Wednesday Question: Best Guitar Solo Ever?

There's so many to choose from, but with your votes we can identify the best guitar solos of all time. Place your nominations here.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
29

We love that so many guitarists visit UG every day to pick up tabs and improve their skills.

In fact, so many of you have experience exploring our archive that we bet you have a comprehensive grasp on what's out there.

This week we're hoping you can use that experience to answer this question:

What is the best guitar solo of all time?

It's a pretty subjective question - what does 'best' mean, after all?

Let it be open to interpretation. Maybe you'll consider a solo's technical ability, its cultural impact, or that it crams a trucklaod of soul into a single bar.

Whichever way you spin it, post your nominations in the comments and be sure to upvote each other. Better yet, if you can find YouTube links to your favorite solos, paste the link and it'll embed for everyone to hear on this page.

Feel free to pick solos from live performances too, but if you pick songs that have been formally released on record there's a better chance we have the tab for it. Then we can refer readers to the tab so they can learn for themselves when we post the results on Friday.

Think you know what the best solo of all time is? Dive into the comments and add your suggestions. Thanks!

719 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Igorbeltrao
    Poor people...forgot about Lil' Wayne's guitar solo?
    MrDo0m
    He's such a virtuoso, he doesn't even need to plug his guitar in.
    JimDawson
    His guitar doesn't seem to be plugged in. Guitar notwithstanding, how does this guy actually get people to go to his shows?
    harvMM7x
    Stairway To Heaven
    xonty
    What about Heartbreaker? So underrated..
    thedevil
    I got through about half that solo and said **** it lol One of the first I tried to learn. Oh, and Metal Heart by Dimmu Borgir has a damn fine solo. Somewhat inspired by Heartbreaker???
    deathofarev
    oh dear....this will start people flaming but I can't stand that ****ing song....at all, I see or hear nothing from it, I knew that this song would be here though.
    Wppa
    So overrated. Don't get me wrong I like the song, and the solo is good. But really? Best guitar solo ever? I don't think so. There isn't anything about that solo that is particularly incredible.
    kratos379
    Highest rated comment? I was expecting Stairway to get rejected.
    iommi600
    That's pretty impossible when half of the people that make these lists real never got past Led Zeppelin or any of those 70's bands that are constantly name dropped in order to make the author of the comment sound extra cool and smart.
    Elderer
    Achilles Last Stand. Shivers every time. Just personal preferance to be honest.
    Elderer
    After 3:30.
    xonty
    Who disliked this?! This solo is epic!! I love how its just 2 main chords all the way through this solo and the 5/4 timing at 6:48
    JB95
    Eric Johnson - Cliffs of Dover. Always been my favorite.
    scithe37
    Selkies: An Endless Obsession - Between The Buried And Me. My absolute favourite, Paul Waggoner is a genius.
    Brutalious
    I was scrolling down hoping someone would say Selkies so I didn't have to be the first. Without a doubt the best solo.
    whywefight
    I was going to say this. I was shocked to see that not only has it already been said, buts it been well received.
    FenderJamie
    This question is far too easy, without a doubt it is Lil Waynes amazing solo
    6-String_Madman
    Come Friday, everyone goes on complaining why the Top 10 looked screwed up.... It's all your fault guys. The ones who post and up-vote these garbage.
    Kwyjibo2006
    My personal favourite is Time - Pink Floyd
    rip3149
    Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
    )v(egaFan90
    Tornado of Souls. /poll
    JimDawson
    Tornado of Souls is one of my favourites personally. However, I think I would go for Speed Metal Symphony by Cacophony.
    )v(egaFan90
    Good call dude. It's funny though because entire Cacophony songs could be voted as best solo haha
    My Last Words
    Cacophony is great! If I had to pick my pers. favorite I'd go for either images (oh the sweeping) or The ninja..
    JimDawson
    Not to diss someone else's tastes, but I really don't like The Ninja... I have to say I don't really like any Cacophony songs with vocals but love the instrumentals.
    )v(egaFan90
    Yeah man, I know what you mean. When you've got Marty Friedman and Jason Becker playing guitars, vocals end up just getting in the way.
    megaluisdeth
    Yes dude some Jason becker and Marty Friedman! The bluesy ending in Eleven Blue Egyptians is one of my favs.
    voodooenglish
    Hotel California
    eVwaylon
    Seen Don Felder this summer at a festival and when he played that solo he was starring at me the entire time. And I know he was looking at me because I was right next to the stage and there wasn't anyone within a couple feet of me. My best guess was he seen I was the only long haired dude there and was trying to leave an impression on a 17 year old kid. Whatever the reason it was f***ing amazing to experience that.
    rip3149
    In all honesty I'd have to rank Unforgiven up there pretty high, but as far as Metallica it's pretty obvious that Hetfield's solo in Master of Puppets (the first solo) takes the cake. I also am a really big fan of the clean solo in BTBAM's Mordecai
    Scarto
    Metallica - Ride the Lighting or Unforgiven I
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    unforgiven 1 yes
    CeeJay33
    agreed. whats with all the -'s on that comment? even if people dont like the song they cant deny the power of the solo in it. it wasn't about stupidly fast tappin or ridiculous shedding, just great power.
    My Last Words
    Pantera - The Sleep Pantera - Floods Pantera - Hard lines, Sunken cheeks (personal favorite) Pantera - We'll meet again Pantera - The Will To Survive Pantera - Hollow Pantera - Heart Worn Highway Damageplan - Crawl Ozzy Osbourne - Mr Crowley Testament - Musical death (A dirge) Black Sabbath - Killing yourself to live Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Black Sabbath - NIB Black Sabbath - Planet Caravan Black Sabbath - Sabbra Cadabra Cacophony - The Ninja Cacophony - Images Cacophony - Speed metal symphony Jason Becker - Air Jason Becker - Altitudes Marty Friedman - Forbidden City Megadeth - Five Magics Megadeth - Tornado of Souls Megadeth - My Last Words Megadeth - Ashes In Your Mouth Megadeth - In My Darkest Hour Megadeth - Good mourning/ Black Friday Megadeth - Rattlehead Megadeth - The Killing Road Megadeth - Lucretia Hur hur shred/metal has no feel **** off. Metallica - To live is to die (Slow solo) Metallica - The Four Horsemen (Interlude solo) Iron Maiden - Aces High Iron Maiden - Phantom of the Opera Deep Purple - Highway star At the top of my head.. Still, I feel like I've seen 8129381 of these polls already. I'd suggest a top 10 acoustic pieces and/or interludes and/or intro's/outro's, but that's just me.
    My Last Words
    I'd suggest a top 10 acoustic pieces and/or interludes and/or intro's/outro's in [i]Metal[/i*], but that's just me.
    mgibbs04
    This is my favorite song of all time and the solo is by far my favorite. Especially the live version from the Pulse show at Earl's Court.
    p_c
    The live version from A Delicate Sound of Thunder, its over 4 minutes long
    vppark2
    Thanks. Now I don't have to go off thinking about what other songs could "possibly" make this category haha. Pink Floyd rules.
    tanooj2
    This isn't really a reply, but I need this comment to get seen... how has NOBODY mentioned Whipping Post yet?
    Ottmeister
    "Nothing Else Matters" which I think is the only Hetfield solo has got to be my favourite. You can tell the song is really meaningful to him and the solo is so powerful, beautiful and melodic, yet quite simple.
    yoman297
    Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
    on3andth3sam3
    Played it with my school choir senior year of high school. Nothing beats playing that note for note in front of a crowd who grew up with that song.
    andreschr
    Sweet Child o' Mine
    qrEE
    Buckethead is the best. He beats Slash for sure (imo). I nominate NOTTINGHAM LACE. Anything Buckethead does deserves to be in the top ten, but I'm throwing in Nottingham Lace because it's a song people have heard.
    JMZ08
    I hate to bang on about the classics, coz there is other music! But... Led Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall: Dazed and Confused. Can't argue with a violin bow!!
    JMZ08
    How does this get downvoted? He used a violin bow for crying out loud! Improvised most of the solo and then used a violin bow! That's killer! You couldn't better define creativity and impact than that solo. And for downvoting Buckethead... Why? Soothsayer has got to be one of the most technical and mindblowing solos ever composed. The howling bends and speed runs juxtapose a nice balance in that solo. Even Padmasana, fantastic composition! This is nuts! How about something different than what gets voted for every other time?
    iommi600
    Why can I always guess the first 10 cited bands even before scrolling down to the comments?
    Blackdog71
    Too many to really say or include but in no particular order and just the ones that spring to mind: Folsom Prison Blues - Luther Perkins Big Hunk o'Love, Blue Suede Shoes, King Creole - Scotty Moore Shakin All Over - Johnny Kidd & The Pirates Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & The comets Apache & Man of Mystery - The Shadows Get Back, Long Tall Sally, While my Guitar Gently Weeps - The beatles Whole Lotta Love, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway, Heartbreaker, In my Time of Dying - Zeppelin Highway Star (Live) - Deep Purple Bohemian rhapsody - Queen Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits Freebird - Skynyrd (Live undubbed) Rosie - Ac/DC Xanadu, La Villa Strangiato - Rush Comfortably Numb, Another Brick in the Wall, Shine on You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd Sweet Child o Mine - Gn R Purple Rain - Prince Don't Look Back in Anger, Live Forever, The Importance of Being Idle - Oasis Phantom of the Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name - Iron Maiden Like a Hurricane, Cortez The Killer - Neil Young
    GasPipe
    Dire Straits! Mark Knopfler is suhc a laidback but passionate guitarist. Any of these: Brothers in Arms, Sultans of Swing, Lady Writer, or Telegraph Road.
    Blackdog71
    Forgot Chuck Berry Johnny B. Goode (all of it) Actually if I had to pick it would be that. It is quite simply Rock n Roll.
    Obama FTW
    That is an awesome one. I think "Floods" by Pantera has a great solo.
    Camron62\m/
    yes. for me, there's SO much to choose from. but i think Floods deserves to be up there. i also love Dave Mustaine's solo in Holy wars and Wake Up Dead (towards the end) and the ones in Kick the Chair. also Marty Friedman's in Tornado of Souls.
    KISSmyass666
    My favorite is Jimi hendrex star spangled banner from woodstock. The other one is Arpeggios from hell. Not really a solo though.
    ihartfood
    Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter Audioslave - Like a Stone Untitled (Love Song) - Counting Crows
    GhostPlayground
    My favourite is 'Do you feel like we do'. How can you not like the only solo in the world that manages to make a talk box sound cool.
    Kenjamin91
    Was definitely gonna say that. Been listening to it quite a bit lately. I think Gilmour is a bit underrated. Love Shine On You Crazy Diamond as well. SRV Lenny is one of my favs too.
    javdoc
    I have to go with Since I've Been Loving you over Stairway. I just think the emotion pours out of Page in that one. Always wondered what his inspiration was.
    AnnihilationUK
    November Rain. It's a baby making solo.
    nathan:-)
    Yes! The anticipation building up to the first solo is incredible! It's sacrilegious on radio versions where the first solo is cut out and it goes straight to the second solo
    goingnowhere21
    YES! Oh man, I was getting nervous scrolling down without finding this one. It has such crazy feeling behind it.
    ibanez124
    Alter Bridge - Blackbird Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing Metallica - Fight Fire with Fire LoG - Walk With me in Hell
    moxell1
    In This River live from Paris 2005. Some may think Zakk is over the top, but you cannot deny the emotion of this cut:
    GuitarRhiger
    yeah, that's a awesome solo, kinda wish it would have been on the studio version too..
    Thorondor
    The solo in the end of Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits) is the best guitar solo ever, in my opinion.
    Low Profile
    Floods-Pantera
    TheNumber6
    thats one of my all time favorites too my friend
    cfhdomination
    Mine too, along with the solo from 10's. I think Randy's solo in Revelation(Mother Earth)deserves mention as well. That solo always gives me goosebumps, especially the slow buildup from the piano solo leading up to the solo. Pure genius.
    Horsedick.MPEG
    Alive - Pearl Jam Like Suicide - Soundgarden Take the Power Back - RATM Geek USA - Smashing Pumpkins Three Days - Jane's Addiction
    RandomLetters95
    Mr Crowley by Randy Rhoads. Or maybe Technical Difficulties. It's basically the 80s shred version of Comfortably Numb because of the same progression.
    Domine6377
    Echoes by Pink Floyd. One of Gilmour's most soulful solos and one of his earliest too.
    Watermelon In Easter Hay by Frank Zappa- Perfection, amazing, outstanding, beautiful
    Aenema by Tool- Adam Jones makes his guitar sound so much like a human voice in this song
    so many more i could add but these 3 stick out to me
    THEbanana
    I can't agree with you more. He is able to hit 4 notes like on Shine on you crazy diamond and get them touch your soul.
    mikel123
    Stairway to Heaven - no solo ever fit so perfectly in a song and felt so right with every note. If you close your eyes its like listening to a conversation between Jimmy's guitar and God, and at the end the weeping guitar just explodes in fury with that last pull off lick.
    notaconotaco
    I doubt this will be thumbed up (and might even be thumbed down), but Smells Like Teen Spirit's unbelievably simply solo after the ridiculousness of the late 80s was so refreshing and (in a 'me-reading-too-far-into-things' kind of way) really symbolic of a change in popular music.
    TombOfHorror
    Thumbs up. It was almost the anti-solo, IMO. It was kinda cool, just play the verse vocal line on the guitar and call it a solo. Not the best, I think, but I couldn't imagine SLTS without it and that makes it good.
    thedevil
    if you want anit-solo then you want Scentless Apprentice or the live version of In Bloom (my vote btw) where he plays the solo w/ his foot.
    (29:30)
    N-D
    Absolutely agree with you - not the most virtuosic solo, but it is a truly living - from the heart.