link – I’ll help you out). Romeo always plays with so much grace and finesse, taking his ques from his hero, Yngwie Malmsteen, but finding his own voice and tone by Symphony X’s second album. Seeing this song performed live is something to behold as it remains the greatest song I have ever seen performed live.
76)Mark McGee/Geoff Thorpe – “Down to the Temple” (Vicious Rumors Vicious Rumors)

If you’re thinking this pick is lacking in pedigree, well Mark McGee aka Weird Al Yankovic is the guitarist for the Allman Brothers now and has been for the past 15 years. This 1990 release by west coasters Vicious Rumors is one of the premier American power metal albums. I love this song and the solo is just dangerous, starting out very slowly and diggin’ into some deadly shred licks. Plus it’s got a great beat and it’s easy to dance to.

No Youtube link: Atlantic Records doesn’t want YOU pirating Vicious Rumors assets, but here’s a grooveshark link.

75)Michael Wilton/Chris DeGarmo – “I Don’t Believe In Love” (Queensryche Operation: Mindcrime)
These two boys from the ‘Ryche don’t really have the chops of some of their contemporaries, but they do a lot with what they got and churned out some of the greatest metal of the 80’s. This is their greatest work as a duo trading off leads and creating harmonies.
74) Jerry Cantrell – “Them Bones” (Alice In Chains Dirt)

I doubt that the kids in his state championship winning high school choir thought Jerry was going to be in one of the more demented bands of the 90’s. Don’t know what it is about Seattle and guitar solos, but Cantrell just seems to choose the perfect notes for this great song and it goes down just right.

73) Glenn Tipton – “Touch of Evil” (Judas Priest Painkiller)

Tipton really shows his progress as a player on this solo – combining his soulful feel of the seventies stuff with the speed techniques of the 80’s. A very dynamic solo that uses the entire breadth of the fretboard.

72) Adrian Smith – “Deja Vu” (Iron Maiden Somewhere In Time)

Maiden shows their more sensitive side with this intro solo to Deja Vu. Adrian slows it down and plays a very sweet, but sorrowful solo to begin the tune. What’s odd is that the song never goes back to this emotion and it’s one of Maiden’s faster songs of their career.
71) Chris Poland/Dave Mustaine – “Wake Up Dead” (Megadeth Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying)

In between heroine hits, these two churned out some pretty good metal. This exchange is probably Chris and Dave at their best.

70) Nuno Bettencourt – “Play With Me” (Extreme Extreme)

Even in the day of Eddie and Yngwie, when someone heard this solo they were like “huh? what? – did I hear what I thought I heard?”

69) Matthias Jabs – “No One Like You” (Scorpions Blackout)

Uli Roth, Michael Schenker, Rudolph Schenker, then comes Jabs in the conversation when talking about Scorpions guitarists. All this despite that Matthias is the one playing the solos on the Scorpions biggest songs. He really knows how to construct a metal solo and this is his masterpiece.

68) Steve “Steaming” Clark/Phil Collen – “Rock of Ages (Still Rollin’)” (Def Leppard Pyromania)

Before Leppard became a punchline they were a pretty rockin’ band. These are some really intense licks behind Mutt Lange’s wall of sound, which was the beginning and end of DL.

67) Yngwie Johann Malmsteen – “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (Alcatrazz No Parole For Rock ‘n’ Roll)

Critics of Yngwie say he is all about speed, but that’s far from true he can play with a great amount of sorrow, which certainly matches the text in the sense of this song.

66) Eddie Van Halen – “When Push Comes to Shove” (Van Halen Fair Warning)

I love how VH sets up this solo, like it’s no big deal then lets loose on your mug with his guitar hijinx, completely transforming the song’s laid back atmosphere.

65) Brad Gillis/Jeff Watson – “(You Can Still) Rock In America” (Night Ranger Midnight Madness)

Yeah, I’ll probably take some heat for including that “Sister Christian band,” but this song is important as it opened the door for shred to for me back in ’83. This tune was actually on mainstream radio and had incredible chops, especially for the time. When is the next time you’ll turn on the Top Forty station and here some blazing licks? Probably never… Well Gillis was good enough to replace Randy Rhoads for awhile and Watson had a 8 finger tapping technique that was completely unheard of at the time, which I believe he demonstrates at the end of the solo.

64) John Petrucci – “Trial of Tears” (Dream Theater Falling Into Infinity)
Oh that awful Falling Into Infinity album (according to some fans) – well, I think it’s a great album with a couple of really bad songs. Listen to this gargantuan solo at the 6 and 1/2 minute mark and tell me I’m wrong.

63)John Sykes – “Crying in the Rain” (Whitesnake Whitesnake)
John Sykes is at it again – taking typical lead guitar antics and breathing new life into it, fusing it with his passion. Just when you think he’s done taking it to the peak of emotion, it goes to another level… then another…
62) Ritchie Blackmore – “A Light In the Black” (Rainbow Rainbow Rising)

More people should realize the greatness of Dio-era Rainbow – his voice was really at its peak and he could always rely on Blackmore’s songwriting. Oh wait, this is about the guitar solo… And, yeah, as good of a player that Blackmore is/was, he was an even better songwriter, but this solo seems to encompass all that Ritchie was at the time. Unlike other Blackmore solos it allows him room to breathe and capture what he would to in a live setting.

61) Eddie Van Halen – “Beat It” (Michael Jackson Thriller)

The cross-cultural implications of the song are pretty monumental. Who cares? This solo rules! (I guess Ed spent 2 seconds in the studio and just hammered it out with Quincy).

60) Marty Friedman/Dave Mustaine – “Hangar 18” (Megadeth Rust In Peace)

Where the solo begins and ends I’m not quite sure, because Marty thrashes through almost the entire song. I suppose it starts through the outro jam section then Dave finishes it up with some precambrian, but rather exciting, climatic notes: perfect way to end a classic thrash song off the best thrash album of all time. Even my friends who weren’t really into metal picked this thing up after I played it for them.

59) Randy Rhoads – “You Can’t Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Ozzy Osbourne Diary of A Madman)

Another song that should get played on classic rock stations nationwide, but because classic rock stations suck, that won’t happen. Genius lyrics by Ozzy, and Randy heightens this already magnificent song with an emotional soliloquy.

58) Steve Stevens – “Rebel Yell” (Bill Idol Rebel Yell)
Steve Stevens is actually the first guitarist I ever heard live. My sister went to the Billy Idol concert and my mom had to pick her up. We got there early and the security guard let us in. We go in and there’s Steve in a skin tight leather black outfit jamming out some blues and Idol is smashed out of his mind. A rough introduction to my rock ‘n’ roll experience. Great story guy. Oh yeah, the solo: it’s wacky – Stevens and all those wild wammy tricks and sound effects.
57) Slash – “November Rain” (Guns ‘n’ Roses Use Your Illusion)
I am not really a GnR fan, but this solo caught my attention back in the day and apparently it did with many other guitar fans as it seems to be an obligatory pick for many lists. No different here.

56) Peter Frampton – “Do You Feel Like We Do” (Peter Frampton Frampton’s Camel)

This would be higher if it were the live version. Frampton sorta represents the 70’s blues-y rockers era for me like Pat Travers and Rory Gallagher. Stuff I really don’t know that much about.

55) Warren DeMartini/Robin Crosby – “Round and Round” (Ratt Out of the Cellar)

At the time I thought this was the ultimate glam metal guitar tone. I love when this solo kicks to harmony guitars, it just sounds so perfect and they are really synched up. Otherwise it’s just another day at the glam office.

54) Alex Lifeson – “Xanadu” (Rush A Farewell To Kings)

Alex pushes his chops to its limit to wrap up the epic Xanadu and plays it with so much passion.

53) Steve Morse – “Haunted” (Deep Purple Bananas)

Steve Morris can pretty much do whatever he wants on guitar. He’s the musician’s musician and this is one of many great examples of his work. His vibrato is perfect.

52) Eddie Van Halen – “You’re No Good” (Van Halen II)
Took me awhile to realize it, but this thing is right on the money. He puts all these plush touches on a groovin’ cover tune. Enough with the Van Halen dude!

51) Vivian Campbell – “Rainbow In the Dark” (Dio Holy Diver)

There’s something just very unique about this solo that I just can’t put my finger on. Seems like another well executed fast metal solo, but it has so much character and makes a great song even better. I’d put up a picture with Ronnie and Vivian in it, but apparently they didn’t get along and Ronnie pretty much hated his guts. And I don’t want to dishonor Dio.

The cutting room floor/in consideration/or solos I flirted with at one time or another.

Synyster Gates – “To End the Rapture” (Avenged Sevenfold Sounding the Seventh Trumpet)
Billy Corbin – “Cherub Rock” (Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream)

Steve Howe – “Closer To the Edge” (Yes Closer To the Edge)
Craig Locicero/ Glen Alvelais – “Chalice of Blood” (Forbidden Forbidden Evil)
Dimebag Darrel – “Cemetary Gates” (Pantera Cowboys From Hell)
Dave Hlubek/Steve Holland/Duane Roland – “Dreams I’ll Never See” (Molly Hatchet Molly Hatchet)
Walter Becker – “Reelin’ In the Years” (Steely Dan Can’t Buy A Thrill)
Scott Gorham/Brian Robertson – “Emerald” (Thin Lizzy Jailbreak)
Jimi Hendrix – “Foxy Lady” (Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced)
Kirk Hammett – “Shortest Straw” (Metallica And Justice For All…)
Paul Gilbert – “Daddy Lover Brother Little Boy” (Mr. Big Lean Into It)
Vitto Bratta – “Radar Love” (White Lion Big Game)
John Sykes – “Still Of the Night” (Whitesnake Whitesnake)

Eddie Van Halen – “Hot for Teacher” (Van Halen 1984)
Jørn Viggo Lofstad – “Osiris Eyes” (Pagan’s Mind Celestial Entrance)
Daniel Gildenlow – “King of Loss” (Pain of Salvation The Perfect Element Part I)
Dan Donegan – “The Night” (Disturbed Indestructable)
Keith Richards – “Sympathy For the Devil” (Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet)
Eddie Van Halen – “I’m the One” (Van Halen self-titled)

50. Chuck Berry – “Johnnie B. Goode” (Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Is On Top)

This genre defining guitar solo still puts a smile on my face. Chuck includes his famous Chuck Berry intro within the solo, making it all the more iconic.

49. Adrian Smith/Dave Murray – “Powerslave” (Iron Maiden Powerslave)

Possibly the first progressive metal song on the first progressive metal album. The solo is just a giant undertaking covering about 2 1/2 minutes of the song. Dave and Adrian start things slowly and set up a gorgeous table to wreak havoc on in the 2nd half of the solo.

48. Kirk Hammett – “Breadfan” (Metallica Eye Of the Beholder single B-side)

I think the band was really at their peak during this era where they still had the fire and something to prove. The sonics on this song are incredible, especially Lars’ drum tone. And Kirk’s tone sounds under-produced, adding to the overall intensity of the song’s performance, coming off very raw. Yes, I know this is a cover, but I didn’t make any rules against that.

47. Paul Gilbert – “Into the Night” (Racer X Street Lethal)

If you dislike shred, then I have found a guitar solo for you to truly despise. This solo is just obnoxious and over-the-top and brilliantly so.

46. Kai Hansen/Michael Weikath – “Halloween” (Helloween Keeper of the Seven Keys)

Helloween wrote a monster 13 minute metal tune and wrought out some blistering solo exchanges dead set in the middle of it. They display some serious chops here, especially in the wammy department, and even out do their brethren at the time (IM, JP).

45. Ty Tabor – “The Big Picture” (King’s X self-titled)

Just an odd tune with Doug Pinnick singing falsetto at first then belting it out into a megaphone. Then Ty goes off on a tangent with an extended solo, featuring his patented volume swells, that will make the hair on your arm stand up on end.

44. Kirk Hammett – “Blackened” (Metallica And Justice For All…)
Hey Kirk is back already. I think this is the solo where he puts it all together (wammy, tapping, speed) and creates a monster out of metal.
43. Brian May – “Brighton Rock” (Queen Sheer Heart Attack)

Engineer Brian May pulls out all the stops for this ‘intermission’ solo, showing all his inventiveness – the multi-tracking, echo effect, his self-made tone. Things taken for granted now, but he virtually created them from scratch through his knowledge of mechanics.
42. Jimi Hendrix – “Machine Gun” (Jimi Hendrix Midnight Lightning)

One of Hendrix’s longer studio jams that was released post-humously, showing, once again, that he was ahead of the game.

41. Jake E. Lee – “Bark At the Moon” (Ozzy Osbourne Bark At the Moon)

You may not think it worthy, but let me ask you this: can you beat ‘Bark At the Moon’ on expert mode? Didn’t think so.
I also love the outro solo here.

40) Eddie Van Halen – “Romeo Delight” (Van Halen Women and Children First)

This album is nuts – the band is just so laid back and strike the perfect party atmosphere with Dave at the helm. Usually bands start getting more commercial by this time and play it safe, but VH just came out and did whatever they wanted. You can here bottles rollin’ around on the floor, goofy harmonizing guitar tones like on ‘Cradle Will Rock, and Dave just having weird conversations with people hanging around the studio. Oh yeah, this solo smokes as does the song.

39) Jerry Cantrell – “Man In the Box” (Alice In Chains Facelift)
Jerry just has an excellent musical background and knows what notes work within the context of a given song. This is the premiere example of that, just a deliciously tasty solo that ends with an ‘eruption.’
38) Eric Clapton – “Crossroads” (Cream Wheels of Fire)
As much as I’d like to exclude EC, you can’t deny the bombastic power of this blues/rock avalanche.
37) Jake E. Lee – “Shine On” (Badlands Voodoo Highway)
Just to Illustrate the evolution of blues-rock, I’ve included this jam from the over-looked Jake. This is sorta Jake’s version of neo-blues. That touch of Dixie with a whole lotta shred.
36) Ty Tabor – “Over My Head” (King’s X Gretchen Goes To Nebraska)
“Over My Head” is King’s X mantra and I’m sure Ty jams out a longer solo live between Doug Pinnick’s preaching, but I think this is about as perfect and succint as a rock guitar solo can be while still including all the go to tricks.
35) Ted Nugent – “Stranglehold” (Ted Nugent Ted Nugent)
For as long-winded, over-blown, and bloated as this solo is (kinda like a Ted Nugent conversation), you still wind up remembering every note. Now that’s saying something about the quality of playing and choice notes that Ted put into this classic.
34) Alex Lifeson – “2112 (VI Soliloquy)” (Rush 2112)

Once the sci-fi story reaches a conclusion, Peart takes the tempo down and Alex really hammers out a fine, gut-wrenching, emotional solo; bringing this prog rock masterpiece to a zenith.

33) Dimebag Darrel – “I’m Broken” (Pantera Far Beyond Driven)
This guy was pretty good. Good enough to revolutionize metal. This solo encompasses a lot of his guitar heroic feats.
32) Steve Vai – “Shyboy” (David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em & Smile)

This is the ultimate shred song – Vai is relentless throughout. The song is like one long guitar solo itself, but the solo solo is also amazing. Billy Sheehan’s histrionic bass contribution up the ante as well.

31) David Gilmour – “Time” (Pink Floyd Darkside of the Moon)

His solo just makes a brilliant song shine that much more and I love how he dips into the wammy bar at the end of the solo. Perfect notes, genuis song.
30) Carlos Santana – “Black Magic Woman” (Santana Abraxas)

How often does a guitar player create a solo where it seers into the rock consciousness and never leave? His solo is so well constructed that anyone listening to classic rock for a given amount of time will never forget it – I’ve never purposely listened to this song and I remember every note by heart.

29) George Lynch – “Heaven Sent” (Dokken Back For the Attack)

I just haven’t heard a metal solo quite like this one. He marries palm muting and scale climbing perfectly, creating climax on top of climax.

28) Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” (Stevie Ray Vaughan Couldn’t Stand the Weather)
Yup, Steve was pretty good.
27) Gary Wehrkamp – “Encrypted” (Shadow Gallery Room V)
This is one of the ultimate build up solos. Gary starts out very mellow on the lowest level of his electric guitar, then he goes to the Gilmour level. Finally he finishes out his mammoth instrumental mid-section with speed to make Yngwie cry like a little girl.
26) Glenn Tipton/K.K. Downing – “Electric Eye” (Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance)

This is a seminal solo that got aped by tons of metal guitarists following their lead(s). Glenn (don’t mess up that 2nd ‘n’) and K.K. just exchange some genre defining leads here.

25) Danny Cedrone – “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” (Bill Haley & the Comets Rock Around the Clock)
Unfortunately this man died several months before the song would become a hit and define guitar solo’ing for a generation. Much less discover that it would become the intro music for one of the biggest sitcoms of all time.
24) John Petrucci – “Under A Glass Moon” (Dream Theater Images and Words)

John Petrucci throws the guitar kitchen sink at you and it crushes your skull outright. There’s funk chords, fast sweeping techniques, neo-classical licks, and a buncha other stuff I can’t play.

23) Alex Skolnick – “The Legacy” (Testament Souls of Black)

This solo would make the list just for its tone alone, but then Alex infuses so much passion into this thrash-ballad and bumps into the top 25.

22) Hugh Burns – “Baker Street” (Gerry Rafferty City To City)

People always think of the sax melody when conjuring up this song in their mind, but this man must have the hands of a wizard, cuz they certainly sound enchanted on this solo. His note bends and vibrato are really incomparable when listening to Baker Street.

21) K.K. Downing/Glenn Tipton – “Painkiller” (Judas Priest Painkiller)

The original heavy metal twin-axe duo practiced a lot during the 80’s and their technique evolved with the rest of the players of the era. They came up with the ultimate face-melter of a song that includes two sets of solo exchanges that will perform the face-melting act as promised.

20) Phil Keaggy – “Sounds” (Phil Keaggy Getting Closer)

Phil is simply the cleanest, most precise note picker that I’ve ever heard. Taking a look at his picking hand shows that he engages some kinda three finger picking technique when holding the pick – maybe that’s why. This outro solo is glorious. It shows his improvisational abilities and ahead-of-his-time technique.

19) Yngwie Johann Malmsteen – “Hot On Your Heels” (Steeler Self-titled)

The Y man was just a kid here and this is his earliest American recording. Joining with L.A. garage band, Steeler, for a brief stint in the early 80’s, he virtually creates everything he’s ever done in one solo and never topped it since.

18) John Petrucci – “Voices” (Dream Theater Awake)

Petrucci pushes his abilities to its limits here and renders a lot of emotion he hadn’t shown before. This solo sounds very personal to him and the intensity is shown through his playing.

17) Marty Friedman – “Tornado of Souls” (Megadeth Rust In Peace)

Like I said before this guy is great and seemed to be at his best during his two-toned hair days. There’s parts on here that I don’t really know how he is doing what he’s doing. His vibrato is really intense throughout as well.

16) Criss Oliva – “24 Hrs. Ago” (Savatage Hall Of the Mountain King)

Like “Shyboy” this song is almost one long solo, but I really dig the intensity that Criss churns out in the solo solo, playing some meaty chords just at the right time after he shreds some ascending scales.

15) Steve Lukather – “Dirty Laundry” (Don Henley I Can’t Stand Still)

Toto guitarist Lukather liked to loan out his skills on various projects other than Toto. His playing here is perfect for the song and uses echo effect brilliantly.

14) Glenn Tipton – “Beyond the Realms of Death” (Judas Priest Stained Class)

This song is very similar to “Fade To Black”: somber heavy metal song about suicide. This song was written seven years earlier than Fade and the singing and guitar solo on Beyond are actually better.

13) David Gilmour – “Have a Cigar” (Pink Floyd Welcome To the Machine)

What David Gilmour lacks in skill, he makes up for in awesomeness.

12) Alex Lifeson – “Freewill” (Rush Permanant Waves)
What’s so impressive about Freewill is how well Alex interacts with his band members. Geddy is laying down some serious funk and Neil is pounding out a complex beat, but all you notice is Alex’ solo and how well it weaves in and out of the amazing rhythm section. They all go crashing down the stairs then get up, dust off, and go right back into the rest of the song, completely changing the tempo and you don’t even notice. This is Rush in a nutshell. BTW, Permanent Waves> Moving Pictures.
11) Phil Keaggy – “Time” (Phil Keaggy Time)

When I first heard of Phil Keaggy it was some sorta concert propaganda with a quote from Jimi Hendrix saying Phil was the greatest in the world or in regards to that. Later on in life I found that this was just urban legend, but it did peak my interest in Phil and for that I am thankful. The man is an anomaly – he has the taste and tone of yesteryear with the chops of a young speed merchant. This outro solo goes for about three minutes and you never want it end, featuring Phil grabbing continuously from his bag of tricks with a completely fluid stream of consciousness.

Top five worst guitar solos of all-time (done without much research):

Honorable mention: *insert Slayer solo here*

5. Autograph – “Turn Up the Radio”: I always thought this was pretty basic solo that just added up all the cliché’s of hair metal solo’ing at the time and put it in one song. I can’t believe this won guitar solo of the year in one of the mags.

4. Nirvana (Kurt Cobain) – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – blech..

3. Dokken (George Lynch) – “Breaking the Chains”: not sure if it’s really bad, but it sure is really bland. George is capable of so much more. However, this may be Don’s solo as he had this song on his solo album a few years earlier and George may have just replayed it, since Don Dokken was a guitar player in his earlier days. Aren’t you glad you know that now about Dokken? That Don played guitar back in the seventies and kinda quit after he saw Eddie play. I’m here for your Dokken trivia. Please tell me you stopped reading several sentences ago. I also like how this solo is supposed to set the band free from their “chains” in the music video. The band is chained up in some sorta dungeon cell then George starts playing (even though his hands are bound?) and his chains break then the solo starts destroying the rest of the band’s chains cuz it’s sooooo amazing… This solo couldn’t snap a rubberband much less steel chains in an 80’s vid! You can’t still be reading..

2. Flotsam and Jetsam – “Der Fuhrer” (Doomsday for the Deceiver) – not sure who plays it and I’m not going to look it up.

1. Twisted Sister (JJ French) – “We’re Not Gonna Take It”: He repeats the lead verse and just adds a little wammy to it – big deal. Why even have a solo?

10) David Gilmour – “Comfortably Numb” (Pink Floyd The Wall)

Yeah it should be higher but I consider ten a landmark – a fitting number for rock’s most revered guitar solo.

9) Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman – “Captive Honour” (Megadeth Countdown To Extinction)

I always thought this song was an 8 minute plus epic, because the solos were so massive it made the song feel like a prog metal tune. Turns out the song is just over 4 minutes. This solo exchange is so good it creates some kinda time-space wormhole expanding reality as we know it (especially on Marty’s end).

8) Prince Rogers Nelson – “Purple Rain” (Prince Purple Rain)

Simply one of the best songs of all time and Prince drains every ounce of emotion out of each note during the solo. One of the strangest cultural phenomenons was this unusual song becoming seeped into the bloodstream of the mainstream.

7) Michael Schenker – “Lights Out” (U.F.O. Lights Out)

Schenker seemingly blends blues and rock seamlessly and has incredible improvisational skills. If it weren’t for Van Halen stealing the spotlight, he would have been a bigger force on the rock scene. This song can never be played-out, I’ve tried it. You can’t get tired of it, and the Scorpions would steal this guitar tone for years afterward.

6) Brian May – “We Will Rock You” (Queen News Of the World)

Love how May holds a high pitch feedback noise for 20 seconds before drilling us with a massive chord to begin the blitzkrieg. The perfect fuzz-tone solo.

5) Jimi Hendrix – “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” (Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland)

If Hendrix wasn’t considered the best at the time, he would leave little doubt after putting out Electric Ladyland. Where Jimi would take out all his anger on the establishment with this monstrosity of a solo. There were sounds and studio wizardry that allowed Jimi to create feedback effects never heard before to accompany the intense attack.

4) Glenn Tipton – “Dreamer Deceiver” (Judas Priest Sad Wings Of Destiny)

In the mood to traverse the astral plane? Then check out this song. Tipton pours out his soul in the solo and it matches the mind trip vibe of the song perfectly. I won’t link the song, because I don’t want anyone’s mom suing me in case they take a shotgun and shoot wide right to the head, survive, then blame the song. BTW, Halford goes through every octave known to humanity during the tune. FYI, Glenn also plays piano on the song.

3) Eddie Van Halen – “D.O.A.” (Van Halen Van Halen II)

Edward plays this lightning strike of a solo twice during the song’s runtime and actually tops himself the second time around. The beauty of VHII is how Ted Templeman would crank up the guitar volume during the solos. It’s like he knew he had the golden goose and let him lay his eggs.

2) Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman – “Ashes In Your Mouth” (Megadeth Countdown To Extinction)

Three Marty solos in the Top 20? Is he really that good? If you read Dave’s autobiography, he says that he was clean from drugs when Marty first joined the band, but Marty was so good that Dave got depressed, started using again, and had to go back to rehab, because his playing couldn’t compare to Marty’s. So yeah, Marty is so good that he put Dave Mustaine back into rehab. I like this solo because it shows two contrasting styles weaving into each other: Dave’s brash, primitive new wave of British Heavy metal vs. Marty’s exotic neo-classical finesse. Another pick that’s bound to go over like a lead zeppelin.

1) Randy Rhoads“Over the Mountain” (Ozzy Osbourne Diary Of A Madman) 1981

I don’t know why “Crazy Train” is always rated so high on guitar solo lists – the riff is iconic, but the solo sounds so atypical for the genre. Besides, “Over the Mountain” and many other of his solos are so much better. He completely pushes the envelope for what was being done at the time here. The band stops playing three times and just lets RR let loose and pulls out a white rabbit every time, and the tone… I don’t think we’ll ever hear this refined rawness in metal. It really defines ‘electric.’ It’s like when he touches the strings you can feel the crackle of lightning and the guitar sounds like it is alive like Frankenstein’s monster coming to life. Most metal today loses this facet, and guitars sound so processed and mechanized. It’s like they are afraid of showing the feedback or the raw power of electric guitar played straight through a Marshal stack man. Randy was not afraid, and figured out how to control it. Randy sounds like he is grabbing ahold of a wild beast, jumping on top of it, and riding it until it breaks to his will. His playing is so disciplined, but his instrument is a rabid animal.

Here’s a never heard before solo that an engineer had laying around that he plays for Ozzy. Gives you an idea what he’s capable of had he lived on.