Would your choices for “The Top 5 Guitar Solos” have been different? What criteria do you use to judge a GREAT or RIPPIN’ solo? Check out what our music editor, Russell Eldridge, considers the top 5 solos to grace the guitarist’s world.
Dream Theater’s “Under a Glass Moon”
As time has gone on, Petrucci’s solos have changed in overall sound and some of them have gotten faster and more insane. This solo has a fusionesq sound with some funky lines, which is something someone fresh out of music school might choose to phrase with. Not wanting to disappoint the shredders, Petrucci does top of this solo with a pentatonic based sweeping lick and some chromaticism that upon first listen will either inspire guitar players or make them want to quit.
Steve Vai’s “Eugene’s Trick Bag”
After the first time I saw this on the 1986 movie Crossroads, I, like many others, wanted to be a guitarist. It was many years later before I truly appreciated what was happening in the solo. The rubato Steve Vai uses with the arpeggios in the beginning seems to add life to the solo with it’s breathtaking dynamics. The soundtrack from this movie also contains classical guitar from William Kanengeiser and blues guitar from Ry Cooder.
Impellitteri- “Secret Lover”
I discovered Impellitteri when a childhood friend told me about Impellitteri’s guitar instructional video called Speed Soloing. Still one of my favorite guitar instructionals, Speed Soloing is filled with some of the techniques and phrases Impellitteri uses. After seeing him demonstrate the arpeggio sequence in the solo for “Secret Lover” I became obsessed with learning it. After years of trying, I noticed that he left out some 16th note triplets in his explanation of the sequence, which made it frustrating to practice because it never sounded quite right. When I figured it out I was exhilarated, but at the same time I was a little mad because I had practiced it wrong for many years. Still, Chris Impellitteri is one of my favorite shredders and I know how frustrating it can be when making guitar videos.
Megadeth’s “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”
This is the song that pulled me away from Metallica toward Megadeth. When I saw the video for “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” back when MTV played mostly videos, I was floored. The rhythm guitar itself would justify as a solo for some, and just when I thought it couldn’t get much better Marty Friedman’s solo break between “ Holy Wars” and “The Punishment Due” dazed me with an exotic sound I wasn’t familiar with. I think it actually left me in shock. Once I came to, the breathtakingly brilliant solos of the twin guitar attack of Marty Friedman and Dave Mustaine began their assault in “The Punishment Due.” Friedman’s exotic sounding solos were a great contrast to Mustaine’s blues based shredding
Guns ‘N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
Russell Eldridge Lesson:
Every once in a while you hear a solo where it seems like a guitar player was graced by a divine power. For that moment of creation, knowing what scale to play and what notes to stop on is aided by a sense of perfect melody. Even the first solo break, after the first chorus, contains some ghosted bends that just sing to the listener. Slash’s creative use of harmonic minor makes this solo memorable and truly stand out among its peers. Rumor has it that Slash doesn’t really like playing this song because it was an exercise of sorts. It was something that he would play after he first plugged in his guitar, hence the intro of the video. At some point, Izzy Stradling and Axl Rose decided to turn it into a song.
If you are a guitarist striving to construct the next solo to make it into a listener’s top 5 favorite solos visit www.RussellEldridge.com or contact me at Russell@targetaudiencemagazine.com
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