10. Eric Mongrain
You’ve probably never heard of Eric Mongrain, and he probably won’t go down as a guitar legend, but his sound is not typical guitar solo material. I’m not even sure it has a genre. The movie August Rush had a lot of guitar tapping in it, but I haven’t seen anyone do it as well as Mongrain.
9. Lynard Skynard – Freebird
If you’re going to make a top ten guitar songs, you are legally obligated to include Freebird. Lynard Skynard will be remembered mostly for this song. It’s just groovy as hell and builds to a near metal fever. You can’t deny the power of FREEBIRD!!
8. Skwisgaar Skwigelf – Crush My Battle Opponent’s Balls
What’s better than a blend of amazing metal and cartoons? Nothing. Skwisgaar Skwigelf’s solo “Crush My Battle Opponent’s Balls” is the most insane thing he’s put out to date. Yeah, ok Brendon Small is the real musician, but I’m giving credit to his creation, Skwisgaar.
Buckethead wears a bucket on his head. He wears a white mask. He acts like a robot. He might be the most interesting/weird/unique metal guitarist out there. In this clip you get it all: Amazing guitar work, dancing, nunchucks, buckets… just wow.
6. Just Some Guy
This is some guy. Yeah, number 6 of my top 10 goes to some guy. You’ll see why.
5. Yngwie Malmsteen
Yngwie Malmsteen ascended to a level that almost nobody will reach. He plays like lightning and throws in some classical. He is the butt of a thousand metal guitar jokes, but haters gonna hate.
4. BB King
BB King doesn’t really play the guitar. He starts with a guitar in his hands but it’s really just a part of him. When he plays it’s an extension of what he’s singing. Watch till the end of the video: he even makes Ali stand up out of excitement.
3. Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner
I almost had to make this #2. Jimi Hendrix’s version of the Star Spangled Banner is one of the greatest pieces of guitar work. It’s sloppy and noisy but the concept is brilliant. You can visualize bombs dropping and people dying tangled within the national anthem. Just brilliant.
2. Dragonforce – Through the Fire and Flames
Dragonforce won’t go down as any sort of legend. At least I don’t think they will. Still, every time I hear the guitar solo (though technically a duet) in “Through the Fire and Flames” I conclude it’s the best guitar solo ever. It’s packed with adventure, harmony and technical wizardry.
1. Eddie Van Halen – Eruption
Before Dragonforce could write that amazing solo, Van Halen had to invent damn near all the techniques they used. When Eddie Van Halen came out with his solo piece “Eruption”, that was pretty much it. The guitar had nothing left to offer. It was everything he had invented up til then crammed into one amazing song. The gods wept. The video to go with this is, somehow, an improvement on his mind melting song. Yeah, Eddie created something better than the best. He’s that good.