Ten Iconic Guitar Solos You've Been Playing All Wrong

Here's something you won't find in the tabs.

Ultimate Guitar

Here's something you won't find in the tabs.

1. Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven"

Many cover bands try to replicate what Jimmy Page first managed to accomplish when he played this masterful solo, but just about all of them always end up falling short.

This is mostly due to the fact that - unlike Jimmy Page - they're failing to chug three pints of motor oil while they play it.

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2. Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child o' Mine"

Call it overplayed. Call it overhyped. Say whatever you want, but there's no denying the catchiness of this infectious tune. The sheer awesomeness of this classic rock masterpiece is taken to new heights thanks to a hard rockin' solo by Slash. Not many people know, though, that every time Slash plays this song, he actually time travels into the future and p-sses on Axl Rose's grave right at the start of the solo. Will those two ever get along?!

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3. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Free Bird"

Very few people actually bother learning this entire solo, and even fewer actually manage to play it perfectly from start to finish. Those who have, though, have reported experiencing temporary blindness and, in one rare case, "Confederate Flag Vision," whatever that has to do with a southern rock band.

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4. Black Sabbath - "War Pigs"

Are you remembering to commit adultery when you play this guitar solo? That's what Tony Iommi does. Every time.

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5. Jimi Hendrix - "All Along the Watchtower"

Many people tend to associate Jimi Hendrix with his now classic performance at Woodstock, but true fans of this cover know why that's actually a bit strange. Jimi wanted to cover this song, absolutely, but he wanted to make it his own, and he absolutely hated the idea of an event called Woodstock ever happening. Therefore, every time he ever played this solo, he made sure to tattoo "I'm never going to play Woodstock" somewhere on his body. You can only imagine how awkward it was when Hendrix eventually ended up playing there! Jiminy Crickets!

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6. Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Not many people are aware of the fact that Nirvana didn't actually have a drummer during their first few live performances of this beloved song. Kurt and Krist would play the setlist alone with absolutely no drums at all. However, Cobain knew that the guitar solo for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was special and that it needed something extra. Right before the start of the solo, Cobain would run over to the drum kit and keep the beat going while he played. Practice all you want, but unless you're playing those melodic notes behind a drum kit, you're simply doing it wrong.

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7. Eagles - "Hotel California"

When you hear this song played on the greatest hits album your step-dad bought you during an I'll attempt to bond over something - anything - you probably thought it was pretty straightforward. However, if you had seen the Eagles play this song live between 1976-1978, you'd know that Joe Walsh actually flips his guitar completely upside down while playing it. Talk about talent!

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8. Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"

It's the small details that really set Queen apart from so many of their peers, and on this song - and solo, particularly - that's even more the case. You may have figured out every last note of this famous solo, but I bet you don't whisper "Death to America, long live the Queen" while you play it. That's something that's a Brian May exclusive!

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9. Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop"

Far too many people are unaware of just how talented Johnny Ramone really was. Upon first listen, most people don't think this song actually has a solo at all, but it actually does. Last minute, however, the solo was turned all the way down. At the time of recording this song, the guitarist was very self-conscious about his guitar playing, and refused to have it featured on the track. The solo starts twenty seconds into the song and plays to the very end.

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10. Van Halen - "Eruption"

You hear one of the craziest guitar solos to ever come out of the 1970s, but all Eddie Van Halen hears is the bittersweet sound of defeat. You see, Eddie had a vision for this solo, and it was meant to sound completely different. However, the band was running out of time to record the record. In an act of anger, the guitarist threw his guitar to the ground while it was still plugged in and recording. The resulting noise and feedback became what we know today as "Eruption."

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12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pretty sure that you can't play the Through the Fire and Flames solo without jumping on a trampoline!
    i threw my guitar down.. i dont hear any soloing, did i do it wrong?...