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Here’s one to put the cat amongst the pigeons! What do you classify as the best guitar solo ever? Impossible question really as everyone has many solos in many different genres that they enjoy. However, for the sake of discussion we asked some performers from this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show (Aug 6&7 at Caulfield Racecourse) line up to try to nominate just one guitar solo as their favourite. Here’s what they told us!

Brett Kingman
La Grange – Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top
Pure feel, tone, groove and attitude. No amount of technical skill can beat it in my opinion.

Sam See
Midnight at the Oasis – Maria Muldaur. Solo by Amos Garrett
I chose this because it is so far and away the best thing about the song, otherwise it would be Larry Carlton’s solo in Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne”. I love his tone, I love the lyrical phrasing and I love the way the guitar transports you to the desert on a starry, breezy night.

Estelle Artois (Tequila Mockingbyrd)
Blackbird – Alter Bridge. Solo by Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy
My selection is the solo from the song “Blackbird” by Alter Bridge. In my opinion this is one of the most emotionally moving solos I have ever heard. The solo is performed by both Mark Tremonti and Miles Kennedy. Kennedy kicks in after the song lulls into a low and dulcet-toned bridge mid-way through the song. His initial style of playing is very un-intrusive and has almost sing-song vocal-like qualities about it: almost as if he is singing with the same fervour through his guitar. His note choices and complete control over long note ring-outs really compliment the emotive feel of the song (which is about the pain of losing a loved one). The true asset of this solo is in its seamless transitions, as it takes a keen listener to pick where one soloist ends and the other begins. As Kennedy ends his portion of soloing on an ascending climax, Tremonti explodes into a fit of high-end squealing licks and riffs which rain down on the listener with a cascade of fast paced note choices that seem to be chosen both with frantic randomness as well as perfect premeditation. Tremonti then hands over to Kennedy who kicks in with the belting chorus once more. In my opinion, this solo doesn’t fall into the trap of being your average self-indulgent time filler: This is a wonderful piece of music, carefully composed and collaborated between two very talented guitarists that leaves the listener both flawed and breathless at the tumultuous journey bestowed on them through a perfect symbiosis of heart and technical prowess.

Rohan Stevenson (I Built The Sky)
Radiatus -I Built The Sky. Solo by Stephen Taranto
My favourite solo is one from Stephen Taranto (appearing at the guitar show in my band IBTS). I asked him to do a guest solo on my new song ‘Radiatus’ and what he sent back absolutely blew me away. The solo is fast as hell and has all the ‘tasty’ notes and incredible techniques that he is known for. Although the song is unreleased you can watch it performed live with Stephen at this years Guitar Show.

Simon Hosford
Is This Love – (Whitesnake). Solo by John Sykes.
Such beautiful vocal-like phrasing, passion, searing tone and sustain.

Dean Ray
Hotel California- The Eagles. Solo by Joe Walsh.
This solo is probably my favourite. I love solos with immense feeling. This one is just beautiful. It’s not overly repetitive and is dynamic in structure. Highs and lows. It sounds easy but can be quite difficult to learn.

Dean Wells -Teramaze
Tornado of Souls- Megadeth. Solo by Marty Friedman
My favorite Guitar solo is Marty Friedman(Megadeth) Tornado of Souls from the album Rust in Peace. This solo is one of the greatest solo’s from any metal band ever, it is so unique and in itself, its own piece of music that stands alone. Marty uses so many exotic scales and unorthodox phrases that it made me want to know more about that style of playing. It takes you on a journey of its own inside what is already a great song. Marty is one of the most original guitar players ever and that’s inspiring to me.

Nick Charles
Don’t Think Twice (Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert) – Eric Clapton
My current favourite electric solo is Clapton at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert (August 24th 1993) Madison Square Gardens. His version of “Don’t Think Twice” is just perfect. It’s got flawless phrasing, great tone and vibrato and he’s playing with great attitude ( I think he was responding to be surrounded by famous guitarists and his ego surfaced in the best possible way). It’s a lesson in construction much like his “Crossroads” etc, where he builds over 3 separate breaks  through the song and reaches a terrifying climax. When he’s having a good day, there’s none better.
PS. If you want my favourite acoustic solo – always Doc Watson “Black Mountain Rag” from “Will the Circle be Unbroken”. Absolute perfection in every respect!

Phil Ceberano
Beat It – Michael Jackson. Solo by Eddie Van Halen
That’s a hard one. The solo by Eddie Van Halen on the Michael Jackson song Beat it is right up there for me. The thing I love about that ‘solo of solo’s’ is the swagger and cheeky nastiness of it. It just screams everything I love about rock guitar in a way that’s bold, brazen and totally unique. Rock!

Phil Manning
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles. Solo by Eric Clapton
One only! What a call – I’d probably put down the Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently weeps’ – Eric Clapton playing the solo, just a beautifully structured melodic solo …. Always loved that one

Geoff Achison
It’s A Long Way There -Little River Band. Solo by Rick Formosa
Well, call me crazy but I’ll nominate Rick Formosa’s amazing guitar work on LRB’s ‘It’s A Long Way There’. This was one of the first things I ever heard that made me fall in love with the sound of the electric guitar. Make sure you’re listening to the complete, almost 9 minute long album version though. The commercial single mix cut it down to 3 and a half minutes by editing out many of the best guitar moments. It’s a superb piece of songwriting and Rick’s guitar work is absolutely masterful throughout the whole track.

Jimi Hocking
I simply can’t declare a guitar solo as “the best ever” It’s just too subjective.
But I remember the ones that made me drop what I was doing to listen.
Brian May’s work on Bohemian Rhapsody was an epic moment for me, the violin quality he got from the guitar in the outro made me want that sound. I  still tap my finger on the octave to bring out harmonics just as (I think) he did in that song.
Eddie Van Halen – Eruption … it sounded like the revolution had arrived !
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Scuttle Butlin’ … An onslaught of incredible tone and feel.
Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues … That ‘over the top’ sustain on a blues progression sounded to me like the past and the future colliding.

James Ryan
Shawn Lane – Get You Back (Powers of Ten)
I love melodic solos in major keys and this one builds from beautiful flowing melodies to astonishing shredding.
Somehow he blends it all together flawlessly and even at frightening speed you can hear the emotion.

Simon Patterson
Too many great solos, so 3:-
1) Larry Carlton– 1st solo on Room 335 – amazing taste, pacing and architecture. All improvised also!
2) Steve Lukather – Rosanna – great use of Chromaticism in a pop song, fire and technique. 2nd solo blistering impromptu.
3) David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb – exquisite phrasing, tone and melodicism ( both solos).

Shannon Bourne
Another threesome!
Hendrix- Machine Gun
Roy Buchanan- Down By the River (Live)
Richard Thompson-Can’t Win and Hard On Me

Melbourne Guitar Show August 6th & 7th Caulfield Racecourse
Performance/Clinic link here
Performer list link here
Exhibitor list link here
Ticket link here (Tickets available at gate but they’re cheaper if you buy them online)

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