“It’s hard to describe, because on one hand you want your solo to be spontaneous. On the other hand, I feel a good guitar solo should be somewhat of a composition in itself. So, you sort of toggle back and forth between the concept of trying to initiate flow and composing. I think it’s a combination of both” – Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter – guitar – Steely Dan / Doobie Brothers
After Josh did a post last night on people destroying their guitars for fun it got me thinking about guitarists who enjoy playing their guitars more than concentrating on smashing them up. That brought me to the topic of guitar solos and a corresponding poll. Baxter explains the guitar solo well in his quotation above. A great guitar solo involves practice of the solo prior to recording. It needs to be a composition and cannot just be purely on the fly. Yet, what makes these amazing guitar solos ineffaceable and forever ingrained in the rock n’ roll music lover’s mind is the subtle spontaneity and feeling that a guitarist is able to put into the solo. They are able to put their trademark on it and add some bends, hammer-on’s and various other points of feeling to make it their own each time out. No great guitar solo should ever be the same, yet, there needs to be the recognizable root.
So, what makes a guitar solo great? Well, it helps if you are popular prior to the release but that matters very little. A resounding guitar solo has feeling, skill and recognizability all wrapped up in an effulgent guitar chef d’oeuvre. I know many people who can put feeling in the guitar but lack that skill and I know people who have the skill to go fast on the guitar and make it sound cool, but, lack the feeling. These soloists listed below have it all. I will limit the choices to five because, while I could put more, I believe that these solos go above and beyond.
“Comfortably Numb” Solo
“All Along The Watchtower”