The Greatest Guitar Solo Ever

Being the musical geeks that we are, my brother and I recently started discussing what we consider to be the greatest guitar solos of all time. Of course, the solos of Free Bird, Stairway to Heaven, Eruption, Crossroads (Eric Clapton), Highway Star, Mr. Crowley, and Comfortably Numb were in the discussion.

But there was one that we settled on as being the best ever, and I ultimately have to give credit to my brother on this one. He mentioned Jimi Hendrix’s iconic All Along The Watchtower and we both concluded that it’s probably the best solo ever. The combination of guitar effects used – reverb, wah, and more – and the overall intensity and “soul” portrayed simply through a musical instrument makes it stand slightly higher than some of those great ones I just mentioned. Here it is (live) so we can all revel in its greatness:

While the title of “Greatest Guitar Solo Ever” is clearly a matter of opinion, there is no way this solo cannot be included in the discussion. It is an absurd piece of guitar work from one of the biggest songs (which is actually a cover) of one of the most influential musicians ever.

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6 thoughts on “The Greatest Guitar Solo Ever

  1. It’s very nice, but I can’t imagine that’s really the best ever. I assume you’re talking about the solo around the 2 minute mark.

  2. I’m pretty sure you don’t know anything about guitar solos. I mean it is a matter of opinion, but you have to have some knowledge to back it up. Also, that RHCP one is just a live extended jam, not the actual solo in the song. Therefore it isn’t even eligible to be considered.

    There are several factors that have to make a guitar solo great; not only skill/speed (and Hendrix is pretty much the best ever so you don’t have much of an argument there) but also the expression/feeling portrayed, which is a concept you have failed to grasp per some of our earlier discussions.

    Oh and lastly, Hendrix is playing this effortlessly while chewing gum, and he is playing a righty guitar upside-down since he’s a lefty and couldn’t afford a lefty guitar when he first started playing.

    Sorry, but I had no choice but to grill you on this one.

  3. You appreciate music on such a deep level that it’s really great. Simply on just how the sound generates sounds to the ear, I don’t see this as being the greatest solo ever.

  4. I will say that this rendition of All Along The Watchtower is not the same as the studio version, which is much clearer, and not as rushed. Those who know the song know the significance of this post. While your RHCP jam session is good, it cannot compare to Hendrix’s work. Part of rating a solo is how it flows into and out of a song, degree of difficulty, its soul, emotion, and fit. Playing an insane guitar piece will earn you respect, but it’s got to have more than just technique.

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