Top 8 Most Iconic Guitar Solos

Photo of author

By Guitar Pick Reviews

Guitar solos have been an integral part of rock and roll music since its inception. 

From the early blues guitar licks to the more contemporary shredding styles, guitar solos have become a staple in modern music. 

a guitar player plays a guitar solo
Photo byKelly Sikkema onUnsplash

Over the years, some guitarists have made their mark by crafting truly iconic solos that will live on forever in our collective memory. 

In case you’re not familiar with some items on our list, make sure you take this quiz on ‘80s rock music, so you know where to start discovering this great genre. 

We’ve put together a list of eight of the most iconic and memorable guitar solos ever recorded. From classic rock songs to hard-hitting metal tracks. 

Read on to find out which ones made it into our top 8!

Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”

Jimi Hendrix’s solo in “All Along the Watchtower” is a masterpiece of blues-infused rock. 

The energetic, wailing guitar lines create an intense feeling as Hendrix shows off his impressive fretboard dexterity and creative improvisation skills. 

Utilizing many techniques such as bending notes, sliding between chords, and using feedback to create a unique sound, the solo has become an iconic part of rock history. 

The late great guitarist brings together many styles. Including blues, funk, soul, and psychedelia that come together in this incredible performance. 

Even today, Hendrix’s solo is emulated by both aspiring and seasoned guitarists alike as they strive to master the legendary performance. 

See also  The Most Beautiful Guitar Picks You Can Buy

Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven” 

The solo in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is perhaps one of the most iconic guitar solos of all time. 

Written and performed by the legendary Jimmy Page, this solo perfectly encapsulates the sound and feel of classic rock. 

Starting out with a soft acoustic riff, Page builds up the intensity with a few short but powerful solos that lead up to the final, extended solo. 

This solo is filled with brilliant blues licks, captivating bends and slides, and an overall sense of pure emotion. 

The way Page’s guitar soars and dives gives the listener a true feeling of transcendence as they journey through his incredible performance. 

Even today, aspiring guitarists strive to replicate the sound and structure of this timeless classic. 

Eric Clapton – “Layla” 

Eric Clapton’s solo in “Layla” is one for the ages. 

This emotive performance perfectly captures the mood of the song with its bluesy licks and passionate tone. 

Clapton’s signature style is on full display here. Utilizing techniques like string-bending, hammer-ons and pull-offs to create a truly unique sound. 

This solo has become an inspiration for many guitarists, providing a perfect example of how powerful yet simple a blues solo can be. 

While the solo was initially written as a means of trying to win back an old flame, it has become one of the most iconic guitar solos in rock and roll history. 

Clapton’s incredible performance here is something that will remain timeless for many generations to come. 

Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb” 

Pink Floyd’s solo in “Comfortably Numb” is a powerful and beautiful testament to the power of music. 

Written by guitarist David Gilmour, this solo utilizes a combination of bluesy licks, tremolo picking, and extended sustain to create an emotive piece that speaks volumes. 

See also  Meet the 23 Best Guitarists of All Time

The use of reverb and delay throughout the solo gives it a dream-like quality that is both captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. 

The way Gilmour builds up to the climactic ending of this solo, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation before finally taking off into a soaring climax, is truly inspiring. 

With its combination of technical skill and emotional power, this solo has become one of the most iconic guitar solos of all time. 

Van Halen – “Eruption” 

Van Halen’s solo in “Eruption” is an electrifying display of technical wizardry that has resonated with rock and metal guitarists for decades. 

Written by Eddie Van Halen, this solo showcases the guitarist’s signature two-handed tapping technique, a revolutionary playing style that has become a mainstay in the world of rock. 

With blazing fast licks and intricate transitions between arpeggios and scales, Eddie Van Halen’s performance is nothing short of breathtaking. 

His use of effects such as harmonics, divebombs, and whammy bar techniques creates an incredibly unique sound that has been imitated countless times. 

For any guitar player looking to push their technical boundaries, “Eruption” provides an almost endless source of inspiration. 

Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain” 

Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” is a classic ballad that features an unforgettable guitar solo. 

Written by the legendary Slash, this solo perfectly captures the emotion of the song with its slow but powerful licks. 

The use of delay and reverb created a lush soundscape for Slash to explore, ranging from gentle vibrato phrases to intense bends and hammer-ons. 

Throughout the solo, Slash utilizes intricate string-skipping patterns and two-handed tapping techniques to create a truly unique sound. 

See also  Greatest U2 Guitar Solos: A Fan's Review of the Edge's Best Work

This performance has become an inspiration for many aspiring guitarists looking to emulate his famous style. 

The emotion and technical ability displayed in this solo make it one of the greatest solos of all time. 

Joe Satriani – “Surfing With The Alien”  

Joe Satriani’s “Surfing With The Alien” is a timeless guitar solo that has inspired generations of players. 

This solo utilizes Satriani’s signature style, mixing rock and jazz elements to create an incredibly unique sound. 

The use of arpeggios, tapping techniques, fast legato runs and inventive chord choices creates an incredibly intricate solo that is as impressive today as it was when it was first released. 

Satriani’s masterful use of effects such as harmonics, whammy bar tricks, and delay further enhance the soundscape of the solo. 

Metallica – “One”

Metallica’s “One” is one of the most iconic metal guitar solos in history. 

The solo, written by Kirk Hammett, is filled with intense shredding and technical wizardry that make it a must-hear for any guitar player. 

Using elements from classic heavy metal riffs to intricate harmonized lines, Hammett’s solo captures the emotion of the song perfectly. 

His creative use of techniques such as tapping and sweep-picking gives this solo a unique flavor that has been imitated by countless guitarists around the world. 

The solo builds up to an emotionally charged climax with intense bends and dive bombs before ending on a melancholic note. 

Final words

Guitar solos have the power to inspire and captivate audiences with their emotional intensity and technical prowess. 

From Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” to Metallica’s “One,” these classic guitar solos showcase some of the greatest guitar players in history at the peak of their creativity. 

Whether you are a novice or an experienced guitarist, there is something for everyone on this list. Taking some notes can help take your playing to the next level. 

So grab your axe, plug it into your amp, and get ready to shred!