Favourite guitar solos...and why

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Favourite guitar solos...and why

Post by johnny7 » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:37 pm

Today I was thinking about guitar solos that i may have heard hundreds of times and still love. There are many different elements one could focus in on - tone, phrasing, melody, groove, difficulty, speed (or not), recording quality...what is important?
I think the ones that are closest to my heart (pardon the sensitive woo-woo crap) are simple, melodic solos that one can sing. George Harrison (and other Beatles) played some of the best...
Nowhere Man - chordal, generally desceding, singable
Something - sweet, unusual phrasing
And Your Bird Can Sing - fucking phenomenal
My Sweet Lord - simple, sweet, no waste

i am a big fan of Django, too. There's a version of Georgia where he plays all kinds of badass stuff in the intro but then winds down into the singing with three beautiful notes in his expressive vibrato. It seems as if he had to get all that other stuff out of the way to present those last notes.

But the song that got me fired up today was HIGHWAY STAR !
It is singable, expressive, it builds momentum, it fucking rocks.
it makes me want to crank my crappy car stereo until the speakers burst out of the doors and my head is through the windshield and inside Ritchie's Marshall!

Okay, I've got to calm down. Anybody else got something?


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Post by JWL » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:58 pm

"La Villa Strangiato, first guitar solo" Alex Lifeson, Rush. My favorite version is on Exit... Stage Left. Soulful, tasty, and it burns going down. And....tone.

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Post by leigh » Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:30 am

Marc Ribot's solo on the Tom Waits tune "Jockey Full of Bourbon." It's the only solo that I've taken the time to figure out note-for-note in the last ten years.

Why is it so great? Angular & funky lines (mostly a harmonic minor scale, so it's got that big jump between the 6th and 7th of the scale); ragged & raw in tone and attitude, fitting the vibe of the song perfectly and making it even more intense; bluesy, yet not the same-ole' blues you've heard a million tedious times before. And it's got direction - no meandering! It charges one way and then another - it takes command of its moment, and owns it completely.

Love it love it love it.

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:10 am

EVH solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It" - just a perfect little self-contained bit of shredding that actually fits the song perfectly. It also has that old schoolyard legend (at least it was a legend in my schoolyard) about the guitar "blowing up" at the end of the solo.

If I had two minutes to explain/demonstrate the concept of "guitar solo" to a visitor from outer space, I'd use "Beat It".

Ween's "Flies On My Dick"

"Badge" middle part is a guitar playing solo, and it's the most amazing thing ever (as we have all concurred here in the past) but I'm not sure it fits the parameters of this thread; likewise "What Is and What Should Never Be"

As to the philosophical questions about what's important: Of course, what's important is for it to serve the needs of the song. Whether that takes fast picking or lots of bends or a particular tone: it all depends on the song.

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Post by cgarges » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:06 am

Tatertot wrote:"Badge" middle part is a guitar playing solo, and it's the most amazing thing ever
The Leslie bit, right? I'm totally with you.

Also, the guitar solo on "Cinnamon Girl" is near perfect.

I'm still a sucker for almost everything David Gilmour plays and I find the stuff on The Wall[i/] particularly inspired.

Can you bring up a thread like this and not mention "LaGrange" or Billy Gibbons in general?

I think what Andy Summers played on the live version of "So Lonely" from the '83 show in Atlanta is astounding.

So many good ones...

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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:17 am

i was gonna say cinnamon girl... so great.

beat it is pretty much the best, for all the reasons mentioned above.

there is alot of amazing jonny greenwood stuff, but i don't know if they count as 'solos'...

i like to make music with music and stuff and things.


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Post by kayagum » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:22 am

I love first/single take solos.

E.g. Vernon Reid, Living Color, Cult of Personality. Single take.

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Post by djimbe » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:54 am

There's a Stones version of "Suzy Q" with a burning bit of Brian Jones work in the middle and the end that kind of define what a '60's solo is to me.

There's that stuff in the middle of "Bambi" on the first Prince album. I've never been a huge Prince fan but that first record is stellar.

It's not really a solo in the traditional sense, but for a favorite I gotta choose "Watermellon in Easter Hay" by Mr. Zappa. The Joe's Garage version is o.k., but there's one on Zappa Plays Guitar (which is sort of vol. 4 and 5 of the "Shut up and Play" series) that is so beautiful from a melody and phrasing standpoint it almost makes my cry, and I've heard it countless times. Apparently, Frank told Gail that "Watermellon" was one of the few songs that she could never, under any circumstances, license to anyone after he passed away, because he liked it so much...
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Post by mjau » Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:19 am

Cinnamon Girl...the only guitar solo I can play note for note. I'll put Neil Young's guitar work on Ohio and Like a Hurricane right up there, too.

Jonny Greenwood does some amazing stuff on Paranoid Android. George Harrison on Real Love kills me. Pretty much any early Jane's Addiction / Dave Navarro thing is amazing. Same goes for anything J. Mascis has ever done on a guitar, solo or otherwise.

Oh, and the solo on Cherub Rock is pretty much it.

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Re: Favourite guitar solos...and why

Post by Mudcloth » Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:52 am

johnny7 wrote: Nowhere Man - chordal, generally desceding, singable
Seared into my brain. And the little harmonic at the end? Lovely.

I have a Benny Goodman record of a live radio broadcast where they play Stardust. Charlie Christian's solo on it is the most beautiful guitar playing I've ever heard.
Django's playing on Beyond the Sea gives me chicken skin.
Whoever solo'd on Rundgren's I Saw the Light deserves a pat on the back.
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Post by RefD » Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:59 am

amen to the "Cinnamon Girl" solo, and i'm not even a huge Neil Young fan (tho i do admire his work)!

i am sick to the back teeth of "Stairway to Heaven", but for some reason i love hearing that solo.

i also rate David Gilmour's solo on "Time" from DSOTM quite highly.

Neil Finn's solo on "Hole In The Ice" from his second solo album, uncharacteristically wanky yet somehow totally fitting and memorable.

i'd like to cite an Alex Lifeson solo but can't really narrow it down alot...maybe "Freewill"?

oh yeah, almost any solo George Harrison ever played. :)

i'm sure there's others, but that's all i can think of right now.
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Post by JGriffin » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:36 am

Steve Rothery's solos on Marillion's "Sugar Mice" and "Easter."
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:50 am

Those various frantic Zappa solos on the album version of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" are pretty fabulous. They certainly add to the theatrical mood of that song.

There is also some superb guitar solo in that Steely Dan "Back To the Old School" song (during the part with cowbell on the beats)

And what about Joe Walsh's mid-song solo in "Life's Been Good"?

I will be thinking of awesome guitar solos all day now.

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Post by JASIII » Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:31 am

The solo on 'Sympathy for the Devil' is great; flesh-tearing, shrill tone.

Just about anything Bill Frisell plays
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Post by JWL » Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:11 am

dwlb wrote:Steve Rothery's solos on Marillion's "Sugar Mice" and "Easter."
Absolutely. As solos go, these are perfect examples of a melodic, lyrical melody. Each of these has the proverbial begininng, middle, and end, and takes the listener somewhere.

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