Friday Top: 25 Best Slow Guitar Solos Ever

As voted by UG community.

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Friday Top: 25 Best Slow Guitar Solos Ever
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This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing the matter of greatest slow guitar solos of all time. Based on your votes and more than 300 comments, we summed this one up to a traditional Top 25 rundown, make sure to check it out below.

Before kicking things off, this week's honorable mentions are:

  • The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Rainbow - Catch the Rainbow
  • Mastodon - The Hunter
  • Jeff Beck - Cause We've Ended as Lovers
  • Queens of the Stone Age - Make It Wit Chu

Let's start the list!

25. Carlos Santana - Samba Pa Ti

Kicking things off is a "Samba Pa Ti" by guitar master Santana. This great instrumental was released back in 1970 on Carlos' classic album "Abraxas."

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24. System of a Down - Psycho

"Psycho" by System of a Down is often referred to as Daron Malakian's best guitar work - and mainly because of the song solo. SOAD's infamous live performance at Big Day Out 2002 festival shows a lot of passion from Malakian playing his guitar during this song.

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23. Genesis - Firth of Fifth

Progressive rock masterpiece "Firth of Fifth" has become a favourite among Genesis fans - and firstly because of Steve Hackett's outstanding guitar solo. Check out it on 5:47.

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22. Audioslave - Getaway Car

Up next is "Getaway Car" from Audioslave's self-titled debut. Tom Morello, known for his signature effects-driven guitar work in Rage Again the Machine showed his other side with this amazing solo, which kicks in at 3:03.

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21. Alter Bridge - Blackbird

Alter Bridge's "Blackbird" actually features two back-to-back guitar solos, which are respectively played by vocalist and guitarist Myles Kennedy and lead guitarist Mark Tremonti, and collectively it very often praised as one of the greatest guitar solo of all time. Myles Kennedy's first solo starts at 4:37.

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20. Portishead - Glory Box

Not so usual for guitar-driven lists, next are Portishead with their classic trip-hop track "Glory Box." Guitar solo by Adrian Utley starts at 2:07.

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19. Nirvana - Sappy

And next on the list is "Sappy" by Nirvana. Though never released on any official album, it features one of the most emotional guitar solo by Kurt Cobain. It starts at 1:40.

Note: the song is often confused with Nirvana's "Verse Chorus Verse," which is actually is just another song. "Sappy"'s working title was originally "Verse Chorus Verse," but then it was changed to "Sappy," and later Kurt wrote ANOTHER song under the name "Verse Chorus Verse."

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18. Tool - Jambi

Tool's "Jambi" lands at no. 18. The guitar solo's sound was reached by Adam Jones' using of a talk box effect during his playing. Solo kicks in at 4:09.

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17. Soundgarden - Blow Up the Outside World

And next is Soundgarden's "Blow Up the Outside World". Kim Thayil commented on the song's guitar solo: "A blues-type thing, exactly. And after I recorded it, the rest of the band loved it, and the assistant engineer loved it, but I kept feeling like it was too stiff. I was using a Tele with .011's. I was listening to it, going, 'You know, it doesn't have my trademark finger vibrato,' like you can hear on 'Ultramega OK' and 'Badmotorfinger.' I wasn't quite satisfied with it, but because everyone else really enjoyed it, eventually I let it go...I finally had to relax and trust the guys that it was cool." Actual solo starts at 3:09.

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16. Prince - Purple Rain

Performed by Prince and The Revolution, "Purple Rain" shows real talent of Prince as a composer and as an outstanding guitar player. It's also often praised as the Prince's best guitar solo.

15. Scorpions - Still Loving You

Classic Scorpions ballad "Still Loving You" lands at no. 15. In most Scorpions songs, guitar solos are performed by lead guitarist Matthias Jabs and rhythm guitars are performed by Rudolf Schenker, but "Still Loving You" is one of the notable exceptions and features trademark solo playing by Schenker.

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14. Frank Zappa - Watermelon in Easter Hay

"Watermelon in Easter Hay," which became known as one of Frank Zappa's signature songs after he died, includes one of the greatest solos by Frank. The songs' title is thought to have come from a saying used by Zappa while recording the album: "Playing a guitar solo with this band is like trying to grow watermelon in Easter hay."

Also, solo for "Watermelon in Easter Hay" is the only guitar solo recorded for the "Joe's Garage" album - every other guitar solo on the album was "xenochronous." Xenochrony is a studio-based musical technique developed by Zappa, which executed by extracting a guitar solo or other musical part from its original context and placing it into a completely different song, in order to create an unexpected but pleasing effect. He said that this was the only way to achieve some rhythms.

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13. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Classic hit by RHCP, "Californication" is this week's Lucky 13. John Frusciante's signature guitar solo starts at 3:22.

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12. Steven Wilson - Drive Home

Steven Wilson and "Drive Home" are next on the list. And the solo on this tune was played by no other than Guthrie Govan, who did this solo in one take, no rehearsal, on a guitar (custom made "jazzmaster" type guitar with a sustainiac) that had been delivered to the studio for Steven the same day.

After Steven received the guitar in studio Guthrie ask if he could test it out to see if it was any good, when it came time to record "Drive Home" Guthrie ultimately decided he wanted to try tracking the song with that custom guitar a couple times and if it turned out crappy he'd switch back to his standard guitar.

As the solo was recorded in one take, towards the end you can hear a bend where the E-string popped out of the nut and you can hear it on the album - as well as some of the subsequent bends and notes choking out slightly. In studio Steven Wilson and Guthrie tried to retake the track, but afterwards Steven Wilson decided that the original take of the solo had the perfect feel and emotion, so he kept it.

Guthrie Govan commented on the solo: "I'm sure I could have recorded a more 'perfect'-sounding solo by piecing something together in the studio, one lick at a time, but with that approach you always seem to sacrifice something in terms of the overall flow. I think the 'stream of consciousness' type of solo really needs to be improvised in one take, in real time, otherwise the finished product will somehow lack a coherent 'narrative arc.'" The actual solo starts at 5:08.

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11. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain

"Maggot Brain" is one of the most recognizable tunes by Funkadelic, especially because of its solo. According to legend, the band's mastermind George Clinton, under the influence of LSD, told guitarist Eddie Hazel during the recording session to imagine he had been told his mother was dead, but then learned that it was not true. The result was the 10-minute guitar solo, recorded in one take. Though several other musicians began the track playing, Clinton soon realized how powerful Hazel's solo was and faded them out so that the focus would be on Hazel's guitar. Critics have described the solo as "lengthy, mind-melting" and "an emotional apocalypse of sound."

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10. Pantera - Floods

Kicking off the top 10, Pantera's "Floods" features one of Dimebag Darrell's most popular solos. Originally this solo was just a riff written by Dimebag in the late 1980s. It starts at 3:50.

Dime commented on the solo: "That particular solo was thought-out in a more orchestrated fashion than some of the others I play where I just start ripping right off the bat. The thing that really makes the 'Floods' solo come across like it does is [bassist] Rex's playing behind it. He's using his fingers and he plays a whole bunch of cool licks and shit in there. He definitely adds to the vibe and feel of my lead because I'm playing off his part a lot - it was a great foundation for me to build on, man."

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9. Metallica - The Unforgiven

A classic piece from Metallica's "Black Album," "The Unforgiven" is next. And the tune's solo is considered by many to be one of Kirk Hammett's finest. Check out it at 3:25.

Kirk commented: "I enjoy playing the solo on 'The Unforgiven' because it's such a dynamic solo. And a lot of times live, I'll change around my guitar solo because I end up not liking what I recorded, or I get bored with what was recorded - or I just want to play something completely different. But with 'The Unforgiven,' as a guitar solo it has changed very little over the years. It's probably one of the only guitar solos that I play just like the album."

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8. Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms," originally written in 1982, the year of the Falklands War, is next. There are two studio recorded versions of this song: the album version which is 6:55 minutes, and the shorter version which is 6:05 minutes and features slightly different (and shorter) solos at the beginning and end of the song. Mark Knopfler recorded and usually played the iconic solo on a Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar, rather than his usual Schecter "Stratocaster."

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7. B.B. King - The Thrill Is Gone

"The Thrill Is Gone" was originally written by West Coast blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951. But B.B. King's version of the song, recorded in 1969, became a real major hit, especially because of King's signature guitar playing.

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6. Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter

Originally an outtake from Pearl Jam's debut album, "Ten," "Yellow Ledbetter" is one of the first songs Pearl Jam wrote as a group. Mike McCready plays his Stratocaster on the track in the style of Jimi Hendrix, using the guitar's whammy bar during the solo, bending notes to create a vacuum-like sound. The solo starts at 1:49.

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5. Led Zeppelin - Since I've Been Loving You

Timeless Led Zeppelin piece "Since I've Been Loving You" was one of the first songs prepared for the "Led Zeppelin III" album, recorded live in the studio with very little overdubbing. Jimmy Page's famous solo was recorded in one take in a studio in Memphis, whereas the whole album was recorded in Headley Grange and in Island Studios.

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4. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Little Wing

"Little Wing" was written by Jimi Hendrix and recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967. The song has become one of Hendrix's most popular songs and a standard, showing Hendrix's amazing guitar skills.

3. Alice in Chains - Nutshell

Alice in Chains are taking the bronze with "Nutshell." Although never released as a single, it is still today one of the band's best-known songs, and Jerry Cantrell guitar work along with the trademark solo made this this even more deep and emotional.

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2. Guns N' Roses - November Rain

Guns N' Roses and "November Rain" take the silver medal this week. Written by Axl Rose, the song became one of the biggest hits for GN'R, being also one of their longest songs. And according to Slash, the solo he played in the album version of the song was the same solo he played to the song when he heard it for the first time. The piece takes place around 4:11.

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1. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

And Pink Floyd took the throne this time! To quote ErnestoFidel, "You could do a Top 10 with Gilmour solos exclusively," but it's "Comfortably Numb" you voted for. The song is one of Pink Floyd's most famous, and is renowned especially for its two guitar solos by David Gilmour in the middle and at the end of the song, which bothe are often cited as one of the greatest guitar solos ever.

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That's all folks; we hope you enjoyed the top, stay tuned until next week for another WQ!

113 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jdperdomoq1
    You know what? The order doesn't matter. This all are great and fantastic guitar solos, and we should enjoy them all always. 25 is not a big enough number to cover all the great guitar solos in history. Let's hear them all and have fun. And please, feel free to reply this comment with your favorite solo, so everyone of us can hear it either for first time or again. Shoot!
    Lich2011
    The Bronze by QOTSA has a guitar solo that gives me goosebumps every time. For me, the song and the solo sums up their sound altogether. Love it!
    Marcus 90
    i would say the guitar solo by Guthrie Govan in the Steven Wilson song Routine, is one of the greatest slow solo's of all time, Guthrie just plays it with so much soul and you can just feel the emotion in his playing.
    Krieger91
    Trains by Porcupine Tree. Not only is the solo amazing but it fits with the song in such a brilliant and important way.
    DeadEndKing
    That and the solo in "Sound of Muzak"
    aozen
    This was my nomination, but unfortunately it got only 5 votes AFAIR. I freakin love that solo and love the rest of the song as well. Moreover, that warm, soothing tone makes it even more breathtaking. Nice profile pic BTW
    zakaye
    The most amazing one I've found, unfortunately not so well known, is Ice by Camel. As good as anything by David Gilmour and Guthrie Govan. Andrew Lattimer is such an underrated guitarist
    ZPinkZeppelinS
    Love Californication but honestly Wet Sand is a better slow solo
    ridley177
    Wet Sand is good, I'm a fan of Don't Forget Me but that whole song is basically a solo
    ZPinkZeppelinS
    Yeah Wet Sand, Turn it Again and Don't Forget are my favorite Frusciante solos for sure!
    OriginOfFeces
    You guys are totally right, but... Those little slide solo's in Scar Tissue are amazing. Especially the last one.
    ElPanda
    Yes, the whole song is a solo... except for the intro, verses and choruses...
    Nero Galon
    Could it be that he is suggesting Fruciante's playing on Don't Forget Me is so good that the lead guitar is considered more as the priority in the song than the vocals? That track is unreal to be fair.
    ElPanda
    I'd say the bass really drives that song. The guitar just adds some colour, but I will say that I haven't heard a live version of that song that wasn't incredible.
    Kreuger
    My fave from Froosh is Slip My Mind.
    ElPanda
    *Strip My Mind. Though the fact that the proper titled slipped your mind was apt
    Kreuger
    Yep. I was thinking of Slip to the Void by Alter Bridge and got mixed up.
    vsadashiva03
    The first solo on Master of Puppets is a huge miss on this list, definitely deserves a spot.
    sombrero_mop
    The entire slow part leading up to that solo is just as beautiful. It's one of the few pieces of music that never gets old.
    CreepingDeth775
    Love Comfortably Numb. Highly recommend the versions on Pulse and Delicate Sound of Thunder. He extends the last guitar solo out and makes it so epic!!!
    Walldude63
    That wailing sound he gets at the end of that live solo from bending the B/E strings and using the whammy bar still makes the hair on my neck stand up every time I hear it.. Best tone ever.
    d.floresumana
    I don't know why but I never liked the Delicate Sound of Thunder at all... the whole gig sounds weird.
    CreepingDeth775
    I love the 80's reverb tone it has. Seems a lot of people don't care for it though. Disc 2 is an amazing setlist.
    Anjohl
    Well, most people dislike that era of the band..it's weird that so many like Pulse.
    d.floresumana
    I like PULSE, it is great. And probably I don't like Delicate Sound of Thunder because I am not a big 80's fan... It definitely has an 80's vibe.
    jedisatan
    The Live 8 version is really awesome too. Especially with how into it the entire band gets
    sinterpol
    So glad "Since I've Been Loving You" is getting cred. My fav Zep song.
    ryanrollins2112
    One of the best Zep songs, but I'm not so sure it should be considered a "slow" guitar solo. More than half of that solo is quite fast. Same with Floods, only the first part of that solo is slow. Still great songs and guitar work, I just don't know how you quantify "slow"...
    joe164
    "Since I've Been Loving You" is head and shoulders my favourite song of all time.
    Eifler121
    Getaway Car is surprise to me, but I'm glad that it got recognized. Most underrated song by them.
    Wiencon
    I submitted it and I think the same. It's quite a departure from their usual stuff and has incredible atmosphere, much better than the singles that received public recognition such as Like A Stone or Be Yourself Actaully I think that the best songs by Audioslave are those which weren't released as singles
    Eifler121
    Yeah. Heaven's Dead, Drown Me Slowly, #1 Zero, and The Curse are all among my favorites by them.
    Wiencon
    Finally someone who knows #1 Zero and The Curse #1 Zero is actually one of my favourite songs of all time, overall I think Out Of Exile didn't get the recognition it deserves
    Eifler121
    Yeah, one of my favorite builds in music; #1 Zero right before the solo. Out of Exile is my favorite album by them, for sure.
    Wiencon
    Great taste Took me more than 10 listens to appreciate the solo because at first I thought it doesn't fit but it finally got me and now I love it and try to learn it, with enter of loud part it kinda snaps you like from some dream. So powerful
    Anjohl
    Shape of Things to Come, Moth
    Wiencon
    I recently rediscovered Moth, I always finished listening to 'Revelations' at 'Nothing Left To Say But Goodbye' which is my favourite song from this album, but damn Moth has this RATM vibe mixed with beautiful melody, absolutely love it And Shape Of Things has one of Tom's best solos IMO
    *Stranger*
    I only today remembered Robert Fripp's solo on The Night Watch by King Crimson. Should have been on there. Beautiful melody and wonderful playing
    dennis.1960
    I was going to suggest his solo on King Crimson's Exiles but would've been happy to see him on the list for anything!
    orioncomplex
    The Unforgiven is Kirks best solo IMO. It has so much power and raw emotion. Comfortably Numb however is second to none and always will be.
    LadyWhiskey
    How could I forgot about this: Roy Buchanan - The Messiah Will Come Again
    Check also the version Gary Moore made, brilliant!
    Nero Galon
    Fuck it. Needs to be said. Purple Rain is one of the best songs ever written. Incredible and untouchable, same league as Comfortably Numb for me.
    Batmantera
    System of a Down Psycho? Not near as good as While My Guitar Gently Weeps. But thanks for putting up a video of Darren playing like a kid learning how to play, possibly the worst I've ever seen him play.
    PRSguitars87
    Someone voted for it, so it made it in. The way they choose these "top lists" is so ridiculously lazy. Basically they scroll the comment section and tally up the first 25 they see. BOOM LIST
    theman6
    They gather the comments with most upvotes ...which is literally the whole point of these lists
    greif hammer
    Genuinely shocked to see it in there too. All that video really does is highlight how bad of a bassist Shavo is, not draw any attention to Daron at all. Serj and John are the real talents of that band in my opinion. Glad to see Getaway Car in there though!
    LoseTheGenre
    Still wish I had thought of fall to pieces by velvet revolver earlier... think it certainly could have made the list!
    KingV911
    Theme From and Imaginary Western. It's lesser known so I wouldn't expect it to show up on this list, but do yourself a favor and hear the sublime guitar tone of Leslie West here. To me, it doesn't get much better.
    hilly123
    That Nirvana solo is just awful
    robo37
    It's about the feeling the solo provokes, not about how many notes he hits per second...
    bonekrusha27
    The feeling I feel when I listen to that is confusion. I say to myself "If I played that solo and the one from SOAD and you didn't know who the band was, you would say it was horrible."
    hilly123
    I wasn't referring to the notes per second. The vibrato is just way off!
    PureEvo
    I will add the simple solo at the end of "Long Way Home" from STP. Starts in this vid around 3:25 - from Rolling Rock, one of the best live shows I've been to in 30 years (we were about 5 rows of people back where the camera pans out right before the solo)
    Dereksmith72
    These lists always seem to be very biased. Some of the best guitar players to walk gods green earth are not even mentioned. I don't want to piss anyone off, I think subjects such as this one are mostly based on one persons opinion.
    kovacs71
    For me The Beatles - Something should be high on the list. Slow, simple, melodic and memorable
    iAmBaTmAn65
    I think one that I would've liked to see up there is roof with a hole by the meat puppets, that is a great solo quite honestly my favorite by curt Kirkwood
    Gray Lensman
    November Rain is seriously over-rated. Not a bad song. But not the great work it's made out to be. Just my opinion.
    Iceman10129
    next up "Top 20 Most Predictable List Nominations/Winners"
    hak_hap
    So your suggestion is to exclude the best ones there are for the reason that they are too famous? aka predictable? aka happen to be the best and people happen to know them? rightfully? eah, lets put The Jonas Brothers and Lil Wayne in the top three because having an unpredictable list is much more important than honoring the ones who just happen to be the best.
    Kreuger
    How the fuck did I know #1 before I even clicked on this article? So predictable.
    hak_hap
    aka it happens to be the best and people happen to know. lets not put it on the list because it is rightfully too famous.
    Anjohl
    1) The bottom half of this list is absolute rubbish. 2) No Blackmore = No list. Highway Star, Gates of Babylon... ugh.
    solomonkane
    slow solos no highway star but child in time first half mistreated especially live and hold on would be good contenders
    NHECOS
    I love me some Alter Bridge, but the solo on Blackbird is not slow... just the Myles Kennedy part, because Mark's part is wicked fast!
    alftheworldaway
    good list, great to see mister kobain on here, shout out to the beatles let it be too, one of my all time favourite solos. why not throw the solo from no woman no cry in there as well absolutely beautiful mayonaise from the corganator too.....just too many to think of haha
    CMWChris
    So glad to see SOAD's BDO performance on here. The solo was the reason I picked up the guitar
    alexribeiro999
    I thought I would see "La Villa Strangiato" way up the list. Turns out it's not even on it. The first solo gets really fast towards the end, but the way it builds up very slowly, I think it deserved a spot here.
    sbeiker2001
    I think the list is of very low quality. Somebody mentions Govan! .. listen "Waves" ,, simply amazing! .. "Eruption" (Van Halen) "Now yorus ships are burned" (Yngwie J. Malmsteen), "For the love of god" (Steve Vai) "Mr. Crowley" (Randy or Jake E. Lee) "Earthquake" Uli Jon Roth, Al di Meola "Race with Devil on Spanish Highway", "Surfing with the Alien" Joe Satriani ... Eric Johnson, Rictchie Blackmore, John Petrucci, Mattias IA Eklundh, SRV, Jason Becker, Paco De Lucia, Allan Holdsworth, Gambale, Helmerich, Stanley Jordan, Macalpine, McLaughlin, Path Metheny, Benson, Gilbert, Shawn Lane. I mention some of the best known but the list of great guitarists with great Solos is endless!!! If you want to hear the best guitar solos, you should listen guitarplayers.