Learning how to play some of the greatest guitar solos of all time is not only fun but super satisfying. The melody and feel of certain solos just make them stand out from others and can draw people in. It doesn’t matter how technically complicated a solo is but rather how it is played, which can separate the good from the great. Some of the best solos are considered easy guitar solos, while on the other hand, some are extremely difficult.
In this post, I decided to create an extensive list of some of the best guitar solos you need to learn as a guitarist. I’ve broken them down into 3 sections:
If you prefer to learn a new song by tab, I’d highly recommend using Guitar Pro whenever possible as it can definitely help you get a better feel for the timing of each tab and provide you with more tools to learn solos and songs much faster.
This list is in no particular order so feel free to jump in wherever. Pick a song you like, and start learning how to play its solo with one of the options provided.
Best Easy Guitar Solos Of All Time
The first set of best guitar solos features relatively easy ones. These solos are great for beginners to get their feet wet with soloing, without it being too overwhelming.
These solos are either relatively short, slow-paced, or even a combination of both. Although they aren’t complex, that doesn’t mean they’re not great because as musicians know, you don’t have to be the best or fastest player to make great music.
These easy guitar solos are awesome to jam to and I’d highly suggest checking them out.
1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” By Nirvana
The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” solo doesn’t feature anything too fancy. It’s a relatively short solo and makes use of a few slides and bends but mostly relies on a few simple licks.
If you want to replicate this solo the right way you’ll need tons of distortion and be mindful of your guitar tone.
2. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” By Green Day
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” is a song by American rock band Green Day, released on their seventh studio album American Idiot (2004).
For the solo, Billy only makes use of the G and B strings. He does some singular picking between strings as well as plucks both strings in unison for some parts of the solo.
Overall, if you have an electric guitar and want to learn a simple solo this is a great one.
3. “Californication” By Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Californication” is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, released in 1999 as the lead single from their seventh album of the same name.
The easy solo was written by John Frusciante and is a great one to learn as a beginner guitarist.
What’s more, is that you don’t need much for effects or pedals to play this one right. Just work on your technique and you’ll have this one down pat in no time.
4. “Something” By The Beatles
The easy but melodically beautiful solo in “Something” by The Beatles is the reason why the song is on this list of best guitar solos. Written by George Harrison, “Something” was released on the Abbey Road album in 1969.
Admittedly, this solo is a bit more challenging than the other solos we’ve covered so far. It features quite a few slides, bends, and tremolo notes and you really need to get your timing right to play this one successfully.
5. “Wonderful Tonight” By Eric Clapton
There are few guitar solos more simple yet iconic than Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.”
As one of the greatest guitarists of all time you might think “there’s no way I’d be able to play an Eric Clapton solo, I’m just a beginner”. Well, you’re in luck!
The solo in “Wonderful Tonight” isn’t just simple and easy to learn but it’s also super tasteful and when played with the right feel can sound great.
6. “Like a Stone” By Audioslave
“Like a Stone” is one of the most popular songs by American rock music bands Audioslave. The song was released in 2002 as the second single from their self-titled debut album.
Tom Morello is known for some of the whacky sound effects he uses, and this song is no different.
According to an Ultimate Guitar article, if you want to achieve a similar sound to his solo you’ll need to use a whammy pedal with a 2-octave range, overdrive, and delay.
Although the solo itself is super simple, you might need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get the effects right for this one.
7. “Use Somebody” By King of Leon
“Use Somebody” is a song recorded by American rock band Kings of Leon for their fourth studio album, Only by the Night (2008). “Use Somebody” was released on December 8, 2008 as the album’s second single, and it became the band’s breakthrough hit in the United States.
The solo is nothing special. You’ll simply need to pluck the same note a few times and move between the D, G, and B strings.
8. “Lonely Boy” By The Black Keys
“Lonely Boy” was released as the lead single from their eighth studio album, El Camino.
The guitar solo on this one is actually the exact same as the lead melody.
It doesn’t feature any fancy guitar techniques. Just straight picking. Repeat the tabs above twice and congratulations you’ve played the “Lonely Boy” solo on guitar!
9. “Seven Nation Army” By The White Stripes
“Seven Nation Army” is one of The White Stripes’ most iconic songs, and its solo is a big part of what makes it so memorable. The solo was written by Jack White and performed by him on the band’s 2003 album “Elephant.” It starts with a simple, catchy riff that gradually builds in intensity, culminating in a fierce distortion-driven solo.
The first part of the solo is actually more or less the same as the second part (only the second is 1 octave higher).
To accomplish playing his solo you’ll need to do some string bends, a couple of slides, and work on your vibrato.
10. “About a Girl” By Nirvana
This song was written by Kurt Cobain and was inspired by his then-girlfriend, Tracy Marander. “About a Girl” is one of Nirvana’s more pop-oriented songs, and was released as the third single from their debut album, Bleach.
If you want to try your hand at an easy guitar solo made for the acoustic guitar, give this one a shot. It’s simple, short, and fun to play.
11. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” By Twisted Sister
We’re not gonna take it / No, we ain’t gonna take it / We’re not gonna take it anymore.
If you are a fan of 80s music at all you’ve undoubtedly heard these lyrics once or twice.
The solo in this one is fun to play and doesn’t feature a whole lot of technique although it does make ample use of the whammy bar. If you’ve got an electric guitar with a whammy bar and aren’t afraid to use it then you’ll definitely have fun with this one.
12. “Holiday” By Green Day
“Holiday” was released on their seventh studio album, American Idiot (2004). The solo in this song is powerful yet simple which makes it one of the best guitar solos for beginners to learn.
If you’re used to just sticking to the low frets as a beginner guitarist then you’ll need to get a little adventurous with this one, going all the way up to fret 18.
That being said, it’s pretty simple once you’ve got the groove down. Just crank the distortion, and rock out.
13. “Angels” By Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams’ hit song “Angels” has touched the hearts of listeners all over the world. The simple, beautiful melody of “Angels” coupled with the dreamy piano composition is why this song is so special.
The solo in this one is short and sweet although you will have to work on your bends to get this one right. It features a slow bend from the 9th fret of the G string up to the 11th fret. Bending truly is one of the hardest techniques to get right when playing guitar so keep practicing them!
That being said, this solo simply repeats twice and is pretty short so if you’re just starting out it’s a good one to get under your belt.
14. “Love Hurts” By Nazareth
“Love Hurts” was first released in 1975, and quickly became a hit, reaching the Top 10 in several countries.
The song is notable for its slow solo, which was performed by Manny Charlton. Again, you’ll need to work on your bends to pull this one off.
The solo for “Love Hurts” is all essentially big bends and a ton of vibrato.
15. “Joker and the Thief” By Wolfmother
This song was released as the first single from their self-titled debut album in 2005. “Joker and the Thief”
The song features a guitar solo from lead guitarists Andrew Stockdale which is pretty simple yet fun to play. Much like the “Seven Nation Army Solo” most of this solo follows the same pattern, it’s just played with different notes.
The song itself though is fairly upbeat so be ready to move fast with this one!
16. “Island In the Sun” By Weezer
“Island in the Sun” features a guitar solo from Brian Bell that perfectly complements the chill vibes of the song.
It’s simple, laid back, melodic, and helps to punctuate the rest of the song. The solo is fairly short, but it’s an important part of the song and helps to round out the overall sound.
It’s a great example of how a simple guitar solo can add a special “break” to a track.
17. “High and Dry” By Radiohead
“High and Dry” features a guitar solo that primarily alternates between the high E and B strings.
The cool part is that all the notes you play on the high E string are open, so you only have to worry about fretting the notes on the B string.
Best Intermediate/Advanced Guitar Solos
If you’re an intermediate/advanced guitarist then maybe you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge. Well, the following list of intermediate/advanced guitar solos is for you.
These solos are generally longer than the easy guitar solos above and contain a greater range of flair (i.e. bends, vibrato, tapping, etc). Try working through the list below by finding songs that you love and learning their solos.
18. “Nothing Else Matters” By Metallica
The is more than one solo in this song however the main solo is the last one in the song. Hammett uses a combination of fast legato runs and slow, sustained notes to create a sense of contrast and build up tension. The solo also makes use of hammer-ons and pull-offs, as well as wide vibrato, to add expression and depth to the melodies.
Pretty much any solo from Metallica takes some skill so if you are intermediate to advanced, give this one a shot.
19. “Black Magic Woman” By Santana
Many may not know this but “Black Magic Woman” was actually originally written by Peter Green and recorded by his band Fleetwood Mac.
The song gained widespread popularity when it was covered by the Latin rock guitarist Carlos Santana, whose version was released as a single in 1970 and became a hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The solo begins with a series of quick, staccato notes played in a minor pentatonic scale, which gives the solo a raw and powerful sound. As the solo progresses, Santana adds in longer, more sustained notes, as well as bends and vibrato, to add expression and depth to the melodies.
The solo also incorporates elements of Latin music, with the use of fast, syncopated rhythms and percussive guitar techniques.
20. “Alive” By Pearl Jam
This song features a prominent solo played by lead guitarist Mike McCready.
The solo in “Alive” is characterized by its raw and emotive sound. The solo begins with a series of fast, driving notes played in a major pentatonic scale, which gives the solo a bright and energetic sound. As the solo progresses, McCready adds in a series of bends and pull offs to add expression and depth to the melodies.
One of the most memorable moments of the solo is near the end when McCready continuously builds end tension by bending up the fretboard further and further. He eventually builds up enough tension and then releases it while simultaneously ending the song with a long sustained note.
21. “Crazy Train” By Ozzy Osbourne
Randy Rhoads was truly a one of a kind guitarist. He certainly showed why with his performance in the solo for Crazy Train.
This solo is characterized by its fast and virtuosic nature, which matches up well the energetic and driving sound of the song. Rhoads uses a combination of fast tapping technique, alternate picking, and whammy bar to create a sense of excitement and intensity.
Rhoads’ tapping technique is what really makes people go “wow” when they hear this solo. This is where Rhoads uses his left hand to rapidly alternate between different frets on the guitar neck while using his right hand’s index finger to play yet a third note in between.
The overall song is an absolute head banger but the solo truly serves as a standout moment in the song, and is a showcase of Rhoads’ skill and style as a guitarist.
22. “Stairway to Heaven” By Led Zeppelin
Many guitar publications have voted Stairway to Heave’s solo as the best guitar solo of all time. Just take this NME article for instance.
The thing is, this solo isn’t overly technically challenging. The main differentiator here between someone who can play Stairway to Heaven’s solo good vs great is all about feel.
It’s about the right notes at the right time, with the right emotion and dynamics. That’s why people voted it the greatest of all time.
23. “Back in Black” By AC/DC
This solo also makes use of the blues scale, which gives it a classic rock sound.
Angus is known for making incredibly catching, yet simple, guitar riffs but he’s also got some impressive solo skills. The guy can shred (okay maybe not shred, but you get what I mean).
Angus typically takes the time to collect his thoughts and briskly “duck walk” across the stage while playing solo such as this one in “Back In Black”. It sounds silly on paper but hey, the people love it!
The solo itself uses a combination and techniques and you need to be ready to vary your speed on a dime to nail it. Oh, and guitar tone, don’t forget that you need a great guitar tone!
24. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” By Queen
When you hear the opening guitar riff of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” there’s no mistaking it for anything else. Ears perk up and people start getting ready to sing along and dance.
The song is notable for its solo, which is usually performed by Brian May on a Red Special (when played live), an electric guitar that he built himself.
The solo is brisk, much shorter than others on this list, but poignant at the same time. I think if he went any longer it may have detracted from the charm of the song.
25. “Paranoid” By Black Sabbath
If you wanted to play this solo live and really re-created you’d need to have three guitarists in total. One playing the solo with distortion, another playing the solo with really heavy distortion, and the last playing the rhythm section. It makes for a great guitar duet song.
The solo was played by Black Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi. Iommi’s solo is characterized by its use of advanced techniques, including quick picking and well-timed bends.
These techniques helped to give the solo a unique sound that was unlike anything else that had been heard at the time.
26. “Santeria” By Sublime
This song was written by frontman Bradley Nowell and features a reggae-inspired sound.
The song’s prominent solo is played by lead guitarist Eric Wilson and is characterized by its laid-back and groovy sound. Which indeed goes well with the overall relaxed and reggae-influenced vibe of the song.
Wilson uses a combination string bends and hammer-ons to create a smooth and soulful sound.
You don’t need much in terms of effects or distortion to re-create this one. A clean tone with a good guitar is about it!
27. “Belief” By John Mayer
If you don’t know already, John Mayer is one of my favorite artists. Most people know him for his cheesy song “Your Body Is a Wonderland”. But that’s an unfair judgement of artistry in my opinion.
The song starts with a memorable guitar riff, which eventually crescendos into a bluesy solo. This solo perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the song – it is bluesy and soulful.
Get your vibrato chops ready in order to take on this one. Vibrato is what separates the good from the great in so many instances of guitar playing.
28. “Carry on Wayward Son” By Kansas
I love jamming around to this solo people the main section that repeats multiple times is just so fun to play!
Eventually you’ll break out of this repetitive section and move onto legatos runs and multi-string plucking.
What’s more, is that in this song it’s not just the guitar that shines. If you have a keyboard player friend they’ll also have they time in the spotlight as the guitar and keyboard exchange solo sections.
29. “More Than a Feeling” By Boston
Tom Scholz outdid himself on this solo. In my opinion, he is the king of hammer-ons and pull-offs.
If you like moving quick then try your hand at the “More Than a Feeling” solo.
It’s tasteful, rocking, and a great display of Scholz’s guitar mastery. Scholz’s use of dynamics and timing is impeccable, and it’s a great example of how a solo can really take a song to the next level.
30. “Renegade” By Styx
The solo in “Renegade” was performance by guitarist Tommy Shaw . It’s a high-energy guitar solo that lasts for about 1 minute seconds.
At near 40 seconds into the solo, the synth kicks in and begins to accompany the guitar solo’s frenetic energy.
It’s a great solo, for a great song, by a great band.
31. “Caught Up In You” By 38 Special
As the chorus of this song reaches it’s climax, the lead guitarist unleashes a high-octane solo that showcases his technical prowess and emotional intensity.
The solo is incredibly melodic and almost sounds as if you could add lyrics and sing over it.
Bends, vibrato, harmonics, and staccato runs are all adjectives that can be used to describe this face-melter.
32. “Purple Haze” By Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix was the master of timing and feel. And his hit song “Purple Haze” aptly demonstrates why.
The solo is characterized by a combination of fast and fluid phrasing, bold and daring bends, and a distinct sense of style and finesse that is all Hendrix’s own.
The result is a rich and expressive performance that takes the listener on a musical journey.
“Purple Haze” is often cited as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
Read Next: 27 Easy Rock Guitar Songs (MUST Learn)
33. “Walk This Way” By Aerosmith
Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” is one of the most iconic songs in rock history. The song, which was released in 1975, helped to launch the band’s career. The song is built around a simple guitar riff and features a catchy chorus that gets stuck in your head for days.
From the very first notes, the solo grabs the listener’s attention.
As the solo progresses, Joe Perry incorporates a fast flurry of notes, slides, bends, and everything in between.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about this solo is the way that it perfectly complements the song’s energetic and upbeat vibe.
34. “Burnin’ For You” By Blue Öyster Cult
More cowbell! You get that reference, right? Different song but you get the point…
The licks played throughout this song are just so catchy. You’re never quite sure where the solo is going next if you’ve never listened to the song before.
Best Expert Guitar Solos
If you’ve mastered the easy and intermediate/advanced guitar solos in both tables above, then you’re ready for a much bigger challenge: expert-level guitar solos.
The solos in the list below are a collection of technically challenging solos due to their length, speed, technique, and more.
Some songs in this list contain solo breaks between the vocal sections, similar to any of the songs in the lists above, while other songs are made up of guitar solos throughout. Enjoy and be prepared for a challenge!
35. “Eruption” By Van Halen
Written by Eddie Van Halen, “Eruption” is one of the most popular and iconic guitar solos of all time.
The solo is notoriously difficult to play and known for its high-speed tapping technique, which involves using both hands to play rapid arpeggios on the guitar neck.
It’s also known for its use of artificial harmonics, which give the guitar a distinctive high-pitched ringing sound.
Eruption is widely regarded as a masterpiece of guitar virtuosity and has inspired countless guitarists to try their hand at playing it.
36. “Free Bird” By Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Free Bird” is a rock classic known for its soaring guitar solo.
It was performed by lead guitarist Allen Collins who is known technical ability and lightning-fast speed. The solo begins with a series of fast, fluid licks played over a driving rock beat and gradually builds in intensity as Collins unleashes a series of screaming bends and lightning-fast runs.
This solo goes on for a-while so be prepared to work on your finger endurance.
The solo is a testament to Collins’ skill as a guitarist and thanks to this solo ,there will always be a drunk guy in a bar somewhere yelling “play Free Bird”!
37. “Voodoo Child” By Jimi Hendrix
The second song by Jimi Hendrix on this list is “Voodoo Child”.
It features the use of some psychedelic effects, such as wah-wah and feedback, which give the guitar a distinctive otherworldly sound.
Hendrix’s playing style was highly expressive and improvisational, and this is particularly evident in the “Voodoo Child” solo.
You probably won’t be able to play this solo EXACTLY like Hendrix since his style was so unique but with enough practice you can get close!
38. “Sultans of Swing” By Dire Straits
Do your finger stretch before taking this one one! It’s a long and though one.
This guitar solo is performed by Mark Knopfler (the lead singer and guitarist of the band) and is known for its precise, bluesy phrasing and sheer length.
The solo begins with a series of subtle, jazzy bends and slides, gradually building in intensity as Knopfler unleashes a series of fast, shimmering arpeggios.
The solo is characterized by Knopfler’s signature fingerpicking style and economy of movement, as he manages to convey a great deal of emotion and feeling with just a few well-placed notes.
39. “November Rain” By Guns N’ Roses
Slash hardly ever disappoint with his guitar solos. And his performance in “November Rain” is no different.
This 80s power ballad features an epic guitar solo known for its emotive, melodic phrasing and dramatic use of vibrato. The solo begins with a series of slow, bending notes that gradually build in intensity.
The solo is characterized by Slash’s signature bluesy style and masterful control of dynamics, as he moves effortlessly between delicate, introspective passages and full-throttle rock licks.
All performed on his signature Les Paul and Marshall amp set-up, the solo is a masterclass in the art of rock guitar playing.
40. “For the Love of God” By Steve Vai
While there are many talented guitarists out there, few can rival the sheer talent and skill of Steve Vai.
“For the Love of God” is taken from his 1996 album Fire Garden, and it is widely considered to be one of his finest performances.
The song is known for its wide range of sounds and effects, as Vai uses a variety of techniques to coax a seemingly endless array of tones and timbres out of his guitar.
Clocking in at just over six minutes, it’s a seriously impressive piece, and Vai demonstrates absolute mastery over his instrument.
The way he weaves together different themes and variations is simply astounding, and the whole thing comes together perfectly.
Being able to memorize and play “For the Love of God” in its entirety would be an amazing feat of skill and dedication.
41. “YYZ” By Rush
Fun fact: Rush is a Canadian rock band and “YYZ” is actually in reference to the Toronto Pearson airport code.
That fun fact aside, this solo is played by Alex Lifeson, and is characterized by its fast, intricate, and precise notes.
The solo starts off with a series of rapid-fire arpeggios, which set the stage for the rest of the solo’s amazing display of musicianship. Lifeson then delves into a series of complex scales and licks, weaving in and out of different modes and tonalities.
One of the most striking aspects of the “YYZ” solo is the way Lifeson is able to maintain a sense of fluidity and control despite the sheer speed and technical demands of the music. His playing is precise and accurate, and he is able to effortlessly switch between different fingerings and positions on the guitar neck.
42. “Cliffs of Dover” By Eric Johnson
If you want a four minute song of pure intensity than DING DING DING, you found it!
Cliffs of Dover is known for its fast-paced, flowing guitar licks and Johnson’s signature use of harmonics.
While the song is technically challenging, it is also melodic and catchy, not many guitarists can achieve both.
Whether you’re a fan of Johnson’s work or not, there’s no denying that Cliffs of Dover is one of the greatest guitar songs.
43. “Little Wing” By Jimi Hendrix
This is the third, and last, song that I’m going to mention today by Jimi Hendrix… I swear.
“Little Wing” is a song that has been covered by many artists over the years. The original was released in 1967 on Hendrix’s album “Axis: Bold as Love“.
“Little Wing” is a mid-tempo, bluesy ballad with an amazingly emotional solo within it. It’s yet another fine example of Jimi’s stunning guitar playing, not to mention his lyrical genius.
44. “Afterlife” By Avenged Sevenfold
“Afterlife” is a song by American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold, released as the lead single from their fourth studio album, City of Evil.
This finger workout of a solo features lightning-fast runs all wrapped up in an incredibly flurry of notes. Melodically, it isn’t the most impressive but in terms of preciseness and technical ability, it’s certainly a tough one to master.
45. “Master of Puppets” By Metallica
The song is high-respected in the guitar community thanks to its solo, which is seen by some as Kirk’s greatest work
Kirk Hammett’s fluid phrasing and fast speed are testament to his incredible talent and technical mastery on the instrument.
Whether you’re a seasoned metalhead or a newcomer to the genre, the solo in ‘Master of Puppets’ is an absolute must-hear.
46. “Satch Boogie” By Joe Satriani
This song appears on Satriani’s album Surfing with the Alien and was released as a single in 1988.
The tune is a high-energy display of guitar wizardry that will leave you in awe.
Satriani’s fast and precise playing style is on full display as he tears through this electrifying track. His use of arpeggios, sweeping legato runs, and blistering alternate picking will have you marveling at his technical proficiency.
On top of all that, it’s also played at a brisk tempo of 108 BPM or at double-time at 216BPM.
47. “The Dance of Eternity” By Dream Theater
Whether you’re a bassist or a guitarist, the riffs and licks in this song are incredibly difficult to play. And what’s more is that if you want to play them together you’ll need to be so incredibly synchronize that it won’t even feel human.
The solo is a true tour de force, with each band member taking turns showcasing their impressive skills.
The guitar work of John Petrucci is particularly noteworthy, as he unleashes a barrage of licks and mind-blowing technical runs.
Read Next: 30 Best Bass Songs and Basslines of All Time
48. “The Trooper” By Iron Maiden
This song’s iconic guitar solo, played by Adrian Smith, is a driving force that adds to the track’s overall intensity.
If you’re a fan of guitar solos, or simply a fan of great metal songs, “The Trooper” is a must-hear.
49. “Canon Rock” By Jerry C
Canon Rock is a song popularized by Jerry C.
The song is based on Pachelbel’s Canon, and it basically replaces all string and wind instruments with electric guitar. I know what you’re thinking… that sounds impossible. Yeah basically.
The song is much more fast-paced than the original and is a challenging solo for any guitarist.
50. “Highway Star” By Deep Purple
“Highway Star” is a song by the British rock band Deep Purple. It was released as a single in 1972 and was later included on the album Machine Head.
The song was written by the band’s guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, and singer, Ian Gillan.
It features a lengthy guitar solo from Blackmore, who is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time according to The Rolling Stone.
51. “Far Beyond the Sun” By Yngwie Malmsteen
“Far Beyond the Sun” by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen was released in 1984 as the first single from his album Rising Force.
The track is just over 6 minutes of face melting guitar shredding that showcases Malmsteen’s instrumental ability.
It was also featured in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
Best Guitar Solos [Infographic]
Hopefully, this list of best guitar solos has inspired you to start learning or perfecting the techniques of guitar soloing.
If you’re a beginner, soloing can be tricky and takes a lot of practice. I’ve always found software programs like Guitar Pro to be a great help in this regard as you can slow the solo down while simultaneously visualizing exactly what the guitarist is playing.
If you think I may have missed any great guitar solos in the list above, don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Let me know what your favorite (easy, intermediate, or expert-level) guitar solo is!