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 and broke them down into three separate sections:
In each section, I’ve compiled a list of 17 of what I consider to be the best guitar solos of all time.
If you prefer to learn a new song by tab, I’d highly recommend using the Guitar Pro tabs whenever available 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
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by Nirvana that was released in 1991. The song became an instant hit, propelling the band to superstardom. The success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was largely due to its infectious hook and catchy melody. However, the lyrics of the song are also significant. The lyrics are written from the perspective of a teenage outcast who is tired of being misunderstood. This resonated with many teenagers who felt like they didn’t fit in. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song that still resonates with people today.
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). Ehe song has since become one of the band’s most enduring hits, with its emotional lyrics and powerful vocal performance from Armstrong.
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.
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. The song is a simple love song, with Harrison’s sweet vocal performance backed by Paul McCartney’s steady bass line and Ringo Starr’s gentle drums. However, it is the melody that makes the song truly special. The gentle descending riff that opens the song is instantly recognizable, and the soaring chorus is both catchy and beautiful.
5. “Wonderful Tonight” By Eric Clapton
There are few guitar solos more iconic than Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” The simple, yet catchy melody has become synonymous with romance, and it’s easy to see why. The lyrics are incredibly romantic, making the song perfect for any special occasion. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or simply enjoying a quiet night at home, “Wonderful Tonight” is the perfect soundtrack for your evening.
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. The song’s verses describe the feeling of being alone and disconnected from the world, while the chorus talks about how love can be a source of strength and resilience. The song remains one of Audioslave’s best-known songs, and its powerful lyrics continue to resonate with fans around the world.
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 to radio stations on December 8, 2008 as the album’s second single, and it became the band’s breakthrough hit in the United States.
8. “Lonely Boy” By The Black Keys
“Lonely Boy” is a song by the American rock band The Black Keys. It was released as the lead single from their eighth studio album, El Camino, on October 26, 2011. The song was written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, and it was produced by Danger Mouse. “Lonely Boy” is a garage rock song with elements of punk rock, and its lyrics tell the story of a man who is down on his luck and feels lonely.
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.
10. “About a Girl” By Nirvana
Nirvana’s “About a Girl” is one of the band’s most popular and well-loved songs. The song was written by Kurt Cobain and was inspired by his then-girlfriend, Tracy Marander. The song is a simple and straightforward love song, with Cobain’s raw vocals and guitar work backed by the rest of the band. “About a Girl” is one of Nirvana’s more pop-oriented songs, and it was this approach that helped to make them one of the biggest bands in the world.
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. These opening lyrics to Twisted Sister’s 1984 anthem are as relevant today as they were over 30 years ago. The song is a rallying cry for the oppressed and downtrodden, a call to arms for those who have had enough of being pushed around. It’s a call to stand up and fight back. And while the specifics of the song’s message may have been inspired by the 1980s, the sentiment is timeless. The solo in this one is fun to play and doesn’t feature many fancy techniques so you can learn it as a beginner.
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. 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” is why this song is so special. It’s easy to sing along to, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a summer day or a winter’s night. The solo in this one is short and sweet and simply repeats twice so if you’re just starting out it’s a good one to get under your belt.
14. “Love Hurts” By Nazareth
“Love Hurts” is a song by the Scottish rock band Nazareth. It 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.
15. “Joker and the Thief” By Wolfmother
“Joker and the Thief” is a song by Australian rock band Wolfmother. The song was released as the first single from their self-titled debut album in 2005. “Joker and the Thief” peaked at number three on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The song features a guitar solo from lead guitarists Andrew Stockdale and Chris Ross. The solo has been described as “simple” yet “explosive”.
16. “Island In the Sun” By Weezer
“Island in the Sun” is a song by the American rock band Weezer. It was released on October 5, 2001 as the third single from their self-titled second studio album. The song was written by lead singer Rivers Cuomo and produced by Ric Ocasek. It features a guitar solo from Brian Bell that perfectly complements the chill vibes of the song, making it one of the best guitar solos.
17. “High and Dry” By Radiohead
“High and Dry” is a song by the English alternative rock band Radiohead, released in 1995 as the fourth single from their second studio album, The Bends. The song was written by guitarist Jonny Greenwood and singer Thom Yorke. It features a guitar solo by Greenwood that’s only a few notes yet is impactful in the way he plays it.
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 then, 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 with the provided resources.
18. “Nothing Else Matters” By Metallica
Metallica’s 1991 song, “Nothing Else Matters,” is a ballad about the importance of love and connection. The lyrics explore the idea that, even when the world is falling apart, the things that really matter are the people we care about. The song has a slow, bluesy feel, and lead singer James Hetfield’s vocals are emotive and raw. The lyrics are simple but powerful, and they resonate with many fans. Pretty much any solo from Metallica takes some skill so if your are intermediate to advanced, give this one a shot.
19. “Black Magic Woman” By Santana
Few songs are as synonymous as Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.” Released in 1970, “Black Magic Woman” quickly became a radio staple, helped in part by its catchy hooks and lively rhythm. The song tells the story of a man who is seduced by a woman who is actually a witch, and it’s clear from the start that he’s in over his head. Santana’s guitar work is mesmerizing, and Mydland’s vocals are both soulful and seductive. Together, they create a track that is both danceable and atmospheric, making it one of the defining songs of its era.
20. “Alive” By Pearl Jam
“Alive” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Written by guitarist Stone Gossard, “Alive” first appeared on the band’s debut album, Ten (1991). The song is one of Pearl Jam’s best-known singles and is often considered to be the band’s signature song. “Alive” features a distinctive guitar riff and a solo that features many techniques such as bends, pull-offs, harmonics, and more.
21. “Crazy Train” By Ozzy Osbourne
Released in 1980, “Crazy Train” was the first single from Ozzy Osbourne’s album Blizzard of Ozz. The song quickly gained popularity, thanks in part to its heavy metal sound and Osbourne’s distinctive vocals. The guitar solo is one of the most famous solos ever created and features some incredible techniques from lead guitarist Randy Rhoads.
22. “Stairway to Heaven” By Led Zeppelin
“Stairway to Heaven” is undoubtedly one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Released in 1971, the song quickly became a mainstay of radio stations across the world. Part of the song’s appeal lies in its legendary guitar solo. The solo is often cited as being one of the best solos ever recorded and it’s what helped make “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin a truly timeless classic.
23. “Back in Black” By AC/DC
“Back in Black” is a song by Australian rock band AC/DC. It was released as the lead single from their seventh studio album of the same name in 1980. The song was written by band members Angus Young and Malcolm Young, and it features a rocking guitar solo by Angus Young. “Back in Black” is one of AC/DC’s most popular and well-known songs, and it continues to be played regularly on classic rock radio stations worldwide.
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. The groovy, uptempo beat is a dead giveaway and is one of the songs that has made Queen one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The song is also notable for its memorable solo, which was performed by Brian May on a Red Special, an electric guitar that he built himself. While “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” may be a simple love song at heart, it’s also a perfect example of Queen’s mastery of both rhythm and melody.
25. “Paranoid” By Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” is a classic of heavy metal music, and it features a guitar solo that’s suitable for intermediate/advanced players. The solo was performed by lead guitarist Tony Iommi, who was known for his innovative playing style. 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
Released in 1996, “Santeria” is a song by the American ska punk band Sublime. The song was written by frontman Bradley Nowell and features a reggae-inspired sound. It became one of the band’s most successful singles, reaching number two on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. “Santeria” is a catchy and enjoyable song that showcases Sublime’s unique musical style.
27. “Belief” By John Mayer
28. “Carry on Wayward Son” By Kansas
“Belief” is one of John Mayer’s signature bluesy/pop songs. The song starts with a simple guitar riff, which eventually crescendos into a bluesy solo. This solo perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the song – it is bluesy and soulful. “Belief” is a beautifully crafted song that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human.
29. “More Than a Feeling” By Boston
Released in 1976, “More Than a Feeling” is a song by the American rock band Boston. The track was written by guitarist Tom Scholz and is included on the group’s eponymous debut album. Inspired by Scholz’s memories of growing up in the 1960s, the song became a massive hit. Over the years, it has been covered by a number of artists and has been featured in television shows and films. “More Than a Feeling” remains one of Boston’s most popular songs and has a few wicked lead guitar breaks throughout.
30. “Renegade” By Styx
“Renegade” by Styx is one of the best rock songs of all time. The song was released in 1978 as the lead single from the album Pieces of Eight. “Renegade” was written by guitarist Tommy Shaw and bassist Chuck Panozzo, and it quickly became one of the band’s most popular songs. The song is notable for its iconic guitar solo which takes some skill to play.
31. “Caught Up In You” By 38 Special
“Caught Up In You” by 38 Special is a song about being head over heels in love. The lyrics describe the feeling of being completely consumed by another person, to the point where nothing else matters. The guitars and drums work together to create a driving beat that will keep you moving, while the vocals helped to convey the emotion of the lyrics.
32. “Purple Haze” By Jimi Hendrix
“Purple Haze” is a song by American musician Jimi Hendrix, released in 1967. The song features a distinctive riff and one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. The song has been interpreted as an allegory for drug use, and its lyrics have been the subject of numerous interpretations. “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 is impossible to forget. Additionally, the lyrics are relatively straightforward, making the song easy to sing along to.
34. “Burnin’ For You” By Blue Öyster Cult
“Burnin’ For You” by Blue Öyster Cult is a classic rock song that features a guitar solo that is sure to get your heart racing. The solo is played by guitarist Buck Dharma and is one of the most memorable parts of the song. The rest of the song features a heavy guitar riff and driving drums that create a powerful sound that is perfect for headbanging along to.
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, featuring fast-paced hammer-ons and pull-offs, as well as a mixture of tremolo picking and tapping. Despite the challenging level of skill required, “Eruption” has been a favorite among guitarists for decades. The solo has inspired many guitarists to push themselves to new levels, and it continues to be one of the most popular songs to learn. For anyone looking to improve their guitar skills, “Eruption” is a must-learn classic.
36. “Free Bird” By Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Free Bird” is one of the most iconic songs in rock history. Released in 1974, the song quickly rose to fame thanks to its catchy chorus and impressive solo. The solo, which is often cited as one of the hardest to play, was performed by Gary Rossington. Rossington’s performance is widely considered to be one of the highlights of the song, and it helped to cement “Free Bird” as a classic.
37. “Voodoo Child” By Jimi Hendrix
“Voodoo Child” contains one of Jimi Hendrix’s most impressive guitar solos and features the use of the wah wah pedal. The song is a classic example of his style, which blended blues, rock, and soul. The solo is full of distortion and feedback, and Hendrix makes use of every inch of the fretboard. His playing is both aggressive and lyrical, and he seamlessly transitions between different techniques. The result is a solo that is both technical and emotional.
38. “Sultans of Swing” By Dire Straits
“Sultans of Swing” is a rock song by English band Dire Straits, written by Mark Knopfler. The song was first released on their self-titled debut album in 1978 and became an instant classic, thanks in part to its impressive guitar solos. “Sultans of Swing” is an ode to those who dedicate their lives to music, even when it seems like no one is listening.
39. “November Rain” By Guns N’ Roses
“November Rain” is known for its impressive set of long guitar solos. The solos are performed by Slash, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. The song was released as a single in 1992 and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remains one of the band’s best-loved songs and is often considered to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
40. “For the Love of God” By Steve Vai
There are few things in life as exhilarating as a truly great guitar solo. The way the notes seem to flow together, creating a sound that is both melodic and hypnotic… it’s simply irresistible. And while there are many talented guitarists out there, few can rival the sheer virtuosity 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 starts with a simple, yet beautiful melody, before building to an absolutely epic guitar solo. 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.
41. “YYZ” By Rush
“YYZ” is one of the best guitar solos of all time. It was written by Rush and released on their 1981 album, Moving Pictures. The solo is played by Alex Lifeson, and it is one of the most recognizable guitar solos in rock music. It starts with a famous opening riff and the rest of the solo is very melodic and uses a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs. The song is one of the most technical guitar solos ever recorded, and it is a great example of Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing ability.
42. “Cliffs of Dover” By Eric Johnson
Cliffs of Dover is known for its fast-paced, flowing guitar licks and Johnson’s signature use of harmonics. The song is also notable for its use of a variety of different guitar techniques. While the song is technically challenging, it is also very melodic and catchy, making it a favorite among both guitarists and non-guitarists alike. 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 Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Little Wing” is a song that has been covered by many artists over the years. The original was released in 1987 on Vaughan’s album In Step. “Little Wing” is a slow, bluesy ballad with a simple yet catchy guitar riff. “Little Wing” is a classic example of Vaughan’s guitar prowess and songwriting ability. It remains one of his most popular songs to date.
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. The song was written by lead singer M. Shadows and co-produced by Andy Wallace and the band. It is one of Avenged Sevenfold’s most popular songs, and the song’s guitar solo is really an impressive piece of work.
45. “Master of Puppets” By Metallica
“Master of Puppets” is a song by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released in 1986. It was the title track and lead single from their third album of the same name. The song was written by guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, and drummer Lars Ulrich. The song is notable for its solo, which is seen by some as Kirk’s greatest guitar solo.
46. “Satch Boogie” By Joe Satriani
“Satch Boogie” is a guitar solo composed by Joe Satriani. The song appears on Satriani’s album Surfing with the Alien and was released as a single in 1988. The song is known for its impressive guitar work, which has been praised by guitarists such as Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen. “Satch Boogie” is considered to be one of Satriani’s most popular songs and is often used as an example of his guitar playing style.
47. “The Dance of Eternity” By Dream Theater
“The Dance of Eternity” is a song by Dream Theater that features one of the band’s most iconic guitar solos. The solo is complex and technical, yet it is also melodic and emotive. It is truly a masterclass in guitar playing, and it is no wonder that “The Dance of Eternity” is considered to be one of Dream Theater’s best songs.
48. “The Trooper” By Iron Maiden
“The Trooper” is a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was released as the lead single from their 1983 album, Piece of Mind. The guitar solo in “The Trooper” is considered to be one of the best in all of heavy metal. In fact, guitar great Steve Vai has said it is his favorite solo of all time. 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 popular song by Jerry C. The song is based on Pachelbel’s Canon, and it basically replaces all string and wind instruments with electric guitar. 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 is one of Deep Purple’s most popular songs and is often considered to be their signature tune. “Highway Star” is an uptempo rock song with a catchy riff and pounding drums. It features a lengthy guitar solo from Blackmore, who is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
51. “Far Beyond the Sun” By Yngwie Malmsteen
“Far Beyond the Sun” is a song by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. It was released in 1984 as the first single from his album Rising Force. The song is one of Malmsteen’s most popular and enduring compositions, and has been praised for its technical virtuosity. “Far Beyond the Sun” is a fast-paced instrumental track that features blistering guitar work throughout.
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 us know what your favorite (easy, intermediate, or expert-level) guitar solo is!